The Adventures of Platy and the Gang
Volume 5
On the way to the Badlands
June 1, 2003

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
The journey to South Dakota took us several days. We only like to drive 5 or 6 hours a day and like to enjoy the sights and attractions along the way. One such stop was Souix Falls, South Dakota to see, What else... the falls
Of course you cannot drive through SD without stopping to see the..
There has been a Corn Palace in Mitchell since 1892. Mitchell was a small, 12 year old city when the first Corn Palace was built. The $64.000 dollar question is "whatever would possess someone to cover a building with corn?" Well, the city fathers wante to put Mitchell on the map. In 1805, when Lewis and Clark traveled through the northern plains. they wrote in their journals that the area was the Great American Desert suitable only for buffalo. Surely. they wrote, no man could ever make a living farm g here. Wanting to prove Lewis and Clark wrong, as well as to entice settlers to the area, the Corn Belt Real Estate Association built the first Corn Palace to showcase all of the crops that could be grown in the rich Dakota soil.

Each year the Corn Palace is redecorated sporting a new theme. Exceptions to this tradition occurred during the Depression. World War I & II Era's, and Mitchell's Centennial year. The decorative materials for the Corn Palace are all native corn, grasses and grains of South Dakota. The new theme is selected each year by the Corn Palace Committee along with Cal Schultz, their artist. Approximately 20 local residents are hired each to redecorate the Palace. The process begins in the early summer when all of grasses and grains are removed from the building and replaced in new geometric designs. 3.000 bushels milo, rye, oat heads and sour dock are tied into bundles and nailed to the building. In late summer when the corn matures, the mural pictures are replaced. The new scenes are drawn on black roofing paper and are marked as to which of the eleven different colors of corn goes where. Think of it as a very large corn-by-number project! The roofing paper is then tacked onto the Palace and the crew, using tall scaffolding. literally nails each ear of corn in its designated space. About 275,000 ears of corn are sawed in half and nailed flat-side to the building. It takes approximately three months to redecorate the Palace at an annual cost of over $100.000 each and every year.
We also visited this museum of Indian culture.

The Badlands

We stayed 3 days in the Badlands. We stayed at the Badlands Ranch and Resort .
We hiked a few trails and took a ranger led hike. Here the ranger is explaining the geology and history of the rocks.
The one trail we took had a ladder you had to climb and a narrow ledge you must cross to get to the end. You then turn around and go back. We didn't make it to the end. The narrow ledge is where we turned around.
Of course Judy had to find all the animals she could. We saw pronghorn antelope, bison and prairie dogs. This town had over 6,000 prairie dogs in 300 acres. There were prairie dogs everywhere.
We also saw a coyote but couldn't get the camera out fast enough.
All along I-90 there were signs for The Wall Drug Store. There were hundreds of them. They must work because we made a trip there. The store is in the tiny town of Wall, SD and covers an entire city block. It includes a restaurant and has a replica of an entire old time street complete with shops inside. While we were there I rode a giant jackalope and Judy broke a bronco.
The store was opened in 1931 and gained customers by giving free ice water to travelers during the Depression.

The Prairie Homestead is the original home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Brown who homesteaded this 160 acres in 1909. It was later occupied by Mn George Carr until 1949. All the buildings except the cave are the same as they were except for the maintenance and minor restoration. The cave had collapsed so was dug out and rebuilt in the spring of 1966. The original homestead is preserved as though a homestead family was living there today. A small portion of the furnishings is original, the rest typical of the Sodbusters in this area.
Prairie Homestead has the only white prairie dog town in the world. They sell them as pets. A white dog is $350. A plain brown one is only $100. If you want to order one you can go to
We are traveling tomorrow to Hot Springs, SD in the Black Hills. Judy will start hiking the Centennial Trail then.
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