Let’s all move to South Dakota!

Well, maybe not. But this is a pretty great state. At the very least, I’ll be coming back to vacation here again.

Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial: planned (foreground) and reality (so far)

Crazy Horse is totally nuts. Commissioned in 1948 by Lakota chief Henry Standing Bear as, more or less, a Native response to Mount Rushmore, it’s about 17 miles away and practically that many times as large as its rival. It’s the world’s largest mountain sculpture; the four presidents could fit inside Crazy Horse’s head and hair. It won’t be finished for another 50 years, if all goes well. The memorial takes no federal funding, a point made extremely vigorously in the introductory video. Even more surprising, it’s basically the project of one family. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski worked on the site for years by himself, and then with many of his 10 children. The site’s own mythology is now just as much about the Ziolkowkis’ perseverance as it is about native nobility. After an hourlong visit, I can tell you WAY more about the eccentric Polish-American sculptor than I can about Crazy Horse himself.

But I won’t. Let’s move on.

Next I went to Wall Drug, to my knowledge the only destination drugstore in the world.

No explanation necessary.

Walgreens just doesn't provide this kind of service.

Then I drove through the Badlands, and they were good:

Amazing.

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It was a quiet day at the Badlands:

It was a quiet day at the Badlands.

But silence doesn’t mean all is well:
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At my next stop, I uncovered evidence that King Corn is real:

Mitchell, SD

Mitchell, SD

We are made of corn. Even Abraham Lincoln.
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The Corn Palace is a huge building decorated with corn cobs. This has been going on since 1892, and the exterior decoration is revised annually. This is a design for next year’s Corn Palace (seriously!):
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An important clarification on a photo of a previous Corn Palace:

Whoops.

Michael Pollan’s nightmare:
Michael Pollan's nightmare

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7 responses to “Let’s all move to South Dakota!

  1. ruth, my mom was born in the badlands. for some reason my grandfather thought it feasible to farm there. guess he didn’t visit before he up and moved there. they didn’t stay long – only long enough for my mother to be born. when she would talk about that period in her families life she would always shake her head as if internally she was saying”what were they thinking “? i’m thinking there was free land involved.

  2. Wow, that is so interesting! There was some mention of homesteading at one of the overlooks, and it sounded extremely bleak. I think the idea was “free land if you can survive,” and it’s hard to imagine how anyone could.

  3. That is the reason the Corn Palace was built in Mitchell to prove that crops could be raised in South Dakota.

  4. I’m assuming it’s just a really normal thing at Wall Drug to hand your camera to someone and say, “Would you take my picture after I climb up on this huge fiberglass jackalope?”

  5. I’m not sure what you mean, Dad. This photo was taken by the official photographer of the 2009 Jackalope Rodeo after I successfully mounted and subdued a wild jackalope.

  6. I don’t know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, đŸ™‚

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  7. i didn’t know eleanor roosevelt rode a segway. but it does make a lot of sense given the distance between hyde park and val kill…

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