The Green Giant, the Corn Palace and the Devil’s Tower: A Journey from Chicago to Rapid City
The mountain is located right in the center of the country, near the city of Rapid City, South Dakota. From the other center of attraction of tourists, Chicago, route number 90 leads to it. A distance of one and a half thousand kilometers can be overcome in a day, about 14 hours. But it is much more interesting to stretch the pleasure, spend the night on the road, and see provincial America. And if you choose this option, the following describes the places that can be visited along the way, not much deviating from the main route.
700 kilometers from Chicago, you can stop to drink coffee in the town with the unusual name Blue Earth, Minnesota. After coffee with a muffin, you can take a picture with a giant statue of the Jolly Green Giant. Near it, there is a small souvenir shop, where every visitor, regardless of whether he bought something or not, is asked to sign in the visitors’ book.
After another 320 kilometers on the highway will be the town of Mitchell, South Dakota. A typical Midwest town lost among cornfields. Locals decided to take advantage of this and created the world’s only corn palace. In fact, it is a cross between a sports hall and a palace of culture with an arena and seating in the stands. The basis of the palace of the most common building materials, the highlight is facing: all the walls, both outside and inside, lined with corn cobs. And not just laid out, but are stories on various topics. This is Christianity – Christmas, Baptism of the Lord (let’s not forget that people in the Midwest are very religious) – and the plots of the times of the development of these lands, and various others. Each year, the “exposure” changes, as the corn material is short-lived. All this pleasure costs the local authorities cheap – more than a million dollars a year, but apparently, the flow of tourists pays for these expenses. Admission is free, inside a small souvenir market. After 110 kilometers you can see the pointer to the town Chamberlain. It is located near the reservation of the Lakota Indians. Here you can go to the Museum of Indians, located on the territory of the Catholic School of St. Joseph. The entrance is free. You can also look at the Missouri River – the largest tributary of the Mississippi, on the bank of which stands Chamberlain. For Americans, it is the same inseparable couple as the Russian Ob and Irtysh.
If you go on Saturday, then after moving across the bridge to Missouri, after about five kilometers from Chamberlain, turn right at the town of Oacoma. There is an excellent flea market with ridiculous prices.
Another 200 kilometers and you will reach the territory of the national park Badland (Badland) – Bad Lands. Even from the track, you will see how unimportant they are. From a geological point of view, the terrain is a zone of clay erosion hills formed about five thousand years ago. Since the rocks here are very unstable to rain and wind, the terrain is constantly changing and returning here after just a couple of years, you will see that the landscapes have changed. If time is short, just look out the car window, but we strongly recommend spending at least a couple of hours on this place. To do this, turn off the highway to highway 240. Entrance to the national park is paid, something around $ 20 per car (check the price on the official website of the park). There you will be given a map, where you can see both observation platforms, where you can park the car and make excellent view photos, and hiking trails. On the territory there is something like a campsite, so you can spend the night and explore everything in detail. The western part of the park is free, but the scenery here is simpler.
Do not forget to watch and feed the prairie dogs – animals such as marmots, of which there are a great many. People are almost not afraid.
Another hundred kilometers and you are at the final point – Rapid City. In the vicinity of the city there is not only a cliff with the presidents, but also the impressive Crazy Horse memorial under construction (Сrazy Horse), an ancient wooden fort from the times of colonization, mountain lakes, caves, Custer National Park with herds of buffalo grazing along the road, the impressive Devil Rock and much more. You will not be bored.