Randye and Candace: Goin' West
We got out on a beautifully sunny Wednesday morning and headed into Council Bluffs. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum had displays from the historic transcontinental race with Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860's to the present. I missed a great opportunity for some interesting pictures by forgetting to bring my camera inside. However, I'm going add this link to their Web site so that you can get a feel for the museum.
As we started out of Council Bluffs north on I-29, which runs parallel with the border between Iowa and Nebraska, we noticed the beauty of the landscape and saw a sign for the Lewis & Clark Monument and Scenic Overlook. So, we made our first unplanned detour. The site was quiet and lovely. The monument is described as honoring "the expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1804 and their historic, strategic meeting with the Otoe and Missouri Indians."
It was also the first of many references we would see about the explorers sent by President Thomas Jefferson to ascertain what the United States had acquired in the Louisiana Purchase.
By early afternoon, we reached Sioux City and its Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. There were a number of displays depicting camp scenes, the circumstances of the sole death during the 29-month-long journey, logs kept by members of the exploratory party, etc. I discovered that there was an African American named York in the party who was a slave to William Clark. Despite the role he played in the success of the mission, there is no clear record that he was ever given his freedom.
This turned out to be a very busy day. We crossed the Missouri River into South Dakota and took I-29 to SD-50, heading towards Yankton. As we passed through Vermillion, however, we diverted to visit the National Museum of Music on the campus of the University of South Dakota. While we only had about 20 minutes before the museum closed, we did get to see a variety of instruments. This included, as you can see below, one of B. B. King's famous guitars. Lucille has a place of honor at the museum.
The museum in Yankton would have been closed by the time we got there, so we continued travelling until we reached Mitchell, home of the infamous Corn Palace.
Taking US-81, we reached I-90, the primary artery that would take us across much of South Dakota. We saw the first of many billboards for Wall Drug. Everyone I told about my planned trip to the state had immediately mentioned the tourist site, so I was looking forward to see what all the hubbub was about.
It was still daylight when we arrived in Mitchell. Candace and I decided to spend time at the Corn Palace that evening so that we could get to Rapid City earlier the next day. We had dinner, then located the Corn Palace in the midst of a number of souvenir shops. It's hard to believe that the exterior is covered by corn cobs--a job that's been done by area youth for decades. The theme this year was "Everyday Heroes." Images included teachers, firefighters, medical workers, etc.
We had just missed the last tour of the facilities for the day, but we were able to wander around on our own. The largest area was an auditorium where a variety of famous entertainers have performed over the years. None were here that day, but the auditorium had been converted into a gift shop with a wide range of products. Candace and I found a number of souvenirs, yet I had not found the cowboy hat I wanted from the trip. The only ones available were inexpensive straw types. I wanted a "real" one and felt that patience would pay off.
By the way, you can click on any of the photos on these pages to see an enlarged version.
Candace and I got a room for the night and settled in to rest as much as we could. The busiest part of the trip was still ahead.