Our visit ended too soon, but we all needed to hit the road. During our brief visit, she not only allowed the kids to use her beautiful spinning wheel, she sent Owen and Willa home with their own, hand held versions. And to Ben, she gave a pair of real binoculars, because one of his favorite things to do is watch birds. The children were thrilled with their gifts and can't wait to visit her again. Thanks, Aunt Bettie, for your wonderful hospitality and endless patience with my curious kids!
9:50 a.m. 73 Degrees, Sunny
As we depart Darlington we are passing through more corn and soy farms. There are also many Amish families who have settled in the area, and it's fun to see their buggies parked in the garage, and the ladies in traditional dress working in the gardens.
We almost ran over a cat...I'm shaking.
We spot a buck running along the corn. Very handsome animal...
Stopping at Belmont Quick Stop to ask for directions to US-151. The lettered county roads have confused even our AAA TripTik (not to mention us).
Luckily we were close! We're on the highway and cruising to civilization, I think. We have passed miles of ruined crops due to a massive hail storm that passed through the area a couple of weeks ago. It has devastated many families' entire crops. Very sad.
We pass briefly back into IL.
Crossing the Mississippi!
Iowa welcomes us!
Iowa smells amazing--like freshly cut grass and wildflowers...like salad and summer. Ahhhhh...
Owen is keeping himself entertained by spinning wool....Cool, huh?
5:55 p.m. 74 Degrees, Sunny
Welcome to South Dakota...our 5th state today.
Return to the car after dinner at Cracker Barrel and an emergency stop into Target in Sioux Falls to buy Willa her own PINK Nintendo DS. She has been using mostly broken hand-me-down DSs and is frustrated, angry and crying every afternoon now, because she has NOTHING TO DO. Okay. Okay. Merry Christmas. Whatever!! Desperate times, you know?
Our second and final "sight seeing" stop on this drive. It is a classic and hilarious road-tripper's stop in Mitchel, South Dakota. Local artists re-do the murals, made of corn, each year paying homage to the area's top crop (and local attractions). The first Corn Palace was created in 1891 and the tradition has been going strong since. Inside they have a movie about the Palace, and lots of kitchy shopping opportunities (of course). It was fun to see, but it's time to move on...Below, the famous faces in corn cobs.
We've arrived at the AmericInn in Chamberlain, SD. It is quite nice and done up in a fun lodge theme. If we'd arrived earlier the kids could have taken advantage of the pool, which has a huge raccoon basketball hoop that shoots water. It opens at 7 a.m. Maybe tomorrow after a breakfast of hot Belgian waffles. Owen's favorite!