Corn Palace ~ Mitchell, South Dakota

Everyone loves to rave about the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD since it’s the “World’s Only Corn Palace”, but honestly it’s just a giant area that happens to be decorated with corn.

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I have visited the Corn Palace twice in my life, the most recent in October 2019, and both times work was being done on the artwork. While it is sort of neat to see the “process” of things going up or down, it’s also disappointing to not have any idea of when you can really see the whole thing decorated.

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The murals are not just on the outside, but inside the arena portion as well. When we stopped in, it was clear some kind of farming event had either just happened, or was due to happen soon. This is my other problem with the Corn Palace. Because it is an arena, I’m sure there are times where tourists may drop in to see it, only to be told they can’t enter on that particular day due to an event being held in the arena.

All in all, we maybe were at the Corn Palace for 15 minutes. They have pictures of past displays up in the outer hallways, and you also can climb up to the second level to be able to access the balcony over the entrance. It’s ok if you want to use it as a stop to stretch your legs while driving along Interstate 90, but overall, it’s nothing that spectacular to write home about.

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Nevada Bucket List ~ Neon to Nature

Our final installment in the Nevada Bucket List series is a unique one! All of these attractions can be visited by basing your travels out of Las Vegas, and extending down three separate paths! Therefore, I’ll be splitting this post into 4 sections, one for each path, and one just on things to do in Vegas. Next week, we venture to Arizona!

Red Rockin’ Loop

Las Vegas

  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Located just outside of Vegas, this is known as one of the most breathtaking areas of Nevada.

Blue Diamond

  • Spring Mountain Ranch State Park: These springs are what brought ranchers and pioneers to the area.

Goodsprings

  • Pioneer Saloon: This is a century old establishment with Foot Network worthy grub available on site.

Fire and Water Loop

Mesquite

  • Gold Butte National Monument: Stunning sandstone area filled with rock art and Depression-era structures.

Overton

  • Lost City Museum: Gives a glimpse into the life of the Ancestral Puebloans.
  • Valley of Fire State Park: Nevada’s first state park that is filled with sandstone formations.

Colorado River Corridor

Boulder City

  • Hoover Dam: Everyone wants to check out this grand engineering marvel.
  • Techatticup Mine and El Dorado Canyon: This was the site of Nevada’s first gold strike and is now open for tours.

Things to Do in Vegas

  • National Atomic Testing Museum: Museum that focuses on all the atomic testing performed in the area.
  • Nevada National Security Site Tour: This is a behind the scenes tour offered by the National Atomic Testing Museum that allows you to tour a test site where bombs were once tested.
  • Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park: This fort was built when the first European arrived in what would later become Las Vegas.
  • The Neon Museum: Of course the strip is all about its Neon Lights, so visiting the Neon Museum is a must while in the area!

All attractions found in the 2019 Nevada Travel Guide.

Dignity ~ Chamberlain, South Dakota

One of the best kept (not so hidden) secrets of traveling in South Dakota, is the Dignity statue. Dignity stands at the rest area in Chamberlain, just off our Interstate 90. She is magnificent to behold, and from the instant I learned of her, I knew I had to see her someday. This was the main reason why we traveled back home via Chamberlain on our trip to the Black Hills region.

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Dignity is easy to access given that she is located just off the interstate at the rest area. But this is not your average rest area either! Inside it also contains an information center with fliers about every region of the state (I found several new place to explore while inside), and also has interpretive displays about the time the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent in the area, complete with a Keelboat replica and a viewing terrace that looks out over the Missouri River! You really should plan to go during open hours for the informational center to get the full experience!

Back to Dignity! The statue has signage near it explaining the vision and goal behind creating the sculpture. Something really unique about it, is that the blue diamonds of her shawl actually were built to “move” in the wind!

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On top of the coolness of just viewing Dignity (and the museum inside), you also can walk down a path towards the river for better views of the wide Missouri. There were signs saying to watch for snakes, but we didn’t see any while out and about exploring the path.

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So the moral of this story is, it can be easy to bypass a rest area and just keep driving, but this is one rest area you should plan to stop at and stretch your legs for a longer amount of time as it offers lots of history and things to see!

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Nevada Bucket List ~ The Death Drive

Today’s post is a smaller one as we travel from Death Valley back to Vegas again.

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  • Death Valley National Park: This park is split across both Nevada and California and is the hottest, driest, and lowest National Park in our country.
  • Rhyolite Ghost Town: Located just outside of Death Valley, this town was abandoned over 100 years ago, but is still a favorite photograph spot for those exploring ghost towns.

Amargosa Valley

  • Big Bovine: This giant cow makes for a fun roadside attraction and the town is also home to the World’s Largest Firecracker as well!

Las Vegas

  • Desert National Wildlife Refuge: This is the largest wildlife refuge found in the Lower 48.

All attractions found in the 2019 Nevada Travel Guide.

Best Western Lees Motor Inn ~ Chamberlain, South Dakota

While on our way home from the Black Hills region, we spent a night in Chamberlain, South Dakota, right along the beautiful Missouri River. We stayed at the Best Western Lees Motor Inn, that while showing its age, was a wonderful location to stay. This Best Western is two levels, with doors on the outside. It is right down by the river, so you can easily access a river walk path to the north, and there are a few restaurants close by.

Our room was right next to the lobby on the lower level. We were able to park our car right in front of our room to unload our few bags. The room opened to a spacious bedroom area, that held a bed, table/desk, armchair, desk chair, and TV stand with TV, fridge and microwave.

The small doorway led to the sink and closet area. The sink was to the left and closet to the right.

The doorway beyond the closet led to the rest of the bathroom facilities.

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On of the really unique features of this hotel was that they had a separate building for the pool area. We had the whole pool area to ourselves the night we were there. It was a huge space and also contained the ice machine. Note: They do lock it after pool hours, so get your ice early!

I didn’t get any pictures of breakfast, but they had a wide selection in a room off of the lobby area. (It actually would have been on the opposite side of the wall from the TV in our room.) They had several tables to dine at and the selection had several hot options including biscuits and gravy, eggs, and a waffle maker.

We really enjoyed our stay at the Best Western in Chamberlain, and enjoyed all the time we spent in that peaceful town!

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Chamberlain Walking Path ~ Chamberlain, South Dakota

On our return trip from the Black Hills regions, we decided to come home via Chamberlain so that we could visit the Dignity statue in the morning. We arrived in Chamberlain in time for dinner, checked into our hotel, and then decided to take a walk along the river front.

We walked a portion of the Chamberlain Walking Path that sits along the Missouri River and American Creek. The view of the sunset was just gorgeous and they had so many fun sculptures along the path. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a portion of our evening.

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If you ever find yourself in Chamberlain for the night, I highly suggest this walking path as the sun sets! It was just beautiful to witness!

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Nevada Bucket List ~ Free-Range Art Hwy

The Free-Range Art Hwy in Nevada technically runs from Reno to Las Vegas, but in my list I’ve already featured Reno several times in previous journeys so mine will start in Goldfield just south of the end of the Extraterrestrial Highway that was featured in Tuesday’s post.

Goldfield

  • Goldfield Historic Cemetery: Worth a walk through to see some of the unfortunate passings of old west residents.
  • International Car Forest of the Last Church: An ever changing sprawling garden of stacked and sticking out of the ground vehicles.
  • Rocket Bob’s “Art Cars”: Parked along Goldfield’s main drag, these cars are truly a work of art.

Rhyolite Ghost Town

  • Goldwell Open Air Museum: I want to visit just to check out the ghostly version of the Last Supper.

Las Vegas

  • Seven Magic Mountains: Photo op of colorfully painted boulders with a mountain back drop!

All attractions found in the 2019 Nevada Travel Guide.