Here in Mitchell, South Dakota we finally saw THE CORN PALACE! My old boss from DIRECTV wouldn’t stop raving about it before we left. Corn Palace! Corn Palace! You have to see the Corn Palace, Ken. OMG! Well we’ve made it here. Mickey & Randy in Pierre gave us the last two nights of suggestions for places to spend the night, and we’re here in Mitchell, and we could see the spires of the incongruously Islamic-themed Corn Palace poking above the rest of the buildings for blocks. Whole blocks!

WOW!

WOW!

So what is the Corn Palace? I don’t know. We never went inside. But we were told later that it’s nothing but a gym. That sure would’ve been a let down. The outside though, that’s where it’s at. The facade is made entirely of corn. And there are murals around the entire thing that are changed every year. The lady at the gas station that charges you to use the bathroom told us all of this. Then we bought some beef jerky & postcards just so we wouldn’t have to pay to use the bathroom. (Her water & sewage rates had increased, so she put a fee on the bathrooms for non-paying customers.) Inside the corn palace is nothing but not much, plus photographs of all of the murals from years past. Did you know that this is the only Corn Palace in the world? Mitchell, South Dakota.

On our way in, headwinds had battered us, but not as heavily as they would the next day. Mickey had researched a campground for us, but a far better option is always to hang out at a local watering hole to see if someone would eventually offer us their space. One lady at Dr. Lucky’s was on the verge of letting us sleep in an open apartment above the bar (we pass out easily), but her husband nixed that idea. You know what else that bar had though? Karaoke. It was worth staying until after dark for that. More people filtered in. Some seriously good Karaoke was sung. This old lady belted the crap out of some Reba McIntyre. Honestly. It’s no Hope & Anchor, but these people had some pipes. A group of teachers celebrating their last day of school sung songs to eachother and tipped us off to another campground up the street. It might’ve been further away than Mickey’s campground, but it was on this street, as opposed to three or four turns away – and we figured the less directions, the better, being few pitchers deep (including one bought by the bar). We didn’t want to be wandering aimless in the middle of the night. I sung Sinatra’s “That’s Life”, Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Travelin’ Salvation Show”, and The Beatle’s “Oh Darlin’.” Three of my standards. “Oh Darlin'” made my voice hurt. It always does.

The teachers left. Some of them asked if we wanted to go to the Kongo Klub. “What’s that,” we asked.
“It’s a nudie bar.” Actually they were more polite about it, calling it “Adult Establishment” or something.
Andy & I looked at eachother. It was 10:30pm. Quinn knew what was coming. How could we possibly refuse this invitation?

Stripperaoke. We missed it in Portland, but pretty much got the same thing here. It wasn’t until almost 2am before we hurled ourselves back into the tent, apparently singing “superfreak” as we rolled up to the campsite. It’s definitely going to be downhill from here. I don’t see how it can get any better.