Day 198 Monday 27th October Mitchell SD pg 93 F10
After a poor weather day yesterday, today we were blessed with a sunny day and bright blue skies. The temperature last night got down to 0c or 32f. We were surprised to see a light covering of snow still lying in the fields this morning as we drove westwards along I90. We filled the RV at $2.259 per gallon, a pleasant change from $6 p/gallon we paid at Watson Lake in the Yukon, Canada. Today has been the cheapest we have paid for gas/petrol on the whole trip.
It never ceases to amaze me how much corn is grown in the USA and Canada. Today we have driven 302 miles or 486klm and all we could see was corn, as far as the eye could see on both sides of the road. The farms in Minnesota appear to be large, there is still a lot of corn to be harvested so the farmers will be very busy over the next few weeks to make sure they have it all harvested before the snow sets in for winter. We were told yesterday that the farmers like to have a few frosts so that the corn will dry out before they set about harvesting it, even a bit of snow apparently doesn’t bother them either. The countryside has been rather flat with some undulating paddocks from time to time.
There wasn’t much sightseeing today, however we did call into a town called Mitchell where they have decorated The Corn Palace (the facade of the town hall) with many murals depicting various typical US scenes. Apparently the founding fathers of the town hoped that constructing a palace of grain would draw interest to the region’s agricultural capabilities. The Palace receives over half a million visitors each year
The Palace’s origins began in 1892 when the town was only 12 years old. The murals are made entirely of native grains, highlighted by multi-coloured corn and require thousands of bushels of corn, grasses, straw, milo and sour dock.
The annual designing of the murals is a prestigious honour, and must depict life in South Dakota. 2008 theme is Everyday Heroes. Once the new design is ready a team of workers then strips the previous year’s murals from the outer walls of the building and the new templates are tacked on the walls, each showing the workers exactly what colour of grain should go where. This process happens each summer, barring drought. Three of the four seasons are devoted to the corn; winter is devoted to basket ball. Inside the palace is a huge auditorium, with some 2000 seats. The walls inside the Palace are also murals, but these can stay in place for up to 8-10 years due to them not being exposed to the weather.
Tonite we are camped in a park near town, we have the river on one side and a cemetery on the other – it’s very quiet…. its been rather cold today, I don't think the temperature has risen much past 40F - wind chill factor felt like -40, not really, but it sure was cold.