As we leave the Missouri River and head east down Interstate 90 we are entering what is known by the locals as East River South Dakota. This means we have left the prairie lands and entering into the fertile farmlands of South Dakota. The scenery has changed into miles upon miles of corn, soybeans and hay land. Herds of Black Angus cattle are a common site along the highway. The small towns lying just off the highway are communities’ that depend upon their existence more with the local farmers and ranchers than tourist. Towns like Pukwana (lawnmower races in the summer), Kimball (tractor museum), White Lake, Plankinton and Mount Vernon can provide fuel for your car and good home cooking restaurants to fuel the stomach and soul. Don’t hesitate to stop along the way, the friendly people of South Dakota are always glad to see you and have time to chat for a few minutes.
Our next town is Mitchell, home of the world’s only Corn Palace. The Los Angeles Times described the Corn Palace as “The World’s Largest Bird Feeder”; this is not a quote that the citizens of Mitchell agree with. Each year the local artists, using 275,000 ears of different shades of corn and 3000 bushels of other grains and grasses, change the intricate crafted beautiful murals into a universal theme. The Corn Palace is a multi-use building that conducts many special events, from dances to big name concerts. The high school and college hold their basketball games here during the season. Check the events calendar and you will find numerous annual events being held at the Corn Palace. Mitchell is also home to several unique museums that you don’t want to miss, such as: The Dakota Discover Museum, McGovern Library and Legacy Museum, Prehistoric Indian Village, Model Car Museum and Harry’s Antique Safe Museum. Mitchell can easily be a day trip or a long week-end vacation with over a dozen or more motels, seven campsites, and 56 restaurants available. If you are looking for specialized shopping, try Cabela’s and the Prairie Breeze Art Gallery.
The 65 miles on Interstate 90 East to Sioux Falls has several small towns, Alexandria, Bridgewater, Salem, Montrose, Humboldt and Hartford, which are basically farming communities that can provide a traveler with food and fuel if needed. Our next town on Interstate 90 is the largest city in South Dakota, Sioux Falls. Interstate 90 crosses the northern section of Sioux Falls while Interstate 29 South has the exits that take you directly into the heart of Sioux Falls. Interstate 90 exits will take you into the more Industrial section and the airport. There are several worthwhile attractions in this area, Adventure Park & Wild Water West (the kids will love it), Ramkota Hotel and Water Park, Greatest Show on H20, and for the motorcycle enthusiast J & L Harley Davidson’s showroom. We will cover in depth all that Sioux Falls has to offer when we go down Interstate 29 and take the exits off that highway.
We have almost reached the Minnesota border and the end of our Interstate 90 tour. The towns of Brandon and Valley Springs lie between Sioux Falls and Minnesota. Brandon is one of the fastest growing communities in South Dakota. There are two great motels, Holiday Day Inn Express and the Comfort Inn, along with an exceptional restaurant, Tailgaters, just a short jog off Interstate 90. Valley Springs is a small farming community town that sits a short distance off Interstate 90.