Friday, July 16, 2010

AAN Day 26 - Chamberlain to Mitchell, SD

Daily Statistics:
Mileage: 71.3 miles Average Speed: 16.9 mph
Vertical: 1121 feet Depart: 6:20 AM Arrive: 10:50 AM
Calories: 5234

Link to Garmin ROUTE DATA

As you can probably tell from the statistics, notably the departure and arrival times, today was not very demanding. We did start by riding about a quarter mile to the Anchor Grill in downtown Chamberlain for a nice breakfast. Here is a photo showing how tough it can be to find good parking early in the morning. This is only about 1/3 of the parking, but gives you the idea.

The route, after the first 3 miles or so out of town, which had a pretty good climb, was flat to somewhat downhill the whole way, on largely deserted country roads that paralleled the interstate. You can see from this photo of some of our riders we were not too worried about taking up the road. It also shows we were largely still in rolling grassland, although the road did not roll near as much as the last couple of days. There were a fair number of corn fields along the way.
We did have couple of wildlife highlights along the way. First, we had a mini-buffalo stampede in a field. A bull, 4 females, and 3 little ones were charging along. It was fairly impressive. I can't imagine what the big herds of the 1800s must have looked like. I then saw a deer with two fawns cross the road in front of me. I whipped out my camera and tried to capture them, but this is the best I could do. You can see one fawn coming up to the road, and the other just after clearing the fence. Mama is already across the road.

But of course the major highlight for the day was in the town of Mitchell, the Mitchell Corn Palace. This started as a promotion for the town in 1892, and is continued today. The current palace was built in the 1920s. All of the art work inside and out is done with corn. They use about 275,000 ears to do the job.
This shows the interior, which has a large stage, which has hosted folks like John Phillip Sousa, Lawrence Welk, Bob Hope, and a host of other big name talent. Sousa was there when Mitchell was competing with Pierre to be the capital. The local high school plays its basketball games here. It is still quite and attraction. Several tour groups came through while I was there.

Here is one more shot of one of the murals on the exterior of the building, again, all done with corn.
Tomorrow should be another fairly easy day into Sioux Falls, where we will have our third rest day.

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