On the Road: From Buffalo to Idaho and Back
(Page 5 of 19)
Somewhere in here, a quick stop for breakfast at a Cracker Barrel had seen our first breakdown. It actually took longer to get the gear off Mike’s Bandit than it did to solve the problem. We’d come out from breakfast and went to start the bikes. Mike had pushed the start button and nothing happened. We tried a quick push start with no results. Off went the gear and the seat. A quick check of the connections at the starter, battery and relay proved everything was snug, and the headlights were strong, so it must be the clutch or side stand switch. Sure enough, we jumped the open connection at the clutch handle interlock switch, then reloaded and were on our way.
We pressed on toward Wall, but had no choice but to stop in Mitchell, SD to see and be seen at the World’s Only Corn Palace. Hey, I’m not coming this far and not seeing the ‘Palace.’ To Hell with Mt. Rushmore, this is what this county’s really all about. Every year the people of Mitchell spend months producing a completely organic themed mural made entirely of asparagus…err…I mean CORN, and corn products (silk, stalk, etc), with which, skilled artisans cover the entire front of a huge theater style building. It really is remarkable and absolutely worth the trip. There’s a festival in August every year too, which one can only imagine is likely to be magnificent… as such festivals likely go.
I remember telling Mike that ideally, we’d find places where we could do our laundry every few days, and grab a beer and a bite while we waited for the clothes to dry. Ah, but Mitchell, SD takes it one step further. “Sudz” features a laundromat, a bar AND…wait for it… a casino! Only in America. Is it any wonder illegal aliens are sneaking in by the tens of thousands every year? What is a wonder to me is why this establishment is not franchised all across this great land of ours. Lose your shirt (or perhaps someone puked on it) while drinking and gambling? No problem, there’s probably a nice clean one spinning in a dryer next door.
But I digress.
The Badlands are exactly what you’ve heard, and unlike any other place on this Earth. It’s an utterly alien dreamscape. We only scratched the surface, riding through on the main road. Nestled on the other side of The Badlands is The Worlds Largest Prairie Dog. OK, so he’s not real, but they do have a bunch of real ones there (and a neat little gift shop). We dutifully took pictures and uttered noises like “Awww!” while looking at the furry little guys. We slid past Sturgis — what’s the big deal about this place anyway? — and stopped at the SOB (St. Onge Bar) in St. Onge, just to absorb some ambiance. Yawn. OK, so now I’ve been there done that, and didn’t have to sit in traffic or even show anyone my boobies. The only thing missing was a few tens of thousands of loud pipes saving lives.
You may notice a sign or three (thousand) for a place called Wall Drug on your way to Wall, SD. You simply can’t NOT stop there. I dare you to try. If you like to shop, plan on spending a few days here. I personally do not, but was compelled to go into the place ANYWAY. Just one eensie beensie corner of it, but I actually bought some stuff; including a freshly made donut (or doughnut if you prefer). I watched it come right out of the deep fryer, into which they were adding a lard like substance to "keep her topped off" for the next batch. Since Buffalo has the largest per capita incidence of heart disease in the nation, and was, after all, the first U.S. city to have a Tim Horton’s franchise (if you’re not Canadian, you may not understand this), anything apparently being fried in animal fat which results in a product that’s either spicy, cheese filled, gravy covered, or wickedly sweet is what we Buffalonians would call a “staple food.” I had one with chocolate icing on it. Delicious. I’d have had two, but I’m a Type 2 diabetic after all; though I must admit that I usually put a little Frank’s hot sauce on my Metformin pills, just to make them taste a little better going down.
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