Corn, Cheese Curds, and Sacred Stones

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: national monumentssacred sitestourist trapsgood eatsminnesota • Places: Bump's Family Restaurant Pipestone National Monument The World's Only Corn Palace

I bid farewell to the Twin Cities fairly early in the morning.

The next day's plan was to travel from the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul to the Missouri in South Dakota, traversing terrain between two of America's most important rivers.

In a few ways, it would be a jumping off point for me for the rest of the trip. After this, I had no plans to stay with friends, and in fact, virtually no plans to sleep anywhere other than my tent.

But, I did still get to bump into an old pal, if you know what I mean...

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Bump's Family Restaurant

Who better than the Viceroy of Vittles, Andrew Wilkinson to split a meal with? (Accompanied, as well, by his brother, Jeff.)


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Image Credit: Andrew
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Image Credit: Jeff
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Here at Bump's in Glencoe, we could partake in communal cheese curds, and enjoy amenities such as diner coffee and the breakfast commercial.

Believe me, it was a lovely time.

And it was a challenge not to include more of it in my most recent music video.

Image Credit: Jeff
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Pipestone National Monument

Pipestone National Monument was my favorite place I visited in Minnesota. It's just a lovely spot, and it has everything going for it. It's culturally and historically interesting, and it's really flipping beautiful.

(It was also amongst the places that Holman suggested I check out, and I am incredibly glad it got such an endorsement and that I did not miss it!)


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There was a storm warning, though from the radar it seemed like the storm and I would be travelling in opposite directions. We were destined to intersect, and we intersected at Pipestone National Monument.

"I'll try to beat the storm, before looking at the indoor exhibits," I said to one of the employees.


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But shortly thereafter, the skies opened up, and I quickly resigned myself to getting drenched. My camera and lens, fortunately, were as intrepid as I.


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Pipestone is so named because it is a place that was used by Plains Indians to quarry stone used to make sacred pipes. The site remains open to such activity today. Native Americans and no one else can quarry stone from here by hand.



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The special red stone here is known as Callinite, and it is only found here. It's a sedimentary rock, formed from clay that has been smooshed down for a while.

For those who wish to know more about its composition, the park guide says:

[Catlinite] consists largely of microscopic crystals of pyrophyllite, diaspore, muscovite, and kaolinite. Traces of the iron bearing mineral hematite give the stone its red color.


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Catlinite is named after George Catlin, a white man who originally visited the site against the wishes of Natives, which caused it to become popularized and artifacts to be more widely collected. The site was badly in need of protection before it was preserved as a National Monument.


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I just found this whole area so beautiful and tranquil and lovely, and I did not mind getting soaked. I hope I've helped to share that a taste of that beauty with you, dear reader.

Prayer cloths in the area
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Implements for hand-quarrying
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The World's Only Corn Palace

The last stop of my day (before camping) was the The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

This, my friends, is a Grade A tourist trap. It's basically a theatre with artwork made from corn stapled to its sides, surrounded by gift shops.

But my, what a sight.

Corn Palace
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Corn Palace
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My friend Kyle had recommended it to me, having tremendously enjoyed visiting at an early age, and I can easily say that my perusing of the exterior showed much to recommend to any connoisseur of kitsch.

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From here I drove on, further westward, past some verdant grassland and grey stone until I arrived at a hydroelectric dam on the Missouri River. There I would camp for the night.

Thanks for reading!

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