Picks and Pans – South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

We arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house in Rapid City just in time to avoid driving in a pretty serious snow storm, but my uncle, being the dyed in the wool South Dakotan that he is, decided that a snow storm was the perfect time to go see Mount Rushmore. Turns out, he was right. Our footprints were the first to mark a path through the newly fallen powder and we walked around the monument in the silence that only comes during snowfall. Being there without the usual crowds of tourists did, however, make me carefully consider the point made by opponents to the original plans for Mount Rushmore. They argued that no artist, no matter how talented, could improve the beauty of the granite pinnacles of the Black Hills, and, while I do agree that the Mount Rushmore sculptures are remarkable, they do take one’s attention from the natural beauty that surrounds the monument. Only when snow was in the process of reclaiming Mt. Rushmore by blanketing it in white, was I reminded of the sculpture’s place in the larger environment of the Black Hills. Strange to have a monument to human accomplishment in the midst ofa place whose beauty exists only because it has been protected from human destruction.

Prairie Edge

I don’t normally get in to Indian trading post style stores. They often seem to have more to do with bilking tourists for money than celebrating the Indian artist and their work. Prairie Edge, however, is not that kind of place. The owner’s respect for Indian art as art in it’s own right comes through in the way the art is exhibited and in the forum he provides for artists to show their work.

Firehouse Brewing Co.

After a day spent outside, trudging around in the snow, the hot apple cider and warm, juicy bison burgers at Firehouse Brewing (located in an actual old firehouse) hit the spot.

Tour of Simpson’s Printing

My aunt, uncle and cousin Jon run Simpson’s Printing in Rapid City and we were fortunate enough to get the full tour of the print shop while we were in town. Jon is a real expert on their massive new printer, the Heidelberg Speedmaster 74, and it was a treat to hear him explain the capacity of the press and his ideas for the future of the business. Thanks Simpson family for a great time in Rapid City! We love you all and hope to see you again soon!

The Corn Palace

Driving across eastern South Dakota is a test of endurance. It is flat, it is cold and there’s not much reason to stop except for the bare necessities of gas, food or bathroom. Thus the success of the Corn Palace. When you haven’t seen anything but the wide open prairie for hours on end, a building decorated all in corn sounds downright fascinating. In the end it was ok. It is a building completely covered in corn, but, honestly I would’ve rather stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder house (a.k.a the real “Little House on the Prairie”).

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