Spences Go West 2015 | Day 3 | July 19 | Canton, South Dakota to Custer, South Dakota

Day 3 started with breakfast burritos and coffee at Newton Hills State Park in Canton, South Dakota. We packed up early and got on the road…

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Along the interstate we spotted a “buffalo center and cowboy town” tourist trap and decided to make an unplanned quick stop.

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The kids were thrilled to see their first bison up close.

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This guy was among some truly kitschy and weird stuff inside. Plug a quarter into a slot and see animatronic cowboys playing poker! This place was hilarious, and totally not worth the stop.

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Late morning, and we arrived at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. It’s pretty wild to be driving down a typical city street and then see this monstrosity, covered in dried ears of corn and other farm products. Really odd and beautiful!

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Construction on the 2015 design is not yet complete. These things will be hoisted on top soon.

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Inside it looks like an auditorium/gym, with plenty of corn-related products to buy.

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A corny selfie, and then we were on the road again…

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The plan was to make a quick stop at a rest area on Interstate 90 to eat some sandwiches and get back on the road. The plan was thwarted by thousands of flies. We should have known when we saw another family, disgustedly running away from a picnic table that this place was infested. Oh my goodness… the car was covered and we had to jump in and slam the doors, but still dozens got inside. The next hour was spent swatting. Dave was the most successful.

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The next rest area was way better. A gorgeous interpretive center overlooking the Missouri River and explaining some of Lewis and Clark’s journey.

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On to the Badlands!

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But first… Jackson spotted a sign for the Minuteman Missile Historic Site, and we just had to stop in.

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The kids learned all about the Cold War and completed a Junior Ranger assignment, took their oaths, and received their badges.

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Finally, we made it to the Badlands in mid-afternoon. We could’ve stayed here for days. What a truly awesome, amazing, stupendous, and all other positive adjectives, place. Around every single turn was a beautiful site. Jackson and Phoebe couldn’t wait to start climbing. They completed another Junior Ranger assignment here, and both earned another badge. (See the gallery below.)

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It was getting late, so a trip to Wall Drug at the exit of the park was not to be. Instead, we cooked dinner at a rest area, spotted a rainbow, played some catch, then got on the road to our final destination for the night, Custer, South Dakota.

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