This is the last in my series of past road trips, inspired by some recent books I’ve read about driving cross country.
In February, 2012, we drove from Minnesota south and west to Sedona for two weeks away from the cold and snow. On our way, we stopped first in Mitchell, SD to see the World’s Only Corn Palace. I’ve actually traveled that way many times, but never took the time to stop.
In the late 1800’s, several towns in the Midwest built crop palaces to promote their local products. The original Corn Palace, “The Corn Belt Exposition” was built in 1892 on Mitchell’s main street, to showcase the rich soil of South Dakota. It was rebuilt several times and the current design dates back to 1937. The exterior is covered in corn murals that are redesigned and replaced each year (except 2006 due to extreme drought.) The murals are designed by local artists.
The palace includes an arena for sports events, exhibits and concerts. If you are in the area in August, you might want to take in the Corn Palace Festival.
Admission is free, and the Palace is open most days of the year.
We didn’t make too many more stops along the way. In the winter, it’s always best to get as far south as you can as quickly as you can. Driving snow can hit anytime or anywhere, regardless of the forecast, as we experienced later in this road trip.
We did stop in Winslow, AZ, though so Mark could stand on the corner and look for a girl in a flatbed Ford, as referenced in The Eagles song Take it Easy. Turns out he stood at the wrong corner, but we were in a hurry, so didn’t see the statue and mural that are located at the corner of Old Highway 66 and North Kinsley Avenue. I guess we’ll just have to go back.
We drove south from Sedona on Highway 89A, which skirts the stunning Oak Creek Canyon. The Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive is about 14 miles long, and includes a two-mile stretch of switchbacks that inspired fear, but which I came to enjoy driving by the end of our stay in Sedona.
We drove for three days before arriving at our Sedona condo just a few miles from the downtown area. We have a lovely view from our deck. Sedona has an ordinance that prevents homes from being built so high that they block the view of any of their neighbors. Some people get around this by locating on the side of a hill and building down. There is apparently no limit on stories below grade. Also, bright colors are not allowed on exteriors, so Sedona has the only McDonald’s with teal colored arches.