More South Dakota and…State 47! V.V. in Nebraska!

More South Dakota and…State 47! V.V. in Nebraska!

IMG_3251First: The Sunflowers on I-90 in South Dakota.

As I travel west on the I-90 a couple of days back, I noticed a dramatic yellow hue contrasting the prairie’s muted landscape on the eastbound side of the interstate. Sunflowers. I did some recon later on and learned that South Dakota was a huge exporter of sunflower seeds. This made sense because the sunflowers seemed so meticulously planted–rows and rows in perfect lines, all similar heights. It was partly why the sight had been so dramatic. Thousands of sunflower faces peering upward towards the sun. It was amazing just to see from the other side of the interstate. But I wanted in.

I knew that today, heading back east, I’d be able to explore the possibility of exploring the fields. Seeing the electric fences that lined many of the grazing fields along the highway, I knew it might not be a possibility. But with the sun in perfect position on a cool 70 degree morning, there the sunflowers were, calling my name. I got off the nameless exit 177, drove down a gravely (Bork Rd) road and made a right so I would be on the backside of the fields I saw from the highway. The road was empty and had enough space for me to park the car on the side of the road. No fences, just layers of brush that, I’d discover, were teeming with living things surprised by my presence. I was very excited, maybe even kind of frantic. I navigated through the brush clumsily, learning the land quickly after almost sinking in a mote-like swamp. I ran towards the parts that had less brush. I was really running. And then I was face to face with the fields. I am so glad I am a person who can get this excited by sunflowers.

I would learn later, as I continued east on the I-90, that I had chosen the largest sunflower field at peak bloom.DSC_0002

The layers of brush in front of the fields.
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Ok, I’ll stop deconstructing sunflowers. Here are some of my pictures.
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What faces.DSC_0021

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These small “sunflower-y” weeds are all over South Dakota. It was neat to see them hanging out with the big boys.DSC_0048

Yellow as far as the eye can see.DSC_0060

Sun worshippers.DSC_0066

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Goodbye, sunflowers.DSC_0100

Onward, there’s this kooky roadside attraction in Mitchell, South Dakota–a palace made of corn–that was not really worth a stop, though I appreciated the metal theme they had for 2016.
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This is why it’s a corn palace. DSC_0101

My last stop on the way out of South Dakota was a spectacular sculpture park in Montrose. Unlike the corn palace, Porter Sculpture Park is one of those roadside attraction that is truly worthwhile. Tremendous welded sculptures by an artist who never took an art class. Wayne Porter’s works are truly unique. They’re light-hearted and fun but cerebral. Many are paired with poetic statements about the work. Truly clever and heart-warming with just enough thought provocation to inspire… without pretension.
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The sculpture park is listed in Time magazine’s top 50 roadside attractions. (Factoid: I’ve only been to 8 of the 50. Goals.)DSC_0111

Forget SoHo, art looks great in the prairie.
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Wayne Porter is a vegetarian. I had a hunch when I saw this work. PicMonkey Collage3

Now that’s a scream.DSC_0161

You can walk into this bull head. DSC_0142

I loved this goldfish sculpture about goldfish busting out to be free. DSC_0164

Here is the artist, Wayne Porter, and his beautiful albino pooch who he credits as co-artist. What a wonderful stop!PicMonkey Collage1

The adorable cows who neighbor the Port Sculpture Park.

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Finally, Nebraska. Of course I had dinner at Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s  Modern Love in Omaha. I was beginning to worry that I would hit Isa’s second Modern Love location, opening soon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, before making it out to Omaha.IMG_3292

My selection: the barbeque seitan steaks with smoky grilled corn, herb butter, warm red potato salad, coleslaw, and salted watermelon. Every tastebud satisfied. A beautiful dinner that was picture perfect, in the best food blogger seat in the house. DSC_0178

Hubba hubba.DSC_0176

By the time dinner was done, heavy downpours started in downtown Omaha. They followed me back to the hotel. IMG_3295

My to-go dessert from Modern Love, a lime coconut cream pie. Um, heck yes! IMG_3302

More adventures tomorrow…