Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Days Inn Range Country, Murdu, SD
As we packed to make the long journey home we were not quite through with our sight- seeing and souvenirs.
My husband (H) wanted to revisit the motel we stayed in Mardu for some tin mailable postcards he had seen. This Best Western had an unusual lobby and common area with numerous mounted animals lining the ledge of below a high ceiling and small windows for natural light.
Sign  at Days Inn Murdu, SD
 I will scatter some photos throughout this post. The motel was independently owned as most  in the chain are. The manager was very pleasant and helpful.

The original owner was a hunter extraordinaire and the motel appeared have been a hunting lodge at one time. I am not a hunter nor have a hunter's mentality for trophies. We generally put fish back for someone else's enjoyment. It is consider the best policy rather than killing them and then they are discarded due to freezer burn.
The Hunter
If trophies annoy you, scroll down to the Corn Palace photos.

A tip from my best friend's mother, I should visit the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, so it made our stop agenda for the first day's journey home.

Both places were on I-90 before Sioux Falls SD, our first destination night on the return trip home. Because of closings along I-29 due to Missouri River flooding, we could not depend on being able to deal with too many detours. As fate would have it, the morning we set out for home all of I-29 was opened.

Open attic display of South Dakota game
After rechecking the room for items we may have overlooked in repacking, I made one last attempt to eliminate morning decaf coffee,washed my hands and exited our 10-day room-away-from-home.
South Dakota Flying  Game
Somewhere before Mardu along I-90, I needed another pitstop, so we pulled over to an unmanned rest stop, with a entrance sign: "Beware of rattlesnakes!" I carefully stayed on concrete walks, checked out toilet area and sinks before I used the handicapped stall.  It was a very short stop.
More South Dakota Game
We entered Mardu and H got his tin postcards[ sort of neat] of Mt. Rushmore, and some regular cards of buffalo. The manager recognized us and pleasantly inquired about our trip.

Then we were back on the Interstate headed for Mitchell and the Corn Palace. [ please read link as I cannot regale all the interesting features.]

Just as we approached the exit for Mitchell, the second near-disaster struck. I notice I was missing my engagement/wedding rings. I hesitated to wear them on this trip. I had not worn them for years, until last year I had them stretched to fit my ring finger which had an arthritic knuckle as well additional flesh--translate fat.

Left: my missing engagement/wedding rings;
Right:Husband's ring which does not fit and he left home
Of course, I panicked. My handwashing ritual is to take the rings off as soap residue creates a rash on my skin. I figured I left them at the rest stop. As it was unmanned, we could 'color them gone.'
We passed the Dept of S.D. Transportation as we entered Mitchell. I asked H to stop and let me talk to them. If a patrolman was in that area, he might miraculously retrieve them.

A patrolman just happened to pull in. We told him our problem and he called two units to check two rest stops as we were not sure the exact location where we stopped. There were two possibilities. Suddenly we were not hungry, not too interested in the Corn Palace, either. Fortuitively, we did, as you will see in a bit my memory had a critical but accurate moment.

Ear of Corn Welcoming Statue
From childhood my life is littered with my left-behinds. My mother was frustrated with the numbers of sweaters and head scarves I lost. I've left my purse in more Wal-Mart carts than I can count. I can attest there are many honest people around as I have always retrieved it. At home my husband deals with misplaced glasses (now readers or sunshades) or car keys. I don't think this is hereditary, but is a lack of attention, I suppose, maybe adult attention deficit???

However, something led us to continue to the Corn Palace which was interesting. The exterior is covered with huge murals made of corn. I did not know there were so many colors of corn. In fact another building is being built next to the Corn Palace and seemingly connected to it. Somehow, I was under the misconception the entire building was corn.
The murals are kept in exceedingly beautiful condition and new designs regularly approved by a mural committee.
Light pole with flowers and
corn isignia a base
The building is multi-purpose with many events occurring here.

There were other interesting  tourist attractions across the street, some related to the Corn Palace. Somewhat SOB (short of breath) I sat on a bench to regain my mental and physical composure. I mulled over the rest stop and did I have my rings at that point? Or had I washed my hands before this point? YES! before we left our motel room. Hope reigns eternal. My spirits lifted.

When we returned to the pickup I used our cell to call the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City. When the phone answered, I told them who I was. Before I could ask a question, in an unusual happy tone, the receptionist said, "we've been expecting your call."

Indeed when I asked if a set of wedding rings had been left in our room, it had, and our maid whom we had left a nice tip, immediately turned them in. They were returned COD so as to know we received them. The rings were with all our mail held at the post office for pickup on our arrival home.

Front: Corn Palace (Husband's photo)
We relaxed after knowing the rings were probably safely on their way home and we proceded to Sioux Falls, SD for a night's rest!

PS: I had nurse practioner check the knot near a bruise from my porta-potty fall. It is a hematoma, but near surface and not the dangerous kind that is like to move around the body to lungs, heart or brain. She said those kind are usually located in the area behind the knees.
Right Front Mural

Left Front Mural

Middle Front Panel
(May be my or my husband's photo)
Be sure to read Corn Palace link and see other murals. All sides of the building has murals made of corn! It was too hot to walk around it with my shortness of breath and the fact I was distraught over my missing wedding rings.

Photos: all by NitWit1, except as noted.


Arkansas Patti said...

What a story and what a happy ending. That maid was one special person. Many would not have said a word and just kept them. It does give one faith in the human condition.
That guy's trophies would have bothered me. Hunting to eat is one thing, just for an ornament is another.
That gives me fodder though for a future post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Whew! I didn't breathe through part of that post wondering if you would find your rings. I am so happy for you that the maid was honest and your rings were returned to you. You all had quite some experiences on your trip. I am really enjoying reading about it all. Hugs

Liz said...

Those corn murals are amazing!

So glad your rings turned up.