We made it to the mall of america last night with two hours till closing. We just about ran through and didn't even get through two of its four floors. Maybe we could have seen a few more store fronts if we didn't get so distracted by the amusement park in the middle of the mall! We didn't try out any rides, but it was a great way to stretch our legs and look at something other than barren fields
First thing in the morning we headed for our next mile stone, South Dakota - the start of the left-hand page of the atlas. Before getting to the South Dakota border we found out first cliche road side attraction Blue Earth, Minnesota: a 50 foot statue of the Jolly Green Giant. A few miles down the road we stumbled upon a reconstruction of a pioneer fort. It wasn't open, but we got to walk around the buildings and stretch our legs.
As we crossed the state line, South Dakota proved to be the change of scenery we were looking for. Instead of flat, barren farms, the landscape started to get a little more hilly and was mixed with grassland and wind farms. We hit a touch of rain through Sioux Falls and Mitchell. As we headed east bill boards started to pop up again. Not the constantly changing, electric billboards one finds around the cities. These billboard have been there for years (if not generations). They were mostly for campgrounds and casinos - and, of course, adult super stores.
Then we saw a sign for Pioneer auto show. I jumped grabbed the South Dakota visitors guide we got at a rest stop and looked it up. There were no hours of operation listed and the billboards are up all year round so we weren't sure if it was seasonal (we were three days too early for the Corn Palace in Mitchell). The first billboard for it was about 100 miles before the exit so we had hours to sweat it out as we watched the signs to stop and see the General Lee and Evil's motorcycle go by.
We finally got there in the evening. It turned out to be more of a museum than an auto show. There were multiple buildings filled with not only antique cars, tractors and motorcycles, but all sorts of antiquated nostalgia as well. It was all started by one man in Murdo SD. This guy was really proud of his town. The whole back of the property was like a 10th century time capsule of Murdo. There was a barber, a bank, a gas station..... the list goes on and on. Between the time capsule buildings were sheds filled with even more antique cars.
There was a point where we both got a little sad to see all the cars not being driven. I saw Neil's cousin, a '58 Beetle; rusted, in a shed, the tires flat - a tear came to my eye, literally. That moment marks my official diagnosis of the car bug, for which there is no cure.
Some of the cars were show cars and were in good shape, but there were so many it would be impossible to restore and upkeep all of them. But they are being appreciated, by the public. If it wasn't for this one man these cars would be in a landfill somewhere, instead they are here to be appreciated as historical items and pieces of art.
Pioneer Auto Show