Luverne, Minnesota

Blue Mounds State Park

June 5, 2021

We were sad to leave our beautiful campsite right on the edge of the Badlands, but our honeymoon was coming to an end and the warm weather was upon us, meaning that it was time for our Midwestern summer tour to officially get started!

The Great Lakes were calling us, however, we still had the entirety of the Great Plains lying between us and Lake Michigan, so we had some driving to bang out. And given that we try not to drive more than 8-9 hours in a day, this meant that we would have a few stops before we could lay eyes on those majestic blue waters. The first of these stops was a single night stay at the Blue Mounds State Park outside Luverne, Minnesota in the very southwest corner of Gopher State.

Getting to Minnesota was a long, straight, boring, windy drive through central and eastern South Dakota along I-90. However, we did find one little pocket of entertainment to break up the monotony of the drive when we stopped at “The World’s Only Corn Palace” (yes, that’s the official name) located in Mitchell, SD.

This place was basically a shrine celebrating the local corn industry. Everything was corn-themed, from the architecture, to the gift shop, to the popcorn stand which greeted us upon entrance. Hell, they even had a basketball arena in the center of the Palace with, you guessed it, an ear of corn logo at mid-court. So dang wholesome, so Midwestern…

We did come away with one “souvenir” from the gift shop – a pre-made chili packet which just required water and shredded chicken to be added. After a long day of driving, it made for an easy instant-pot dinner once we were established in the campground.

Since we would be leaving the next day, after dinner, we opted to fight through our fatigue and get outside to explore this lovely little state park. After the past few years out in the arid western states, we had forgotten just how lush and green the Midwest could be. On the other hand, we were also reminded how muggy and buggy it could be as well.

Once we had reached our breaking point when it came to mosquito bites, we made our way back to the trailer to get some shuteye before hopping back into the truck the following morning for another 8+ hour day of driving, this time to Montello, Wisconsin located in the heart of the Badger State and just outside the famous Wisconsin Dells area.