Monday, November 09, 2015

Visit to USA 2015 / Part 2

I first became aware of  A Prairie Home Companion when the movie came out in 2006.
I have been a fan of this radio show ever since and have listened to it on the net either live (on our early Sunday morning) or later on podcast. The concept is loosely based on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry but with a distinctly mid west flavour.
Back in 2011 I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the F.Scott Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN to see it go to air.
The host of some 40 years, Garrison Keillor had announced that 2015 would be his last year so I wanted to see 'his' show one last time. We were lucky enough the get tickets so it was back to St.Paul for an overnight stay.

Instead of driving the Interstate we cut across country on county and state highways enjoying the autumn colors of the remnant forests (this is predominantly soya bean and corn growing country), huge wind turbine farms (Buffalo Ridge is the highest point of this flat prairie landscape) and small town America. We stopped in Redwood Falls for coffee and the biggest caramel rolls I have ever seen ( and eaten!).

Despite the 5 hour drive, we had three pre show goals. The first was to visit Garrison Keillor's bookshop, Common Good Books which more than lived up to its reputation, eat at a Chipotle Mexican Grill (this was pre e-coli scare) and visit the Yarnery so the co driver could get her 'wool' fix. After a quick freshen up at the St.Paul Hilton we headed around the corner for the show.

This was the 1439th!
A great 2 hours with GK at his cynical best, funny skits (especially 'Mom'), wonderful musical guests and an impressive performance by the new host in waiting, Chris Thile.
You can listen to the actual show here.
Next morning after a quick clothing shop at Cabelas, we 'Interstated' it back to our SD home base for a family dinner.
We did however take time out for a quick lunch and a visit to the Jolly Green Giant at Blue Earth just off the I90.
Kelly had suggested an Art and Wine evening where you take part in a three hour art lesson while drinking your favorite tipple.
So we (Lisa came too) went to one run by Wine and Canvas.
I was the only man among 20 women. Obviously SD men don't do art classes.
It was a most enjoyable time following along with the teacher step by step, working in acrylics.We all painted the same picture but no two were exactly alike.

Each year we go to the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk downtown. Again it was no disappointment. There will be a separate post but preview pics are below.

There is obviously a thriving arts community in the area. Funding of a quite amazing project is under way. If realized, The Arc of Dreams will be a striking asset for the city. An artist's impression is below.

A trip to South Dakota would not be complete without clothes shopping. Compared to Australia there is a much bigger range, prices are way lower (even when $A1 = $US0.70) and we can get in on the end of summer sales which is ideal for this time of year down under. Add to this the Coupon Queen's, a.k.a Mom, stash of discount vouchers, we usually make a 'killing'. This year was no exception.
Kohl's, Macy's and Younkers were all targeted with success.

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