The actual trip from Sioux Falls to Mitchell covers only 70 miles, but the westward stretch of I-90 is much farther than that in spirit. The span between Sioux Falls and Mitchell is truly where the West begins and few places in the Midwest offer such a sweeping change in scenery and spirit in such a short drive. At 150,000 residents, Sioux Falls is the states largest city. It is home to much of the states big business, minor-league professional sports and opportunities for fine art.
Visitors who leave Sioux Falls and head west soon see bison (South Dakotans generally call them buffalo) grazing in grassy pastures near Hartford. They see some of the first evidences of heavy tourism, too, with billboards pointing the way toward visitor destinations ahead.
The area between Sioux Falls and the James River is farm country. Around here, corn is king, planted in April and harvested in October. Soybeans and winter wheat which arises with a blazing bright green hue in the spring also are common around these parts.
At Mitchell, the Corn Palace awaits with its majestic domes and brightly colored murals.
And just beyond Mitchells western limit lies the real West where cattle, cowboys, explorers and, just a few hours away, mountains await.