Day 15- Omaha to Sioux Falls

222 miles. Gas was $3.49/gallon. About 90 degrees and humid, but no rain until about 7:00 this evening, as I was pulling in to the Brimark Inn in Sioux Falls. $86/night with AAA discount and $10 pet fee. It’s a very pretty, recently-remodeled non-chain hotel just off I-29, with very nice, helpful staff. But the exit doors are LOUD, so make sure you ask for a room in the middle of the building.

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

Takin’ the Slow Road…Travelled on the Loess Hills Scenic Byway yesterday and today. It’s a beautiful backroads country drive through pastoral fields and small towns. If you’re not in a hurry to get anywhere. In addition to the normal curves and tractor slow-downs, there is currently a lot of construction on some of the roads, and several places where you have to wait for a construction escort because there’s only one lane available (for both directions). It’s actually peaceful to surrender to the construction hostage situations if you recognize that it’s out of your control, and you’ll get there eventually. Another lesson — I was surprised when passing a road construction site when a man who was breaking up asphalt with a pick-axe on a hot, muggy Iowa day, looked up and gave me the biggest, nicest smile I’ve seen in a long time (so bummed I didn’t grab my camera in time to capture it). I immediately felt embarrassed about any complaining/whining I’ve done, ever in my life. I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for. I promise not to take them for granted anymore!

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

The sweetest house in Honey Creek…(yes, that’s a propane tank painted like a watermelon!!!)…

A morning of cruising past rolling hills of corn and beans, small towns, and beautiful barns culminate in a gorgeous Lewis-and-Clark-type view from the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook, above Pisgah, Iowa…

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture in Joshua Tree, California

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

“Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, where he died in 2004. He received an undergraduate degree from Alabama State Teachers College in 1943 and a graduate degree from Atlanta University in 1948. In 1956, just shy of his fortieth birthday, Purifoy received a BFA from Chouinard, now CalArts. His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts Rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon (1966), a landmark group exhibition on the riots that traveled throughout the country. As a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, Purifoy knew the community intimately. His 66 Signs of Neon, in line with the postwar period’s fascination with the street and its objects, constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts. This strategy profoundly impacted artists then emerging in Los Angeles and beyond, such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi, who all worked with him. For the twenty years that followed the rebellion, Purifoy dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change. In the late 1980’s after eleven years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where he initiated programs such as ‘Artists in Social Institutions,’ which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert, where he lived for the last fifteen years of his life creating ten-acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.”  — http://noahpurifoy.com

It’s in the middle of the desert and not easy to find…like any oasis or mirage.  But it’s well worth the effort and, if you’re lucky enough to have the place all to yourself, as I did for a brief time, it’s spiritual, awe-inspiring, whimsical, and an amazing testament to one man’s determination and genius.  I spent almost 4 hours there recently (including the 30 minutes my dog decided to go on a big adventure in the desert), and it passed in the blink of an eye.

MORE magical photos here