Sunday, October 22, 2006

Westward Ho, Day 2: Cedar Rapids to Badlands

With the time zone change and our tendency to wake pretty early, we were up in our hotel in Cedar Rapids IA by 6am, and out the door by eight. It's a good thing because today was all about miles. We pulled into our hotel about 7pm local time (MDT) after running 621 miles in 9.5 hours, for an average speed of 66mph (the speed limit on South Dakota interstate highways is 75mph).

When building the route (in Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006), I hadn't realized that we would be spending so much time in southwestern Minnesota. Until we crossed into South Dakota, the landscape remained vast vistas of cornfields, most which were being harvested in the bright cool sunlight. We were surprised with the number of large-scale wind generators, including a complex of approximately 100 units.

We stopped for lunch at a Subway in Blue Earth, MN, and were treated with a statue of the
Jolly Green Giant.

As soon as we crossed into South Dakota the terrain shifted to rolling hills and more grassland than row crops. Dinner was in the GTO Diner in Murdo just as the sun was setting. There was a dusting of snow in the grass, and the news reported several inches on snow in Black Hills. Tomorrow is supposed to be around 50, although we're expecting lower temperatures in the higher elevations.

In Mitchell SD, we took a brief side trip to see the
Corn Palace.

Our hotel, the Best Western in Kadoka SD is a throwback to the 1950s. It's a long one-story building with parking spots right in front of each room. The rooms have screen doors and a porch complete with lawn furniture so you can visit with the neighbors. I don't think anyone had stayed in this room for a while judging by the musty smell. Thankfully it cleared when we got the heater fired up. However, whenever the fan comes on, it blows the curtains open. Fortunately I had three vice-grip pliers in my toolbag which I clamped onto the curtains to weigh them down and hold them together. Anyone ever watch "My Name is Earl"? ....

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