Thursday, June 30, 2016

69: Where the Deere, but no antelope, play

Well, after a day in the car with our friends, and a day largely spent in the hotel room, we are back on the road again and I was actually glad to get out and get going. Having spent some time working on our route and potential stops, I can see the path to my niece's home in Minneapolis and I'm itching to get there.

No deer, just Deere around here
But first - we must conclude our trip across South Dakota. Today was pretty much a slog. It could have been fantastic - we are told that winds usually blow west-to-east here - but instead we faced a stiff headwind for the entire 75 miles. Almost no climbing, either. Based on the preliminary work we have done on our planned routes, we don't face anything that could remotely be called "climbing" at least through Minnesota. Of course, there is always climbing. Even when the road looks perfectly flat you are usually tilting up or down slightly. But no more mountain passes for a while!
Amber waves of grain, baby!

South Dakota's landscape is pretty featureless. Right and left, as far as we could see was just acres and acres of various crops. Corn, wheat (winter and spring crops), soybeans, millet, milo, sunflowers (for oil) and some chickpeas and lentils. Mostly corn and wheat. Boy, is there ever a lot of wheat!  The winter wheat is about ready for harvest, so we see the huge combines moving about in the fields or rolling down the road. One passed us today, big "wings" folded up as it rolled by on those huge tall tires. That was a first!
These fields are producing the mainstays of the modern American diet: corn, wheat, soybeans. It was a bit depressing to see so much of it. But as always, interesting to observe the farming methods. They do not clear the stubble from the corn or sunflowers - just plant in it, and keep on going.


We stopped for our second breakfast about 15 miles in and I was amazed to find breakfast (2 eggs, bacon, toast) for $4.19.  I thought Montana had some great deals on breakfast, but this one beats all! Further on down the road, we had a nice visit with a family that runs an auto repair shop where we stopped for a soda. Norm and Kathy's son and his family had done a cross-country bike ride a few years ago (on tandem) so they were familiar with the concept and interested in our trip.
Norm and Kathy and their grandkids and friend, Vickie

And then, when we got to our destination and the campground that we had so carefully scouted out yesterday, we found that there really is no provision for tent camping. The only water is in the middle of the picnic area, and the bathrooms are a vast distance away from that. So we circled back to the Dew Drop Inn, where we got a room for $53 (including tax). I have always wanted to stay at a Dew Drop Inn! In another little "small world" incident, the inn manager is from Bloomington, just down the road from our home in Redlands. I think maybe she gave us the homie discount.
Very sweet, and a great price!

We will be heading east again tomorrow, into the wind again, and that's no fun. But it gets us one day closer to Minneapolis.

The day's report: Pierre to Miller, 75.5 miles/3278 to date


  1. 316 miles to janet / 75 mpd = 4.3 days = tuesday noon. We leave tues 7am. Peddle faster!

    1. If only we could! Headwinds and lack of places to stay hinder our eastward progress. Wednesday it is. Maybe you could stay a couple extra days?


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