Sunday, July 3, 2016

71: There's a bright golden haze on the meadow . . .

A few final thoughts as we leave South Dakota:

I love these big processing and storage units. They are like big tin castles on the horizon. One of them was processing soybeans, others store corn or wheat. They remind me of Oz.

The closer we get to Minnesota, the more the landscape begins to resemble Minnesota! We are traveling east and have begun to hit a few small lakes, some rolling hills, and there are trees surrounding the fields more frequently than in the past few days.
Landscape begins to change as we approach Minnesota

When we visited yesterday with Barb, she mentioned a book that she thought we might like about a couple that took a bicycle trip around the world. In it they apparently were not very kind in their assessment of South Dakota. They said it was boring and the people were not friendly. Well, aspects of the landscape are pretty featureless when you are going as slowly as you go on a bicycle! That is to say, one cornfield looks much like another. Acres and acres of soybeans are not all that interesting to look at. But I think she was completely wrong about the people here.

Everyone that we have met has been kind, helpful, and interested in our journey. Most of them are very friendly, and we've enjoyed meeting and chatting with quite a number of folks on our trip across the state. In fact, South Dakota gets a commendation for being the first state in which no one has hollered out of their car window at us as they passed by. So I'll hand it to you, the South Dakotans are polite and respectful and courteous to cyclists. That counts for a lot in my book.

They are also quite funny! One older citizen that we were talking with the other day, when she heard what it is we were doing, remarked, 'holy crap!' She reminded me of Betty White.

Today we took a stop at Cat's Corner Convenience store in Castlewood. Melissa, the owner, was so very nice. She gave us some T-shirts to wear on our trip, and took our picture for their bulletin board. We just love having a chance to talk with people as we travel. She said she had been down to the Los Angeles area, and she really loved it. We told her she should come back! 

I forgot to mention yesterday one of the other features of the hotel that we stayed at in Willow Creek. For a small extra fee, you can use the hospitality room, which is equipped with a kennel for your animals, a place to clean your game, and a deep freezer. These are not amenities that I have run across in my travels before! I suspect they are very common up here where people like to hunt. I don't think, however, that you would run into them if you came to East Texas to hunt deer. But maybe that's just because I've never done it!
Flags out for fourth of July

All along our travels today, there were many many flags out to celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday period it was really beautiful to see them, but not so wonderful when we observed that they were mostly blowing back toward us.  Even so, the day's ride was easier than we had thought it would be, and we got all the way to Canby in Minnesota. So we have now made it to our next state. 
Downtown Canby

Canby has some wonderful old storefronts in its downtown. And it was interesting to me that the landscape seemed different almost immediately when we crossed the border. There were more trees, more hills - even though there were still lots of cornfields and soybeans. AND - the road! We were fearing a continuation of the chopped up road we'd been on, since the Googlemap view of the road showed lots of cracks and expansion joints. But right at the border, we were relieved to see that Minnesota had just repaved the road.  Bliss!  The other thing I noticed were the vehicles. In South Dakota, we saw perhaps one sedan for every 20 pickup trucks. Inside of 3 miles from the border, the ratio in Minnesota had shifted to 3 or 4 cars per one pickup truck. Where did all those trucks go?

And a final word about the corn. This all looks like it's going to make it to the 'knee high by the 4th of July' requirement. But I did not yet see any corn as high as an elephant's eye!
Knee high by the fourth of July

The day's report: Willow Lake to Canby, 83.9 miles/3444 miles to date

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