Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mpls - South Dakota

Roaring along at 85 mph, top down, keeping an eye on the ominous grey clouds, sizing up the risk of getting caught in a sudden downpour. Drops start forming on the windshield, uh-oh, wait til it actually rains to put the top up. The drops multiply, now the wipers are wipin' full-time to keep the windshield clear. But not a drop hits us! Somehow the high-speed wind dynamics guide the rain around the riders, whizzing in an air pocket through the rain. Cool...

We left Minneapolis on Tuesday, glad to be back on the road in spite of how good it was to spend time with friends and families there. Set our sights on Mount Rushmore as a next destination. Simple way would've been to go straight down I-35, then west on I-90. But I was sick of Interstate driving, so we went out on West Lake St. to US 169, which goes southwest from the city, so as to hook up with I-90 further west. I didn't care much about time, and less distance across the diagonal meant less gas guzzled. And the US/State routes let you get closer to the land and stuff the Interstates bypass by design. Stopped for gas in Mankato, and continued southwest on MN 60, out where the farms and industrial complexes are fewer, and farther between.

By Sioux Falls we were 20 miles in South Dakota, firmly into the Middle of America. Picked the downtown Holiday Inn for the night, along with many attendees of the Roofing Contractors Association from many states, nice bunch. We try so hard to imagine what it must be like to live in these places, so abjectly devoid of the kinds of stimulation and options New Yorkers are used to; there are more subtle stimulants, of course. As we drove around downtown at dusk looking for dinner, there wasn't a single pedestrian in sight - eerie, with all the big buildings and stores, like a neutron bomb aftermath. But it's obviously a pretty busy town, lots of industrial buildings spread all around, and homes of people who work in them. After a pleasant dinner at an outdoor table at the Diner, we returned to the Holiday Inn in time to observe a couple of friendly cops escort a non-guest from the lobby, into cuffs and their backseat, no doubt on his way to an umpteenth visit to detox. Their interaction was entirely sociable, no hard feelings either way. So nice.

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