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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Four States in One Day....

(above: 50-foot Jolly Green Giant, below: Mississippi River)


July 3




After a leisurely morning talking with Jess' family, we made our way to Al Capone's gravesite. It has a large stone cross and his other family members are buried nearby. Someone, it seemed, had recently dropped off flowers at his grave.


It was another beautiful, blue-skied day and we were making our way to Mitchell, South Dakota.


Illinois' northern area is very flat with a lot of farms.


We got to Wisconsin and went to a Cheese Chalet where I bought rasberry beer, cheese, and a sandwich. And, of course, a postcard.


Wisconsin started slow but I grew to like it, it only took a few hundred miles.


We got to a prairie area with wild flowers that smelled so sweet. Then, for the first time in days, I saw mountains and I was reminded of home. I also saw a couple cool rocky areas jutting from the forests with eroded grey boulders. They were like towers in the woods.


Then we saw the Mississippi River, and we made it to our 7th state - Minnesota. The river didn't look too much different than the Hudson River, just maybe a bit wider, but it looked just as polluted. Still, a cool site to see.


Adam finally got the courage to drive on the highway and he drove for about an hour and a half, til the Spam Museum in Austin, Minn.


We got there and unfortunately it had just closed. But it looked like a lot of fun, and it was free! The word SPAM was printed in each of the parking spots and there was a sculpture of a pig in front of the gift shop, which was also closed. We saw some people taking photos in front of the sculpture so we decided not to.


Jess took over driving and we drove to the 50 foot Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minn. where we also had some Dairy Queen ice cream and then stopped to see the equivalent of the golden spike of the railroads only for the thruway where the I-90 thruway was completed, connecting the two coasts.


We're back to plains and saw some huge windmills. It is very windy here.


Also noticing that people miles away from each other can see their neighbors, so it seems they have planted treets nearby to offer some privacy.


I keep seeing signs for Wall Drug - which I have never heard of but apparently it has been featured in Time magazine and on the Early Show, according to these endless signs. There are also signs for a place called the Corn Palace. These ads, while annoying, also make me curious about these places.


I'm enjoying the lack of tolls. We have not paid one since the Illinois border. We also ran into some traffic around there too which was likely July 4 weekend related.


It's a holiday weekend and we have no reservations. I was worried but I had a good feeling we'll be OK for lodging.


Luckily, I was right. We made it to the Thunderbird Motel in Mitchell, S.D. They said they had 10 rooms left and the rate was around $83.


Jess noticed that the hot tub room was open til midnight, so we put on our bathing suits and went down. I also noticed two guys go in there before us.


We soon befriended them, Justin and Josh. They are from the Chicago-area but are putting in oil pipelines out here.


They are very friendly.


Another guy named Jason joined. He is from North Carolina and is on a three week road trip with his mom and grandma. He said the Smoky Mountains are the most beautiful mountains he has ever seen, so I am hoping to go there. If not on this trip, then soon.


It turned out we actually saw Jason and his family at the Spam Museum, they were the ones posing in front of the pig sculpture. I thought that was a funny coincidence.




Quote of the day: "You haven't hit the boring part of the country yet."~Josh on the rest of our flatlands drive

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