Click for larger imageGee...ya miss posting an update by twelve hours and people get agitated.  You'd like people were paying to read this.

First, thanks to Sparkster, Happy Tails and Robert Thorson for joining the Change for Change Campaign.  Congratulations to Gary Young for winning the first segment of the Odometer Contest

Now back to the Road Trip:

Having completed my visit to tourist-kitsch hell, it is time to move eastward - to Iowa.  With the MINI freshly fueled, I head out for one of my longer scheduled driving days - 422 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota to Orange City, Iowa.

Click for larger imageInterstate 90 runs the width of South Dakota and once I'm out of Rapid City, there isn't much remarkable to see.  The land vacillates between rolling hills and completely flat.  The lack of scenery is a good thing - the insect population of South Dakota is suicidal and my windscreen quickly covers over with grey and red goo.  Windshield wipers serve only to smear the insect remains into a fine paste across my entire field of vision.  A giant grasshopper wedges itself into the windshield wiper arm, its dead eyes staring at me for mile after mile.

Click for larger imageI've enjoyed listening to AM radio throughout the trip.  The lower end of the dial always contains a station with Rush Limbaugh.  Moving upward, I find everything from NPR to local DJs playing birthday requests and selling livestock.  With South Dakota rushing by at 90 miles per hour, I turn on the radio.  First station: Rush Limbaugh.  Second station:  Rush Limbaugh.  Third station:  Rush Limbaugh.  Fourth station:  Rush Limbaugh.  Fifth station:  Rush Limbaugh.  Sixth station:  Rush Limbaugh.  It is stations of the cross South Dakotan style.

The number of Christian radio stations increases proportionately with my eastward mileage. I pause on the dial from time to time to listen for a few minutes until I start to feel upheaval in my bowels.  WWJD?  Bitch slap some of the people who proclaim to speak for him, I would guess.  Quakers don't have radio stations - no one would know whether we were broadcasting or not.

Click for larger imageIn a final nod to South Dakota, I stop in Mitchell to see the Corn Palace.  This building is decorated annually, top to bottom in corn cobs.  I declined a visit to the Doll Museum and Prehistoric Indian Village in Mitchell, but I did buy some postcards from a gift store and upset the owner when I left without taking my receipt.

I cross the Missouri River, briefly pass through Minnesota, then turn south to Iowa.  As I do, the emergency alert system begins broadcasting tornado warnings "for the following thirteen counties..."  Now, I don't live in South Dakota or Iowa and I have no clue what county I'm in.  I suppose the tornado warnings are really for residents - losing a few tourists is the cost of doing business.  I'd like to see a tornado - from a distance - but I am to be disappointed.

Click for larger imageOne of my older brothers, his wife and daughter live in Orange City, Iowa.  Orange City is just south of Sioux Center, which is just south of another small town which is, in turn, south of another small town cleverly south of a small town.  You tell the towns apart by the names on the water towers and co-op grain elevators.  Rich towns make you slow down to 35 miles per hour as you pass through, poor towns are 45 miles per hour.

After 6-and-something hours, I arrive in Orange City, Iowa.  Orange City is proud of its Dutch heritage.  They have several windmills, including a windmill telephone booth, the high school marching band wears wooden shoes (no, I am not making this up), and the downtown merchants are required to fashion their businesses with Dutch storefronts.  The annual Sinterklass Day even includes someone in black face.  My hotel, the Dutch Colony Inn, features dried flower arrangements above the bed, stencils of tulips around the ceiling and a blue bedspread with tulip patterns. 

Click for larger imageI'm off to present my two-year-old niece with a birthday present and see if my brother has a storm cellar.

Tomorrow - Minneapolis and the Mall of America...

Road Trip 2003 Statistics
Day Number
Orange City
Miles to date
Funds Raised
Guess odometer readings, win a valuable prizes.  [More]
Help Sister Betty raise money for some nifty charities...[More]
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Road Trip 2003 Email Newsletter

The Plan - Road Trip 2003
Itís time for a road trip - a really, really big-ass road trip...[More]
The Route - Road Trip 2003
San Francisco to Maine, twenty two states, two countries and 8,000 miles...[More]
The Vehicle - Road Trip 2003
An itty, bitty car with just enough space for a suitcase, GPS unit and...[More]
Road Trip 2003 Captain and Crew
Who would be crazy enough to drive 8,000 miles in a really small car...[More]
Join in - Road Trip 2003
Read along, ride along or follow along...[More]


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