Mileage: 71 miles
Weather: Overcast all day long. Temps in the upper 50s to start. Temps in the mid 70s to end. Winds built gradually throughout the day out of the SSE.
Highlights of the day:
Mid 70s at 2:30pm in Mitchell SD on Friday July 15th. Let me repeat that – mid 70s at 2:30pm in Mitchell SD on Friday July 15th. Where the heck are we? Really? Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely no complaining here but it’s just so confusing. We’re not swimming in the humidity nor sweltering in the heat. Perhaps Mother Nature is listening and receiving our gratitude after all? For those of you who have experienced the “real” Mitchell weather, would it make you feel better if you knew we had a headwind? Not very strong but it was in our face most of the day. There will be no requests for sympathy for the weather patterns we’ve caught.
Terrain today was mostly flat after the climb out of Chamberlain. The scenery was all farm, all day. Lots of cows. Some with really long horns. And horses. Acres of corn, rye, and wheat. And fields of beans. Hey, isn’t that a movie about baseball? Suffice it to say that east South Dakota feels like the Midwest. We’re out of the grasslands. The humidity is edging up daily. The rollers have flattened out. We’ve said goodbye to the high plains and hello to the Midwest’s farmland.
Today we had several opportunities to take in those locales that make smaller towns in rural America unique. We started out in Pukwana (puck-WAH-nah). It is famous for the Puk U Bar & Grill. One rider pondered whether it was A. the only bar in town or B. Pukwana University’s center for the study of microbreweries. It wasn’t open so we couldn’t ask but we did take pictures. Pukwana is also known for its Crazy Racers Lawnmower Racing. It’s a race track built for lawnmower races. Seems it’s a big sport in these parts. No races running this morning but riders stopped for the photo op.
Next stop was in the town of Kimball. The South Dakota Tractor Museum houses a collection of older tractors & farm machinery. It also has all kinds of older homemaker appliances and cars and a blacksmith shop and… It’s a huge collection of lots of eclectic older items. It even has an electric home permanent machine. Permanent as permanent curl for your hair. It looked like something out of a Frankenstein movie. No one was brave enough to try it but we did get lots of pictures posing with the tractors.
The capper for the day is the Corn Palace. The construction that we’ve watched creep along over the past couple of years is finally complete. They’ve even restored its famous onion shaped domes. The new design looks great. The theme for this year is Rock of Ages. Elvis, Willie Nelson, Michael Jackson and John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever) are among the artists featured in the large panels. The murals are all made from corn products (cobs, husks, silk, etc). Think of it as a Rose Bowl float that’s much bigger, doesn’t move and instead of flowers, it’s all corn based. But other than that it’s exactly like a Rose Bowl float. I’m not sure I would call it a bucket list item but shoot, when one is in Mitchell, South Dakota, one must see the Corn Palace at least once!
Tomorrow we head for Sioux Falls and our third rest day of the tour. Once again, the pace at which this tour goes by has started to ramp up as we cross through the mid-section of this country. No blinking from now until we get to the Atlantic!