As we continue to make our way to the Badlands of South Dakota, we have had gorgeous weather. The temperatures have fallen into the 70’s and even as low as 55 degrees overnight in Albert Lea, MN. The view from the cab is dark green fields of soybeans with ribbons of green and golden tassels for the cornfields, punctuated by white and red barns, silver and white silos and many white wind turbines spinning against a bright blue sky. Simply amazing. Yes, lots and lots of corn, from Illinois, through Iowa to Minnesota and into South Dakota.
Up early and out of F.W. Kent park in Iowa, we headed north to Albert Lea, Minnesota, passing through Cedar Rapids and crossing the Cedar River. Not too far along we crossed the Winnebago River and Jackie quickly searched out the Forest City location of Winnebago Industries. Heck, it was just about 10 miles away, so we made sure the motorhome got to go home and visit. Treated ourselves to a new purchase (two Tervis cups with Winnebago design) after touring their visitor center. But all that corn was getting to Doug, so we picked up some farm-fresh corn at a farmstand and grilled them later that night. Melt in your mouth good.
We had booked a site at Myre-Big Island State Park for the night and were just hoping for an easy spot near the interstate. A little nervous, since all they had were back-in sites and we didn’t yet want to unhook the car, but couldn’t be helped. Turned out to be an amazing place.
Again, another example of tallgrass prairie with some woodland borders. An early afternoon arrival allowed us time to go for a hike on some well-groomed trails. Gosh, the grass on the trail was far better than my lawn at home. We watched lots of goldfinches on the thistle, but they were too quick for the camera. Tons of colorful blossoms and fruits. Kodi got spooked by some fox scat (droppings) on the trail and we in turn spooked a young doe (yet again the deer). I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
Heading out the next day (yes, 55 degrees overnight!) we had South Dakota in our sights. The interstate was straight, flat and pretty much empty as we drove through the most gorgeous cropland. Once across the state line, we made a stop in Sioux Falls for a visit to the Big Sioux River and the start of our brewery visits.
The park along the falls was amazing to see and the several block walk to downtown yielded Prairie Berry Winery and Miner Brewery. Great spot to have lunch and a flight of three beers each (their Irish Red Ale was the best) and we were happy campers. Made some new peeps already: Alan, Jackie and their son Austin. Go figure, Alan was a high school math teacher and his son Austin had just landed a middle school math job (poor thing). Naturally we had nothing to talk about.
We wanted to sample one more brewery three doors down, Monk’s Gandy Dancer. Jackie was just enoying her bourbon barrel aged brew when in walked our new peeps. So the conversation continued. Good people.
Late afternoon we rolled into the Mitchell KOA, a typical KOA campground, but it does have full hookups to get us ready for no-water sites the next week. Unhooked the car, and drove to Mitchell to visit the iconic Corn Palace. Have a look.
We are off to the Badlands for a few days, followed by Custer State Park, so we are hoping for some good wildlife sightings. Catch up with you later.
The adventure continues . . .