Day six: crossing SD and visiting Viking country

Trip Start Jul 07, 2006
1
7
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Trip End Aug 13, 2006


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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We got up today after spending a night in a non-AC room in a very Norman Bates-ish motel in Kadoka, SD. Thank goodness the room had two queen sized beds; with the temperature in the room well over 85 degrees, neither one of us wanted to feel the body heat of the other. We each took a bed and sprawled across it. Brian looked a bit like the bears in Bear Country, USA -- the ones who were so hot they lay spread eagle to get some air on their bellies.

We hit the road and at 10:30 this morning, it was already 95 degrees. The heat never subsided, really, and since today was pretty much a travel day, we had the air conditioning going all day. The condensation from the air conditioning unit dripped water on my toes as we drove. We listened to three CDs of The Killer Angels, stopping on occasion so Brian could give me more background on the Civil War. I found it kind of hard to follow because of the number of characters -- I feel like I could benefit from an army family tree or something like that. Brian is very much into the book; this kind of stuff is right up his alley. All I know is that I know very little about the Civil War. Brian told me he wouldn't ruin the ending by telling me who won the war.

Our big stop of the day was the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. It wasn't as exciting as it was when I was a kid, but it was a good stretch break. We got some postcards and some other very necessary memorabilia and headed across the street for lunch. What did we have for lunch, you ask? Corn, of course.

We made it to Minnesota, Land of 10, 000 Lakes and really weird town names. Our first stop was Mankato, where Minnesota State University hosts the Vikings' training camp. Brian showed me around there and we drove on. Some on-the-road highlights of today: I got to see a billboard of the Jolly Green Giant and also an advertisement for Sinclair gasoline (their mascot is a dinosaur) which was a dinosaur cowboy with gas pumps for guns. It was great.

We are staying in Savage, a suburb of Minneapolis, just down the street from where Brian lived his second year with the Vikings. After we got checked into the campsite, we drove into Eden Prarie and saw the Vikings' practice facility and headquarters. We had dinner (a very, very late dinner) at Champps, an eating establishment that brought lots of memories back for Brian. It had another claim to fame, though. At Champps a few years ago, Kirby Puckett allegedly sexually harassed or assaulted some woman in the bathroom. While we were outside eating, we noticed a little family of mice who lived on the edge of the dining patio. A couple of them scampered here and there looking for a bite to eat. It was kinda cute, in a kinda gross way. At least they weren't inside the restaurant.

We left Champps and drove by another place Brian lived and then in to Minneapolis. This was because Brian remembered at about 10:00 tonight that Minneapolis traffic is bad and decided that we shouldn't drive into town tomorrow. So I got a very quick tour of Minneapolis and the HHH Metrodome. Here's an interesting side note: once we entered Minnesota, Brian's good driving somehow disappeared. When we were driving in Mankato, Brian was speeding for the first time this trip (that's pretty near the truth) and a police officer noticed, flashed his lights at us, and told Brian to slow down. What a nice policeman!! Then, when were were driving through Minneapolis, Brian ran a red light. I think part of it is due to Brian being distracted and excited by his surroundings and memories. I guess that means we ought to get out of Minnesota soon. I'm okay with that.

We got in late and Brian fell asleep as soon as the tent was set up. I'm sending this off before I go to bed. It's nearly 1:00 here. I'll post some Corn Palace pictures tomorrow morning. We might head to the Mall of America tomorrow before we travel toward Chicago. That'll be another long day of driving. Maybe I'll get to find out who wins the war...
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