North and South Dakota

morning comes and Michael leaves when I’m still sleeping, after a bit of webbing it’s time to get going, I have a sketch of a plan that includes a flying visit to Fargo before entering the Great Planes of North and South Dakota.

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Three states

On the way to Fargo at a service station, incidentally service stations are one of the main point of socialising for me in this trip, I meet a set of really interesting chaps, two farmers, a driving instructor and a Vietnam veteran. We have a bit of a conversation about my trip and then we talk a bit about politics, more specifically the US election. This gives me the idea of running a little project: #conversationwithamerica will be the hashtag I’ll use to post all the conversations I have with people along the next three months while in the US, trying to get a “Joe/Jane average” view of this contest.

What can say Fargo more than a sign?
Nice house …
Named after a friend.
I guess a couple of suspended tanks might scream Fargo.

Fargo is a small place even if I think it might be the biggest city in North Dakota, it looks nice and I end up not spending all that much time in it. I move then south and by chance, after crossing the South Dakota border, I decide to stop at the Information point. I normally don’t engage in this kind of sensible behaviour. the ladies there are super helpful and they change my plan, adding 75 miles to the day but taking away $20 from the camping bill. I will stay in Redfield, bang in the middle of South Dakota.

Third state
Interesting features of the land
Less detail
Weird artwork in the fields

The tent was good, I guess no rain helped but it was super hot and it took me a long time before I got to sleep. Before I retired to my mansion I spent a good hour sitting outside sipping cheap bourbon and listening to Bach, life can be ok if you decide to savour the small things.

$5 home for the night.

Morning comes and it’s time to go, a long way to the Badlands National Park and in approximately 250 miles three bends. Nothing to do but engage in a little “corn porn”.

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Crossing South Dakota
Hot off the press
Corn till the eye can see
Yeah baby, keep the engine running!
Check out that pair of silo
Sunflowers, love them.
This is what you drive around here with fuel less than $2 per gallon ($0.56 per litre)

I am staying off the interstate and go through Pierre which I discover being the state capital of South Dakota. Here I make friend with a police officer in the constant pursuit of flag stickers for the bike, I do not find the South Dakota flag but he takes me to the chamber of commerce where I get a different sticker and they take a picture of me and the bike to go on their website. Also by chance I get to cross another of the North America mighty rivers, the Missouri. Sometimes chance is a better friend of the traveller than planning is.

Only took a picture of one but there were countless along the way.
Accidentally crossing the capital of the state
And the Missouri river
At least one of the 342 people in Blunt supports Trump. “Blunt for Trump”
And this is his house

Before the National Park I take a detour to a place call Wall, enticed by the street side advertising of Wall Drug that seemed to go on for hundred of miles. It’s a pretty cheesy place but I get a sticker and buy myself a beer, it’s so hot outside I really need the refreshment. Little I know that things were going to get even hotter into the park.

Wall Drug Store, follow the link to find out more.
Picture galery 1
Picture gallery 2
The very chief

The Badlands National Park is quite stunning, the pictures below, and the video I took hardly do it justice but the most memorable thing I take home is the intolerable heat. Riding in short sleeves and without the helmet, perfectly legal in this and many other states, was not respite.

Entering the park
Wide views
Like the layers
Just one more pano
The rock changes as you move along the ridge
With stunning results
How many pictures of rock is too many?
See the bird?
Up there
The south side of the park
close up

After I cook in the park it’s time to head west again, skirt Rapid City and camp in Wolf Camp, a stone thrown from Mount Rushmore. that will be for tomorrow but tonight, helped along by the $1.50 beer I have time to pen the blog and recharge the batteries, quite literally, you would not believe how much electricity it’s needed to keep computer, phone, GoPro and camera going.

Tomorrow Mount Rushmore and then off to Wyoming to Devil’s towers and then, weather permitting, down south to the third of the Great Planes states, corn capital of the world, Nebraska.

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