Today was refreshing and smooth, like an ice cold beer on a hot summer day. I started my ride in the rain, which was a little concerning, but my Icon Patrol rain gear proved effective to the max. I never once felt wet because the rain would literally just roll right off me. Because of the inclement weather, the temperatures were much cooler, especially as I headed further north.
Wind Energy! Iowa is the number 2 state in the country for wind energy production and it was apparent when I passed field after field of tall, sharp white windmills as far as the eye could see. What a beautiful way to break up the monotony of corn fields (although farmland is beautiful too, in my opinion). I felt inspired to harness my own wind energy and used my VStar 650 to do just that! I let the ride fill me with happiness and warmth as I watched the miles pass behind me.
I stopped in Clear Lake, Iowa and visited the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper gave their final performance before boarding a plane in Mason City and crashing just a few miles north of Clear Lake. The small town is very cool and has some great stops, as it is located on the northern shore of a 5 mile wide lake that is beautiful!
After paying my respects, I headed north to Albert Lea, Minnesota. It was my first time ever in the state, so I was excited, to say the least! I must say, the Minnesota goverment shutting down and closing all the rest stops didn’t phase me a bit. Regardless, the bright orange barrels and “closed” signs were a shocking reminder that our legislators are dropping the ball in a major way. Way to go, budget-makers!
On a positive note – Minnesota also hosts thousands of windmills, and I will say it again: man do they look cool! Rolling green hills of farmland and trees mingled with lakes and streams lined the way as I headed west. They say Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and I think I saw about 50 of them in a matter of 3 hours. The clouds were big poofy white balls of cotton that had been stretched across the horizon and the sun kept peeking in and out, with bright blue sky showing through every few minutes.
I had also never been to South Dakota before today, so crossing yet another state line was empowering. I laughed when my GPS lady called Sioux Falls “Seye-ox Falls”. I dilly-dallied for as long as possible among the rolling green hills so I could see the sunset as I came into town. The South Dakota vantage point was not nearly as epic as in Illinois, but was still very pretty. I reached my destination at 8:45pm and met my host for the evening, Lisa Fedders Brouwer and her family just in time to unpack, chat, shower, eat dinner, and head to bed. My Contour HD camera had failed me for the second day in a row and I was angry that I couldn’t share what I saw with anyone else. Day 2 without internet was also a bummer, but at that point, nothing could have put a damper on a nearly perfect day. This is my kind of road trip!
Day 2 STATS:
Hours Traveled: 8.5
States Visited: 3
Timezones Crossed: 2 (from central to eastern and back into central)
Miles Traveled: 366