Seattle to Chicago On A Bicycle

Fall 1994

by Denis R. Kertz

Copyright 1994 Denis R. Kertz. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by any means without the written permission of the author.

Part 5 of 6

Day 29: 10/2/94, Sunday - Wall, SD [101 miles]

I woke up at 6:15 and packed and got ready for breakfast. I walked to the nearby Chiefs restaurant for the breakfast buffet and waited a few minutes for it to open at 7:00. I had 2 or 3 plates of pancakes, 2 cups of oatmeal, and a couple of cinnamon rolls. The oatmeal was good as were the pancakes. Surprisingly they didn't have any meat but breakfast was still a bargain.

Walking back to my room, I found the next door Laundromat was closed till noon but the owner told me there was another one on my way out of town. Back in my room, I decided it was time to install the new chain I had bought in Cody.

On my way out of town, I stopped at the other Laundromat to dry my cycling gear and towel. The hostess told me the route to Rapid City was a climb and she was right as I climbed to 6000' to the Crazy Horse Monument 5 miles outside of town. This tribute to the Native Americans was a 641' by 563' carving of a mountain showing Crazy Horse sitting on a horse with his upper torso and the front of the horse visible. Currently, Crazy Horse's head is under active development but isn't expected to be completed until the end of the century and there is no date for when the entire monument will be completed. As I approached from the road, clouds were still hanging low and blocked Crazy Horses' head but you could see the horse's head outline. The Indian woman ticketeer said she would normally charge $1.50 but she gave me a free ticket due to the poor visibility. After getting my ticket, I had to descend a steep hill and ascend an even steeper hill that I almost didn't make (fortunately it was a short hill) to reach the monument complex.

Shortly after entering the complex, the clouds passed and you could see Crazy Horse. I also checked out the Indian displays and bought a postcard for my friend Dave. Dave is really into Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and Native Americans. I figured he would never talk to me again if I didn't stop here. I also figured he would appreciate a postcard sent from the post office on the premise so I filled out the postcard and mailed it.

Originally, my plan for the Black Hills was to visit Crazy Horse and then take the Needles Highway which would require zigzagging through the Black Hills on my way to Rapid City. I was also considering stopping by Mt. Rushmore although I have been there before and it was not a high priority. However, the weather still didn't look promising so I decided to head directly to Rapid City and minimize my bad weather risk. The rest of the way was mostly downhill but there was a lot of traffic that made me wonder what traffic was like during summer. I stayed on 16 into Rapid City although I later realized I could have skipped part of the traffic on 16 by taking 244 to Keystone. As I approached Rapid City, I had a nice runout but then I had a good climb into Rapid City with a fairly stiff headwind.

In Rapid City, I stopped at a phone booth and called the Two Wheeler bike shop and they said they had a touring tire so I got directions and headed there. I got a Continental 700x32 touring tire that was a little expensive ($26) and had it installed (another $5). This replaced my 700x28 Continental Super Sport tire that I also had on my front wheel. Then I asked about travel suggestions. I had considered swinging South to Highway 44 to avoid the interstate but a guy warned me that 44 traveled through pretty desolate country with few services with cracked road edges and no shoulders. He suggested sticking with I-90 and said New Underwood was 18 miles, Wasta 40, and Wall 50 miles. He thought there were motels at the New Underwood and Wasta but wasn't sure about camping.

Since it was only 2:30, I didn't consider Wall because that would require a century ride and I doubted I could make it before dark. I stopped at a Wendy's for a burger and fries lunch and chatted with a local woman about my trip. She couldn't believe I was doing this ride and thought Chicago must be a terrible place with all of its reputed crime. After lunch, I picked up I-90 and shortly came to a construction area where the road passed through a short, narrow section of road with a guardrail and no shoulder. There was so much traffic that I had to wait for a break in traffic before I could chance a sprint across it. Of course, as soon as I made it across, there was a long break in traffic that would have allowed me to leisurely cross the narrow section.

When I originally approached Rapid City, I had a headwind but now that I was headed East this wind was partly crosswind and partly tailwind and I made good time. I also quickly became aware that there was a place called Wall Drug. I knew because about every half mile there was a Wall Drug sign. Normally, I would probably have been irritated with the number of signs but on a bicycle I found them to be kind of entertaining as I had more time to read them. When I got to New Underwood, I decided to continue on to Wasta. Then I started thinking it would be nice to make Wall so that I could visit Wall Drug in the morning if the weather was bad (e.g., raining). As I cruised downhill into Wasta, I decided to go for Wall 10 miles away but I knew I would be racing darkness. As I began a fairly long climb out of Wasta, I turned on my Vista blinking light and felt comfortable due to the wide shoulder. By the time I got to Wall, it was pretty dark and I was glad I didn't have any farther to go.

I took the first Wall exit wondering where I could stay and rode right by the Arrow Campground and stayed there for the night - one of only a couple of people in camp. After setting up camp and a shower, I walked the couple of blocks into town to eat. Wall Drug closed at 8:00 so it was out and I stopped at the Cactus Restaurant. But after watching the hostess collect money for 10-15 minutes, I got tired of waiting for a table so I headed next door to the Badlands Bar where I got immediate service. I had a couple of beers and a 12” pepperoni pizza and wrote my notes.

Day 30: 10/3/94, Monday - Kadoka, SD [63.4 miles]

I was still having trouble sleeping due to my ribcage. I could lie on my back or side and have a gnawing pain that was just enough to keep me from sleeping. I was also near the railroad tracks and I heard the train a couple of times in the night. Nevertheless I did sleep and woke up at 6:15 and packed. I threw my cycling clothes and towel in the dryer for a cycle that dried everything except the towel. While packing my tent, I found my sunglasses that I had missed last night lying on the ground.

I rode the couple blocks to Wall Drug for breakfast. There were no waitresses/waiters so I placed an order for oatmeal and pancakes and waited for my number which didn't take long. Coffee was a bargain at 5 cents per cup. The pancakes and oatmeal were OK but only average serving size and about average price. The Rapid City paper was late and I had to wait. Later I had a pecan roll which at $1.65 was not cheap. Their donuts were not cheap either at 65 cents and I passed on them.

After breakfast I toured the store. They had gifts, a bookstore where I bought a pocket atlas, a drugstore where I bought enzymatic cleaners for my contacts, a camping store, boots, hats, and food. Nothing looked like a bargain to me but it was interesting browsing through the store.

On my way out of town I stopped at the Grassland Visitor Center that was fairly interesting. In town and at the Center I was asked by a couple of folks about my trip.

Finally, about 9:45 I was on my way. I took 240 South for 8 miles before it turned southeast paralleling I-90 and then rejoined I-90. The road was nice with little traffic and quiet and I had a tailwind. As I entered the Badlands Park I paid $3. The badlands were impressive. At the western end where I started the road was above the badlands and you looked down on the badlands but by the eastern end you were at the base of the badlands looking up at the multi-colored canyons, ridges, gullies, spires, and knobs created by erosion. It was a cloudy day and felt like 50 degrees with the wind. I had my rain pants/jacket on along with my gloves. As I rounded one corner in the road, I saw two things sticking up in the air and spotted a mule deer sitting on a hill less than a 100 yards away watching me ride by. There were several descents and climbs but none of the climbs were very long. I stopped at the Visitor Center at the east end for a brief visit and ate a bagel. The Center also had a weather forecast that was not encouraging, predicting strong headwinds for the next day. Then I climbed Cedar Pass and headed North to rejoin I-90.

By the time I reached I-90 it was already almost 2:30. With all the time I spent at Wall Drug and the two Visitor Centers, I had covered only 41 miles. I had expected to stop and eat at this point before rejoining I-90 but the service station nearby was closed and the campground cafe was essentially closed - you could ring a bell for service but I figured that wasn't worth it.

So I headed to the next exit 12 miles away. I-90 now passed through long rolling hills that looked to be climbing more than descending with some headwind. The shoulder was what I called gravel asphalt and made for a rougher ride than I expected. Parallel to I-90 was a service road that I didn't know about that looked good though I noticed its hills were slightly higher than the interstate's hills.

At the next exit, I discovered there were no services so I continued to the next exit at Kadoka, another 6 miles. It started to sprinkle occasionally and some cars had their lights on. Even though it was only about 4:30 and I had only covered 60 miles, I decided to call it a day. The weather was marginal, I was making slow progress, and I didn't know how far it was to the next exit with good facilities.

In Kadoka, I saw signs for 3 campgrounds. I checked out the Kadoka Kampground and paid $9 for a campsite under a small shelter. A young woman who looked like she must have been in high school handled the transaction and recommended a place for dinner. After cleaning up, I headed there for dinner which was a mistake. I had a BBQ pork sandwich and bowl of chili and felt like I had hardly eaten. I stopped at a foodmart and had a pizza slice and muffin and felt better. Then I stopped at the Happy Chef restaurant for a beer and to write my notes but it didn't look like they had beer. However, I noticed they had a $4.59 Monday night spaghetti special and ordered that. The spaghetti was so-so but I finally felt full - after my third meal of the night.

Day 31: 10/4/94, Tuesday - Kennebec, SD [89 miles]

When I got up it was overcast and foggy. I walked the block to another restaurant for breakfast. It wasn't 7:00 yet but the Rapid City paper was already in contrast to Wall Drug's late delivery. I had pancakes and bacon that was pretty good. While reading the paper, I saw that Wyoming had snow yesterday. The roads in Yellowstone were closed and there was a foot of snow in the northern Big Horns. Missing that weather made me feel better about the current weather I was experiencing.

As I packed, I threw yesterday's cycling clothes in the dryer. I had a cinnamon roll and it was 47 degrees at 9:00 when I hit the road. Due to the chill, I was dressed in my rain gear, Thermax pullover, polypro hat, and gloves. I would be comfortable in this all day with the temperature reaching only about 53. I also had a headwind most of the day, somewhere in the 5-10 mph range but nothing like the 10-20 mph predicted at the Badlands Visitor Center yesterday. I had feared that the modest headwind would pick up through the day but that never happened.

Yesterday, the service road that paralleled the interstate went all the way to Kadoka and it would probably have been better riding on it but I didn't know how far it went. As I left today, I didn't see the service road so I didn't bother to ask about it. However, shortly out of town, the service road reappeared and I started wondering again whether I should be on it but after 7 miles it headed South never to be seen again.

After about 15 miles I pulled into a rest area and noted that the next one was 54 miles away. A couple of folks asked about my trip. One couple left me a banana. Another guy thought he had seen me near Custer a couple of days before. One good thing about the South Dakota rest areas was they showed the availability of facilities along the way. This was valuable because in South Dakota the towns were typically 10-20 miles apart and some of the towns were so small that there were no facilities. Consequently, it was really helpful to have a preview of which exits had facilities so you could plan for stopping at the end of the day.

The going was slow as I averaged just under 10 mph. The landscape remained the same as yesterday - rolling prairie. Once the sun momentarily peaked through the clouds and I saw a little blue sky. I hoped that was a sign of better weather to come. At 1:50 I pulled into Murdo, home of the Pioneer Auto Show that I decided to skip. Passing through town, I found a Kentucky Fried Chicken that advertised a lunch buffet. I had the buffet for $5 and proceeded to get my money's worth. I had a small salad, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 servings of potato sticks, some beans, 3 biscuits and honey, and 3 servings of vanilla pudding. I wondered if the other folks in the restaurant thought this was excessive.

At this point it was 2:30 and I'd gone 42 miles. The rest area earlier showed Kennebec having a campground. Kennebec was about another 43 miles but I figured I should be able to make it since I had about 4 hours of daylight left.

Shortly after starting out again, I came to a construction area of 12 miles. The east lanes were closed and the west lane was converted into a two way. Since the right side of the westbound lane had no shoulder, I was forced to ride on the left shoulder which meant I was traveling against the west traffic. I didn't feel this was dangerous but the wind lashing I got from the passing semis was terrible. I soon decided this was for the birds and crossed back over to the regular east bound lanes. While these lanes were still under construction, they had already been repaved. I decided they were really new, wide bike lanes that I was willing to share with a few construction folks. It was great to be away from all the noise pollution and nice to have a smooth road to ride on as opposed to the gravel asphalt I'd had since yesterday.

All too soon, my bike lane merged with the traffic but the shoulder was at least smooth now. As I neared Presho, it became obvious that Kennebec was farther than I thought - about 5 miles farther and darkness was approaching. An unhappy camper, I time trialed the rest of the way and pulled into Kennebec before darkness hit completely.

In town I found the KOA which was the only campground. It was actually closed and in the process of being winterized but the owners had left it open and available for $10/night. I didn't have $10 cash and had hoped to pay with my credit card but no one was around. I set up camp in near darkness as a stray cat tried to move in. After set up, I walked to the only restaurant for a bowl of chili and a burger and fries. The restaurant was pretty basic but that was OK since I had loaded up at the lunch buffet. While I was eating, a group of hunters stopped to eat and entertained me with their conversation.

After doing 89 miles today, I was in position to make Sioux Falls in two days with a couple of similar riding days. I hoped I could catch a tailwind and avoid the rain. I was also thinking about checking out the Corn Palace in Mitchell that could be tomorrow's destination.

Day 32: 10/5/94, Wednesday - Kimball, SD [55 miles]

I woke up at 7:30 since I was now back on Central time. As I packed up, my friend the stray cat reappeared and tried to ingratiate herself with me again to no avail. The KOA owner also appeared and I paid my fee with my credit card. Then I returned to the same restaurant for breakfast. I ordered 3 pancakes and oatmeal but the waitress/cook warned me the pancakes were huge and she had only seen one person eat all three. My eyes lit up at this news but I decided to back off on the oatmeal. Unfortunately, the pancakes were not huge and were no problem to dispose of. What was hard to digest, however, was the weather report that predicted a 70% chance of rain tomorrow.

As I stepped outside, I was surprised to see sunshine and cloudless skies. The morning began overcast and I was sure the sun had been banished from South Dakota. I had been amused to see several campground signs along the road advertise shade trees which I couldn't imagine could serve any useful purpose. Unfortunately, there was a breezy southeast wind that would at best be a crosswind but mostly a headwind all day. I stopped across the street at a foodmart for a muffin and was underway at 10:00.

It was slow going from the start. I think the wind was in the 10- 20 mph range. Fortunately, the land was almost flat so I didn't have to contend with any climbs. On the other hand, the shoulder was again decrepit gravel asphalt as it would be all day. Going slow, averaging 8 mph seemed to only accentuate each bump/crack in the shoulder.

As I neared the Missouri River valley in the center of South Dakota, I began a descent. I decided to loop through Chamberlain since I wasn't going anywhere fast today. I stopped at Al's Oasis outside Chamberlain and bought a couple of long John's (pastries). Continuing I passed through Chamberlain and began a long climb straight into the wind as I looped back to I-90. I stopped at a Dairy Queen for a large Breeze. I had gone 34 miles in almost 4 hours and I checked my map for destinations possibilities among Kimbal, White Lake, and Plankinton

Back on the road, the wind seemed to have picked up as I was chugging along at 7.5 mph. A couple of times in the afternoon, a single row of trees appeared the road and it was amazing how they would block the wind. The area was mostly large farms now and the first corn fields came into view. The clouds that had moved back into the picture after the early sunshine dissipated again and sunshine reappeared. I was now debating whether to stop at Kimball or continue on to White Lake. White Lake was about 14 miles farther than Kimball which meant another 2 hours of riding and pushing daylight again since it was almost 5:00. Given that and the availability of motels/campgrounds in Kimball, I made my decision to stop.

When I pulled into Kimball I was considering getting a motel room so I could watch the CMA award show. Nevertheless, I stopped at the campground just in case they had a lounge with a TV. They didn't but the hostess said the price was $4 and I couldn't pass that up. She also told me about a couple of places that might have the CMA show on TV.

After camp, I rode to Chef Rudy's restaurant for its buffet. For $5.50, I got salad, chicken noodle soup, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, goulash, and chicken. In other words a real home cooked meal. I had a couple of portions of everything. On my way out, I bought an Iowa map for $1 and hoped I would get out of South Dakota shortly to use it.

Then I headed to the liquor lounge just south of town where there was a bar with a TV. I got there right at 7:00 and the bartender changed the channel on the big screen TV for me just as the CMA show started. It was initially hard to hear because there was a raucous crowd of 8 but they eventually calmed down and dispersed. During commercials I wrote my notes for the day. Once again my note taking piqued someone's curiosity and a guy at the bar finally gave in and asked me what I did for a living, guessing I must have been a writer.

Day 33: 10/6/94, Thursday - Plankinton, SD [27.5 miles]

It rained hard for a few minutes overnight. When I got up at 6:15, the wind hadn't changed direction and was blowing briskly. I went straight to breakfast, not ready to commit myself yet for the day. I walked about 6 blocks downtown to a cafe and had the 2+2+2 (eggs, bacon, cakes) for $2.22 and ordered another when I was finished. This made a good breakfast at a reasonable price. The weather prediction was not encouraging with winds SE 20-40 mph and gusting - a prediction that would not be proven wrong.

Back at camp, I debated holing up for the day given the wind and possible rain. However, there was nothing to do in town and no guarantee that the weather would be better tomorrow so I packed up and was on the road by 9:00. Despite the strong head/crosswind I seemed to be doing OK, averaging 7-8 mph. My goal was Mitchell which was 48 miles away and would take 6-7 hours at this rate.

The sky was cloudy and it looked like it could rain. I kept an eye out for overpasses as possible shelter in the event it rained. I stopped at one overpass as some rain started to fall and waited about 20 minutes to see what would develop. There was just enough rain to wet the pavement so I continued on.

Around noon I stopped at a rest area as the sky cleared up. However, the wind now picked up and was gusting and getting dangerous due to the threat of the crosswind blowing me into traffic. I waited at the rest area for about 30 minutes to see what would develop. Unfortunately, the wind didn't relent and I decided to push on at least to Plankinton, the next town with motel/camping services. While I was waiting and trying to decide, a guy stopped by and started asking about my trip. He said he had cycled through all the continental states including a transcontinental trip and a trip from Wisconsin to Alaska.

Now it was tough going because I not only had to fight the headwind but I also had to guard against the crosswind blowing me into the traffic lane. Occasionally I was blown a couple of feet but I was strong enough to maintain my position on the interstate shoulder. However, I could see fighting the crosswind all the way to Mitchell would be a real mental strain.

It seemed to take forever to make Plankinton, probably because I was only doing about 6 mph. I stopped at Plankinton to refuel and reassess the situation. I had only gone 25 miles and it was already 2:00. I had 24 miles to Mitchell and figured I had a good 4 hours of daylight left but it would take all of that time at 6 mph. This was a risky proposition since there weren't any motel/camping services until Mitchell. Furthermore, the wind seemed to have picked up and was gusting stronger as I ate my sandwich and drank a Gatorade.

I finally decided to call it a day. The wind was getting more dangerous and there was no guarantee it wouldn't pick up even more. I rode through town and checked out the motel and campground. I was concerned about camping and the beating my tent would take from the wind. I think my tent could handle the wind but it wasn't clear it made sense risking it to save a few dollars. So I checked out the I90 Motel and took a fairly nice room for $25. While signing in, the hostess told me there was a severe thunderstorm watch in effect for the Sioux Falls area. This was unusual for this time of the year but consistent with the strong winds and 70 degree temperature. This helped to reinforce that I had made the right decision to stop for the day.

After checking in to the motel, I did some laundry at the campground Laundromat. I ate at the I-90 service station cafe, having a French Dip sandwich after I was told the lasagna was no longer available. Food was OK but I grabbed a couple of cookies and ice cream bars at the adjoining foodmart. Then I retired to my room to watch ESPN football (KU vs. KSU) and TNN's Music City Tonight with Faith Hill and Johnny Rodriquez (who used to be one of my favorite C&W singers).

Then I listened to the weather forecast on the evening news. One reported winds gusting to 58 mph. Both reported SE winds 20-30 mph for the night shifting to NW 20-30 mph tomorrow with possible showers and cooler temperatures with highs in the 50s. Maybe I'd finally get that strong tailwind I felt I had earned. The weather was supposed to clear up tomorrow and be good through mid- week but I would be in Iowa by then and I didn't know what the weather would be like there.

Day 34: 10/7/94, Friday - Sioux Falls, SD [109.1 miles]

I woke up at 6:15, took care of most of my packing, and walked downtown to the recommended bowling alley/cafe for breakfast. They didn't have a newspaper so I checked out both grocery stores but they didn't have anything either. Someone left a Mitchell paper at the cafe so I read it. I had the 2 eggs and 2 pancakes for $2. Then I ordered another order of the same thing. The paper said a tornado watch was issued yesterday for 35 counties including the Mitchell area. The prediction for today was possible showers, 50s, and NW wind 20-30 mph.

After breakfast I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a couple of bran muffins. Then I completed packing and checked out. As I turned on to the I-90 entrance I began picking up speed from the wind. I was quickly in the big chainring and effortlessly doing 20+ mph. This was FUN and I felt I had more than earned it over the last two days. It was eerie how riding with the wind created a stillness that belied the wind's fury. It was like I was in a dreamland where wind wasn't allowed. Since I was moving so easily, I did some quick mental calculations and concluded that 150 miles would not be impossible if the wind continued or even picked up as the day wore on. Unfortunately, the wind would taper off as the day went on and 150 miles would remain a dream.

After a little over an hour, I had covered the 24 miles to Mitchell. By comparison, yesterday it had taken me almost 4 hours to travel this same distance. I took the first exit to Mitchell and immediately felt the force of the wind as soon as I turned North. I followed the signs to the Corn Palace, parked, and entered. The Palace was not what I had expected. I had thought it was some kind of agricultural exposition but it was an auditorium that was currently set up for basketball and concerts were common events. The decoration was constructed from native corn, grains, and grasses using their natural colors. These decorations were above the stage and covered the front of the Palace outside. Each summer the decorations were torn down and new ones put up with a different theme.

After taking a picture, I headed back to I-90 and stopped at a Kmart to have the band on my watch repaired since a pin had broken. Back on I-90 the wind was still strong but seemed to have shifted a bit to be partly a crosswind. I now cruised at about 18 mph.

When I started riding in the morning, the shoulder was great for about 9 miles then it reverted to its old self and my speed dropped a couple of mph. In a few more miles the interstate was under construction with the right lane fenced off. However, the right lane was rideable and I used it as a bicycle lane. This seemed like a reasonable compromise. If the shoulder was too rough, fence off the right lane as a bike lane. This would be the case several more times as construction was under way in several places.

After 50 miles, I stopped at a foodmart for a reuben sandwich heated in a microwave, chips, Gatorade, and one of my bran muffins. When I continued, the wind seemed to have abated a little more although it was still strong. However, it seemed unfair for it to abate when yesterday it just got stronger as the day progressed.

The land was now all farmland and a lot of cornfields. There were also more trees than I could count on both hands in contrast to the western half of the state where a single hand was sufficient to count the trees (and a single hand often wasn't needed). As I neared Sioux Falls the land became rolling again and I had to do some moderate climbing.

As the wind continued to diminish, it was clear that I wouldn't threaten much more than a century. However, Sioux Falls was closer than I thought and I hadn't decided exactly how to attack Iowa. I decided to take I-29 South towards Sioux Falls and see if I could enlist suggestions from a bike shop. I found the Bike Barn at 9th and Cliff. One guy suggested that 9, 18, and 3 (all east-west roads) were all probably OK Iowa roads. Later I decided to start on 9 and swing down to 18 if 9 didn't look good. One way or the other I would pick up 18 eventually and then 3 in order to “step” my way down from northern Iowa to Dubuque.

My next agenda was a place to stay. At the suggestion of the Bike Barn, I checked out the Rushmore Motel nearby whose price was right but they had no first floor rooms. So I headed cross town to the west side and stopped at the Tower Campground. Their price of $14 was a rip off even though I got an AAA discount but I wasn't inclined to search out other motels at this point so I reluctantly paid the price.

After camp, I walked to the nearby Hardees for a chicken sandwich, fries, and a couple of vanilla shakes that were really good. While eating, I checked my Iowa map and reflected on the week. This day was one of the easiest century rides I had done due to the strong tailwind. However, it was disappointing to have the wind taper off as it did after the agony the wind had caused the two previous days. On the other hand, when I saw the weather forecast for South Dakota while in Custer, I was sure I was going to get wet but the only real rain I had was while riding to Custer. The newspaper showed that Pierre, which was about 30 miles north of the interstate in the center of the state, had received 1.5” for the week and I was glad I missed that. Looking ahead to Iowa, it appeared to be roughly the same width as South Dakota but I hoped the weather would be better.

Day 35: 10/8/94, Saturday - Esterville, Ia [109.2 miles]

It was another restless night trying to sleep. I dozed off some while listening to my Sony radio but when I tried to really sleep my ribcage hurt whether on my back or side just enough to make sleep difficult. After some trial and error, I found placing a pad under my right backside while on my back worked and I slept most of the night that way. Later in the morning, I found I could lay on my right side without pain and sleep.

I woke up at 6:30, packed and headed East through town. I stopped at the Frying Pan and had 3 pancakes and bacon. Continuing East, I stopped at a donut shop for a couple of pecan rolls and ate one on the spot. As I was preparing to leave, I met a father and son who welcomed me to Sioux Falls and we talked about the trip.

I headed out of town on 38 that changed to 9 in Iowa. In 15 miles I reached the Iowa border and suddenly there were farms dotting the landscape that seemed to be covered with cornfields. For the rest of the day the terrain would be rolling hills with a fair tailwind out of the NW. Highway 9 did not have a shoulder of which to speak but traffic was light enough that this wasn't much of a problem except when a semi came when there was traffic from the other direction. On the other hand, when a semi came along from the other direction I got a pretty good wind lashing.

At noon I stopped at a Pizza Ranch in Rock Rapids and had their real deal special - 2 pizza slices and Coke for $2. There was a variety of pizza available and one slice I had was a taco pizza that was so good I anted up for another real deal and two more taco slices. Checking my map it looked like either Spirit Lake at 92 miles or Estherville at 108 were logical destinations.

Continuing on 9, the terrain didn't change until I neared Spirit Lake that was near several lakes and appeared to be a tourist area. I stopped at a Dairy Queen for a Blizzard but continued on since the area seemed too touristy. Meanwhile the tailwind had gradually picked up and I was pushing 20 mph. The final 16 miles flew by as I put it in the big chainring.

Pulling into Estherville, I spotted a camping sign by the river so I pulled into a park and set up camp. I washed up in the river and rode downtown to find a bar to watch the Miami-FSU football game. I found a bar with the game on TV and had a pepperoni pizza. I asked the bartender about breakfast and she said Bud's Cafe was the place. When she found out about my trip, she was impressed and thought it was really neat.

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