“Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!”
We have to change that alarm tune.
Third day on the road, second wake up not in our old home and not feeling out-of-place yet.
Up and at ‘em for this morning’s drill of dog walking, motivating the kid, and showers all around. Trunk repacking getting easier now, only having to take out half the contents in order to maintain status quo. In another week, I will have this down pat.
Gas up the car and off we go, Goodbye Rockford, IL!
Crossing the border in to Wisconsin, we were itching for our first world’s biggest cheese curd museum. We had forewarned the youngest member of our party that we would be stopping for any and all roadside attractions that caught our eye. If it didn’t relate to a YouTube video or Nintendo game, he had no interest.
We found our first victim half way through Wisconsin at Castle Rock. It was formed when the glaciers receded after the last ice age. It wasn’t a giant cheese curd, but it was a good excuse to stretch our legs and explore. Legs stretched, dog walked and watered, protestations on how “this isn’t fun” logged from kid, and off we were in search of our next find.
Miles and miles of wind farms litter the Minnesota countryside. They go on for as far as they eye can see. Why this type of self-sustaining energy isn’t more prevalent across our country I have not the answers.
Did you know there was a museum devoted to Spam? Neither did we until we saw the road sign in Minnesota. When one encounters such a find, they are compelled to stop. Admit it, you would too. There is even a diner across the street with a Spam theme. Again, the kid was unimpressed as he had no clue what Spam was. His generation has a whole different definition of the word, and it isn’t capitalized.
After a quick stop for gas and food, our brave foursome was again on the road. Off to find adventures in this brave new world. Wait, wrong book.
Finally we cross in to South Dakota, land of no cell service. That isn’t the official state nickname, but if you are an AT&T wireless customer, it might as well be. Five miles across the border and goodbye service. Thankfully my trusty travelling companion was a Verizon customer, so a connection was still within our grasp to the outside world while on the road during the day. This was a comforting and calming thought, until the phone rings with the kind of news you don’t want to hear.
After a quick gas up and some pictures of a wayward dinosaur, we are on the road and see a sign for Buffalo Ridge 1880 Cowboy Town. So we stopped. There were buffalo out in the fields sleeping, a fake gold mine, and a creepy biker dude patronizing the gift shop that doubled as a packaged goods store.
We set off to take some pictures, because without pictures, who would believe you were stupid enough to stop and see crap like this. Click, ooh look at that, click, don’t miss that one over there, click. Let me get closer so I can put the camera through the fencing, SNAKE! Huh? Where? There! Crap! Run!
Back at the car we noticed a somber sight. Somewhere along the way we had become road killers. We murdered a butterfly. We bowed heads for a moment of silence, then remembered the snake behind us and booked tushies.
On the road again we see that we are only 60 miles from the Corn Palace, another can’t miss tourist trap. Ok, we’ll bite. It’s getting late and we have no hotel reservations yet so we can see the corn and get a place to bunk down for the night. It is summer in the Midwest and the days are long this far into a time zone. We check into what we renamed Bug Motel, drop bags and dog, and go in search of the world-famous Mitchell Corn Palace.
After passing the town greeter, an advertisement for Chef Louis’ restaurant on the side of a giant steer, we find our destination. A kitschy roadside attraction in all its glory, along with the prerequisite gift shops and $4 ice cream cones. None of this mattered; we were touring a museum with murals made of corn cobs, what beats that? Truth be told, and say what you will, it was pretty neat. You don’t find things like that in cities or suburbs for a reason.
After stopping in a gift shop so our virtual traveling companion could have her picture taken in some bling, we went in search of some local food. My son got to eat in his first real truck stop, flies, drinks in mason jars, and toothless truckers included.
With full bellies and tired legs, we finally retired back to bug motel for last doggie walks, flying insect killing, some wireless uploading of trip pictures and a good night’s sleep. Bug motel came with a free gym, or at least free workouts. Last chore of the night was me, with my sneakers on my hands as swatters, jumping from bed to bed, over and on furniture, killing things with wings. Moths, little mosquitoes, bigger mosquitoes trying to eat the little mosquitoes, and assorted other things with wings. At least it was entertaining to the kid and the dog, never let it be said our road trips don’t come with entertainment included.
The only lingering issue to be resolved was picking a new tune to be our alarm clock. We all agreed that a new one was well overdue. After listening to our choices, one in particular tickled the fancy of a 10-year-old boy just learning how much fun it was to hear other people say words he would taste soap for trying out. Always aiming to please our Love Boat passengers, we obliged.
New tune chosen and alarm set. The next day was planned as a jam-packed tour of the black hills and Mount Rushmore. Turns out there are two Sturgis’ and our timing wasn’t off for once in our lives. But that is a story for day 4.