We decided after driving through the Outer Banks of NC that we would rather do that trip by bike in the off season, not in high traffic spring season. It was then that we started planning this trip. I've always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore, and have not yet ridden my bike in South Dakota.
When I looked at the map to plan our route, I noticed that we would be passing very close to Grinnell, IA. Since my cross country bike trip in 2008 I have checked the map every time we came to Iowa, and we never even came close to Grinnell--we were always near the Mississippi River for the Rumble. After I mapped our route I emailed my old friend Iowa Bob from that epic bicycle tour from Los Angeles to Boston, who lives in Grinnell.
Bob seemed happy to hear from me (we have stayed in touch sporadically over the years). I asked him if he and his wife Kim would like to have dinner with us on our way through Iowa and he suggested a couple of different options, then invited us to spend the night at his house! We arrived a little later than expected (the GPS is only as accurate as the information you feed it), parked the truck and got into his car for the short ride into town to the Prairie Canary, a lovely little downtown restaurant. After our meal he drove us around Grinnell to see the sights, took us past his favorite bike routes and then back to his home. Unfortunately Kim is out of town this weekend.
We took a few photos in front of his home and then went in and showed each other the books we compiled of our cross country bike trip. Bill eventually got bored and went to bed while Bob and I stayed up and reminisced.
My scrapbook is quite fat with photos and mementos while Bob's book is a beautiful hardcover printed edition of his entire trip blog. It was fun to talk over the highlights (and low points) of the trip. I'm not sure what time he gave up last night, but when Bill and I got up this morning we found Bob sitting at the table reading my scrapbook!
We were up early, said our goodbyes, and then drove through several hours of rain. Below is the view we had of the rest of Iowa.
It was still raining as we entered SD, and we stopped at Sioux Falls for lunch. As we were nearing SF I noticed a sign for a Western Shop and a Scrapbook Store. Alright! We stopped at the Western Shop to get Bill a new strap for the Western style belt that I bought him in Texas on a bike trip a couple of years ago--the silver buckle is still in perfect shape but the belt strap was just about worn through (I guess he liked it). I PROMISED Bill I would only be in the Scrapbook store for 5 minutes and he did not believe me. But it was true. I rushed in, asked where the SD pages were, picked out one of each, and was out the door in 5 minutes.
It turned into a very long day. We had planned to drive through to Rapid City today, but when it got to be after 6 PM and we saw an exit with motels and restaurants we decided we had come far enough. So here we are at Murdo, SD, about an hour from the turnoff for the scenic road into Badlands National Park.