Lying in bed the night before, I reformulated my conception of this trip (truthfully, this had been happening since day one, and I somewhat didn’t have a choice). It was less a searching/reflective/ruminative journey and more an athletic endeavor. As such, my body needed to take top priority. Going forward, I’d focus more on taking breaks, hydrating, going to bed early, eating well, reducing camping, and reducing travel distances. To begin, I mapped the shortest path to the Badlands (my next major destination) from Minneapolis. I decided to get a hotel in Redfield, SD, right on the most direct route, rather than take a longer route and stay in the seemingly more exciting Sioux Falls, SD, which had been my original plan.
In general, I’d try to do less on my journey so as to have enough time to really enjoy each thing. I let go of an overambitious vision I once had of visiting Glacier National Park then heading west to Portland and down the coast. Too far! Too much! It felt good to let go. Not even a little bittersweet. I wanted to enjoy myself. Not test my physical limits. I’d save Glacier and the coast for another adventure. Something to look forward to.
That morning, Mia’s dad made us all a big scramble with eggs, ham, and vegetables. It was a great way to kick off the day. We visited the local Bosnian markets, and I bought some treats for Mia’s family as a thank you for their hospitality. We took pics with the dogs in the backyard as a memento of my visit (posted with my entry for Day 9). And then I set off.
My travel day began with a leisurely ride south along the Mississippi River toward Minneapolis’ city center. I crossed the river on the Plymouth Avenue Bridge then continued south through Theodore Wirth Park. The park was full of folks out and about enjoying themselves. I felt a twinge of regret at having not really experienced the city. Minneapolis, I’ll have to visit you again one day.
Eventually I headed west on Route 7 and stopped for a late lunch at a little roadside cafe, Molly’s, in Silver Lake, MN — no relation to the hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles, but hip in its own way none-the-less:
I had a pulled pork sandwich. My third on the trip. It was fine. I burned out on pulled pork sandwiches after this and never had one again. (NOTE: I keep commenting on food because deciding what to eat takes up a surprising amount of mental space on a trip like this. In fact, I spent far more time thinking about things like what to eat or where to get gas or when it might rain than, say, reflecting on my life. Basically, the trip forced me to “live in the moment” in very mundane ways, which wasn’t a bad thing. To be clear though: I’m not a foodie. Some part of me wishes I could eat the same thing every day like a dog to save time and mental energy. Which pretty much explains how I had too many pulled pork sandwiches and burned out on them…)
I took a couple of photos at an arbitrary spot that seemed more or less emblematic of what riding through Minnesota on Route 7 (or this could have been US-212) was like:
Farmland with a very gentle prairie roll to it.
I did the same thing in South Dakota:
There was a little more roll to the topography here. And, although Minnesota is the “Land of Lakes,” I encountered far more bodies of water along US-212 in South Dakota. To be fair, I’m pretty sure these were ponds. Many of them advertised pheasant hunting, which Redfield, SD, my destination for the day, was supposed to be known for. In my imagination, I pictured everyone in Redfield walking bird dogs like weimaraners and german shorthaired pointers and vizslas.
Clark, SD had some fun roadside attractions:
Finally, I reached my motel:
The Wilson Motor Inn in Redfield, SD was old school. Nothing about it was nice or new, but everything was well cared for and clean. And it was $44 for the night. Sweet.
After having crashed with others nearly every night thus far on my trip, it was nice to have a hotel room to myself. No need to schedule my shower. No need to make plans or conversation. No need to do anything. Wait, no, dinner. I looked on yelp. Leo’s Good Food was well reviewed, but about to close. Oh well. That could be breakfast. I rode to a gas station. Picked up water and a kind bar. Figured I’d eat some beef jerky, fruit leather, and pistachios from my bag too, and that should suffice. I looked around the town. It was smaller than I had imagined. And no one was walking weimaraners or german shorthaired pointers or vizslas.