Thursday, July 31, 2008

Smart claims World Record

On Friday 4 July, 2008, Rupert Lloyd Thomas, with navigator Annette Lloyd Thomas, drove his 2005 smart fortwo diesel over "The Top of the World" to an altitude of 10,974 feet (3,345 m) through the Beartooth Pass, along the Montana-Wyoming border, in the United States.

This is the highest known altitude for a smart car on public roads. If anybody can better this please let us know.
See previous.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wild West Tour Best Signs

Red Lodge Cafe, Red Lodge, Montana
Dempsey's Bar & Grill, White Sulphur Springs, Montana
Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Wild West Tour Wrap-up

Smart Fortwo 2005 diesel

Total distance covered:
8918 km (5541 miles).

Fuel economy: 4.06 litres per 100 km ; 57.88 miles per US gallon; 69.51 miles per Imperial gallon.

Diesel was significantly cheaper in the United States where we paid an average of $4.679 USD per US gallon (range was $4.459 to $4.899 USD); the equivalent of $1.23 CDN per litre.
In Canada we paid an average of $1.43 CDN per litre (range was $1.359 to $1.499 CDN per litre); the equivalent of $5.37 USD per US gallon.

Accommodation: Best Value for Money
1. All Seasons Inn and Suites, White Sulphur Springs, Montana - per night $67.41
2. Select Inn, Bismarck, North Dakota - per night $60.89
3. Ramada, Albert Lea, Minnesota - per night $ 64.90
(Rates are in US dollars for two including taxes.)

Eats: Best Breakfast
Pollard Hotel, Red Lodge, Montana - excellent steak & eggs; hollandaise on Eggs Florentine; the place to go for upscale breakfast at reasonable prices if you're staying in Red Lodge

Best Lunch
Stone's Throw Cafe, Blairmore, Alberta - fresh, healthy ingredients; highly eco-friendly

Best Dinner
Zelo Restaurant, Minneapolis, Minnesota - exquisite downtown ambiance; fabulous fresh pasta and sauces

Best Coffee Stops
Crossroads Coffee House, Cross Plains, Wisconsin - free WiFi
Reggie's Cinema Barista, Historic State Theatre, Jackson, Minnesota
Seney's Drugstore and Soda Fountain, Buffalo, Wyoming - coffee 57¢ a cup
Snowy Mountain Coffee Company, Harlowton, Montana
Overflowing Cup, Kalispell, Montana

Best Event:
Fourth of July Parade, Cody, Wyoming
Medicine Hat Vintage Vehicles Car Club Show n Shine, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Best Attractions: Road Side
Jolly Green Giant, Blue Earth, Wisconsin
"Sandy" the Sandhill Crane, Steele, North Dakota
"Salem Sue" the Holstein, New Salem, North Dakota

Free Attractions
The Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota
Saskatchewan Legislative Building, Regina, Saskatchewan
Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater, Menomonie, Wisconsin (buy guidebook for $1)
Harley-Davidson Factory Tour, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Paid Attractions
The Crowsnest Museum, Coleman, Alberta
Badlands National Park, Interior, South Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora, North Dakota
Automotive Hall of Fame, Dearborn, Michigan

Neuschwanstein Moments © *
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota
Crazy Horse Memorial, Crazy Horse, South Dakota
The Tunnels, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

* Neuschwanstein Moments © = occur when you back out of paying admission for an attraction/event because you don't perceive it as good value for money and/or it's so crowded you know you won't enjoy it; we coined the phrase when we balked at the huge line-ups and high admission price at the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day Twenty-One: Muskegon, MI to Toronto, ON

Up early and no breakfast provided at the Seaway Motel so we drive into Grand Rapids, MI, then quickly realizing our mistake we get back onto the highway. Luckily we spot a sign saying The Garden Room - All Day Breakfast and duck in for something to eat.
At Dearborn, MI, we visit the Automotive Hall of Fame which has struck the right balance between multi-media entertainment and good factual information. "This is the single greatest honor in the motor vehicle industry, intended to honor a career and/or lifetime achievement. To become a “Hall of Famer” the nominee must be either retired or deceased. Recipients must have significantly impacted the development of the automobile or the motor vehicle industry. Typically, four to eight individuals are inducted each year."
The border crossing at Detroit is painless and we're soon driving from Windsor to London in heavy rainfall. After stopping at Loblaws for a few groceries we arrive home at about 8 pm, tired but happy to be back. Distance covered today: 697 km (437 miles).

smart Alecs:
  • we spot a yellow & black 2008 on the 401 near Kitchener, ON
Wildlife Watch:
  • 4 or 5 Eastern Wild Turkeys in a field at the side of the highway

Day Twenty: Wilwaukee, WI to Muskegon, MI

Up early at the Crowne Plaza and drove to the Harley-Davidson powertrain division in Wauwatosa, WI. Since we're early, we get a personal tour of the factory where visitor numbers are down due to the opening of the H-D museum in town. (The factory tour is free and so we pass up paying $12 a person for the museum.)
We drive to the The Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward.
At the check in for the Lake Express Ferry, a clerk asks a group of bikers all the standard questions including, " Are you carrying any weapons?". The snappy reply is, "No. We don't even smoke". The ferry takes two and a half hours to cross Lake Michigan and we arrive in Muskegon, MI, at 10:30 local time after turning our watches forward an hour.
We check in to the Seaway Motel which is a rough and ready biker haunt.
Total distance covered: 109 km (68 miles) by road + 144 km (89 miles) by ferry.

smart Alecs:
  • driving in Milwaukee a voice from nowhere says, "Have fun driving that in the winter". We had no idea where the voice came from so couldn't reply.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day Nineteen: Minneapolis, MN to Milwaukee, WI

To Menomenie, WI, where we have a self guided tour of the Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater (pictured here). "The Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater was constructed in 1889 as a tribute to young Mabel Tainter, a lover of music and the arts, who died in 1886 at the age of nineteen. The Memorial was commissioned by Captain and Mrs. Andrew Tainter. Andrew was one of the lumber barons for Knapp, Stout & Co. The Memorial still serves today as a performing arts theater, public reading room and cultural center. " Source: official website. A group of young people were rehearsing for their up coming musical. After coffee at the Acoustic Cafe we're on our way to Milwaukee, WI.
We go on a reconnaissance mission to find the Harley Davidson factory so that we can show up early the next day to get tour tickets. It's interesting comparing Milwaukee, WI, to Minneapolis, MN, where we stayed last night. After a lot of driving we check in to the newly-opened Crowne Plaza Hotel. Distance covered today: 573 km (356 miles).

smart Alecs:

  • an older couple come to our table at the Country Kitchen in Mauston, WI, to chat about the smart car. He bought a toy smart in Italy that "speaks Italian". They're headed out to Montana so we share some travel tips.

Wildlife Watch:

Day Eighteen: Bismarck, ND to Minneapolis, MN

Heading east on Interstate 94 we stop at Steele, ND, to take photos of "Sandy" the world's tallest Sandhill Crane. At Jamestown, ND, we pass the world's largest Buffalo statue. We turn off at Valley City, ND, to see the Hi-Line Bridge which is celebrating it's centenary this year. It's a 3,860 foot long, 162 foot high single track railway bridge. We have brunch at the Broken Spoke restaurant in town.
At Fergus Falls, MN, we stop at the Otter Tail County Historical Society and Museum for more research.
Continuing east, we stay the night at the Holiday Inn Express in Minneapolis. "Minneapolis is the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Hennepin County. The city lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital. Known as the Twin Cities, these two cities form the core of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.2 million residents. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 369,051 people in 2006." Source: Wikepdia. I am surprised how elegant and sophisticated this mid-west city is. Conventions are big business here, and this is convention season. We walk out to Nicolett Street which is lined with chic restaurants and bars. Dinner at the Zelo Restaurant was excellent.

smart Alecs:
  • yellow and black 2008 smart in a parking lot in downtown Minneapolis

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day Seventeen: Glendive, MT to Bismarck, ND

We drive into town in Glendive for bank and to look at the rail yards - an old building has Burlington Northern on the front, predating the merger with Santa Fe.
As we pull off the interstate into Medora, ND we get stopped by the Sheriff for speeding - he checks our documents and we get off with a warning. We drive through the badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the views are stunning.
We stop for lunch at the Dakota Diner in Dickinson, a typical western lunch spot where listening to the locals is always entertaining. At New Salem we stop for gas in the shadow of Salem Sue - the world's largest Holstein Cow statue. We opt for an early check-in to the Select Inn (an excellent value for money) in Bismarck, the state capital. In the evening we head into town and have dinner at the Fiesta Villa Mexican restaurant in the old Northern Pacific Railroad depot, an architectural beauty in the Spanish style built over a hundred years ago. Bismarck has many interesting old buildings by the Missouri river. Distance covered today: 395 km (245 miles).

smart Alecs:
  • a yellow and black 2008 beeps at us as it passes in downtown Bismarck, ND
Wildlife Watch:
  • we see dozens of prairie dogs, herds of bison and feral horses in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Day Sixteen: Regina, SK to Glendive, MT

When we stayed in Regina, SK in 2005 on our return home from the Route 66 tour, we had breakfast at Humpty's on Albert Street - we went back again today. You know you're in Saskatchewan when you get offered pierogies as a side dish on the breakfast menu.
We had a personal tour of the Saskatchewan Legislature which was informative and not quite "politically correct". Next to the new RCMP Heritage Centre where we have an appointment to look through some glass slides of pictures in the Brinkworth collection. We head due south and stop off the highway in the village of Pangman, SK [population 260] and have a late lunch at Kathy's Place.
Crossing the border at Regway was a breeze - one car in front of us and it took only seven minutes. Finding a place to stop for the night proved much more difficult. All of the motels in small towns in this part of Montana are booked up with "oil men" as that business is booming in these parts. Fortunately we find a room late in the day at the Days Inn in Glendive to spend the night. Distance covered today: 461 km (286 miles).

smart Alecs:
  • a guy from Moncton, NB quips, "That's a nice little rig. I'd like one myself".
  • officer at the US border crossing asks, " Where do you wind it up?". Hubby answers, " You put the big key in the back".

Wildlife Watch:
  • we've gotten used to playing, "swerve for gophers" out on the prairies but today we had to brake and swerve for a mother Plains Sharp-tailed Grouse and about eight of her chicks. Fortunately, they all scramble across the road to safety.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day Fifteen: Swift Current, SK to Regina, SK

Today is somewhat of a rest day as we drive from Swift Current, SK to Regina, SK. We stop at Moose Jaw, SK and consider doing the tour of the prohibition tunnels but the price and the thought of being herded along with a group make us change our minds. We take a brief look at the old railway station which was at one time the grandest building in town - it's now a liquor store, nuff said.
On the prairies it's wise to top up your tank when you can.
We start to get concerned about running out of diesel as a light flashes on the dash board. The gas station at Caronport, SK, which is run by the Briercrest Seminary, saves the day - we stop for a hot drink at their Starbucks outlet.
We check in to the Best Western in Regina, SK and chill out.
Distance covered today: 260 km (162 miles)

smart Alecs
  • a guy driving a battered Mercury pick-up truck says, " I wanted to buy the diesel one of those but couldn't get one. I don't want to buy the new gas version. Those Americans have ruined it."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day Fourteen: Brooks, AB to Swift Current, SK

We stop at the Brooks Aqueduct before heading west towards Medicine Hat, AB.
On the radio we hear about a vintage car show and jump at the chance to see some classic cars. Before we know it, we're in the show and our smart car Trudi wins a plaque for the car that has travelled from the furthest distance. The event is held at the Pioneer Village in the exhibition grounds, a pleasant shady, grassy area. It's fun that we get to vote on our favourites in categories: the best motorbikes, trucks, cars and upholstery categories.
Many thanks to the Medicine Hat Vintage Vehicles Car Club for organizing and hosting a wonderful event. We thoroughly enjoyed the vehicles, the friendly atmosphere, the barbecue and the door prizes.
We stay at the Best Western in Swift Current, SK. Distance covered today: 342 km (213 miles)

smart Alecs
  • at the car show, Trudi attracts a lot of attention and we get all the usual questions about the car: mileage, highway driving, cargo space, engine specs etc.
  • yellow and silver smart spotted at the farmer's market in Medicine Hat, AB

Day Thirteen: Pincher Creek, AB to Brooks, AB

At Fort Macleod we visit the RNWMP section of the Union Cemetery. The plaque at the entrance has incorrect information about the murder of Constable George Ernest Willmett. For three years we've been trying in vain to get it corrected. We go to the office of the local newspaper, the Macleod Gazette, in an attempt to interest them in the story. Next we stop in at the courthouse, where the trial took place, and are given a tour by town manager Barry Elliott.
After a Tim Horton's lunch in the burbs of Calgary, we visit the Glenbow Archives for more research. The world renowned Calgary Stampede is on in the city and traffic is crazy. You are underdressed without a cowboy hat.
We spend the night at the Travelodge in Brooks, AB. Distance covered today: 171 km (106 miles).

smart Alecs

  • we spot a black/silver and a white/silver smart in Calgary

Wildlife Watch

  • Northern Goshawk

Day Twelve: Coleman, AB to Pincher Creek, AB

Our day starts at the Crowsnest Historical Society Museum in Coleman, AB where I read about "Emporer Pik" one of the best known Mountie murder stories in these parts.
The signs for the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre say CLOSED (for renovations) but we ignore them and show up to meet with Monica Field who's working on the new displays.
The grave of Reuben Steeves, who features in hubby's book, eluded us on our last visit so we are determined to find it this time. We check out two cemeteries at Bellevue with no luck. At Blairmore we do laundry and have a very nice lunch at the Stones Throw Cafe.
We regroup and try the Blairmore Cemetery where a guy sitting in his pick-up truck calls out to me and says, "There's another one up there you know". It took me a while to realize he was pointing to another cemetery up the hill. We head up the hill and it took just about ten minutes before we found the graves of Reuben Steeves, his daughter Eva and his nephew Harry (aka Harvey).
At Pincher Creek we tour the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village and then drop in on Edwin Knox, the cousin of a friend, who is a park ranger at the Waterton Lakes National Park. We grab dinner from the A & W and stay at the Super 8 Motel which is under construction. Total distance today: 100km (62 miles)

smart Alecs

  • a member of the construction crew at the hotel says, " I like the concept of the car but it wouldn't suit me in my line of work." We agree adding, " it's not the car for everyone".

Wild Life Watch

  • four elk in a field at the side of the road

Day Eleven: Missoula, MT to Coleman, AB

Heading north again, we cross the border into British Columbia at Roosville, MT where there are just seven vehicles ahead of us in line and after only 15 minutes we're through customs/immigration and on our way again.
We stop for a photo ops at the courthouse in Fernie, BC and the "World's Largest Truck", in Sparwood, BC. "The Terex Titan 33-19 was a prototype off-road earth hauler built by the Terex Division of General Motors Corporation. It had an operating capacity of 320 tons, an empty weight of 235, and a maximum loaded weight of 553. At the time of its construction, it was the largest truck ever built, but the size record was broken by the Caterpillar 797B in 1998." Source: Wikipedia.
At the BCM Inn Coleman, we give the car a much needed sponge bath before heading out for dinner at Vito's Pizza. Distance covered today: 440 km (273 miles).

smart Alecs

  • bikers from Oklahoma are amused by the smart car. One of them, noticing hubby's British accent asks , "What part of Alabama are you from?". Not missing a beat hubby quips, "I worry about you guys trying to turn my car into a trike".
  • In Kalispell, MT, we spot a red and silver 2008 smart car.

Wildlife Watch

  • ferruginous hawk nesting on the top of a telephone pole on the shore of a lake

Day Ten: White Sulphur Springs, MT to Missoula, MT

At Helena, MT we visit the state capital building and the Montana State Archives.
On to Butte, MT, which bills itself as "The Richest Hill in the World". We drop in at the Silver Bow Archives. "As of the 2000 census, Butte's population was 33,892. In its heyday between the late 19th century and about 1920, it was one of the largest and most notorious copper boomtowns in the American West, home to hundreds of saloons and a famous red-light district. " Source: Wikipedia
After a superb dinner at the Mackenzie River Pizza Company we spent the night at the Grant Creek Best Western in Missoula, MT.
Distance covered today: 471 km (293 miles).

smart Alecs
  • A lady at a gas station approaches the car and is startled to see me in the passenger seat, " Oh, I thought you were someone I knew. A guy in town has a car just like yours and the license plate says Tomato." We kept our eyes peeled but didn't spot it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Day Nine: Red Lodge, MT to White Suphur Springs, MT

On the road again, we head north out of Red Lodge and cross the Yellowstone River at Columbus, MT.
We stop in Harlowton, MT to see the E57B "the last electric locomotive", pictured here. The Electric railway ran from Harlowton to Tacoma Washington over five mountain ranges until its demise in 1974. At the Snowy Mountain Coffee shop across the street we stop for ice-cream and to use the Internet.
At Lewistown, hubby snaps photos of the Masonic Lodge built by Sam Gebo.
We stay the night at the All Seasons Inn & Suites in White Sulphur Springs, MT. I was convinced that it had only been open a short time as it is spotlessly clean and beautifully maintained and was consequently surprised to learn it's been open eight years. We have dinner at Dempsey's Bar in town. Distance covered today: 492 km (305 miles)

smart Alecs:
  • as we fill up with diesel in Red Lodge I get talking to a guy about our Route 66 smart car tour and tell him it only cost us $450 in fuel. He laughs and says, "We work in construction and I've spent over $500 to fill my trucks just this morning".
  • outside Dempsey's Bar in White Sulphur Springs an older gentleman says, "And I thought I had the smallest car in town, you've beat me by half a car". Turns out he drives a Toyota Yaris.

Wild Life Watch:

  • four mule deer by the side of the road. They've got much larger ears than the white-tailed deer we've got in Ontario.

Day Eight: Red Lodge, MT

Back on the research trail, we drive north with Karen to the town of Fromberg, MT. In contrast to Gebo, Wyoming there is nothing left of the coal mining town of Gebo, Montana. There is, however, an interesting cemetery in this remote location. We meet the unofficial cemetery historian Melody who invites us in for ice tea and to look at her archives - photos and clippings of the area's history.
Next we head into Fromberg to meet up with Shirley Smith, proprietor of The Little Cowboy Bar and museum and former Ms Senior Montana 2001. Next we visit the Gebo house and Barn where Anna Belle Hill generously gives us a tour.
We stop in at The Garage Steakhouse, an automobile themed restaurant and bar, in Bridger where we located the site of a former jailhouse which features in hubby's book.

Wildlife Watch:
  • jack rabbits, Western meadowlarks and magpies at Gebo Cemetery

Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday smart car!

10 Years Of The Smart ForTwo: Compact Model Celebrates Its Birthday

Ten years - that's how long it's been since the lovable smart fortwo first rolled off the assembly in Hambach, France. Since then, the compact two-seater has celebrated a multitude of accomplishments, being the vehicle of choice for more than 900,000 customers worldwide as well as holding title as the only automobile still in production to be displayed at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Read full article here.
With thanks to Lourdes.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Day Seven: Red Lodge, Montana

Staying at the historic Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge which is recovering from the Rodeo and Fourth of July celebrations.
I take the opportunity to get some laundry and postcard writing done while hubby and fellow researcher Karen head off to the Carbon County Historical Society.
When hubby comes to pick me up a guy at the laundromat says, " I think I saw your car in town, or another one like it". I laugh, thinking this highly unlikely. We haven't seen another smart car since we left Toronto. Driving back to the hotel, lo and behold, there's a 2008 smart cabrio (red & black like our Trudi) parked at the side of the road. We park behind it and within a minute the owners arrive and so we talk smarts for a few minutes. The car is emblazoned with the Carpet One logo and is from Billings, Montana.

Day Six: Thermopolis, WY to Red Lodge, Montana

Heading north from Thermopolis, we arrive in Cody, WY, just as the Fourth of July parade is starting. We grab some coffee and observe a truly "cultural experience". There are plenty of vintage vehicles, horses and some marching bands. We meet a gentleman on stilts dressed as Uncle Sam as he's been doing for over 40 years. He's fascinated by the car and says,"Let us know when you're coming down next time and we'll put you in the parade".
Continuing north, on the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway (scenic being a vast understatement) and then on to the Beartooth Highway All-American Road. We had no idea what we were in for. We should have realized how high we were climbing when we were marvelling at how deep the snow was on either side of the road. Coming down was a white-knuckle experience for hubby who has vertigo.
The Beartooth Highway, "traces a series of steep zigzags and switchbacks, along the Montana-Wyoming border to the 10,974 foot (3,345 m.) high Beartooth Pass. The approximate elevation rise is from 5,200 to 8,000 feet in 12 miles (1,600 to 2,400 m in 20 km) in the most daring landscapes." source: Wikipedia
Distance covered today: 320 km (199 miles)

smart Alecs:
  • When we check out of our hotel, we find two couples looking at the smart. Turns out they are two retired teachers and their husbands travelling from Kentucky and Minnesota and have a lot of questions about the car. "We were wondering who was driving that car", one lady says.
  • Police officer in Cody, WY, asks, "Aren't they illegal? They should be illegal". My reply is, "When all the motorcycles get off the road, we'll get off the road". He can only laugh and nod his head in reply.
Wildlife Watch:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Day Five: Gillette, WY to Thermopolis, WY

The scenery of the badlands and the black hills of South Dakota were wonderful, but nothing prepared us for the majestic landscape of Bighorn National Forest and Big Horn Mountains.
We stop for coffee at Seney's drugstore and soda fountain in Buffalo, WY. Not only is the decor retro, so are the prices - 57 cents for a cup of coffee.
After stopping for lunch at the Ram's Horn Cafe in Worland, WY, we go off the highway and down a gravel track in search of the ghost town of Gebo. First we find the cemetery and then the ruins of many buildings. Nearby the oil extraction continues on the Gebo dome.
At Thermopolis we visit the Hot Springs County Museum for more research. We spend the night at the Days Inn, Thermopolis, WY. Distance covered today - 333 km(207 miles)

smart Alecs:

  • Lady in Thermopolis spots the smart car as we're in a local museum. She phones her mom to come down and look at it.
  • Man with pick-up truck in Buffalo, WY says, " We all need one of those".
Wildlife Watch:
  • Too many pronghorn antelope to count on the drive through the Big Horn Mountains. We don't spot any big horn sheep however.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Day Four: Chamberlain, SD to Gillette, WY

Yesterday we needed sunblock and air conditioning as the temperature soared to 98 F (37 C). Today we needed an umbrella and defogger as there were scattered thundershowers. The weather didn't stop us from enjoying spectacular scenery in Badlands National Park and the Black Hills. We did a "drive-by" viewing of Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument.
Deadwood, SD, has been immortalized in fiction and may be best known as the place where "Wild Bill" Hickok was murdered. "It became known for its wild and almost lawless reputation, during which time murder was common, and punishment for murders not always fair and impartial." Source Wikipedia: Many of its historic buildings have been wonderfully restored to their former glory.
We spend the night at the Days Inn, Gillette, Wyoming. Distance covered today - 715 km (444 miles).

smart Alecs:
  • Iowan man on his way to Seattle says, "I've been looking at them on the web since they came out."
  • Lady at the Badlands squeaks, " I want to buy one of those! That's my next car!
Wildlife Watch:
  • rattlesnake warnings at the badlands lookouts
  • dozens of prairie dogs digging out after the rain
  • a doe and her two fawns stop traffic on HWY 385

Day Three: Albert Lea, MN to Chamberlain, SD

The Wild West Tour is starting to feel like the Route 66 Tour of 2005. When we stop for diesel at Blue Earth, MN we discover a colossal statue of the Jolly Green Giant. We go looking for coffee in Jackson, MN, and find Reggie's Cinema Barista in the Historic State Theatre.
At lunch time, we stop at Sioux Falls Park and eat at the Lookout Cafe which is in a converted power generator building.
The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota takes the kitsch-culture prize today.
"There has been a Corn Palace in Mitchell since 1892...Each year the Corn Palace is redecorated sporting a new theme. .. The decorative materials ..are all native corn, grasses and grains of South Dakota."
We stayed at the Best Western, Chamberlain, SD, on the banks of the Missouri River. Distance covered today - 524 km (325 miles).

smart Alecs:
  • At breakfast a guy asks, "Does the wind blow you around?".
  • At Sioux Falls a family from Belleville, ON, leave a note on the smart car that says," Happy Canada Day from Belleville :-)"
Wildlife Watch:
  • many ducks dabbling in the rapids and basking on rocks at Sioux Falls