East Bound and Down
The sunset photo at the end of the Sturgis post was a little premature. It was placed for dramatic effect. Between that long lonely highway and the sunset was the Missouri River.
The river crept in and out of view. Lewis and Clark were hoping the Missouri was going to be the one to take them all the way west. Not quite. Just before Pierre, SD there is a sign that says this area was used to film Dances with Wolves. The river in Pierre was flooded. You can see the playground below is well beyond the shoreline in the water.
And now for the appropriately placed sunset.
I spent the night in Mitchell, home of the Corn Palace. They have been changing these murals made of corn annually with new designs since 1948.
I checked out the Prehistoric Indian Village while in Mitchell as well. I’d have to say it’s not worth the price of 6 bucks. The one thing I did find interesting was the buffalo skeleton. I didn’t know the hump on it’s back was shaped by vertical bone.
I stopped by Baltic, South Dakota. I had been here for the first time when I was 11 years old. Back in NYC my friend Michael and his mom Donna would often take me to the movies. To this day I probably have seen more movies with them than anyone. Then one summer they took me with them to Baltic, South Dakota.
I believe the population at the time was 80. I even remember the movie we saw when we came to South Dakota. It was The White Buffalo with Charles Bronson. And I remember meeting Conrad Bain at the Minneapolis St.Paul Airport where we had to transfer to a small propeller plane. Anyway, Facebook got me back in touch with my friend, but I found out his mom had passed a few years ago. As I was leaving Sturgis, it occurred to me that she had probably returned to Baltic. Donna was very kind to me growing up, so I went to pay my respects. In Baltic if you need to know something you can just go to the general store, generally everybody knows everything about everybody. I asked the cashier if she knew Donna. She said she was new to Baltic but we could go ask Mr. Slanzky at the American Legion (to the left below). She left the store with me, brought me to the Legion and introduced me to Mr. Slanzky. Mr. Slanzky directed me to the spot in the cemetery and I had a visit.
When we were kids this was our fishing spot. We caught 35 catfish one day.
I was moving along fine through Iowa as the 65 mph highways turn to 55 mph. I had just passed through the town of Estherville. In a line of traffic headed east out of town, a police car jumped ahead of some other cars and got right behind me. He followed me tight, staying right on my ass, uncomfortably close for about 6 miles before he pulled me over. I was wondering what his justification would be. He told me he pulled me over because he couldn’t read my tags. I said, “that’s funny because that is the only part of my bike I cleaned just this morning so it could be seen.” These guys know Sturgis just ended. I wasn’t doing anything to warrant being pulled over. It was straight up harassment. He was hoping to find some dirt when he ran the drivers license. Bullshit!
Just the fact that they think they don’t need a reason to pull me over is pissing me off as I continue and it’s taking the fun out of my ride.
I felt better after a night of camping in some cool shade at Pilot Knob State Park.
The landscape gets hilly again and the roads get more interesting right until it opens up to the Mississippi River. The plan was to head south along the Iowa side.
If You Build It, They Will Come
I saw on my map that it said Field of Dreams in little red letters. Field of Dreams? Really? Wow! I got the biggest grin on my face as I made my approach to this place. It was exactly as it was in the movie. They do such a good job making this place magical in the movie that it feels really special being there. They call me Shoeless Pat.
Ray loves Annie.
I am told on Sundays real old timers come out and play ball here. They built it, and they do come! How about that?
I continued south toward Clinton.
My reason for going to Clinton, Iowa was to get some Flavor Flav’s Chicken. I read about it a while back and I decided as well as I’m headed in that direction I was going to try some. I got to Clinton and asked a girl in the store where I could find Flavor Flav’s. She told me it was closed. Apparently Flavor Flav’s staff wasn’t getting paid and the place closed down already. Disappointed I crossed the mighty Mississippi River into Illinois and settled for a chicken sandwich from Hardees. I stayed in Morrison Rockwood SP. The log below burned the entire night and into the morning. it was about four feet long and burned from one end to the other like a cigarette. It you ever stop here bring your bug spray. I left my feet exposed and got chewed up bad!
It was time to make some miles. I hopped on the Interstate and flew. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio…blew right through ’em. In Pennsylvania I decided to get off the interstate and back into the mountains. I took Route 66. No relation to the old road out west.
This old bus house is in considerably worse shape than when I saw it 4 years ago.
On the way down Route 6 an old barn caught my eye. But there was more than just a barn at this location.
Looking up into the old barn silo.
The truck traffic on Route 6 became so bad I started yearning for the interstate. The truck traffic is due to natural gas drilling going on all over this part of Pennsylvania. Water tankers make up the greater syndicate of trucks. Apparently natural gas drilling involves lots of water! I was talking to this guy Steve who drives one of those trucks. He says the locals hate it but if it’s not him it’ll be someone else cause it pays real good! As a result of all the truck traffic there is lots of construction and flagmen stopping traffic for one lane roads. The ride started sucking. So I headed back toward the interstate. After a couple delays caused by a fully loaded truck going up hill and an Amish dude on a buggy I was back on the super highway on my way home.
And now I am back in NYC with many mixed feelings. Good to be home? I am not quite sure. Certainly, home or not, the adventure must continue.