The first several days of this trip were geared for speed and efficiency, not fun. So we zoomed across the first several states–or tried to, until we hit Illinois, the State of Highway Renewal.
For a 200-mile stretch of highway, there was a work area about every 15 minutes, and we actually went five miles in one hour just past Chicago. (This is the part where I blank from my mind what idiot wonderful vacation planner thought we should pass by the Windy City on a Friday at 5 p.m.)
Saturday we started fresh in Iowa and headed west. Corn. What a surprise. Ooo MORE corn! But there were other points of interest. The wind farms toward the southwestern corner on I-80 were a great demonstration to the children that the country is coming around to alternative energy. There were hundreds of turbines already in place like this one:
We then turned north, waved to Nebraska across the Missouri River from this lookout:
and on to the suddenly-appearing tail of South Dakota. Looking at the terrain and seeing how long it took to traverse the nice paved roads in a comfortable van with portable DVD player, it was brought home to all of us as we followed the Lewis and Clark trail that they must have had a hellacious, long trip.
One ubiquitous feature of South Dakota rest areas is the concrete swirl teepee:
But the best part of the day came after that, and was totally free. The Great Plains have horizons that seem to go on forever, so when the sunset came it lasted over an hour, a coral blaze in the west:
At the same time, to the southeast, there was a huge lightning storm about 20 miles south, that lit up the sky about every 15-30 seconds somewhere on an arc about110 degrees wide over the course of about 90 minutes. It looked like one of those videos of the light-choreographed overkill Christmas lights. Incredible.
Sunday we have many plans, including the Rapid City dinosaur park (up 89 steps? what?), Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower and more. America is indeed the land of Adventure. Tally ho!