Hi,

Perhaps you’re partial to South Dakota although, other than the Badlands, I can’t imagine why. I think it says something when the most attractive aspect of an entire state is named “Bad Land.” If you lived here the very first thing you would do is move to somewhere else.

The wind has been relentless for three days. Otherwise it’s been marginally close to warm enough to consider the tent. But that wind is a deal-killer, in the tent department. It’s been constant and 30 mph with gusts upwards of 45 mph. Over the last three days I’ve chased my baseball cap, newspaper from washing the windshield, and my lunch all of which have escaped the bounds of gravity and flown across one field or another.

We’re still off the Interstate Highways and one thing I can say about South Dakota is that their 2-lane roads are in excellent repair. You can go 80 miles an hour all day long. In fact that’s a pretty good idea.

We backed up to Interstate 90 the night before last in a little town called Murdo for the purpose of visiting the Pioneer Auto Show, an improbable collection of 250 antique and otherwise collectable automobiles that are more or less sheltered from the elements in a series of leaking, and unheated rattling old buildings that provide the barest of windbreaks on the South Dakota Plain. I’m talking rare autos here: your Cords, Huppmobiles, and Henry J’s, in addition to your SS 396 Chevelles and your amphicars. We spent hours marveling at this assortment of history before heading off to the Outhouse Museum, about which I will say no more, other than “don’t bother.”

Gregory, SD appears to be an unremarkable little town, even including the miserable collection of tumbledown outhouses for which it is noted. Except for the north-facing sides of many of the homes and commercial buildings in town, which are glazed with plywood and pockmarked as if large stones had been fired point-blank at the walls by some giant repeating cannon. Which, in a way, is what happened about a month ago when hailstones 3 and a half inches in diameter pelted the town in the night, along with 3 inches of rain. It was interesting to note that the constant 30 mph wind in town today was from exactly the opposite direction. Clearly, the people of South Dakota get it both coming and going.

After breakfast we’ll begin today with the National Music Museum and its collection of 10,000 musical instruments including one of two Stradivari guitars in existence. The museum is located on the campus of the University of South Dakota which, other than its location, appears to be a quite nice facility.

Then we’ll escape to Iowa. Or Minnesota; we haven’t quite decided. But I think the wind will die down and the rain will begin, whichever way we turn. It’s snowing heavily in the Black Hills, which we left behind only a couple of days ago. Nice timing.

I’ll get around to putting a photo of Mt. Rushmore up on the blog, but chances are you can conjure up the image unaided. See, it ain’t all bad in South Dakota, just mostly.

Bill

www.elotrowa.com
(202) 262-0576

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