Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 29 - Sioux Falls to Worthington.MN

Threat of thunderstorms today...

So I start early...

While everyone else is back at the breakfast buffet,
I am finding my way to the bike path
of Sioux Falls.

It's nice to be alone
this AM.

So peaceful biking
by myself...

...waving at
the morning

I enjoy
the bright reds
of the
South Dakota

But there are eerie colors
with the dawn-lit trees
against the
storm-darkened sky.

Lots of detours this AM...

The ABB staff has been hard at work finding new routes on the fly...

...and marking the roads so we don't get lost.

I find my way to the Sioux Falls where I had lunch yesterday...

The water runs brown...

I was told that is because of cow poop in the river.

No one can swim in their river.

But Northern Prairies Land Trust
is working to help clean the river.

They've gotten a grant to pay farmers to set "nature corridors" on their lands.

They still own the land, but a strip along the river is off-limit to livestock and will be planted with native prairie plants.

The dense roots of the grasses and forbs will help filter the rain runoff into the river...and provide habitat for the songbirds.

Kind of like the nature corridor we planted in Fishers, Indiana.

As I bike along the river this morning I hear again the wickety-wickety-wickety of the common yellowthroat - one of my favorite birds.

I have heard him in the brush along rivers since Oregon, but not once have I seen his bright face.

I circle past the Falls with the elegant park...

walking paths...



I turn a corner and see...

...the stockyards...

Rotted wood of gates
where thousands of animals
have been crowded
off the trucks...
down the chutes...

Presided over by the creepy Hitler-like pig chef.

OK. I've sworn off bacon forever.

But I've got other things to think about right now.

It's pouring rain and all these railroad tracks are slippery.

I end up walking my bike over many of them.

I hear later that three bikers fell on the wet tracks today.

I duck into a Casey's for a drink and  a dry moment.

So nice to be in a familiar place.

Casey's is my favorite stop along 40 in Indiana.

In a few miles
I reach a new milestone...

Leaving South Dakota...

Welcome to Minnesota!

No other bikers around, so I photo my Diet Coke for the memory books.

Every ten or twenty miles I pass through another friendly midwest town...

All have their town motto and welcome sign...

I like Luverne for the prairie theme.

I find out later that they have
a 1600 acre park of
original tall grass prairie
North of town.

I would have loved to have seen that!

SAG time at the Luverne City Park.

Here are all the other bikers!

I get to see them in their colorful rain gear.

Al tells me the big news.

Phil has quit the ride.

He was looking for me to say good-bye this morning, but I was already on the road.

I will miss Phil.

He was a good riding and vanning companion.

Miles and miles of farmland

I feel good biking today...

The legs are strong...

And I have plenty of time to dawdle.

I stop in the shade for a snack... rest my feet in the air.

..and enjoy watching this horse frolic around his pasture.


Katie rushes by leading this paceline.

She's gotten so fast I can hardly catch her picture.

And I'm so slow...

I stop to take pictures of an old friend from home...

Queen Anne's lace.

I have loved taking schoolkids out to our land and telling them the story of this English wildflower.

It seems lady Anne Boleyn had 6 fingers on one hand.

So when King Henry married her she began the fashion of wearing lace sleeves low over her fingers.

The peasants saw the lace and it reminded them of the flower on the roadsides.

So they named it Queen Anne's lace.

Then King Henry cut her head off.

Gruesome story for such a lovely flower.

But the schoolkids love it.

I've seen these windmills in every state.

They swirl their slow dance on the horizons...

They remind me of the origami peace cranes...

I don't know why.

I'm seeing remnants of the tall grass prairie by the roadside.

Small oases for the butterflies next to the rumbling trucks...

And I see and hear a very midwestern symbol...

The tornado siren.

When we first heard one go off at noon in a small town, one of our West coast bikers thought the siren was calling the farmers in to lunch.

We enter Worthington to a welcome sight....

a patch of prairie flowers at the stop sign...

When I stop to take pictures - sitting on the ground for the best angle - a dozen bikers passing by ask if I'm all right.

So nice to have the unique plants of Minnesota to welcome visitors to town...

Our hotel is also very welcoming.

They have a lovely courtyard, which we enjoy in our own special way....

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