Day 7: Minnesota & South Dakota

I’m now running about a day behind schedule. I underestimated the number of things on my list for Southeast MN and didn’t make it into SD until around 5pm. So, tomorrow I really have to make up some time. Though I’ll be watching out for troopers since they got me for speeding the last time I was here in SD.

There were lots of non-roadside diversions today. I took lots of photos that will never make it to my website — and many that won’t make it here either. Here’s one odd little place — Gnome Park in Dawson, MN. There are about 20 or so gnome statues — some alone, some in little scenes. I particularly like the photographer.


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It’s been awhile since I talked about food at this blog. Mostly because it’s been unremarkable thus far because I’ve been getting by exclusively on stuff I brought from home. But I ventured into a supermarket to stock up on a few things yesterday. Not really worth reporting or photo-ing: cheese, oranges, bananas, cookies… I thought I might get some Wheat Thins or Triscuits and headed for the cracker aisle. I’m really out of touch with suburbia because I was overwhelmed by the options. There must have been 10 kinds of both brands. I finally opted for this combo: Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil. It’s proven a good choice. By themselves, they are a bit too salty but they have a nice kick. Really good with cheese.

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How about a little behind the scenes van tour. Here’s the “fridge” which resides in the passenger wheel well where I can keep an eye on it. I used to keep the coolers in the back but Nik figured out how to bang his paw on the button to open them. When I first got Grem, she spent several determined days scratching and gnawing on them but has finally given up. The little blue cooler usually holds the stuff that needs to be on ice (cheese, yogurt, chocolate, meaty dog treats, etc.). The bigger red cooler holds the Diet Coke — my life blood. That’s “Larry the Laptop” charging next to the coolers.

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And here’s the “pantry”. It may look like a dog crate to you — but this is where I keep the less perishable stuff and the open bag of dog food. Only on very rare occasions does it get used as dog crate.

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The other dog food bags are in the very back of the van barricaded by plastic boxes. I keep an ear out if I hear any digging back there. Nik manages to bust into the plastic boxes quite frequently to get to his toys. He proudly brings them to me immediately hoping I’ll throw-it! throw-it!. But usually he only gets a “thank you buddy!” and the toy goes away and the box gets shut. He pouts like a little kid.

This guy on his tractor was driving down the main street in the little town of Kerkhoven, MN while I was there. It reminded me of that country song about the wife hiding the husband’s keys to keep him home at night but he just drives into town in his John Deere. Or those stories about people driving their tractors around when they’re drunk because they didn’t think it counted the same as a car. Anyway, I’m sure this guy was just running an errand. It seemed like such a cool thing to do but the thing was louder than a motorcycle.

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A glorious bit of juxtaposition here. A hearing aid store – that explains the giant ear. But, oh, that tile, the flowers and that odd bank-like window.

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As much as I plan these trips, sometimes I have a bad address — or no address — and I have to rely on the kindness and knowledge of the locals. This usually works out fine in the smaller towns. Especially in this case where I had cleverly printed a photo of a place in Willmar, MN that I was looking for before the trip. I showed the print-out to a few passersby and they didn’t recognize it. But then one guy did and he drew me this little map — ain’t it sweet? I should really save all these trip artifacts and create shadow boxes with them or something.

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I was distracted by a lot of statues/sculptures today. I’m mostly attracted to the animals, of course.

A metal mule in Pipestone, MN:

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There are a bunch of sculptures in downtown Sioux Falls, SD. These are just a few:

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And lastly, I went to see the Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose, SD. Here are some other photos & info about the place:
http://flickr.com/photos/detourart/sets/72157606547783074/
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/4427

It was nearly sunset and I think I was the last tourist for the day. The “greeter” said it was fine if I let the dogs loose to run and go see the statues. Fix and Grip are no problem but I had to worry about the other wildlife-crazed beasts. Nik stayed busy with his Chuck-it ball throwing it for himself pretty much the whole time. I kept Grem on-leash while I was taking pictures and nervously unhooked her when I could pay close attention. Lately, she’s been staying pretty close as it seems Cheddar cheese is her weakness. But God forbid anything should move out there in those vast fields and I knew I’d be in trouble. Luckily, nothing bad happened. On the way out, I realized the greeter was the artist himself and we chatted for awhile about various topics. An incredily nice and interesting guy and the artwork is really fantastic. The place is right off I-90 so you really must stop if you’re ever headed that way. Wayne keeps a little guest book for everyone to sign with “The Most Important Thing You Know.” People signed things like “Never give up.” What say you all?

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