I’ve decided that South Dakota is pretty much the most awesome state we have. Why? Two main reasons:
- The 75mph speed limit. That ratchets all the way down to 65 in construction zones. That right there would normally be enough, but as a bonus we also have…..
- It’s not southern Minnesota.
Good god, people, could that stretch of MN be any more boring? I think not. There’s a good indication that even MN itself recognizes how god-awful the southern part of the state is. You see, I think of MN as an “urban” state – it likes to think of itself as being more hoity-toity with its big cities and its standard 55mph speed limits. (This is as opposed to the rough-and-tumble yee-haw cowboy states of, say, South Dakota and Nebrahoma.)
So the fact that even Minnesota throws us a bone by making the speed limit on that stretch a full 70mph is basically conceding defeat on their end.
Of course, one quickly realizes that the key reason the speed limit is in fact 75 in the cowboy states is because otherwise it would take about 10 days to cross each state, starting with South Dakota. I mean what the hell, you folks couldn’t have subdivided the state a bit? West Dakota? Dakoteappolis? Something? As it is it took me about 3 days, or maybe I’m still driving. It’s kind of all a blur.
As for Wyoming, there’s a state that shouldn’t have any speed limits whatsoever. What’s the point? We’ve just spent 16 days driving across South Dakota, I think we’ve got the driving thing down pat.
And when you get to Montana, hell, they should just strap the rocket boosters on your car as soon as you cross the state line. Talk about another endless state, with a lot of scrub brush to not relieve the monotony, and not even a Corn Palace. Hmph.
Speaking of the Corn Palace (which I am happy to note is open “year-a-round”), we did make our pilgrimage there, and The Kone and I were the only people there on a blustery morning, along with a family from Wisconsin, of all places. So after I took the requisite picture of them by the Big Ear of Corn, and they did the same for us, we discovered something astonishing when they heard me call Kona. Their dog back home is also named Kona. What are the odds? I take that as a sign that The Kone and I are on the right path in our quest for kayaking greatness in the PNW.
Other random thoughts on this endless drive:
- The 9th circle of hell clearly involves having to listen to political ads the entire length of the state of Montana. Consisting of back and forth like this:
- “Jon Hastert has promised Montana that he will fell every tree in this state, and he will not rest until we are completely deforested. This is the kind of man Montana needs.”
- “My opponent Jon Hastert has promised the good citizens of this state complete and total logging of every tree in Montana. I promise the same.”
- I’m not even making this stuff up.
- Dick’s Garage in South Dakota: it’s been 3 years since I’ve passed this way en route to Idaho for (ahem) Ironman CDA – yet your sign STILL reads “24-hour Toe Service.” Seriously? It looks newly painted too. Next time I come through here I’m bringing a bucket of paint.
- All through these endless states are barriers that will block off the highway, and signs that will flash yellow lights if 90 is closed. I repeat, if 90 is closed. Umm, does this happen that often, that you close down an entire major highway? It must, if you have these permanent structures in place. What’s the deal, blizzards, locusts, what? I find this rather fascinating.
- To the good people who named the town of Plankinton, SD. Why, I ask you, why? Why this level of unpronounceability?
- Another thing you realize while driving across state after state after endless state – the highway system in this country is pretty damn impressive. (In spite of the stretches of I-90 in Wyoming that are chip seal. What the hell, people?) Mile after mile of road, going god knows where. Who planned this out? How did it all come together? Why, it must have taken weeks to build, weeks!
- Speaking of, there’s a hell of a lot of land out there. What, we couldn’t coexist with the buffalo and the Indians?
- Construction. Endless road construction. I don’t get this. I don’t know how to put this nicely, but no one drives through your states. How can the roads deteriorate that quickly?
- Speaking of the lack of vehicles on the road, such that at one point I worried I had taken a wrong turn like I once did in Death Valley and found myself in a battle with almost certain death. Okay, not really, but I did get lost. Anyway. Back to those speed limits. How are you going to dole out speeding tickets? Station a cop at a “speed trap” where he has to wait until that day’s car goes by? Just wondering.
- The Big Sky Motel in Superior, Montana - you're lovely and all, but point #3 on your list of rules for people who have pets? The one that reads "Pets are not allowed on beds"? Yeah, kinda laughable.
I would write more, but I need to scrub my brain from the suffering of trying to find any kind of radio stations to listen to. Next up: Radio stations in Nebrahoma, the 10th circle of hell.