|The Mother Road, Route 66: Day 16 (Map)||
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Winner, SD to White Bear Lake, MN (via Hawkeye Point, IA & Minneapolis, MN) - 791 km (492 mi)
We hadn't eaten since those snacks in Hot Springs, so the first order of the day was stopping at the local Casey's for some food for us and gasoline for the Hyundai.
(Casey's seemed to be the gas/convenience store of choice for the Great Plains.)
U.J. loves faffing whenever she has to make a difficult decision like choosing a breakfast snack; so I took the opportunity to walk a few blocks around Winner while she hemmed and hawed.
I wish I would have known Winner was the seat of Tripp County because I would have went to see the courthouse; but Winner's Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception was an acceptable consolation.
As we drove east along South Dakota Highway 44, I was attempting to soak up the maximum amount of rolling hills and farms, because I was sour at the amount of night driving the day before. What good was driving this obscure highway if we were going to traverse it at night?
As we passed through the City of Armour and upon an abandoned homestead, I checked if it was okay with U.J., before turning the car around and getting out for a closer inspection.
We still had our illogical fear of snakes & spiders here in South Dakota, so we weren't planning on wondering very far off of the roadway.
Thankfully the driveway was worn down enough for us to move towards the buildings which made up the homestead: a barn, home & garage.
I eventually accepted that I was being ridiculous & that there wasn't a venomous snake waiting to attack me in the 10 feet of grass between the driveway and the house.
Astonishingly I made it through the grass and into the open door!
The farmhouse had an average amount of artifacts left behind & it was even more enjoyable as it wasn't entirely trashed.
The most confusing feature of the house was the bathroom, which was in a tub-sized room connected to the kitchen. (Your guess is as good as mine - I figured it had to do with an easy place to add a bathroom after the house was already built.)
The house also had a lot of open windows, which wreaked havoc on my photos by spilling vast quantities of sunlight into every room.
I realize that my photo editing skills and lack of tripod don't help either - no there isn't a mountain outside, that's an insect nest of some sort & it looks really goofy when you try to dodge out the sunlight of the raw picture.
I wandered up to the sketchy second floor and into every room, until I was satisfied with seeing the house. I didn't check out the barn or the garages for some unknown reason (probably because I'm an aloof boob who doesn't think of such things).
Afterward there was another example of why I need to be better organized & decisive on these trips: we drove 45 minutes out of our way, to go to a city without proper directions to this abandoned building, without a proper amount of time to do anything about said abandoned building, and no clue what we were going to do at a visible abandoned building at 2pm in a small midwestern town...it was complete time-wasting fucktardary.
The time could have been spent a lot better.
The side trip did put us just a river crossing away from Nebraska & a 21st state on this trip. We considered crossing the bridge briefly for shits & giggles, but decided against it as anyone impressed with driving a car around for 17 days, is going to be impressed enough with 20 states (as opposed to 21).
Anyway, the above picture isn't even of that town that we drove 45 minutes out of the way for - I thought it was, until I uploaded it & realized that this is Rock Rapids, IA...which has no ties to any of my tales whatsoever.
We came to Iowa not only because our pointless detour made us, but also because we wanted to hit the state highpoint, which was sort of along our way.
Looking at the above picture, I hope you can guess that this is a difficulty level 1 highpoint. The climb involved driving along a 4-lane highway until a sign indicated "1/8 Mile. Hawkeye Point. Highest Point in Iowa"; where we then turned left, turned into a driveway, parked the car, walked 15 feet and...
...state highpoint #8!
I almost thought U.J. was going to drive her import onto the highpoint, as we drove so close that I had to scold her.
You need to at least have a few token steps to achieve a highpoint!
There are foothills in Eastern Iowa near the Mississippi River, but the rest of Iowa is legendarily flat. The highpoint is simply explained in that the western part of Iowa angles up towards South Dakota & Minnesota and is slightly higher in elevation than the rest of the state. Hawkeye Hill is the tallest point in Iowa by being a 20m mound 4 miles south of the Minnesota border.
Although people can poke fun at difficulty 1 state highpoints, Iowa's is charming in how beautifully it is maintained & the amount of work that is apparent.
I personally loved the tile mosaic circle with "Welcome to Iowa", "Hawkeye Point" & the State of Iowa displayed.
There were also 5 sign posts featuring the other 49 state highpoints, along with their direction, elevation & distance.
The peak provided surprisingly distant views over the surrounding corn fields.
I was content to stand atop Iowa in the sunshine with the warm winds and the great views for hours. Thankfully though, U.J. broke up my concentration as we had places to be...
We had plans to go to our 3rd and last baseball game of the trip! First pitch was at 7:05 and our GPS told us we would be in Minneapolis to see the Twins at 7:10.
U.J. drove like a bat of hell - and maybe even too batty as she picked up a 77 in a 55 ticket - in an attempt to get there. I fell asleep for a bit, but soon enough we were encroaching on the Minneapolis skyline and their surprisingly crazy traffic.
This was the inaugural year for Target Field in Minneapolis & many of the games had been sellouts.
Knowing this, I was a little concerned as we hurriedly parked the car in some garage and rushed towards the stadium. Thankfully, even though it was an immaculate summer evening on the July 4th weekend, we were still able to score 2 tickets in the upper deck behind 3rd base.
Target Field was modeled after some of the great modern ballparks currently in baseball (Baltimore, SF, Pittsburgh). As we handed in our tickets and moved into the concourse, it was open, spacious & clean. While I may enjoy older parks more, there was plenty to be admired about the Twins' beautiful modern home.
The two of us were ecstatic to find Leinenkugels being sold at the ballpark and made for our seats to watch the Twins battle the Rays after purchasing a pair. Most ballparks have some standard shit beer (Coors Light,Bud,Blue) with only a few other isolated options; but at Target Field, Leinenkugels seemed plentiful & we were thankful.
I went for my standard 5th inning walk around the stadium, enjoying the wide open views of the warehouse district & downtown from various areas.
Overall I was really enjoying Target Field. I didn't grow up with a ton of baseball, but this seemed to be stereotypically what baseball was about. The stadium was very open and it felt as if you were watching a game at a gathering place more than a sports arena. The kitschy aspects of the giant neon Twins sign, microbrews on tap & trees in right field added the necessary variance to push Target Field away from the cookie cut mold. The concourses were huge & there didn't seem to be a lot of bottlenecks; I appreciated this as I'm a fast walker and don't like to wait for people ahead to move. Lastly, speaking of people, there could be no complaints about the females of Minneapolis: this amazing day had brought out lots of bared thigh, flowing hair and pretty faces.
It's hard to rank Target Field ahead of the classic Wrigley Field, but I could honestly see it being rated higher than any of the other 10 stadiums I've been to.
Continuing my walk, I was also in search of a 'walleye on a stick', but I apparently remembered the food item wrong & it was actually only a 'pork chop on a stick'...
It was still good...but it would have been funnier if it was a walleye on a stick.
The only fantasy player I had in the game was Jon Rauch...and he came in to successfully get me the save in the 9th!
It wasn't as exciting as seeing Juan Pierre get a rare homer for me in Detroit or Dontrelle Willis throw a complete game for me in person...but it was something that added to the game.
The Twins won 2-1 and the neon Twins sign lit up and the two neon men shook hands over a hard fought Twins victory.
There were fireworks because it was July 4th weekend...and we had to stay because U.J. said so (personally I couldn't care less about fireworks as I believe they are overrated like live music & amusement parks (other loud, pointless things)).
The fireworks did help in that some people left & it wasn't as congested at usual for a baseball game departure. We walked the few blocks to our car and Minneapolis looked like a really fun place to go out for the night...plenty of bars had their fronts open and young people were consuming pints left & right. Unfortunately we had to get going.
We didn't like our prospects for eating establishments in middle-of-the-night Eastern Minnesota, so we had to stop at an Applebee's within the Minneapolis suburbs.
Afterward, our GPS said that we still had 15 hours to drive to Detroit; which meant that there would be no sleeping tonight as we had to get back tomorrow. Thankfully, the Applebee's waiter made me drink 3 cups of coffee after having to make a fresh pot at 11pm; but it was much needed and appreciated as we left the interstate and sped into the night.
Onto Day 17.
Total Distance Covered To Date: 10077km (6260mi)
Windsor,ON to Mooseheart,IL via. Michigan City,IN
St.Clair,MO to Bentonville,AR via. Cuba,MO & Mt.Magazine,AR
Conway,TX to Albuquerque,NM
via. Armadillo,TX & Tucumcari,NM
Albuquerque,NM to Williams,AZ
via. Flagstaff,AZ & Winslow,AZ
Williams,AZ to Rialto,CA
via. Oatman,AZ & Needles,CA
Rialto,CA to Pasadena,CA
via. Salton Sea,CA & Mexicali,Mexico
via. Big Sur,CA & Monterey,CA
San Jose,CA to San Francisco,CA
via. Lick Observatory,CA
San Francisco,CA to Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
via. Sacramento,CA & Carson City,NV
Hickison Petroglyphs,NV to Casper,WY
Casper,WY to Winner,SD
via. Keystone,SD & Oral,SD
1 - Wikipedia - Target Field
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