Day 22 - July 25 - Aberdeen, SD, 104.2miles (167.7 kms) - total so far 1729.8 miles (2833.8 kms)
Distance: 104.2 miles (167.7 kms)
Total time: 9hrs 6 mins (including long lunch)
Average Moving Speed: 13.8mph (22.2 kph)
Maximum Speed: 22.6 mph (36.4 kph)
Calories burned: 4355
Elevation gained: 1539 ft (469 meters)
Weather: Cloudy and cool in Aberdeen at 9am in the morning with temperatures about 60 degF (15C). Rain started after about 30 minutes but it was light and not bothersome. Humid though and warmed when the sun came out about noon with temperatures at 77F (24C) when I arrived in Watertown. Wind mostly from the north but relatively light all day.
Powered by: Breakfast - 1 banana, 1 large bowl of Raisin Bran,yogurt, 1 donut and 1 Danish roll and a lot of orange juice; Lunch at Subway of a footlong egg and cheese sub with a Greek yogurt parfait with granola, 2 bananas, some nuts, 2 liters of water and 1 liter of Gatorade
All the local weather forecasters warned of a high probability of rain and thunderstorms today as another cold front moved south east across the Dakotas. But my look at the National Weather Service radar and the composite loop suggested that I might escape the rain as Aberdeen was in a zone between two regions of storms. That proved to be mostly the case, although it rained lightly for about 30 minutes when I was about 10 east of the city. It was the second time that I put on the rain jacket this trip but since it was quite humid, I was quickly sweaty and got wet anyway. After the line of rain passed, the day turned out to be a very good one for bike riding. It reminded me a lot of a nice summer's day in Ireland with quite changeable weather and what my father would have described as a "close day". (I think he meant humid and warm but it was never clarified). The wind shifted to the north and remained light all day. The forecast is for more cool and sunny conditions for the next 3-4 days with high temperatures in the low 70s F (about 22C), which is about 15 degreesF cooler than average. It should be great for biking.
This was the scene for most of the day, except that the sun came out later
Apart from one climb of about 400 feet over 5 miles, the landscape was flat and the crops seem to extend only to corn (maize) and soybeans. Since there was little traffic and a wide shoulder, I resorted for the first time to the little radio I carried along. With one bud in the right ear, I searched in vain for a long time for a station that was not playing country music, though the farm programs was informative. I got caught up on the grain future prices on the Chicago Board of Trade, on pork belly prices, on why the cool summer nights expected are coming at the wrong time for corn and bean pollination (apparently low temperatures above 70F, 21C are better), and what sorts of stuff locals were selling by phoning in the item description and price. I finally picked up a South Dakota public radio station to learn that the state ranks first in teenage driver fatality rates (neighboring states of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana round out the top 4 nationally) and an unsatisfactory discussion about what might be done. The most sensible suggestion proferred was to raise the minimum age from 15 but the legislature has been reluctant to agree.
This Waldorf hotel has seen better days
A small town museum with a few old buildings moved there
This small town cinema in Webster is still operating but only on weekends
Looks like something from a Coen brothers movie; it's too funny for words.
At Webster, I bade farewell to US Highway 12 which I have mostly travelled on since Oregon. It heads to Minneapolis and I'm heading in a south-east direction. The South Dakota roads 25 and 20 had good shoulders and even less traffic. I ran into a major road repair project which required riding on newly-tarred surfaces and dodge big trucks and oncoming cars but the bike seems unaffected. This lasted for 8 miles and if I had known, I would have taken an alternative route. Unlike Montana and the western part of South Dakota, there are a lot of alternatives now to head in my preferred direction. Essentially, I'll be choosing routes that go south and then east, or east and then south since there are few diagonal options in the grid road pattern of the Midwest.
I've seen lots of sights like this in eastern South Dakota
Some of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes have escaped across the border to South Dakota - I passed about 10 today.
The last 40 miles to Watertown was powered by "hippie music" as the station termed it, popular songs from the 1960s and 1970s. I sang along lustily, and frightened some cattle and horses. With a slight tailwind, flat road, strong legs, musical accompaniment and cool temperatures, I was in Watertown before I knew it. Unlike other days with high temperatures where I was rationing out the liquids to last till the next mini-mart, I ended the day with 2 filled bottles and a liter of Gatorade. I was not "Running on Empty" as Jackson Brown was singing in my ear as I rode into town. It was probably the easiest day riding yet, though the distance was the longest at 104 miles
That cowboy in Watertown looks worried about something
Downtown Watertown - lots of empty storefronts as usual for city centers
Tomorrow, I head for Marshall MN and more of those accents that I enjoy. If you've heard Frances McDormand as the police chief in "Fargo" (the Coen brothers movie), you'll know it well.