Saturday 28 August 2010

Day 1 – Cruising Quickly From One Dakota To The Other

So, we’re on our way!
After saying a sad goodbye to our friends last night and Joe’s parents this morning, it started to become obvious that despite our doubts about our recent move, we had actually started to settle into life in Minnesota and we are going to miss our friends and family for the next couple of months.

Of course, once the open highway was in front of us it was time to focus on the task ahead and it quickly became clear how large America really is. Even just driving through Minnesota there were points where there was nothing, but fields and our own road for as far as the eye could see…and then we hit North Dakota!!
When planning this trip no state gave us more trouble than North Dakota. So vast and so out of the way, there really needed to be a good reason to go…There wasn’t. We couldn’t find a single thing worth venturing into the top of America for. Now I’m sure the ND residents would argue that they have a great state there, with plenty to do, but unfortunately this couple wouldn’t agree. What we did find though was a casino tucked just inside the corner of North Dakota and, as you’ll notice from a couple of our visiting choices down the road, we love to gamble. The first stop on our trip therefore ended up being The Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson, ND.
Having nearly run out of gas on a very desolate road (lesson one of the road trip – keep a close eye on the gas tank!) we weren’t feeling particularly lucky. Sadly for Dakota Magic, we weren’t feeling their little casino in the middle of nowhere either...and we definitely weren’t feeling blowing our budget at the first stop, so after a halfway decent buffet and a small flutter we decided to hit the road ahead of schedule and see what South Dakota had to offer instead.

This meant my turn to drive! It’s only been the first day and it’s already apparent that this husband and wife team don’t agree on each others driving styles. Both of us can’t be the bad driver of the marriage, so one of us is very, very wrong. I’m not going to speculate as my opinion is biased. One thing I did discover though is the joy of cruise control. Having only driven a manual car in the UK, I’d never known the laziness of driving an automatic, but cruise control, well that’s a whole new level of laziness! Hit a button and basically all you have to do is steer! Oh America!

Arriving in Mitchell, SD I was excited to see this famed Corn Palace I’d heard so much about over the last couple of years. A palace made completely of corn, what’s not to love? And the annual Corn Festival is on while we’re there? Even better!
Errrr…Hum. It literally is just a big palace made of corn. Even standing inside it (which was very uncorn-like with a decent sized auditorium set up to host Bjorn Again tonight), all I could muster was ‘huh, it really smells like corn in here’…

Back out on the street the ‘festival’ wasn’t much more impressive, just four blocks of the worst part of the Minnesota State Fair; even the promise of seeing a two-headed snake for $1 wasn’t appealing to us, so we went into a cool antique store instead. In there we almost wished we weren’t on day one so we could have bought some kooky old stuff. We were sensible though - where the hell would we have put a mounted deer head for the next 73 days?

Best part of the day? A good dinner. Both of us enjoyed a Turkey Avocado burger at Ruby Tuesdays.

Day one down and hoping for a more impressive day two!

So, until tomorrow…

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