Blue, green, and pavement

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The coppers finally got us.  I was caught going 78 in a 60 zone and now I owe the state of Nebraska 123 dollars.

Of course, I was moving with such speed because of our surroundings: these are the Great Plains and there’s not a whole lot to slow down for.  The past two days have seen us travel clear across Iowa and most of Nebraska.  We then detoured off Route 20 into South Dakota, ending our drive in Rapid City, where I now write to you on Mountain Time.

In all fairness, though, the landscapes out here are absolutely gorgeous.  Iowa is a peaceful drive, with windmills and farmhouses dotting the horizon.  Nebraska is not as flat as I expected, with rolling hills and tiny towns with populations in the triple digits.  But South Dakota tops them all – just look below.  That’s all we could see for miles and we had no complaints.

Iowa countryside

Iowa

Nebraska countryside

Nebraska

South Dakota

South Dakota

After leaving Dubuque and all its splendor behind, we paused our perpetual westward push for wine tasting.  As it turns out, there are over 100 wineries in the Hawkeye state and the selection isn’t too shabby.  We picked up a sweet red and continued on our way past our nation’s corn supply.

We ended that day on the other side of Iowa, where we spent the night at a cheap motel in Sioux City, checking in just in time to see the Spurs almost blow a 20 point lead.  The next morning we crossed the Missouri River and entered Nebraska, where our sub-compact Sonic stood out like a sore thumb among all the trucks and tractors.

By the way, people are undoubtedly more friendly out here.  I keep trying to egg on the Midwesterners to talk shit about other parts of the country, but they won’t bite.  Asked if she has any preconceptions about the Northeast, one lady said it’s “crowded”.  And here I thought the entire middle of the country considers New York City a modern-day Sodom.

Finally, we ran into some interesting town names today.  There was Valentine, Nebraska, where the sidewalks are decorated with red hearts, and Murdo, South Dakota, which Paul decided was a portmanteau of murder and Mordor.  Storm clouds and a graveyard greeted us, so he might possibly be on to something.

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