Art starts the day checking the truck and I the map. We're soon on the road again, heading west on Route 3.
On the map I spy the Grotto of Redemption just a few miles north. We need not visit, but some of you would be well advised to put it on your itinerary (you know who you are).
It's all about corn in Iowa, and if you haven't seen the film King Corn, check it out. As the miles pass it's easy to see how it all fits together, with signs reading PIONEER: Technology That Yields, Monsanto Soybean Production Facility (yummy), and Leader in Ethanol Industry (do we really want to use food-producing land to grow fuel?).
Then, west of Alta, a different kind of fuel farm, looking otherworldly.
The blades on those turbines are enormous.
We fill up in Cherokee, IA, where you pull in and pump gas before paying inside. How long since we've done that? Bonus: free Des Moines Register with $10 gas. It's only 8 pages long (not counting Sports), but it's a good paper and it's free.
Wonderfully stinky French cheese on brown bread with red onion and Bruce's blueberry jam--the low-sugar one (save me another jar!).
We're leaving Iowa, crossing over into South Dakota, where a subtle change in landscape already seems apparent. Or is it just a state line state of mind? Heading for Clay County Park, on the Missouri River in Vermillion, SD (you! no snarking about my maps!).
This three-year-old park is the pride of the town, according to a volunteer who comes by to mow and do other tending. Of interest, since we've seen signs in other campgrounds about reduced services due to the economy. Our $15 fee buys a new bathhouse with endless hot showers.
After a nice hike to the Mighty Missouri, it's time for supper: rooftop eggplant and tomatoes with onions and a side of smoked mackerel.
And finally, a fire. It's a beautiful night.