St. Paul to Sioux Falls
Part of: Old West Road Trip
*Wednesday, May 20, 2009
St. Paul, MN - Sioux Falls, SD
271 miles (4 hours)*
Our last day in Minnesota had been ridiculously hot (a high of 97 degrees, which broke the previous record of 88) and the wind blew hard all night, so we didn't sleep much in our south-facing, second-floor bedroom. We took our time getting packed up Wednesday morning, but around 11:30 we reluctantly said goodbye to Grandma and Tiger and got back on the road.
As mentioned earlier, we visited Lonna again on the way out of town, which was great. Then we enjoyed a delicious burrito at a Minneapolis Chipotle, picked up some iced coffees from our last Caribou Coffee (*sniff), and headed for South Dakota.
The first leg of the journey was none too pleasant, thanks to cross winds gusting up to 60 mph. David expertly kept the car in our lane while I nervously watched semi-trucks zigzag all over the road. One even got two wheels off the ground! And this part of Minnesota is nothing but fields and farms, so the freeway was soon full of dust.
Here are some videos so you can share the experience, complete with soundtrack and occasional commentary by David. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get any video of the trucks blowing around - that would have been more exciting. I was probably trying not to look at that point.
Despite what Billy says, you can see it was not, in fact, a nice day for a white wedding.
The wind finally went away when we turned east near the border with Iowa. After that, the trip was uneventful. We saw our first sign for the famous Wall Drug before crossing the South Dakota border, when it was still 300 miles away.
Around 5pm we arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We stopped to take pictures of the big cathedral, where we saw a priest and a rabbit. It's in a pretty residential area on a hill and I've since learned that it was built in 1915-19. We didn't go inside, as we were ready to find a hotel and dinner.
We checked out a couple different hotels and ended up at a Homewood Suites, a Hilton hotel chain that has kitchens and such in all the rooms. It was fantastic - big, clean and modern, with central air conditioning, free wi-fi, free breakfast and free dinner that are actually good, free laundry machines and various other services, all for about the same price as other decent hotels. We became big fans and stayed at two more Homewood Suites later in the trip.
For dinner we went to Olive Garden, as we hadn't been to one in years (for good reason, it turns out) and we were in the mood for salad. It was a mixed bag. The soup and salads were delicious but the breadsticks were rock hard and David's pasta came in a sea of oil. Definitely not picture worthy.
Sioux Falls seemed like a pretty nice city. Lots of peaceful, tree-lined residential neighborhoods and new shops and restaurants (including Borders and Cabela's, which we split up to visit in the morning). We missed Grandma, but it was also nice to be on the road again. And to have air conditioning.