Friday, September 7, 2012

Go West Old Man – Onward To Rapid City, SD – 2012

After a day in Iowa City we headed for Sioux Falls, South Dakota's largest city, via the non-interstate roads and a route I layed out to avoid construction delays.  We were on a combination of Iowa and US highways most of which were pretty bumpy due to the tar in the expansion joints – the interstates were the same.

It was sad to see all of the dried up corn fields and the pain the farmers must feel from investing so much time, effort, and money for little return – it looks like some of the soybean crop may be more of a success.  I was surprised to find the land to be gently rolling rather than the dead flat of central Illinois.  I could imagine how nice it would have looked with green corn waving in the breeze.  Iowa looked about the same as the early shots below of South Dakota.
I was totally amazed at the wind farms we saw driving along US-18 in Northern Iowa – one of which was more than five miles long.  As it turns out, Iowa is the leading state producer of wind energy and according to Wikipedia there is one in Hancock County with 148 turbines and since we were in that county and guessed the one we saw to have more than a hundred, this may have been it.  This a shot from the internet but very similar to what we saw.

We also saw two smaller farms south of US-18 and another with just three windmills, which we wondered about. 

We spent the night in a totally full KOA Campground in Sioux Falls, SD where we just rested, and planned for the next day.  We headed out about 8:30am and drove across South Dakota on one of the best roads (I-90) we’d been on including the sometimes pinkish pavement.  It is due to to some type of mineral rock that is used in the asphalt and for the shoulders –it may be quartzite.

As we went across the early southern part of South Dakota, it looked like Iowa with nearly all corn and soybean farms then became farms with a little grassland mixed end.  Nearly all of the scenery shots were taken out the window as we drove along.  Bev advised I would bore you to death with all these shots but I wanted you to see what we saw. 
West of Chamberlain, where we crossed the Missouri River, we went up several hundred feet and things changed.  This is the river as we approazched it, the hilly area on the other side, then the higher plateau than before.

While we still saw corn and soybeans, we began seeing grain, sorghum (the red fields), and sunflowers, with even more grassland. Soon, after going up to a higher plateau, there was just a little corn and lots of grain and grassland, with cattle and they were now ranches rather than farms.  Some of the rolls are grass and some are straw from the grain crop - winter wheat I think.

One shot I didn't get was one of the 50 signs advertising Wall Drug - famous in the area.

We were really enjoying the scenery and the drive on the good roads until trouble arose and we sat along the road for a couple of hours waiting for help to arrive – we sat outside in the breeze and the shade of the RV and had a cold drink, trying to make the best of a bad situation (thank goodness for RV road service).  Unfortunately, they can’t make miracles happen on Labor Day.  We were headed for Rapid City and the Black Hills but spent the night at American RV Park & Kamp (next post) in Murdo, SD and we were damn glad it was nearby – towns are few and far between and the guy who came to help us was from Pierre, sixty miles away – normal in these parts.  Murdo with a population of just under 500 is the seat of Jones County with a 2010 census population of 1006 humans but lots of cattle.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:

Two years ago:


9/2-9/3/12 event date


  1. It's amazing country and so different from where we live. "Vast" is the word that always comes to my mind.

    Sorry to hear you sat at the side of the road. I hope that was the last of those experiences. I love all of your pictures, but, knowing you, I can't help but ask - where did you eat breakfast? (smile)

    Take care and enjoy your trip.

  2. I would love to take a long trip like that, and see the changing surroundings. But so sad about all the farms.

  3. I think that country side is beautiful. Nice photos. Don't you just love those windmills? There's a large group of them in the middle of Kansas on I-70 at Highway 14. HUGE! I'll send you the link for that project. Well heck about the break down. Are you going to get to see the Black Hills?

  4. Larry, Laurie and I really like the plains states. They are sometimes stark but beautiful in their own way. As for the's another 'adventure' in RV'ing! I hope that all is well now and you and Bev are trundling along the highway! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  5. Really I am missing road trips! Beautiful country and a great time of year to travel. Enjoy

  6. I'm sorry to hear about your RV problems, but I'm glad you were able to get help, even if it took a while to get everything fixed. I did enjoy your views of the scenery.

  7. Hi Larry and Bev, So sorry to hear that you had RV problems. . Glad you got some help though. One of our stops is Rapid City. We want to see the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse...

    Have fun and be careful.

  8. That is one part of the USA I have not had the pleasure of exploring yet. I bet you were glad to see the rolling hills rise up out of the flat lands, made you feel more at home.

  9. Larry, thank you for taking me on a trip through Iowa since I haven't been there since June . . . and back then it was GREEN. The drought is horrible isn't it? So very sad. Windmills, if you only knew how strong that wind is that blows across the prairies! Freezes you to the bone in the winter time! Not surprised that there are so many windmills in IA, it's a fairly progressive state. I'm so glad that you noticed that it is gently rolling hills instead of the flat of Illinois. Nebraska turns flat too as you approach the high desert country of the West. Iowa is gorgeous when it is green, but not this year.

    Great photo tour . . . and now on to the next stop of yours!

  10. Thanks for the tour through Iowa Larry. It sure is brown and dry compared to the lush green when I was there in June. Horrible drought effects on the crops! So sad! I'm glad that you noticed the gentle rolling hills of Iowa between the two rivers; it really is quite pretty when it is green. Interesting facts about the windmills in Iowa, it is a fairly progressive state and that wind just whips across the prairies like you can't believe . . . and in the winter it freezes you to the bone!

    Now on to your next destination post!


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