Trans-Canada - Day 15
Start Location: Sioux City, IA
Ending Location: Hot Springs, SD
Miles Today: 442
Trip Miles: 4671
States Visited: 9
Provinces Visited: 5
Low Temp: 60° F
High Temp: 92° F
Min Elevation: 1104'
Max Elevation: 3947'
We set out this morning to clear skies and cool temperatures and very quickly crossed over into Nebraska. We expected to see dead flat terrain when we got here but were surprised as the first section we drove through was gently rolling and, while not exactly scenic, not too bad either.
Nebraska appears to be mostly farm land and ranches. As Linda predicted there is a lot of corn here although we did see soybeans and various other crops. Speaking of corn, the gas prices here are interesting. They have regular, super, and premium grades and the super is actually cheaper than regular because it contains ethanol - you were probably wondering how gas prices related to corn.
We saw several bicycle tourers on the roads and it occurs to us that Nebraska seems like a really long state from the seat of a motorcycle, I can't imagine what it must seem like from the seat of a bicycle. It must be difficult to carry enough water since frequently it's a long way between towns. Speaking of towns, there are a lot of really small towns along here. We saw towns with populations as small as 13 and none more than a couple of thousand. One of the towns actually advertised itself on billboards as "Ainsworth - The Middle of Nowhere". I'm not exactly sure that would entice me to come visit.
The roads weren't too bad and the traffic was very light. Speed limits were mostly 60 or 65 except when we went through towns. The only messy part of the day were two sections of road - one in Nebraska and one in South Dakota - where they had recently tarred and chipped the road surface. The sections in Nebraska were a little treacherous since there was a lot of loose gravel and the steering was skittish. The sections in South Dakota had been done more recently and the tar looked wetter but there was no loose gravel.
We had originally planned to stop at Chadron, NE but we had made pretty good time and we gained an hour back today so we went on to Hot Springs, SD. We are only about 20 miles from the Crazy Horse Memorial so we will stop there first in the morning and then it's on to Sturgis. The only time we have seen Sturgis is during the rally and we wanted to see what it looks like when it's not filled with motorcycles and leather clad (and some unclad) bikers.
I have to admit, we're getting a little tired - probably from the heat - and are starting to think about getting home. We thought that by getting further north we would get out of some of the heat but they're forecasting 95 tomorrow for Rapid City and it looks like this whole part of the country will be pretty hot through Labor Day. Of course the good thing is that that means we probably won't have much rain. Although we may not even get a chance to try out the new heated vests.