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2006-08-04 - 11:27 p.m.

Wisconsin - Minnesota - South Dakota

After 570 miles of driving, we've made it to Kadoka, South Dakota, just in time for the convergence of 50,000 motorcyclists at the annual Sturgis Bike Rally 2006. (see www dot sturgismotorcyclerally dot com). Little did we know that we would be sharing I-90 with swarms of Harley Davidson.

A hog on a hog?

But hey, it has made an otherwise rather tedious drive across Minnesota much more interesting, and biker dudes are rather gracious when you try to photograph them at 70 mph.

In fact, we did many things to battle boredom of a perfectly straight road, including a brief stopover at the Spam Museum in Southwest Minnesota (who'd have believed it):

I also took to photographing various elements of the moving landscape, including our cats, K, the passing Harleys, the clouds, and a staircase that K accelerated to 80+ mph so that we could capture its soul with my camera..

Given the inundation of bikers, it was a little bit of a challenge finding a hotel, but we prevailed, paying top rates for a nice place with WiFi and two beds. We spent another evening taking in the local culture, this time at the Happy Chef. I watched two women the size of stick insects gulp down gigantic plates of meat and fries on white toast covered in gravy. I had forgotten about life in the west.

Incidentally, the landscape of South Dakota is dramatic and incredible, especially following the complacent, Garrison Keilloresque happy green farms (and dreadful roads) of Minnesota. And we haven't even made it to the Badlands yet. The rolling hills covered with prairie grass, crops, and cows make you think that you are on a different planet. The cloud formations and lighting are heavenly.

A brief mention of the cat report: the cats are resigned to life in the car. They barely complained this morning and slept for most of the 9-hr journey today. They have adjusted to life on the road - which means that they sleep all day so that they can sing arias on top of me all night. At least their increased comfort in the car will make our brief tour of the Badlands much more enjoyable tomorrow.

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