Western Road Trip: First day driving!

So a combination of a fun-packed trip and a lack of phone signal/wi-fi at various points meant I didn’t post updates as planned. We’re now on our way back east, but let me catch you up with what we’ve been doing and seeing this past week or so.

Day 3 of our trip we started our road trip for real. We followed the pattern we’d agreed on for days when we just wanted to make progress: we got up at 6am and one of us (me in this case) drove about 2 hours to get breakfast. Then the other took over and drove for 4-5 hours until we reached a good place to take a break. Then we got back on the road and drove to our destination. It’s a pattern R’s parents used when they did a similar road trip a while ago, and it tends to work well.

I didn’t drive in the UK, so learned to drive in DC especially for this road trip. I could barely believe that a week previously I was taking my test and this day I was doing 75-80 on the I-90 and overtaking trucks!

We stopped for breakfast at the friendliest family restaurant on the edge of Wisconsin. The food was great and very cheap compared with what we’re used to in DC!

Then R took over for the mammoth drive across Minnesota. Nothing really prepares you for the vastness of America. Minnesota’s farmland just seemed to go on and on forever, and the long straight road rolled on past cornfields and wind farms for hours. 

 Luckily we had the radio to keep us awake. We found some good country music to drive to, and if you want a flavour of what we were listening to, check out the following:

And then we came to the day’s roadside attraction and rest-break: South Dakota’s Mitchell Corn Palace! I was so excited to see this as R had told me about it after he’d visited on a work trip. Once I got over the disappointment of it not being built entirely from corn – it’s decorated with it – I was fascinated. The palace has been in existence since the 1890s, when many other towns had similar corn palaces. However, Mitchell’s is the only corn palace still in existence. Inside is a stadium for community events, basketball and the arts. They also have an exhibition detailing the history of the palace and all the design themes through the years. And we learnt that there are some kinds of corn that are only grown in order to decorate the palace.

 Then it was back on the road!

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