Miles traveled today: 348
Total miles traveled: 1,279
Miles to go: 1,311

Tonight we are in Rapid City, South Dakota, so we didn’t mark any additional states off of our list today. However, today was our first real day of heading west! As of this morning, we were a little further west than Nashville, but we’d mostly been heading north in order to catch Interstate 90. We’ll now be on 90 until we reach Spokane, almost 1,000 miles.

Today was an eventful day, which is why we didn’t get quite as far. However, we are basically halfway, which is crazy! This is probably best told in pictures, so here we go.

First, a little perspective on what I’m driving. It occurred to us today that we didn’t really have a good picture of the truck, so here’s one of me and my rig:

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I sorta blend in with the truck, but you get the idea. It’s a big ass truck. Our morning began with drugging the cats, which is an ordeal in and of itself (and one that Celine really handles – I can’t claim to be much help). This morning, that included corralling cats from under the bed. It seems that it didn’t take long for them to realize our new routine: food, showers, then drugs. They HATE taking these pills, but it does calm them down and make them able to handle the ride. Here’s Mr. Lawrence right after taking his meds:

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Ahh, glassy eyed and happy. I wish I could take one every morning before we left.

Anyway, we pulled out of Sioux Falls and quickly realized we were near the Corn Palace. The world’s only Corn Palace. Now, we do have places to be, and of course, we do have animals in the car, but this was THE WORLD’S ONLY CORN PALACE. It’s not like you can just drive by something like that. So, we pulled off the highway, parked the truck in a parking lot near the interstate, and took the car the last mile or so to the palatial maize estate. It really is exactly what it says it is:

This palace? It's made of corn.

This palace? It's made of corn.

While there, I had my picture taken with a large ear of corn while I drank my coffee and ate a homemade oatmeal cookie:

He wouldn't look at the camera for some reason.

He wouldn't look at the camera for some reason.

But I refused to take my picture with Zeke, despite his invitation. I think because he was so sensitive about people touching him. Like I was going to touch him anyway!

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After all of that awesomeness, we got back on the road. For the first part of the day, we saw pretty much the same things we saw yesterday: farms. However, once you cross the Missouri River, everything changes, and South Dakota becomes a truly beautiful state. Flatlands turn into rolling hills and grasslands. We stopped at a rest stop at the Missouri and took these pictures:

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And it really only got better from there. Celine took this picture from her moving car:

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The only problems today were a little bit of rain, and the “rolling hills” I mentioned earlier. It’s mostly just a steady uphill climb, and our Penske truck was none too fond of that. I bordered on overheating a couple of times, and this landscape doesn’t seem that mountainous. I finally wised up and turned off the air conditioner, and that made a huge difference, but I’m a little worried about the real mountains we’re bound to see in the next couple of days. Here’s hoping the highways aren’t too steep and that there are truck lanes when they are.

Our only other stop today was Wall Drug. Here’s my advice to you if you’re ever near Wall Drug: DO NOT GO THERE. It was basically a large, crowded souvenir store full of junk and bad food. Do yourself a favor and find a large uncrowded souvenir store instead. There are hundreds of them along your route, and they all have the same junk. As for the bad food, trust me, you’ll have tons of options there too.

We were going to go to the Badlands tonight at sundown, but a bad storm came through and ruined that idea. So instead, we’re getting up super early tomorrow so we can be there for the sunrise. Can’t wait to share those pictures. Then it’s off to Mt. Rushmore, and finally on to Billings, Montana. At least, that is the plan.

Anyway, we are loving South Dakota. It’s a beautiful state, and the driving has been easy. However, I don’t think I’d ever get used to seeing signs like this at rest stops:

They also have giant grasshoppers.

They also have giant grasshoppers.

Yikes.

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