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Full of beans, packed, fed, watered and ready for the off at 0630 this morning – then we realised – shizen, we are riding east and the sun is coming up from…. yep, the east. the weather looked a little changeable too – we had had lightning and an hour’s rain overnight – so we wondered what we were in for, looking at the sky

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It didn’t take a lot of mental effort to decide to lie on the bed and watch an hour of Discovery until the sun was a little higher and therefore, not right in our eyes. We dozed off and woke at 0830! Oh well, we tried! Besides, the sky had cleared by now.

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By 9am we were back on the endless, lonely, empty and mostly straight roads

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there was a little more variety and greenery around this eastern edge of South Dakota though – and as we approached Watertown, we were surrounded by, what else!

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It was soon over 100 F again and we decided to take things as they came – slowly. Lots of climbing on and off the bike to take photos and play on the empty road

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If you are wondering what Jan is up to here…..

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A little further along, we came to a plowed field with lots of sunflowers in the grass verge

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– it was a good excuse to get off the bike again and so we played a little there…. then the farmer’s son came along to talk to us.

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we chatted for a while and discussed the weather, the lack of rain, the problems for the farming community. Nice interlude.

A little further along the road – on the outskirts of a tiny town called Clark, we almost came to a head-over-the-handlebars-full-stop spotting thisImage

this is either a farmer with a great sense of humour and style – or an entirely new crop

I think they could be Cadillacs, but not sure. I spent a fair time there taking photos from all angles and really wanted to go closer – but the field was barred and locked securely and Jan reckoned the farmer might shoot me 😦

Not far down the road was a teeny, pretty little chapel – just a bit taller than Jan at 6’2″

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I did go inside to take a look – and the chapel holds 9 people plus the preacher

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there are three rows of two seats on the left and three rows of one seat on the right.

The next town – by now we had made a slow 180 miles – had it’s own claim to fame which the lady in the gas station insisted we go visit – heck and darnation, for visitors from Europe, she could ring Myrtle and have her come down to show us around (the daily tour didn’t start for another 3 hours); bless her, but we really didn’t need to see the inside of the Pickler mansion – we didin’t even know who Pickler was

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until we saw the sign – apparently Mr Pickler was the first Congressman from South Dakota. It was a pretty mansion and it was pink.

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but, heretics that we are, I was most interested in the old schoolhouse

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and Jan was very interested in the Hoppers (as he called them – don’t blame me if they are something other than hoppers)

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Well, before we could say, ‘The Pickler Mansion’ we were across the state line and in Minnesota – not that that state advertised it very ostentatioulsy – in fact, i didn’t realise we were until we found we had lost another hour to the day and had to put our watches forward.

We filled up again – in in independent gas station who didn’t do coffee – nor a lot in the way of service or taking the money off customers. Still we were cool with that – why hurry?

Checking the map, we realised we had to start making a north easterly heading so we plotted the route – roughly, got on the bike, road 18 miles and found a motel – in Maddison where the ‘friendly Norwegian community welcome you to ‘Madison – Lutefisk Capital of the USA’ Oh, for God’s sake, don’t ask me what Lutefisk isOK, Jan knows this, being Scandinavian. It is fish dried out for posterity and then re-constituted with Lye – or something; he says it is gelatinous and disgusting. But I do know where you can buy it in the USA….

PS: from Wikipedia –

Preparation

Lutefisk in a Norwegian market.

Lutefisk is made from dried whitefish (normally cod in Norway, but ling is also used) prepared with lye in a sequence of particular treatments. The watering steps of these treatments differ slightly for salted/dried whitefish because of its high salt content.

The first treatment is to soak the stock fish in cold water for five to six days (with the water changed daily). The saturated stock fish is then soaked in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye for an additional two days. The fish swells during this soaking, and its protein content decreases by more than 50 percent producing a jelly-like consistency. When this treatment is finished, the fish (saturated with lye) has a pH value of 11–12 and is therefore caustic. To make the fish edible, a final treatment of yet another four to six days of soaking in cold water (also changed daily) is needed. Eventually, the lutefisk is ready to be cooked.

YUK!

Oh yes, and Jan found a new pair of boots – from Tractor Supplies in Watertown

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