Farm Collector Blogs > Aussie Trek Across America

Aug. 4 to 5: Iowa and South Dakota

by Ron Bywaters

Tags: road trip, trek across America, tractor drive, Iowa, South Dakota,

Day 39

This was planned as a “make miles day,” so another early start was in order.

We had camped the night at Larry and Melanie Maasdam’s property and they were also up early to make their farewells — an opportunity to again give them our thanks for their wonderful hospitality.

The day started out quite misty but without any rain and certainly cool for the time of the year. Traveling down Route R20, we were amazed at the number of wind farms. Not just a few turbines, but row upon row of them, stretching over a few miles. The sight of a majestic turbine standing directly behind one of the old barns seemed like a conflict in time.

At the lunch break at Estherville, Iowa, a couple arrived, having driven quite a considerable distance — the stories of the tractors and their crazy drivers have appeared in quite a few news articles and radio interviews. The lady, Margaret, was determined not to miss the tractors and phoned to find out where we were stopping for lunch and fortunately her husband was happy to drive her to meet us.

The two hundred miles set for the day was managed successfully and everyone was able to camp up at the Big Sioux Recreation Area at Brandon, just out of Sioux Falls, S.D. The daylight saving in force here in the USA allows for pleasant cool evenings before becoming dark around 8:15 p.m.

This evening we had a visit from Gerald and Carol Smith who drove from Holstein, Iowa, after hearing the radio interview that aired on Monday. They had the opportunity to have a look at George’s tractor and chat to Ron — it is great that so many people have shown an interest in the progress of the Trek.

Day 40

As we had camped at Brandon overnight, it was not a long drive to see the famous Sioux Falls, or would not have been had we not become a bit misplaced.

Actually it was lucky as it gave us the opportunity to drive down Phillips Street and admire some of the sculptures, which were everywhere. This area is known as Sculpture Walk, so it is appropriately named.

The drive to the falls was not much farther and this is a really lovely area. Falls Park is beautifully maintained with green lawns and of course the waterfalls, which are a delight. The old Queen Bee Mill is just a ruin after being burnt out in 1956, but another original building, the Sioux Falls Light & Power Co. hydroelectric plant has been reinvented as the Falls Overlook Café and the view of the falls from its balcony is really splendid. Carolyn found two baby birds that had obviously fallen from their nest and was advised to leave them where she had found them and hope their mum comes looking for them.

Next stop was Mitchell, S.D., and we were able to make it in time to hear the radio broadcast of the interview with Von Keselsen which was taped on Sunday. The chaps did well — no ums or ahs to be heard. They are turning into real radio stars! Then it was off to see the Mitchell Corn Palace — a really different and quite amazing place — its origins go back to 1892 with early settlers displaying their corn harvest on the exterior of a building. Since then there have been three Corn Palaces, and the current one undergoes changes to the huge murals each year. These murals are made entirely of native grain and highlighted by multi-colored corn. This attraction now draws more than 500,000 visitors each year.

Then it was time to head to the overnight stop at Chamberlain, S.D. No one could resist the temptation to visit this town with such a prestigious name! The road into the town weaves up and down through very pretty farmland. The RV park is located on Lake Francis Case, part of the Missouri River waterway, a really pretty place to admire the waterways.

See photos and read more on Ron’s website,