The plan for today was simple. Pack up and check out the Corn Palace in Mitchell and then head to MN to pick up Uschi at the airport before continuing on to WI.
We packed and stopped to gas up…got stopped by 4 bikers from Indiana who loved the cars and wanted to know all about them. Then we trundled off to The World’s Only Corn Palace…well, that’s what it says on the building!
It’s a nice sized auditorium with giant murals on the outside of it made from something like a dozen different colored breeds of corn. These, and the murals inside the building, are made new, by local artists every year. The outside ones eventually come down of their own accord as the local bird population feasts on them. It was kitschy and fun and we departed laughing.
Yesterday’s weather was hot and very windy but this am was cooler and just breezy and stayed that way until around 11am when the heat started to return and the winds picked up again. I’ve never experienced these conditions in the 100s of thousands of miles I must have driven over the years. The wind was downright evil.
As we crossed the border into southern MN, I expected the winds to back down. Much too polite a state to allow this sort of behavior, but it just got worse. At times, depending on topography, speed and direction, I was fighting gusty winds from the left, then the right and back again all within seconds. It was diabolical!
On the way to MN, we split off to go visit my mother in law, the fabulous G-Lo (Grandma Lorraine) while Walli and Kiki stopped to pick up some things and Axel went to the Minneapolis Airport to collect some spare parts and his better half who was carrying them. We then all met at a Mongolian Restaurant near the WI border I knew of from previous visits. G-Lo got to ride in Marcel and my brother in law, John swung on by to hang out with us, which was great.
After dinner, we bid farewell to the family and headed on to Wisconsin. I don’t know why we don’t travel more at night. It’s cooler, the winds had died down and the cars performed better too. I will admit that the lighting is barely acceptable both on the gauges (a whopping 2 watts Axel assures me) and the headlights don’t have much more range either.
Still, the next 90 minutes were the most comfortable driving time we had all day. I’m not sure how much ground we covered and am too tired to do any more than guess at 450 miles in 7.5 hours at the wheel.
Two mechanical issues today. Walli/Kiki had their roof material pulled out from rear window mouldings by the blasted winds. Yeah, they were that strong. Axel says we can fix it tomorrow. Also, my directional signals died. It’s likely a relay, the original, which we’ll have to replace tomorrow. Because my car is a stock, low mileage (or it was before this trip!) car, Axel wanted to keep it as original as possible, so he kept the old parts whenever possible. I’m driving the car more in this “shakedown” cruise than it had been driven in the past 10 years, so clearly some things will need a bit of fettling. This gave me a chance to resurrect my knowledge of hand signals, not the ones practiced by drivers in my native NY & NJ, but those taught to us youngsters before turn signals became available items on all cars. I will admit that few if any of my fellow drivers knew what I was doing. It’s just some guy, driven crazy by the wind and heat waving and pointing at stuff. Since few modern drivers even bother with signals, my loss of them didn’t cause much grief.
Tomorrow a dash from Cadott, WI to take a historic ferry across Lake Michigan to Upper Michigan.
Lastly, a tip for would be campers and outdoors types. Even if you think flys, gnats, mosquitos and their numerous friends are ignoring you…they aren’t. You can identify where you’ve been bitten and dull the itching for hours by taking a hot shower. The hot water makes the bites (and rashes like poison ivy) tingle and a little rubbing and hotter water makes that disappear. The hot water effectively dulls the nerve endings. Simple, safe and organic. You might need to use this during Rendezvous in Saratoga Springs, especially if you’re camping.
[Read the story about the complete trip here.]