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July 23, 2010

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Day 3 of the drive from Seattle to Chicago. Yesterday we made good time, smoked South Dakota.
The faster we went, the better the mileage. Averaging 73 mph, we got 27.1 mpg, the best yet.
That's German engineering for you--optimized for the Autobahn. 813 miles in one day and we blew past
Wall Drug despite 60 or so importuning billboards. The tourist trap we did fall into thanks to near-empty
tank is my new favorite place in South Dakota: 1880 Cowboy Town, a combination gas station, fireworks
emporium, and self-described museum of coin-operated dusty faux Old West lifesize dioramas populated
by motorized mannequins who drink booze, cheat at poker, and shoot out the lights in an idealized saloon.
Creaky fun for just 50 cents, four bits, the quarters lay flat and you push them in, just like at the laundromat.
That was in Buffalo Ridge, right outside Sioux Falls, David my driving mate's hometown, where the Ramada
we stayed in had a pool and hot tub but despite being exhausted I found it difficult to sleep. The Christians
I met at breakfast immediately asked if I had any children and seemed to write me off when I grinned no.
On the road, muggy outside, we stop for gas in western Minnesota, where these three trucks were waiting
for the fields to dry to deliver their 159-foot-long wind turbine blades. I wish I'd asked how much they weigh.