We woke up in the hotel, and I was vaguely aware it was likely to be my last hotel for a while. I was on a budget, after all.
Diamonds was having an all you can eat pancake breakfast, which is apparently a normal post M2M occurrence. I hadn’t ever stayed in town after the M2M before (hotels in the city are expensive, after all), so it was back to Diamonds for food.
And our chef –
She admitted she kept burning herself on the griddle, so it was pancakes with a side of pain and suffering. They were delicious.
After we ate our fill we chatted with some of the other diners. Alex (whose picture I have failed to get twice now) was headed for the Black Hills in a few days, via the Badlands, and I mentioned I was headed in the same general direction and wondered if we would actually see each other.
Soon the sun was directly over head and it was time to go. I rode with Deb almost to the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, then turned south to avoid going back through the twin cites. With the late start I didn’t get very far before I was looking for a place to camp, and found out that Minnesota had closed all of its state park campgrounds, and in the southwest part of the state there wasn’t much else available. I had started to wonder about jumping a fence and camping on the state park land anyway when a waitress at a diner told me the town of Springfield had a campground downtown. So off I went.
It was a nice campground, though a bit expensive. Turns out it came with extra services not listed, as about 930 or so the police came to collect me from my tent and take me to City Hall, there were tornado warnings to the north, and severe thunderstorm warning for Springfield. Two other campers were already there, and the rain started just as I was dropped off.
We were given the all clear around 1030, and I walked back to the campground (it was only 4 or 5 blocks, and I was pretty sure the police now had better things to do), checked over the tent and bike. There was no sign of leakage, and the bike was right where I had left it, some I crawled back into bed and went to sleep.
I am not really good at sleeping in, while in a tent. I am usually up before 7am, which is simply too early when I am not in a tent. But it was cooler out, for the time being. I showered and hit the road.
On my map was a place called Pipestone National Monument.
I had no idea what it was, but it was just a little bit west of Springfield so off I went. As it turns out, Pipestone is a Native American Quarry, sacred to them, and the source of red stone used to make pipes.
The story goes there was a flood, and all the people except one girl was drown. The girl was rescued from a hill top by a man with wings, and they restarted the human race. The red rock is the blood of those who were drown, so the Native American’s consider the rocks to be their relatives.
The red stone is buried under dirt, than granite, and not easy to get to.
They have been quarrying there for hundreds of years, and when they gave up the land and moved to the local reservations the treaty specifically allowed them to continue quarrying the stone. They are actually still quarrying it, using simple tools by hand. But with the storm the night before all the holes were filled with water so there wasn’t much to see.
There was a trail to what the ranger said was an awesome waterfall, but the rain had flooded it out and the trail was closed. There were cool rocks, though
Leaving Pipestone Mitchell was again just to the west, so I headed over to the Corn Palace. I’ve been to the Corn Palace several times, so there wasn’t much mystery.
Asking at the Corn Palace, the information lady said there was a campground just to the north on Mitchel Lake, so I rode up there and got a place. The lake was peaceful, so there were tons of bugs. I was starting to not like bugs. And around 330am there was huge thunderstorm that woke me up, but the tent was again fine.