Day 14 - July 16th Sunday
Distance travelled for the day - 427 km
Total distance for trip - 8291 km
Route - Sioux Falls, SD - Minneapolis, MN
The reason the hotels in Sioux Falls were full was because it was the Annual Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival that weekend. This is a free event with over 125,000 attendees over 3 days.
Sioux Falls is less than 20 miles from the Minnesota border. When I crossed into Minnesota it was like someone flipped a switch. The landscape changed from desert like conditions to green fields, big leafy trees and a cool breeze. It was still hot with temps in the high 90's F (35C) but it was somehow less oppressive.
I decided to go to Minneapolis to get back on track with my original itinerary after the detour through South Dakota. I had considered continuing south to Chicago but I also had an old friend in Minneapolis who invited me for a visit and although I had previously visited Minnesota on business, I had never been to the twin cities.
A 100kms into Minnesota I stopped at a rest stop to take some photos. It was such a stark contrast from South Dakota.
When I stopped for gas in the very small town of Brewster, MN (pop 427) I had a good chat with the gas store owner and another customer. They asked about my trip, complimented me on my Triumph, had the usual conversation about owning Triumph in the 1960's and wished me a good journey. We also talked about the weather, it was 100 F and humid the day before, and Turtle Bay in Oahu, Hawaii. One of my favourite places.
Minnesota is known for having many lakes and agriculture remains a big industry producing corn, sugar beets and green peas.
After a few nights 'roughing it' in subpar accommodation I was looking forward to the comforts of a big city. I was not disappointed. Minneapolis is a fantastic city and the people are genuinely kind and helpful. I felt welcome and instantly comfortable.
The only criticism I have for Minnesota is that the highway signage could be better. While I was riding northeast to Minneapolis I was never 100% certain I was on the right road.
I arrived in Minneapolis in late afternoon which was a nice change and had some time to rest and relax before meeting my friend, Tim, for dinner. My hotel was conveniently located downtown next to the river so we were able to walk to the restaurant across the bridge. This part of Minneapolis has gone through a gentrification converting what was historically industrial buildings into condos, shops, a museum, a theatre and restaurants.
It was a beautiful evening with great company.
Map of the day
Planned route vs actual