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“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.” 

 

After an overnight in the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin and picking up our new addition Dan Reesman, whom we had last seen when he traveled with us early last year to Prague and Budapest, we did a quick outdoor workout in the morning and picked up some breakfast.

And I truly mean “pick up” as there’s no outdoor dining here if you’re worried about indoor transmission of COVID-19.

 

 

But at least you won’t get shot inside.

 

 

As for mask compliance, it  seemed to be 50/50.

 

 

After breakfast in the parking lot, we drove through the surreal landscapes of Dells Winsconsin.

 

 

I use the word surreal because Dells is known for numerous theme parks and entertainment centers, including Noah’s Ark Water Park (claiming to be the country’ largest), Mt. Olympus Water Theme Park. Mirror Lake State Park, an upside building, a robot theme park…

 

Except most of the outdoor water parks (which were packed), Noah’s Ark and plenty others remain closed due to COVID-19.

 

 

For our group, we were just happy that Carr Valley Cheese was open for us.

 

 

…among other oddities.

 

 

We then headed onwards to cute town of La Crosse to briefly stretch our legs and stock up our fridge.

 

 

Then crossing the Mississippi River onwards into South Dakota, we headed for the 4 hour drive to Siuox Falls.

 

 

We reached the airport by 7pm where we picked up our last addition to the first part of the trip, South Dakotan local Brandon Bowar, whom we had last seen in Tanzania exactly one year ago.

 

 

We then finally got to cook our first meal of the trip (thanks to Brynn & Noeleen!), while setting up shop in the Sioux Falls KOA.

 

 

First homecooked group dinner!

 

 

And we finally take our full group photos!

 

 

Because we arrived at the park early this time, we also called in the local RV repairman George, to come by and tune up all our tank issues. He then went above and beyond to figure out that our tire pressures were low and our A/C unit was flipped in reverse (the parts that were supposed to suck in air was actually blowing it out).

 

 

This is freedom.

 

 

- At time of posting in Sioux Falls, it was 20 °C - Humidity: 58% | Wind Speed: 8km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy