Day 4: The Corps Disappoints Again

I stayed in Platte, SD because I planned to explore the Missouri River from there down, possibly as far as a good bit into Nebraska before turning east and homeward. I could have hammered it home in one shot Thursday, but stumbling on to Fort Louisborg in 2009 forever set my sights on that sort of historic opportunity. So, when I saw “FT RANDALL HIST. RESTORATION” on the official South Dakota map, I put that destination on my route. Up at 4AM and on the road by 5, I zigzagged down a series of SD highways and county roads to US 281/SD18 and across to . . . a huge disappointment. There is nothing restored about Fort Randall. It wasn’t even worth taking a picture of the bullshit the Corps of (awful and incompetent) Engineers calls a “restored” fort. Once again, Canada is infinitely cooler than the US.

That, and the fact that the ride along the river doesn’t get close to the river often, sort of finished off South Dakota for me. I turned back up US 281 and headed for I90. I90 to MN 60 (again), 60 to MN 19 (and the incredible mess MNDOT has made of that great road in its effort to burn up tax money inefficiently and incompetently), 19 to home.

One of the hallmarks of arriving in Minnesota after being in other states is the reappearance of lethargic stop lights. We are one slow-witted state. Even Nebraska lights change faster than Minnesota’s. A side effect of slow lights is slow-witted drivers. Or maybe the slow-wits came first? MNDOT’s dumbing down of Minnesota drivers has to be making a contribution to the conservative turn in the state. Between the stop signs on free entrances, 4 minute stop lights, a complete ignorance of reasonable signage placement, and construction tactics that put drivers in miles of single-lane traffic so the “men leaning on shovels” can contemplate working on a pothole, we’re being trained to be stupid.

Now I gotta go work on replacing my V-Strom’s front wheel bearings, fix that busted front fender, replace a couple of tires, change the oil, and see what shook off of the bike last week.

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