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South Dakota to North Dakota

November 8, 2013

South Dakota and North Dakota – Tuesday, October 29


I slept like a log in my great-grandma’s brass bed (and felt like a lazy bum when I got up at 7:45; life on the farm begins earlier than that!)  I woke up to a snowy, icy morning but they were going to go out in the fields anyway, so I asked if I could ride along in the combine for a little while as they were harvesting the corn. So after a good breakfast, I climbed in the semi-truck that is used to haul the corn or grain from the fields to the farm, and we headed out to the field where the combine was. I’ve never been in a combine except for sitting in a display model back in Iowa. As we headed out, we could see a coyote in the cornfield. Gary started the combine up, and I was astonished at how fast the corn was harvested. The combine (which has different attachments depending on what crop is being harvested) just ate up about 8 rows of corn at a time – stripped the ears of corn off the stalk; pulled the husks off; and got the kernels off the cob – in 15 minutes the entire back of the combine was full of shelled corn. Amazing. Then the corn was transferred to a waiting grain truck by an auger, and the grain truck holds 2 loads from the combine. The grain truck in turn unloads into the semi – and when the semi is full, the corn or grain is taken back to the farm where it’s dried (if necessary) and stored in grain bins until it goes to market. I was thrilled to be able to ride in the combine (an unexpectedly smooth ride) on land that’s been farmed by relatives since the early 1900s. I also had a chance to ride in the grain truck, and it can hold tons of corn. I think my great-grandpa wouldn’t believe his eyes to see how fast the corn is harvested – he used horses back in the day!

It was time to leave my new-found extended family, and Trudy made me a care package, and Tula and I set off through the snowy, icy streets. It was quite a mess out! I stopped at the Lily cemetery to pay my respects to the great-grandparents and great-aunts and uncles.  I hope I will be back again someday! The first town I came to was Webster, and I stopped at the local newspaper office for an interview. Both Trudy and Carol had thought the paper would be interested in my story, and a reporter asked if I could stop by. I met Amanda and she was a very pleasant young lady with a lot of questions, and it was nice to sit in the warm office and talk. But then I had to finish up with my walking – today was technically my first North Dakota day, but I still had 5 miles of walking to finish off  in South Dakota before crossing into North Dakota. I walked a little over a mile in the slush in Webster, then drove on to the town of Groton where I got another couple miles of walking in. It was still cold and snowy up there, and I was beginning to think my weather luck had worn off! Tula likes the snow and had been pouncing around in it and scooping up mouthfuls – she’s always eaten snow. She’s been skittering around in it like a puppy!  I stayed cozy warm in a jacket that Gary and Trudy gave me – I lost my favorite fleece jacket somewhere in northern Arizona  and was going to have to get another jacket, and then they gave me one that no one wore.


From Groton I drove on to Aberdeen where I finished off my South Dakota walking – 56 miles completed! And all 7 South Dakota donations were done too – Hot Springs Food Pantry, Wild Horse Sanctuary, Mt. Rushmore, Indian Charities, Beresford VFW, Faith in Action Food Pantry, and Bethesda Nursing Home. It was evening by the time I crossed into North Dakota and it was too dark to get any walking done, so I’ll have to double up on donations one day, and do some extra miles here and there.  The first town I came to was Jamestown, so that’s where I stopped for the night, and I was happy to see the snow had disappeared once I crossed the state line!


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