Day 29: Sioux Falls, Clear Lake (sort of) & Minneapolis

Music was the theme of the day!

If you’ve been following along with my breakdown section, you probably noticed that I hit the 5k mileage mark, so we spent the morning puttering around a mall in Sioux Falls while the car was serviced.

I thought I scheduled the maintenance at the location near downtown, so I planned to do a little self-guided tour. Except…I didn’t schedule it there…apparently. Or maybe I got moved because I have a Mazda?

Regardless, we wound up on the southern edge of Sioux Falls, and then the skies opened up again. So Tako and I went to Target.


He wasn’t too pleased with me about this cart nonsense (wouldn’t sit still for a proper photo, little punk) until he realized that everyone was going to stop at our cart and pet him. And then he was happy as a clam for the rest of the shopping trip.

But then we got in line to check out, and he decided he wanted out. So he took a flying leap from the cart. It was impressive, but I was worried he would break a leg. Luckily he didn’t and stood patiently waiting for me to catch up, even let me pick him up, and only glared at me a little when I plopped him back in the cart.

The car service was delayed, so it took three hours, which unfortunately ate up our morning and meant I had to skip Falls Park. So we got on the road to head to Iowa for the day’s first stop a little before noon.

Is it just me, or do clouds hang lower in Iowa?

I was heading to the memorial for The Day the Music Died just outside of Clear Lake, Iowa. I happened to be on the phone with my friend, Devika, when I made the last turn Google dictated to me, and then the Google lady announced I had arrived, and I was like “I don’t think I’m in the right place, Devika. Unless I’m filming a sequel to Children of the Corn. Wait. There’s a line of cars. Maybe they know something I don’t. Nope. They’re leaving.”

And then I spotted these, nonchalantly hanging out between two corn fields, and I realized those corn fields were split by a well-worn path.


See, here’s the thing. The memorial is literally at the crash site (which makes sense), and that means it’s in the middle of this family’s farmland. And they seem not to mind at all that dozens of people came traipsing through their field to pay tribute every day.

They even put wood chips down on parts of the path to mark that you should keep going. The only nod they make to the fact that it’s privately owned is a small sign asking you to show respect and take your trash with you.

Iowans are pretty chill.

The path isn’t super long, but it’s long enough that I wouldn’t take my aunt with me on it. (She has a bad back and walks with a cane.) And it’s a bit uneven, despite their attempts with the wood chips.

And we came to a point (which turned out to be the middle) where I turned to Tako and said, “Dude. Do you think we’re going the right way? Or are we just trespassing at this point?”



He just panted at me, so we kept going, and we found a small clearing in the corn — a half-moon shaped piece of land where they refused to plant, it looks like. (I’m guessing that’s where the plane hit the ground.) On the other side of the path from that little clearing is the memorial.


On our way out of the memorial, I passed a young man carrying a guitar case.

I love reading the messages and seeing the tokens that people leave behind at these kinds of memorials. Some are just names. Others are expressions of sadness or gratitude or things so personal that I’ll never understand what they mean. (Others are just silliness, but those are pretty rare.)

When I stop to think about it, I’m amazed by the kind of impact artists can have on people who’ve never met them. I certainly didn’t know the musicians who died here. And odds are that none of the people who signed these poles knew (or even met anyone who knew) Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper, or their pilot, Roger Peterson, but they’ve all written messages; we’ve all driven to the middle of Iowa (well, the northern end) and traipsed down a well-worn path in a random cornfield just to get a little bit closer to someone we never met.

I mean, heck, the world still calls them Buddy Holly glasses to this day.


These men left such a huge impression on the world that nearly 60 years later, we still honor the site they died.

Art is amazing, guys.

From Iowa, I drove up to Minneapolis. I was on the phone with my dad a couple of days ago, and I was giving him an outline of what the next week looks like. It was right in the middle of the Hail Haunting of 2018, so I was a bit down about the trip and the next few stops. He found out I was going to Minneapolis, and he said, “Oh. You’ll love Minneapolis. It’s like they picked up a Canadian city and dropped it in the middle of the US.”

I’m not sure about the Canadian part — I was only in Vancouver for four hours — but he was right: I adore Minneapolis.

We’re staying over by the university (Southeast* Minneapolis), and we walked over the river to get to Central Minneapolis (which is I guess what downtown is called here?).

I. Love. It. So much brick and green everywhere.

We walked across Hennepin Avenue Bridge to reach central, and the view is awesome.


We headed straight for the Bob Dylan mural because music was the theme.



And then we walked just a few blocks away to the Sidewalk Harp. It’s an interactive installation by artist Jen Lewin, and it mimics a 36-string harp.

It uses lasers! It makes pretty music! It lights up! (I have video up in my story highlights on IG.)


Someone walking by actually paused his phone call and stopped to ask me about it while I was playing with it. He said he walks by every morning on his way to work and hears music playing, but never thought it was the sculpture thing on the wall.

After, I crossed the street to take a picture of a cool fountain. So I saw when the guy who’d been reading a book on a bench nearby got up to go play with the harp for a while. It is very fun, Dude on a Bench.

Oh, and here’s that cool fountain I saw.

And on our way to the harp, I came across a bunch of really cool murals.


I wanted to see the Stone Arch Bridge with the night lights on, but we would have had to waste a couple of hours, so we went at twilight, walking through the city, parallel to the river.

I did not use a filter on any of these. The sky is that beautiful all on its own.

The Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park are kind of entwined. To get to the park, you walk under the arches on the western end of the bridge.


The bridge itself is beautiful, and its view is awesome.


We walked back on SE 6th Ave and made an interesting discovery. If you can’t pay a visit to all of the historic buildings in Minneapolis, you can visit their miniatures by walking SE 6th Ave from SE Main St to University Ave SE.

They line both sides of the street.

When we got back to the AirBnB, I sent this text to my best friend.


She thought I was a little ridiculous but was pretty supportive considering I sounded like a crazy person.  It was the hunger. I was starving by the time we got back.

And, on that note, don’t judge my dinner. I was too hungry to figure out where to get food.



All the bridges and art.






Driven: 5881mi

Hiked: 52mi

Written: 12k

Listening to: The Replacements catalogue


*Southeast Minneapolis is not in the southeastern section of Minneapolis. The University area is on the southern end of Eastern Minneapolis (because it’s east of the river…I assume. I didn’t actually ask anyone.).

3 thoughts on “Day 29: Sioux Falls, Clear Lake (sort of) & Minneapolis

  1. I feel like I am rethinking my ‘no need to check out middle of the country’ pov and have started sneakily adding some cities to the ‘to visit- domestic’ list 🙂 I never would have though it but now I’m like, hmmm maybe I should check out Minneapolis?!


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