Day 3: 565 miles
My goal for the day was to visit the Victory factory in Spirit Lake, IA, then continue toward Yellowstone National Park.
The route to Spirit Lake took me thru the beautiful green plains of Iowa on two lane country roads. The weather was perfect for riding – sunny & breezy, but not too hot – and except for the occasionally pick-up or tracker trailer, the roads were pretty much empty.
I stopped for lunch in Estherville, a beautiful small town about 15 minutes east of Spirit Lake. The town square is dominated by the public library fronted by small park and bordering on a storybook main street.
I finally reached the factory around 1:30 PM local time. I tried my best to be persuasive, the receptionist was politely adamant: no visitors can enter the factor or take tours while the new model year is being created; tours would restart in August around the time of American Victory Rally.
Not getting into the factory was a little disappointing, but it was still an amazing morning riding thru the countryside.
The Hotel Issue
Leaving Spirit Lake, I got back on the highway. Unfortunately much of I-90 is South Dakota is under construction / repair. I was debating on how far I wanted to drive and eventually settled on Murdo, SD, but found there were no vacancies anywhere in town.
The next major town on I-90 is Wall, SD, which is a bit of tourist trap, although it is right by the entrance to Badlands National Park. I reserved a room online and settled in for another hour of riding thru construction.
Arriving at the hotel, I found the hotel receptionist in quite a state. I quickly learned the source of her stress:
- There was corvette show in the area and pretty much ever town on I-90 was fully booked.
- They were having a problem with the online booking system and did not have room for me. Ugh!
Contemplating how far I would have to drive to find hotel was putting me in the same state as the receptionist, but this kind woman came to my rescue: she called a friend ran another hotel in town; the hotel was being renovated, but he opened & gave me a room (a couple other desperate travelers also got rooms).
Despite the renovations, the room was clean, well-appointed and less than half the price of the room I originally reserved. The only downside was the lack of WiFi, but I was grateful just to have a place to stay.
Tomorrow I’ll be heading to town outside of Yellowstone and visiting the park on Saturday.