WEEK 9 RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA 2018 STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 21: Sioux Falls SD to Okoboji IA
Segment 22: Okoboji IA to Clear Lake IA
Segment 23: Clear Lake IA to West Union IA
The travel route on the first day this week takes Across America challengers through the corners of three states: southeastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa. The following two days will be spent crossing, west to east, the gently rolling hills and cornfields of Iowa.
Vacation spot Okoboji is the first stop on this leg of the trip that will end at the west coast of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. Interestingly Okoboji sits between two lakes, West Okoboji Lake and East Okoboji Lake, which are part of a chain of five ‘glacier carved lakes’ known locally as the “Iowa Great Lakes”. The chain of lakes, which also include Spirit Lake, the largest, and Upper Gar, Lower Gar, and Minnewashta extend southward from the Minnesota border. According to the VacationOkoboji.com website, “spring-fed West Lake Okoboji is a beautiful shade of blue” and is the “centerpiece” of the lakes and the communities that surround them.
The mid-week destination, Clear Lake IA, is another vacation-tourism stop in Iowa because of its location on the shores of the large lake for which it is named. The Surf Ballroom near this town is famous as the last gig that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper played before boarding the small private plane that crashed and made sad rock and roll history on February 3, 1958. The Ballroom still has concerts and has a Holly tribute show every February.
The route to West Union IA from Clear Lake takes runners, walkers, and cyclists through more rolling hills and cornfields, as might be expected in one of the states considered to form “America’s Heartland”. Did you know its wind farms perform enough work to lead the nation in wind power generation? The charts in a Wikipedia item on the subject show power production is at lowest levels in the summer months, so a real trip through this area in mid-July might not be made difficult by persistent winds.
There is much more than agriculture in Iowa, however on this trip you will see mostly beautiful farmland, quaint towns, and of course, the lakes. I searched the internet for information on Iowa as part of the Great Plains, and learned that the definition of this region varies by source and that the “Midwest”, “Plains States”, and “Great Plains” are not synonymous designations of the same geographic areas.
As proclaimed every week, our online ‘exploration’ of the virtual route segments traveled on this trip merely scratches the surface of what there is to discover, I am eager to travel through these areas in real time.
America is SO BEAUTIFUL. I’m convinced that nearly every local humble 5K race along the route could be a memorable experience.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Wind Power in Rural Iowa By Voice of American [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. June 4, 2017
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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