Day 9

Route

KSTP (St. Paul, MN) KRAP (Rapid City, South Dakota) KCOD (Cody, Wyoming)
700 nm, 52 gallons, 5.5 hours

Weather & Terrain
The weather on the leg from Minnesota to South Dakota was as good as we could have asked for. Clear skies, winds in our favor, and almost no turbulence. After our stop in Rapid City for fuel & lunch, however, we encountered far more clouds, some turbulence, and a high degree of haze. The haze, which we later found out was from Montana and Wyoming wild fires, glazed the sky in front of us and stretched from ground to clouds above. 

Minnesota

Minnesota

South Dakota

South Dakota

Wyoming

Wyoming

The terrain, as we crossed from east to west across the northern portion of the US, changed dramatically. As we flew over and out of Minnesota, we noted many of its 10,000 lakes. We then moved across rolling, rocky brown hills of South Dakota flanking green farmland. Finally, Wyoming presented us expansive areas of few houses or towns, with interesting rock formations, canyons, and mountains as we neared Cody. 

Why we chose this stop
Tomorrow, we will cross the Rocky Mountains and we wanted to get as early start as possible for that leg of the trip in order to hopefully catch better weather and winds. Thus, after a long day of flying from Minnesota, we decided to stay the night in beautiful Wyoming just on the east side of where we planned to pass over the mountains the next morning. As a bonus, we would get to soak up the peaceful and wide open landscape of Wyoming for an evening.

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Smooth/Not-so-smooth
The haze from the fires presented us a new weather challenge. 

We happened to land in Rapid City while the nearby Sturgis motorcycle rally, the biggest gathering of its type in the country, was taking place. So we took it in from the air.

Eats and Sleeps

We were recommended a pizza place called Inferno near Rapid City airport for lunch. It was an all in one pizza joint + gas station, and they sure turned out some good pizzas. 

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We stayed the evening at an Air B&B about 20 minutes outside of Cody. The view from the home overlooked Wyoming farmland, mountains, and rock formations for miles. 

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Highlights

  • Awesome runway in Cody surrounded by mountains. 
  • Ever-changing terrain as we flew across the US. 
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