Saturday, June 28, 2014

And I would drive 500 miles, and I would drive 500 more ...

We covered 500 miles today: most of both Minnesota and North Dakota. Our strategy was to get out the door as early as possible and get as far as we could, just in case anything might come along to slow us down. It worked like a charm. Our one morning stop was in Alexandria--wait, what, we've come all this way only to land in Alexandria? It was a little weird, as was this theme restaurant.

By lunchtime we had passed Fargo. Our intent was to get as far as Jamestown before lunch, but suddenly a blinding rainstorm smacked us. We pulled off the road and stopped at a diner in a little town called Tower City. Later that night we would deduce that this was the midway point of our entire trip: just about 1425 miles from Alexandria, and 1425 miles to go until Bellingham.

From Tower City on, the main obstacle was wind, sometimes paired with rain. It didn’t slow us down too much, but it made for some white-knuckle driving, especially when we saw campers and trailers weaving all over the road, or when we had to pass slow trucks with oversize loads. Despite the difficulty, though, we saw some of the most beautiful country we’ve experienced on this whole trip: rolling plains in a variety of greens, tiny lakes that might actually be the result of recent flooding, and sun, rain and clouds mixing to create gorgeous effects of light.

Our routine for in-car listening has been to take turns choosing music, podcasts, or audiobooks. Recently Sarah introduced us to a book by Suzanne Collins (yes, author of The Hunger Games) called Gregor the Overlander. This book is decidedly for younger readers,
but its characters and situations are complex and engaging. We’ve just about finished it, and I recommend it highly. I understand that there are several books in the series.

Tonight we’re in Dickinson, North Dakota. We had a hard time finding an inexpensive hotel room here. Our understanding is that the oil and fracking boom has been so huge around here that there’s not enough housing for all the workers. People are living in hotel rooms for months at a time! Christy did find us a room at the Holiday Inn, where the pool has a rather intense water slide. There’s also a hot tub: just the thing after 500 miles of driving.

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