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Day 4 of 11: Coming home

Posted by joeabbott on July 2, 2014

Regardless where I live, “home” will be where I grew up and that’s Minnesota. I’m not picky: I won’t have to get into my old childhood home, my neighborhood or even the Cities (as the Twin Cities are referred to) … when I cross the border into MN I’ll be home again. That’s what this day was about: driving the long road to the hotel we’d be staying at over the next few days.

imageThe Plan

A couple things occurred to us as we headed out: first, we had almost 600 miles to drive this day; second, my interest in stopping at “dinosaur museums” would have to take a backseat to getting through the miles; and the best “entertainment” the day would hold would be stopping every 100 miles or so to stretch our legs before we got back to driving. Fortunately, we were on a solid interstate freeway and we’d be on this same road for nearly the entire trip.

The sights

We stopped a couple times on the road just to take pictures. The first time was, embarrassingly, just about 40 minutes into the trip! It seemed as soon as we hit North Dakota, the landscape took a very interesting turn: hills had more contour, colors seemed stranger, and lots of horizontal lines formed on the exposed sides of rocks. It was great!

P1060637 Stitch

P1060277P1060623 StitchSummer 2014 078

We also enjoyed seeing a real “welcome to <insert state name here>” as we entered Minnesota! All of the other states so far had just had a simple sign, if anything. Minnesota gave me a proper homecoming!

Summer 2014 075Let’s add another 90 miles!

After we got into the hotel, we knew we had another chore: to get to my sister’s house (about 45 miles from the hotel) and pick up a cedar chest. The main reason for renting an SUV was the knowledge we’d need to transport a cedar chest that had been my Uncle’s back to Seattle. It contained various treasures (treasures likely only to me) that came to me from his estate and was big and bulky enough that I’d chosen to transport it home rather than have it sent. I was sure I could ensure its safety.

As we looked at each other, dog-tired from the drive, we asked whether we wanted to go grab it now, or wait until the next day’s morning (the only other time we’d have to get it) and hope we timed things right to avoid a problem getting to the wedding on time. We hopped back into the car and got it that night. It made a long day longer but we were happy to have this part done.

The night’s stay

We were staying at a “Water Park” hotel and it was a Friday night … we were under no illusion that it’d be silent but through the course of the long night, a group of drunk, loud, and very un-hotel-friendly youths made our sleep pretty miserable. It was trying and I just rolled over and waited for slumber to take me.

In my words

Now that … that was a lot of driving.

In addition from getting from Montana to MN, we drove from Otsego to White Bear Township and back. Dana had the trunk I was to get and we decided to do that tonight, rather than arrange to do it tomorrow AM.

But, I’m starting at the end.

We left Glendive, MT and were on the freeway in minutes. … In a very short time after taking off we seemed to get into North Dakota and an overlook. The landscape was stunning.

Everywhere we looked we saw the strange, undulating striated landscape of another world. It was a joy to drive through on a beautiful summer day.

But the miles kept piling on and, after a time, we looked forward to either stopping for gas or the odd rest area.

We stopped at one rest area before Bismarck for ham and cheese sandwiches and an apple. A simple meal but very nice. We stopped for sodas, we stopped for a bathroom break, once we stopped to walk the grounds, hand-in-hand.

We did notice that, as we got closer to MN, traffic increased, and the wide-open of MT was replaced with congestion. We got into the hotel about 6:30 and I took a short nap. I was spent. Then dinner. Then we decided to get the chest. It is now 11:15PM.

Time to sleep.

This was a long day.

Day 5

A worse night would be hard to imagine: a group of college aged kids stayed here and were loud and in the halls all night. It must have been after 2AM and they were yelling in the hall, pounding on doors, and making so much noise as to keep either Suzy or I from sleeping. These were very poorly behaved people.


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