Thursday, September 13, 2012

Westward, Ho! Day 3

Wednesday was a long day of driving. But the day flew by faster than the miles. Or perhaps because of those miles, as gazing out of our windows was wonderfully engrossing. North Dakota is beautiful. Montana is beautiful. 

Why do people ever move away from these places? Why (other than the blizzard-weary Lintemuths) did the rest of my ancestors leave the west and go back to Michigan? Family and money, not necessarily in that order, seem to be the only rational explanations. 

The drive provided abundant demonstration of why Montana is called the Big Sky. OMG. Really. (Yes, we’re serving fine writing here at the middle-aged woman travel journal.) I have always, always longed to see these endless skies of the upper West. I didn’t realize how much I’d talked about it until Annie reported back to me after her trip to Fargo this summer that the vistas made her think of me and my longing. 

Well, my longing has not been sated. More like teased, I’d guess. The sky made me feel small. Not in an “I don’t matter” kind of way, but in a perspective-giving, my-problems-are-relatively-small kind of way.  

We spent the day ooohing and ahhing and discussing family history. Which was a very lovely way to spend a day. 

We lunched at the exceedingly plain and thus quaint Medina Café in Medina, North Dakota, where everybody knew everybody else’s name. The food was adequate to good, and it was fun to surreptitiously ogle the locals.  

We reached the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and attendant northern badlands in the later afternoon. Again, we were glad to have internet access, as I read aloud lots of materials on badlands and other geological features of the area. Got out and took lots of photos, of course, none of which do the slightest justice to reality. 

Did you know that cattle have tunnels? I didn’t. The tunnels ran right under the expressway. And we saw a LOT of cattle. And grasslands. And rolling grasslands. And more cattle. Wow. Black Angus. Made me hungry for a good burger! 

We switched off driving pretty steadily throughout all of these days. Poor Mom tried hard not to rip the car door off its hinges with anxiety while I drove too fast. She leaned a lot. And I spent some time biting my tongue, wanting to see the speedometer move up a bit during her turns! 

I do enjoy an open highway. And the western states have wisely bumped up their speed limits to 75mph. I felt quite justified, nay, encouraged to 80mph. I believe that driving as fast as one can safely do so is a God-given right possessed by all Michiganders. I'll be happy to pass the right along to all Illinoisans, too. :-) 

The Rule (by me) is that I can drive 8 mph over the posted and designated speed limit on Interstate Highways. Except in Wisconsin, where lurks the State Police around every single frickin' curve, just waiting to catch someone with Illinois plates speeding. 

The Addendum to The Rule (by me) is that I cannot purposefully drive over 80 mph. 81 is Just Too Damn Fast. It makes my heart race past the vroom-vroom stage to the I'm-going-to-die stage. 

Have you noticed that this travel experience seems to be producing a unusually high percentage of dash/hyphens and over-Capitalizations? Just another example of the fine writing served here at the middle-aged woman travel journal

We drove into Lewistown, Montana, quite late. No time or light to search out cemeteries. Landed at the again very adequate B&B Motel and crashed into sleep in moments, after a late and supremely unsatisfying Micky Dee run. 


Blogger Lisa Olsen Gaston said...

Wisconsin troopers like Iowa plates as well. I left $175.00 on the side of the road last fall, so I could keep my driver's license with me.

8:00 AM  

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