Great American Road Trip: Day 6 – Preview

Day 6 was a VERY long day – 13 hours and roughly 650 miles – so you get another preview until we are a bit more awake.

Today we drove from Stillwater, MN back down I-35 to I-90, all the way out to Rapid City, SD and then down to Hill City SD, which is right next to Mount Rushmore. It was a beautiful drive and we’re still talking, so it must have been a great travel day.

Mitchell Corn Palace

Porter Sculpture Park

Dinosaur in Tow

Wall Drug

South Dakota Sunset

Great American Road Trip: Day 5 – Fair Preview

We’re writing this after spending all of Day 6 on the road (that would be 13 hours and nearly 650 miles) so we’ll be brief. The pictures below are a preview from the Minnesota State Fair, which we attended with Marta, Mary, Rawson, Jenn and Willett.

Fried Cheese Curds!

Seed Art: Gnomes for Marriage Equality (gotta love it!)

Seed Art: Zombie Corn

All You Can Drink Milk!

Concert (Dawes)

Great American Road Trip: Day 4 – Life Inside the Truck

Yesterday was spent more with friends than on the road, so I thought I would tell you about our companions in the truck.

Meet Sid.

Sid came with Marlow and he tells me (Marlow not Sid) that Sid is now old enough to drink.      While we keep talking to Sid, he appears to be the strong silent type. I think he is just hoping that in Seattle he will be slightly less neglected than he was in Boston…

While Sid isn’t holding up his side of conversations, luckily this is:

A gift from one of Marlow’s co-workers, the Emergency Meow with its plaintive “meow, meow” hasn’t gotten old. Especially when you hit a big bump and it goes off all on its own. Also, I think the Emergency Meow is enjoying the truck ride more than Houdini would have.

Now for the travelogue bit: Yesterday we crossed into Minnesota, drove 90W to 35N to Minneapolis and spent the afternoon with friends. Then we drove the truck to a cornfield in Stillwater, Minnesota where it is camping out until Saturday.

Now. Get excited. Our next post will be about…wait for it…THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR.


Great American Road Trip: Day 3

Today (well, really, yesterday, but who’s counting) was much shorter as we only had to go from Elkhart, Indiana to La Crosse, Wisconsin, a journey of 325 miles or so. Of course we also had to navigate Chicago in the VLYT and our rule (ok, Marlow’s rule) about sticking to 90 took us right through the heart of the city.

The first part of our journey was through the rest of Indiana, including picturesque Gary. We didn’t take any pictures but you can find a nice, representative sample here (Google Images).

Next stop: Chi-town (sorry – had to do that).

Chicago in the distance

A little bit closer…

From the west…

The El: A simultaneous assault on all five senses

After Chicago it was lots and lots of Wisconsin road and corn punctuated by the occasional rock outcrop and some random hills. Also, corn.

Wisconsin Road

Corn. Lots and lots of corn. Yep, corn.

Random Rock Outcropping

And some sky and clouds

The best part was the pass through the Wisconsin Dells (hat tip to Rawson and Jenn for that suggestion). We didn’t get any pictures as I was driving and avoiding weaving tourists and Sargent was simply too flabbergasted to do much more than splutter and point. You can find plenty of pictures on Google Images.

We finally stopped in La Crosse, Wisconsin, just before the Minnesota border. It was nice to be off the road at 5:00 pm instead of 10:00 pm and our hotel (Best Western Plus La Crosse) was FANTASTIC – in a sorta-updated-60’s-70’s-kitschy sorta way. It had an indoor pool and water slide, a bored looking lifeguard and a set of hallways that would confuse a rabbit. Don’t be fooled by the pictures on the web site – they were obviously photoshopped!

We walked from our hotel to downtown La Crosse, which was about 3 miles away. I think we went through the WORST part of town and I was glad we didn’t have a cow with us as some miscreant would have run out of the shrubbery and tipped it over, I’m sure. Dinner was at Buzzard Billy’s Flying Carp Cafe (well worth a visit if you’re in La Crosse) and dessert was at Pearl Ice Cream Parlor (well worth a visit if you’re anywhere within about 300 miles).

Things we learned today:

  • Illinois tolls are MUCH cheaper than Indiana tolls.
  • But Illinois still has tolls on the entire stretch of I-90
  • The VLYT has a trip computer! Oh joy, of joys, now I can tell how many PTO hours are on the beast (1.5, for some reason). Oh – and I can also say that it gets a whopping 9.4mpg.
  • There is lots of corn growing in the Midwest. LOTS. OF. CORN.
  • But it is all very picturesque – at least for the first few hours.
  • Nobody speeds. I do NOT understand this: there is a lovely stretch of highway with nice, easy curves and good straight stretches and everybody is driving within 3 mph of the speed limit. I’m doing the same thing, of course, but that’s ONLY because the VLYT is limited to 70mph, really runs better around 68, and sucks down diesel at a rate of about a gallon every 9 miles.

Tomorrow we’re off to Minneapolis!

Great American Road Trip: Day 2

Day Two is done! (well, technically, it’s Day 3, but I’m going to backdate this sucker and you’ll never know the difference)

Today’s route took us along I-90 through the rest of New York, a bit of Pennsylvania, ALL of Ohio and part of Indiana. It’s been a LONG day and we went about 570 miles, mostly at 65-68mph as that’s about all the VLYT will do.

Observations from the road:

  • The last 10 miles of a long day are the absolute WORST – and take roughly 32 hours to complete, which is saying something given that we only spent about 11 hours on the road.
  • We always order the same damn thing at Applebees (Cheese quesadilla for Sargent,  chicken strips for Marlow, big beers for both).
  • Sam Octoberfest tastes REALLY good in the middle of nowhere.
  • Elkhart, Indiana is definitely close to the middle of nowhere – even if it is 110 miles or so from Chicago.
  • The Emergency Meow from Lynn Wolf never gets old, especially when you leave it at the bottom of the pile of stuff in the dashboard cubbyhole and random bumps set it off.
  • I-90 is a toll road from Boston clear past Chicago. BOO, HISS!!!
  • Diesel prices vary WIDELY depending on where you stop. We saw a $0.20 per gallon swing between 2 exits (and when you buy Diesel 30 gallons at a time it matters).
  • We still like each other 🙂

Some more pictures: