Day 1 --
Left out of Seattle, 8:30 or so. Weather is good, skies are clear, and pick-up trucks laden with stuff take Idaho mountain passes at 75 miles per hour just fine, thank you. Soon, things begin to flatten out as we get into Montana, and we begin to encounter the bugs. By bugs, I don't mean we get a few splats on the windshield, I mean we can't SEE out of the windshield. Front of the pick-up is brown with bugs.
Finally, we decide to stop for the night, unfortunately, we are right around the exits for Yellowstone National Park, and EVERY hotel is full. After driving even farther, we get a hotel on the phone (thanks to the Super 8 motel clerk in Livingston, Montana) who says that they can hold a room for us, but only for 15 minutes. A frenzied drive through downtown Livingston brings us to the Rainbow Motel, which looks like it was built in the 50's and prolly refinished in the late 60's. Wood paneling, elk decorations everywhere, and a rubber-coated metal loop for the door handle (what security!). We tried bringing in the
cat, but she just meowed on and on, so we left her in the truck with food/water/litterbox. Heidi couldn't sleep, I passed out.
Day 2 --
Wake up to discover that the cat has tipped over the litterbox in the truck. There's cat litter (thankfully clean) all over the floor. So I get to clean it all up by hand. Finally get on the road.
The road. The driving is easy, but it's VERY easy to get zombified. At least Montana curves as it goes along, but when you get into North Dakota, the road gets straight as a
ruler, and just goes. I'm convinced that if you had good alignment in your vehicle, you could fall asleep and not notice. North Dakota only really has 2 things, as far as I can tell: cops and bugs. Montana, a thousand miles long, I saw 3 cops. 20 minutes into ND, I've seen 6...and it never slows down. Needless to say, we stay right at the speed limit all the way across ND.
It's amazing what the road can do to you after a while. With all that I feel for Heidi, and vice versa, we were still getting snippy with each other after a while. Luckily, that is also about the time we decided that food and then sleep would be a good idea. Also, we were so zoned out from the road that we stopped a little early, in order to not miss our show (we're both big fans of Murder In Small Town X), even though, it's Sunday, and the show is on Tuesday nights.
Finally stopped for the night in Fargo, ND (and lived to tell about it), at a Day's Inn dominated by a neon sign reading 'George's Pub', which is apparently downstairs in the hotel. The front of the truck looks like the Fabled Lost Insect Graveyard...apparently, in addition to an overabundance of police, ND (along with Montana) also has more bugs per square mile than the rest of the US. You can barely read the license plate for the dead bugs, and we had trouble seeing through the windshield. The hotel allowed us to bring in the cat, which made Heidi happier, and made sure I got no sleep.
Day 3 --
There are so many dead bugs on the truck that we are attracting flies...apparently insects are not only cannibalistic, they are morbid. Woke up with an insane headache and a black-souled desire to kill something. No idea why. Went back to sleep, hoping it would go away, but no such luck. So, not only do we get a late start, but after only an hour of driving, I had to hand over the wheel to Heidi, who pretty much drove the rest of the day.
Headache never did go away.
Most of the day's driving was in Wisconsin, and today's end is supposed to be at Dad's house. The plan was to be there by the late afternoon, maybe the early evening. Somewhere
between Madison and Milwaukee, though, there is the inevitable end-of-Labor-Day-weekend car wreck; 3 cars, piled up and stopping traffic for miles. We turned off the truck for an entire hour, after sitting there idling for a while. Across from us, there is a farmhouse, perfectly clean and white, with the perfect red barn with white trim, surrounded by perfect rows of corn, waving in the breeze, the colors made deep and sharp by the setting sun. It
would have been rustically beautiful, if I hadn't been staring at it so long.
Finally managed to pull into Dad's at 10:30 at night, head STILL hurting. Still, Kay (my stepmom) wanted to cook dinner for us, which we managed to talk down from steaks to just eggs and sausage. She's entirely too cool. Eventually, she went to bed, and Heidi went to bed not too long after, leaving Dad and me to talk.
I hadn't seen Dad in about 5 years. Last time I saw him, he and Kay had just gotten married after he got divorced from Mom. We talk all the time, but we'd never gotten to just relax and really TALK about things, and without meaning to, this is exactly what happened now. Finally, at 1:30 in the morning, we both decided that bedways was rightways.