Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day Two

12:16 Central Time
It’s raining in Minnesota when “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” comes on the radio. I think of a dark beer at Harley’s in Marquette and get a little sentimental.

6:30 Central Time
We are about twenty minutes outside of Bismarck, and just passed New Salem, where the town’s name is displayed Hollywood style: on a hill in tall white letters. But they’ve gotten something Hollywood doesn’t, a giant cow overlooking fields of sunflowers.
Since we’ve left Bismarck, where a gas station was selling fried gizzards, we keep hearing warnings for tornadoes in the eastern part of the state, and fifty miles in the direction we are driving, there is supposed to be a severe thunderstorm with 5-inch-round hailstones. We aren’t interested in seeing either of these.

North Dakota is a diverse state, starting in Fargo with the flattest landscape I think I’ve ever seen.  Before you get to Bismarck, though, it transforms into rolling hills with an occasional tree balanced on the slope, and every mile or two water creeps up to both sides of the road (there has been some flooding). There are sunflowers fields, rolls of hay, sheep, cows and buffalo, and then, after New Salem, even taller hills and an occasional small plateau.

For these two days of our trip, I haven’t read or written anything in the car because I can’t keep my eyes off the road. Even as I’m writing this, I’m typing without looking at the computer screen. There is too much to see. And now I’m on storm watch.

6:35 Mountain Time
 The goosebumps begin. This is how fast North Dakota landscape changes. I’m looking out the window at some hilly fields:

I glance down at my map for one, two, three seconds, and then:

I actually gasped, which scared Joe, but then he looked over on my side and understood.

1:10 Mountain Time
After an hour of looking for a hotel that wasn’t full, we are ready to turn in for the night in Billings, Montana. Tomorrow will be a shorter day: 540 miles.

 Today in Pictures
Leaving St. Paul in the morning. Ready for another driving marathon!

Minnesota, a little rain at first, but then the sun came out.

Cute Barn

You can't tear Joe away from the new truck. He has driven the entire time!

Stopped in Fargo for gas.

In North Dakota

Cedric has had a long day, and the storm clouds are making an appearance. 

That's us!

North Dakota = Sunflowers, sunflowers, sunflowers.

I love all of the colors differences in North Idaho scenery!

Telephone Poles Wading in the Water

North Dakota-running out of bug-less windshield to take pictures through.

Storm chasers! Luckily we were storm avoiders.

Can't get over this: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Goodnight Montana!

Day Two Stats
Our Route
Minneapolis/St. Paul to Moorhead to Fargo to Bismarck to Billings!

Things seen on the side of the road:
9 Tires
1 Dead Skunk
3 Unidentifiable Carcasses
1 Plastic Green Crate
3 Bazillion traffic cones (approximate estimation)

Rivers Crossed
Otter Tail
Little Missouri

Lakes Passed
Crystal Springs
Camel Hump


Money Spent on Gas


  1. Cynthia, this is Chanomi. I have a few things to tell you: 1 - I grew up a few miles from the Ottertail River, in Ottertail County, and my first job was in the town of Ottertail! 2 - My mom grew up in Fargo and West Fargo 3 - My dad grew up in and around Bismarck 4 - That's Saint Paul! 5 - You guys are making good time...enjoy the rest of the trip!!

  2. That's really neat Chanomi! Also, thanks for answering my question. I didn't see any signs so had no idea which city we were in. One part of making good time is that you slowly begin to lose your mind. :)


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