Published: August 6th 2010July 30th 2010
Entry Twelve: Driving Da’ Tacoma tru’ Da’ Dakota! Friday, July 30th, 2010
I’ve always been a fan of the late-night driving, often opting to leave on trips from Chicago at mid-night. There’s less people on the road, less to look at, and easier to see cops (I’d only seen one the entire trip thus far). Leaving from Hibbing at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, I drove to Grand Rapids, and then picked up Hwy 2 heading west.
In West Grand Forks, Minn., I grabbed some junk food (a luxury for long drives, as the thought of pulling out all the cooking materials is waayyy too much work). Veggie burger from Burger King for me, two plain double-cheese hamburgers for Sophie the dog. Entering my 49th state (only Hawaii to go—probably can’t drive there), memorably, I began to sneeze on the Minnesota side of the bridge and finished on the North Dakota side. I “ahhed” in Minn. and “chooed” in North Dakota. Now dark, a short stop in a city park along the river allowed bats to be my first animal witnessed in the state.
In a state that only a few years ago was the only state
in our nation to lose population (they’re under 1 million), it certainly shows on the highways, especially at 1 in the morning. Wide, wide shoulders, no cops, and a 70 mile-an-hour speed limit make for some good travel times. I passed a 24-hour Wal-Mart, but could muster the energy to enter that strange world in Hicksville in search of a car cigarette lighter at 2 a.m. In Rugby, I took photos with Sophie at the “Geographic Center of North America.” (In a side note, 22 years ago, I had stood at the “Geographic Center of the United States with Scott, the person who I was not traveling to see in Seattle).
Dropping off of Hwy 2 in Minot, I headed west through the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and followed a forest service road to a site near a famous Lewis and Clark stop—the Little Missouri National Grasslands. It was 4:30 a.m. when I arrived; I had been driving for almost 11 hours straight. I set up the backpackers tent (having learned how to successful erect it, I now did it in the pitch dark). The soft grass was the perfect spot to consider my later-that-day destination, another yet-unvisited
National Park: Theodore Roosevelt. Contents: Badlands!
There are more photos below