A fairly uneventful drive to Iowa from the Twin Cities. Some minor salt and snow sloppy mix to drive through initially, but the rest of the way the roads were fine for traveling. As I approached the Iowa border, the wind picked up tremendously and pummeled us until it slacked off a bit near Ames.
I had a sheriff’s car follow me off the highway in northern Iowa when I stopped for gas. As I parked next to the pump, he pulled in front of me, then smiled, waved and drove off again.
Just south of Ames, I was in my RoverZone singing along to Howling Wolf, when I realized that a car had camped out just off of my front driver’s fender and four young guys were waving frantically trying to get my attention. The one riding shotgun then took a picture with his phone and they zoomed off. I’m assuming we made someone’s facebook page tonight under the heading “Guess what we saw today…”
The story this morning is the ice. Freezing rain overnight has coated everything with it. I had to run the defroster this morning for several minutes, just to break through to find the windshield. Stepping out of the motel first thing in the morning, I almost ended up on my ass, but managed to grab the railing just before I went down. Luckily, I didn’t have my phone in my hand at the time. I skated over to the tailgate, which was fun in a skateboarder kind of way, but the realization that this was not going to be a stressfree, five hour drive settled in.
The Sundown Motel right on Hwy 12 here in Aberdeen is great! A motor motel straight out of 1950. The place is very well maintained, and clean, just a bit time-warped. The pressure from the old shower head could strip loose paint from the building, and it is above my head! What is up with these places that have the shower head at chest level?
The snow started to fall again when I was in Bozeman. The Cats were taking on the Griz in Missoula, and the state was stoked up for the annual football game. There was a pep ralley, for lack of a better term, in town for students and alum of MSU, so I stopped by briefly to check out the insanity.
The drive from Bozeman to Billings was through six inches of new snow. The only affect on the Rover was to slow traffic down to our speed. In fact, I actually passed several people including a line of thirteen vehicles, all in one, slow, methodical shot. It was euphoric.
The motels in eastern Montana were booked rather solid by hunters. So I found a quiet side road in T. Roosevelt NP to park the Rover and set up the tent. Quiet, until the wind picked up and it howled throughout the night. I could have been back in Alberta. By midnight, the snow had caught up with us and was falling once again.
I traveled an Interstate Highway for the first time since this trip began. I feel dirty, but I will pull off of it tomorrow. At breakfast, I listened to a couple complain about Lewis & Clark. “I am so sick of everything being Lewis & Clark this, and Lewis & Clark that! What did they ever do anyway?” I was torn between equal parts disgust and utter amusement. I mean really… what did they do? Then they left me in peace to go to WalMart. I am not making this up.
I was using the motel lobby last night, since the wifi was nonexistant in my room. An elderly trio came into the motel, and basically set up camp and took over the front room. There was a young guy behind the desk, and the poor kid had no chance. They ran roughshod over him, and actually put some of their food in the fridge behind the desk, even though he told them that it was against the rules and he begged them not to get him into trouble. When they ignored him, he chose the ignore them the best he could. I bought three post cards from the kid, then told him, “Good luck.” He thanked me and I went down the hall, only to be chased down by one of the women. She had some religious handout, that she just had to share. I politely declined several times before she finally stopped following me. Why do people feel the need to nag? Yep. I need to get back on a two-laner.
I did cross the continental divide today, which was the highlight. I’m getting to the Great Plains, which are beautiful in their own right, but I’ll be crossing them relatively quickly.
I’ve left Canada and am back in the U.S. The drive and the weather in BC were perfect. At U.S. Customs, the agent just looked at the truck for several seconds before saying, “Wow”. Yep. I get that a lot. Most people think I’m just off my rocker, but the agent was pretty cool, and only gave me minor flak for driving a Rover. The Customs guy was a Land Cruiser fan/rebuilder. I didn’t hold that against him. Overall, I never have a problem at Customs, still… this one was by far the most enjoyable. A great welcome back.
I hit snow just north of Whitefish, which was the first of any measurable amount since Fairbanks. A mini blizzard with the blowing wind and some very wet snow.
I drove along Flathead Lake, which is just massive. A great drive, and Woods Bay reminded me of an older Deephaven, with cabins & cottages right up against the shore of the lake. Not much room through here, with the lake on one side and a huge cliff wall on the other, very un-Montana, but it was a great drive.