Slowly I cut the fat, trimmed the heard, and downsized until all my personal belongings would fit into an Outback equipped with a roofbox. The subie was packed, the route was plotted and then we partied. It was the most EPIC send-off in history.(PERIOD in case you missed that tiny punctuation mark) Christina & I managed to get on the road at 7am; we quickly passed through familiar territory of 146 corridor, WEMA, and Eastern New York. We high fived when we flew right past the exit to 88 and into uncharted territory. Fortunately day 1 was the shortest; we were starting out past E on the sleep tanks, and one of us had had a few too many CryPA’s(TM) during the party. The Rainbow Bridge crossing into Canada was relatively painless. However, when the border patrol asks what’s in the car I suggest something other than a bleary eyed “uhhh, stuff, you can see it through the windows.”
Lesson learned we checked into our hotel and rushed to downtown Niagra, where we made it onto one of the last Maid of the Mist departures.
This is one of the few touristy activities I recommend.
Spoiler Alert: These boats should not be called Maid of the Mist, but Queen of the Fire Hose.
The “wild” life was being quite photogenic.
Oops. This would be the wild life photo.
Day 2 had us continuing through Ontario, where the cleanest rest stops in the world exist. The trickiest part about driving in Canada is figuring out just how fast you can go without being a candidate for a speeding ticket. I would estimate 20Km over the posted on the highway is about as far as you want to push it. We crossed back into ‘Merica just south of Detroit. To my dismay the urban blight was not visible from the highway. We passed signs for Ann Arbor and then South Bend; the heartland of college football. The hulking beast that is the Gary US Steel Mill marked the beginning of industrial superhighway that continued all the way to Chicago. We arrived early in the afternoon, giving us plenty of time to figure out the CTA, eat possibly the best burger of my life, and visit the observation deck of the Willis, formerly Sears Tower, which was built with 7.4 Million CY of Concrete!!! We saw other things on our 8 mile walking tour and agree that Chicago deserves another visit. What does not deserve anything is the rush hour traffic; even leaving the city it was horrendous. We lost an hour easy on our biggest mileage day. Once rid of Illinois, the odometer seemed to move slower and slower. Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota; this is all we saw.
I guess we did see some of these too…
And then there wasn’t much to see with all the bugs splatted on the windshield.
It was dark by the time we reach Badlands National Park and found a campsite. No idea what our surroundings looked like we woke up to a spectacular view in the predawn light.
Here comes the sun.
A room with a view.
I know we weren’t in Montana, but this place sure seems like Big Sky.
Driving through the badlands was definitely my favorite part of the trip. You may notice, I got a little snap happy. The terrain is just so different than anything I’ve seen before.
Apparently there are some hazards in them there formations.
I’ll take a badlands traffic jam any day of the week over Chicago.
The prairie portion of the drive.
I was unimpressed with Rushmore, but the Black Hills National Forest looked like a mighty fun place to spend some time.
I kept expecting Yogi to jump out of the woods yelling “Hey, Boo Boo, howaboutanutha picnic basket.”
And then it was this:
For SIX HUNDRED MILES; Wyoming is a very large area. Just Christina, Myself, and the aptly titled murder mystery Cross Country in audio book format.
We hit a five minute very intense rain squall somewhere near the Wyoming-Utah border, just to keep us on our toes.
We arrived in the dark, 2600 miles later. A new chapter begins.