Friday, July 24, 2009

The Journey Begins -- and continues!

NOTE: Remember I said I'd be bloggin' from the road? Well - I did. Tuesday night we stayed at a Super 8, which as we all know ALL have "free high-speed internet". And it did, but the signal was "low" and "very low" and dicey. Still, I carried on. I wrote a wonderful, clever, humorous, insightful and entertaining blog. Easily the best blog I've ever written; perhaps the best that ANYone has ever written.

And it disappeared. Gone. PPFFFTTT!! I didn't believe it - I rebooted, checked, rebooted again, checked again, and OH YES, ladeeeeez and gennulmens, there was the title (lawsy it was clever...can't bring it to mind just here, but do take my word for it) and the first line. Only. Sooooo....this is the first of my travelblogs. Again. (I don't delude myself, I'll never again attain that original brilliance - just {{sniff}} carry on.

Although this has NEVER happened before, we got out of our Outreach program Tuesday a little later than we'd intended. {koff koff} We hurried home to feed the cats before leaving town - ignore the verklempt lady behind the curtain - and headed out. First stop: REI to return some shoes (Mr Dearling) and then a quick run into Target for the monthly Rx refill (me). THEN we were actually On Our Way. EN ROUTE. Travellin'.

We drove to the Twin Cities where we stayed overnight with my darlin' sister-in-law, and Wednesday morning, we turned our noses west and headed out. Oh....I discovered that I had apparently forgotten my cordless mouse which I much enjoy, so before leaving St Paul we stopped at Target (there're lots of them there) and I got a wonderful new small mouse for Hermione with my gift card from the last birthday.

NOTE: I actually DID manage to sort, pack, find patterns, find needles, pack, remember clean underwear, find yarns and highlighters and so on -- although I did seem to pass over the mouse. Nevermind.

There was scenery-admiring, dozing and knitting happening on my side of the car and driving happening on Mr Dearling's side of the car. We got to Moorehead, MN and stopped for lunch at a Burger King. Mr Dearling hoped they had the same "Double Whopper for $1.39" special we had to home, but they did not. So he appeased himself with two "Whopper-Junior-for-a-Dollarses" and for MY part, I had a pair of "burger shots". These would be teetiny hamburgers of the approximate dimensions of the White Castles in days of yore. We used to say "they hide the patty under the pickle". Doesn't matter, the teetiny burgers were tasty, and with the rather superior fries, were a fine meal.

NOTE: This is NOT a food critic blog; however it may appear to be on acccount of I sometimes obsess think about food and eateries and so on, and I have been known to comment that an event can succeed or fail, depending entirely on the nosh.

Our first Planned Destination was the Red River Zoo in Fargo, NorthDakota. That was my fault: I showed Mr Dearling pictures on line of newborn triplet RED PANDAS at that zoo. Those are his favorite cutest-ever animals; nothing for it, being as we were going to be in the area ("area" in this case being "North Dakota") we went there.

Well - there WERE triplet Red Pandas...but they're not going to be on exhibit until the end of August. HOWEVER! The trip was way worth it anyway because they have all kind o' unusual and rare and endangered animals there and they are a link in this worldwide chain of zoos who have breeding programs to try to prevent the entirely-disapearingness of some of these animals. Also, they had a married pair of peafowl strutting around on the paths amongst the people....and they had a tiny peewee peachick with them.

NOTE: there ARE pictures; however, I can't figure out how come I can't "edit" them to fix their size, brightness &c on Hermione so will have to do something of an albumoid deal when I get home.

We then continued toward Minot, and saw a sign indicating two towns coming up: WHEATland and CHAFFee. How cool is that?

By the way.....Interesting Observation: the speed limit in North Dakota on the highway is 75 mph !! This means that one can actually - and legally - drive about 80-85 mph. We did notice, though, that at speeds higher than THAT, we began hearing this really weird noise......coming from the passenger seat.

NOTE: it is difficult driving west in the late afternoon, especially when there is a haze of tiny bugs beset by bad karma, and some pollen-oid matter. Mr Dearling, who Prepares for Contingencies, stopped and cleaned off the windscreen with Windex.

Upon arriving in Minot we had the good fortune of finding ourselves right next to the railroad tracks at the depot just as the Empire Builder was pulling out for its journey west. It was really exciting seeing the train, and because there were a few lights on in the people cars (as opposed to cattle cars) I could see in, where folks both upstairs and down were settling in for their trip. I would LOVE to take a train trip across country, even half-way, and be able to sleep in a pullman car and eat in the dining car, &c. I hear, however, that it is FRIGHTFULLY spendy, but a girl can dream. travel with one's Best Beloved (who does all the driving while one knits, reads, writes, &c, see above) is a very fine way to travel indeed.

As the hour is now late (although not as late as it used to be, being as we're now in Mountain Time) I will leave the Minot Experience to relate tomorrow evening (allowing as how the place we're staying THERE....for the three days around the wedding....says it has GOOD WiFi in the attractive lobby, which will suit me (and Hermione) just fine.

So ends this day's travel. (NOTE: the free WiFi at this Super 8 is.....SUPER! And it's in Glendive, MT, if you happen to be passing this way.)


Jamwes said...

Sounds like your trip is off to a rockin' good time. Good luck and safe travels.

Lee said...

D-H, Yes, DO take the Empire Builder one day. With advanced ticketing and a senior rate it's not as spendy as you think. And if you think you've got knitting time on a car trip, a train ride + knitting is a match made in heaven. Take your basket to the Observation Car and glance up between rows to an ever-changing panoramic view. (Except eastern Montana, it doesn't change so much there.) The beds are not luxury but they are clean and above the ground (not a factor for those who camp). The meals are not gourmet but quite edible. You'll be seated with other travelers at meals which can make for some fascinating conversations.

We flew to the left coast and then took the Empire Builder from Portland to Chicago several years back. The kids (ok, young adults now) still talk about the trip and both have talked about doing it again.

CTJeh said...

Sounds like fun! You know, back when I was driving through Montana, they had done away with the state posted speed limit and let drivers decide for themselves what a safe, reasonable speed would be. They have since changed it, though. Be safe, Mr. Dearling!

Elizabeth said...

Um, Dale, are you going to be back by knitting camp on Aug 2?

Anonymous said...

You and me, baby, knittin' and chattin' on the Empire Builder, on our way to Seattle to see, um, er, Ryan, yeah, that's the ticket. I would love to take another train trip myself. Rode that same train from Chicago to Mpls once in about 1985.

Great trip so far, eh? I love being married to a driver.

Yarnhog said...

That weird noise coming from the passenger seat is what we call "the wife alarm." It indicates that the speed and/or stability of the car have reached unacceptable levels. My grandparents had one that went "Jim! Jim! JIM!" Ours just squeals. What does yours sound like?