Animals: Mule Deer, Western Grebe
“That smells like an old toe band-aid.”
Our goal was to drive from Minneapolis to Billings Montana this day. It’s somewhere around a 12-13 hour drive so of course we checked out late and then spent an hour at Target. That’s one of those things you had better accept if you’re going to travel with 5 adults for whom you have no familial bond. Everyone has different travelling styles and you’re only as fast as your greatest dilly-dallier. I, like my father prefer to get the fuck on the road and get some miles behind me. I used to fuss and cajole and it made not a damn bit of difference. Thus, after many fruitless years of gut-clenching frustration, acceptance was thrust upon me like blindness was thrust upon Galileo.
North Dakota is not a state I’ve ever been to and it does not seem to be a place too many people I know have ever visited. We were going to remedy that by traversing the whole thing from East to West. I was warned that the first two-thirds was achingly boring, but during the month of June at least, I found it to be lovely. Green and rolling terrain with that huge western sky that is so striking to us from the other side of the Mississippi. The last third began to change with the appearance of adolescent green mounds rising out of the flatlands. They didn’t seem to be part of a range or even foothills. It was as if over the eons the wind had stripped away the land grain by grain leaving behind only the toughest bits. Very cool and surreal.
Around this time we came up on a car that had crap glued all over it. Every inch had hand drawn signs, lights, garland, and such delightful features as the 3 Monkeys of the Apocalypse, and a functioning 12-inch high working hourglass. She seemed to have an axe to grind. True, she hates Obama, and true she considers the government a form of tyranny, but mostly, mostly she thinks that anybody purporting that cigarettes are unhealthy and thus enacting laws to regulate them are liars, charlatans, tools of the government, and garden variety assholes. Beyond the glitz and glamour of her art car the vast majority of space was dedicated to extolling her somewhat minority opinion that in fact, cigarettes are just fine. Her nom de guerre is “Smokin’ Granny.” I still don’t know how she got all that stuff to stick to her car.
We spent the next few hours chasing the sun and as we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone it seemed as if night would never fall. Behind us was the most amazing lightning show pulsating from cloud to cloud. As we stopped for a pee break somewhere near the Montana border who the hell would drive up? Smokin’ Granny herself. We descended upon her taking pictures of her car and having a remarkably pleasant conversation. She said her car had been photographed in front of every state in the union excepting Alaska and Hawaii. She hails from southern Kentucky and was the most benign sort of anarchist one could ever hope to meet.
The last several hours were a nightmare. It was pitch black, it was really late at night, we had inexplicably not filled up on gas at the last stop so there was some stress on whether we would run out. We made it but in a rather ragged fashion.
Tomorrow is another travel day.