Here’s the whole trip, out west and back east, by the numbers:
– Miles: 8333
– Dollars of gas: $981.83
– Days of driving: 17
– States and provinces: 25 (VT, NH, MA, NY, PA, WV, OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, CO, UT, NV, CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, ND, MN, WI, MI, ON, QB, VT)
– Continental Divide crossings: 6
– National parks visited: 7
– Small animals crushed: 2
– Interdictions by law enforcement: 4
– Tickets issued: 1
– Going to look for America: priceless
Drove through Ottowa and Montreal, had an expensive dinner at a touristy restaurant, and made it through the border without being strip searched. Rain continued unabated. Got home late at night and collapsed. Good to be in my own bed after so many nights on the ground.
Crossed into Canada, and quickly at a “another proud canadian franchise” of Mr. Sub. They sure are proud to be Canadian. Hannah and I tried to remember the words to “Oh Canada”, but that’s about as far as we got after “our home and native land.” We added our own lyrics extolling the values of Tim Horton’s, moose crossings, and the word “aboot”. But seriously, there’s nothing in Canada.
It continued to rain, but we stopped at a campground in Ontario. The Canadian idea of camping seems to be closer to the Europeans, where there is one gigantic campground, with assigned spaces, and a “comfort center” with showers and laundry. But at least it was cheaper than a hotel.
Wisconsin is also really boring, just with trees instead of grass. Had some of the worst food of the trip. Breakfast at a Swedish diner in Lindstrom; all I wanted was Lingonberry pancakes, but the griddle was closed five minutes before we walked in. Had Lingonberry-less french toast with fake syrup instead: less than awe-inspiring. Lunch at the Friendly Restaurant, where the potato salad was some unholy combination of German and American style: smothered in mayonnaise, but tangy as hell. Wisconsin is weird.
Visited the Logging Museum in Rhinelander, WI. Learned all about Lumberjack Lingo, the process of hauling ice overland, and model trains. Reminded me of the old folk song ‘The Frozen Logger’, as sung to me by my 5th grade teacher Mr. Millstone. I found a great live recording of the Grateful Dead performing this at the Internet Archive.
Stopped at an EconoLodge just after the Michigan border. Had planned to camp, but I didn’t want to sleep on the rain-soaked ground. Ate excellent cookies at 9pm, and watched television late into the evening. Try that camping!
North Dakota is boring, really boring. Four hundred miles of grass and little else.
Drove through another thunderstorm on my way to Minneapolis. Hannah’s flight was delayed, and I spent two hours in the Mall of America. The depravity of consumerism was totally overwhelming, although I did spend an enjoyable time perusing the Lego store. Everyone has their weakness, mine just happens to be the genesis of my engineering education.
Met Hannah at 11pm, after we had both traveled twelve hours, although she made slightly more mileage than I had. Collapsed at a hotel just outside of the cities, spending way more than I had hoped. But it did have wireless internet, so I got some good uploading done.