Today the car was packed up again, this time, with fewer items. It was time for a short trip out to Montana and view a few places along the way. Aria knew what this meant and wasn't too eager to jump in but when given the option to stay back, she quickly jumped into the car and settled in for another adventure across the states.
This time as I headed out West I would be taking a different route that would take me through Southern Minnesota, South Dakota, and finally ending in Bozeman, Montana. I would be staying a couple of days out there and had plans to tour the back roads and historical sites along the way.
The new route would involve I90W for a large portion of the drive but first, I had to get there. The day had overcast skies with a chance of rain and cool temps which made driving ideal. I headed out of Wisconsin towards the Twin Cities and was barely through it when the GPS and I started to have a disagreement about which way to go. It would prefer I took I35 but I wanted to take another route in order to avoid I35's construction and traffic.
This debate continued for several minutes, with a constant "recalculating, recalculating," ringing through the car. No matter what, it refused to recalculate me to continue on my current route and wanted me to do an immediate turnaround and take I35. The GPS was turned off and I continued on the current route.
A few minutes later, the Twin Cities disappeared from my rear view mirror, as well as the traffic and large buildings. A few towns later and they too disappeared and opened up to the countryside that made up a large portion of Southern Minnesota that included dairy farms, crops, and rolling fields. A few hours later and ahead was the sign for I90W, I decided to give the GPS another try and turned it back on.
Normally this was a quick startup but apparently, he was pouting and took longer than usual to start up. Eventually he "found a signal" and was able to re-calculate my destination to now include the route I was on. I turned on I90W and it wasn't long until I was crossing the border and into South Dakota.
I discovered on my return trip that I90 offered a lot more to the eye than I94 and was happy to be back on this route. Old and abandoned buildings lined up along the Interstate, some closer than others as well as old barns. Unable to stop due to the traffic, speed and not seeing them in time, I was able to get a few shots from time to time on an exit.
Eventually, even those buildings started to disappear and all that surrounded me was open fields and rolling hills, cars were also becoming fewer which had me sit back and enjoy the ride while getting lost in the radio story that was playing.
Not aware of the time and getting involved with the radio story that was playing I soon began to feel a dull ache in my left arm. I was brought out of my thoughts and looked down to realize my arm was locked and holding the steering wheel in a slight turn even though I was going straight. As I began to look at the dashboard for any indicators of trouble my eyes were caught by the thermometer which now read an almost 20-degree drop. I looked up and realized the clouds had gone from a gray to an almost dark black and the wind had picked up. A quick calculation had me realize that the temperature had dropped 20 degrees in about an hour which meant I could be in a prime spot to see a tornado.
My mind was awake and my body on alert, I continued forward and kept an eye on the sky. I still had a few hours to go before I would be at Murdo and was hoping that whatever weather was brewing would at least wait until I got into a sheltered community. As if Mother Nature heard me the clouds began to spread out, the wind began to ease and the temperature slowly began to rise. I was moving away from the storm and even though the color had turned back to gray I knew tonight was going to still bring us some weather.
Between the towns of Mitchell and Murdo, there were only a few stopping areas, but more than North Dakota offered. Even the town of Murdo was nothing to brag about. It contained two hotels, two gas stations, one fast food and that was it. It did make getting around easy as well as finding the hotel because there were only two main streets and the two hotels were right next door to each other.
Maybe it was the overcast skies, the muddy roads and worn down buildings that had me think this was a bad place to spend the night. I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into and questioned whether I should stay the night or not.
The hotel was a privately owned Best Western with garden level rooms all around and parking was available close to the room. It also had a grassy area for dog walking. I pulled up to the main door and got out to check in, the staff was friendly and the lobby was quaint but clean. I was wrong, this place wouldn't be bad for the one night. After check-in, I went to the room and Aria and I got settled in for the night.
There was a downside to the location of our room and the walking area. It was located behind the hotel and there was no easy way to get there except to hike all the way around the building. The area was secluded and not well-lit, however, they did have doggy bags and trash bins close by. Walks would only be taken during the light of day. As we finished our last walk of the night, the dark clouds continued to roll by, the wind had picked up again and a few drops were starting to fall.
We headed back in for the night and as the door was locked a low rumble could be heard in the distance. A storm was coming but I didn't know it was going to be so violent.
Driving across country can bring about some interesting situations. Broken down on a day by day basis enjoy my adventures and set backs along the way to some beautiful destinations.