The next morning I woke to, once again, overcast skies. Aria and I got ready for our morning walk and when I looked back towards the hotel the mountains were starting to come into view. A little over 24 hours ago I had stood in this exact spot and these mountains were green with sprinkles of snow patches, now they were completely white.
Bozeman and the interstate were now visible and full of cars but even from where I stood I could see their speeds were slower than what was marked. This gave me pause as I had no idea what I was going to be dealing with and how far the storm had went in the direction I was traveling.
We returned to the room, ate breakfast and I packed the bags for what was going to be an interesting drive to South Dakota. I had also decided to stay on the Interstate the whole way back to Rapid City, SD. Not sure how the route I had taken in was going to be, I knew the Interstate would be the first thing to be cleared. I packed the car and did one final walk with Aria who could sense I wasn't eager to get going but knew we had to. A few flakes had started to fall and I didn't want to be here if another storm decided to show itself.
A little more walking and then we headed back to the car, once inside a light had come on to indicate that a tire was low. Over to the gas station I went, filled the tires and finally I was on my way. The roads through and around Bozeman were clear enough that I could pull over and take a few photos of the freshly covered snow mountains and the rolling clouds. It was short lived and on to I90E, I went. Once out of Bozeman the roads and weather began to deteriorate.
Slush, snow, and ice were covering the roads which had me slowing down. But even so the car was still being pulled off to the shoulder and it took all of my concentration and quick reaction to keep us on the road. Locals were eager to speed by even as we were climbing and going around sharp turns. I didn't care, I was in a rush to get out of this area but not enough to lose control.
It only got worse the further away I went, visibility had now dropped, a curve was up ahead and I could barely see the front of my car. I had to come to a crawl and hope no one would come up fast behind me as only one lane was fully cleared. This was the left lane, the one that I was currently crawling in. The low visibility was only for a short distance but when going that slow it might as well have been 20 miles.
Finally, I broke through and ahead was unlimited views, I passed by a few small towns and as I climbed, for the last time, away from the mountains it became clear that it was here, where the storm had broken apart. The roads became clearer and visibility kept improving and by the time I got to Billings, I would have never known there had been a storm.
I veered South into Wyoming which had no signs of any recent snowfall. This part of the state had large hills and some twists and turns as I continued through but eventually fell back to open areas of fields and livestock. Soon those too disappeared to allow again for thick trees and mountains to come into view. I was close to the border and up ahead was the Black Hills and Rapid City.
This time I entered from the North, old, historical looking buildings lined the streets as well as road construction. When I was here a few weeks ago there was also construction but now there was more and what had been done was now larger, rougher and longer. I wasn't even sure they knew what they were doing or why.
Finally, I turned down a familiar road and up ahead was the hotel. I pulled into a fast food place for supper, then went and checked in to the hotel. Only to find out I wouldn't have a ground level floor because the hotel was also under construction. They were renovating all ground level rooms which meant unavailable. Great!
I returned to the car, walked Aria and then loaded up with food, beverage, Aria and bags and together we went into the hotel. Even though I knew what she was going to do I kept hoping she would prove me wrong and just accommodate me to our room, but no. We arrived at the elevator and I had barely pushed the button when she started to pull me away. I pulled her back in time to step into the elevator and Aria reluctantly followed.
We get to our floor and the doors were no sooner open and Aria bolted out and I was given a hard pull out as well. I pulled her back in, told her no and she responded with a bark and a growl. “Really, we're going to have back talk now?”
She kept close to me as we walked down the hallway to our room, I opened the door and she darted in, this time I let go of the leash which made a banging sound and had her stop mid-stride. Aria looked at the leash and then at me with a look that could only say, "Well it's not fun when you drop it". Then walked normally throughout the room. I closed the door and we settled in for the night.
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.