Today is the first day back to Wisconsin and it starts out early, as in a 4a get-up to walk Aria early. The sun is barely showing signs of waking up itself over the high mountains that line the city. We go down the stairs to the side door and upon arrival is jumping up and down, someone drank too much water last night and really has to go. Thankfully, the grass isn't far away.
We return to the room where the day slowly but consistently begins with, of course, her breakfast and more water. I plan on leaving earlier than usual as today is going to be a full nine hour driving day and that doesn't include any stops that I make along the way. Plus I will be back in Central time zone when I arrive at the hotel so I'm going to loose an hour. The earlier I get going, the earlier I will get to the hotel and relax.
The temperature in Bozeman is 60 degrees this morning and has a bit of cool breeze, off in the East the sky, once again, is showing hints of pink. But a glance over to the West shows the moon is still out and a light pink almost purple surrounds it with light clouds passing by. It is almost a full moon and it is an amazing site to see first thing in the morning. If only the camera could capture its beauty.
Another benefit to this hotel is the literature that is located at the entrance to the lobby. There are several state magazines that talk about things to see and do in different regions of the state as well as homes and decorating plus the usual pamphlets that talk about popular tourist attractions. Needless to say, before leaving, I grabbed several of them. Before leaving I grabbed my phone and see that rain is coming and will start around 7a. Definitely time to go.
I hook up Aria and when we head back down to the car, once again, she is jumping up and down at the door. One more walk before we hit the road. The parking lot is full of cars and by the look of some of them this place caters to construction workers. Some of them are up and getting ready to leave at the same time I do, which is a little after 530a.
The beginning of the route over to South Dakota, which is where I'll be staying tonight, is on I90. Fast speeds and minimal traffic make it a smooth drive through the mountains and the construction zones. It occurs to be about an hour in to the drive that I have never returned to Wisconsin on the same route I came out to Montana on; specifically Highway 212 which goes through the countryside.
I'm either coming up through Wyoming which has me entering just East of Rapid City or I stay on I90 and spend a few more miles in Wyoming before crossing over in to South Dakota. I have to say the route seemed to be longer and more boring heading back than it did heading out. Not sure why but there were times I struggled to keep my eyes open. Thankfully, about that time a town would pop up or just before Broadus a complete stop because construction has brought the road down to one lane.
We sit for nearly ten minutes and the heat and humidity can be felt through the car and the air can't keep it cool enough. The stop also has Aria getting anxious and her panting has started to increase. Even though the air is cool it isn't as cold as it is when we're moving. I clearly arrived just as the first group was going through and now we're going to have to wait.
Finally, I see the pilot car and we're off. The road is all dirt and all pot holes. Semis and trailers are in the lead and they are rocking back and forth even at the crawling speeds were at. Aria is up and pacing but her panting has slowed, she is confused by what is going on but eventually settles down and allows the cool air to calm and relax her. Now, we're through the one-lane portion and have another mile of dirt road to get through before we're back on solid ground and the road barely allows two vehicles through let alone two semis. Plus the potholes only get deeper and more frequent, as if that were even possible, but it does. A steep and short incline with a final bumps pushes us onto paved road and out of the construction zone. We slowly begin to speed up and just around the corner in front of us is a lead vehicle with the sign "Wide Load" and a wide load it was.
I feel sorry for the driver and the construction workers who are going to have to deal with this large piece of equipment that is being hauled and it hangs over the sides. I'm so happy I won't be anywhere near the area when it goes through. Continuing forward also reveals I only have about 70 miles left in the gas tank. Maybe I should have filled up in Ashland but my gut tells me there are service stations in Broadus and, to my surprise, there was!
A quick fill up, a snack and another walk for Aria and we are back on the road heading towards South Dakota. The closer we get to the state, the flatter the area becomes which mean the duller the drive becomes. At least the other way I can see the mountains growing in the distance now they are disappearing all together. The route dips into Wyoming for a few miles before pulling me into South Dakota and back onto I90.
Here speeds pick up even more and it is smooth sailing until I get through Rapid City. Heading East from Rapid City for the next 100-200 miles is not just long and boring but a gas mileage killer. The area is super flat, with low rolling hills, somewhere in the distance are the Badlands but today I can't see them. A haze is covering the land and a heavy wind is blowing. It never fails, every single time I'm on this route my gas mileage sinks because of the strong wind that blows through here. Either it pushes me from side to side or I go head to head with it. Never has it been a tail wind to help push me along. I growl and groan every time I'm on this route and watch the tank's needle to a steady drop. Curse you South Dakota!!
I've chosen to stay in a small, rural town just off of I90. It is cute, quaint and quiet and at one time only had two hotels to choose from but seems to be renovating old buildings and making them into small Inns which is nice to see. Other than the Pilot Travel Center, that is all there is to say about the town. A place to sleep, gas up, and for fast food it is Subway which upon arrival was busy as well as the gas pumps. You'd think it was a holiday weekend coming up; oh wait.
This also has me thinking that tomorrow morning will be another early departure, even though the return trip will be about eight hours everyone in the cities is going to be leaving early. So the sooner I get up there and through the Twin Cities the better I'll be. Last night in a hotel has Aria doing a bit of a happy dance. Temperatures are nearing 90 and with the humidity it feels like 100 which makes being in a car all day not the funnest way to spend her time.
Enjoy your day!!
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.