The last day began like most with a cool morning and overcast skies. The weather was calling for rain all the way to Wisconsin. If I was lucky, I would get a few moments of relief along the way but that was only if I left sooner than later. We enjoyed the breakfast and our morning walk. The hotel was quiet and clean with a ground level room near the walking grounds and location was near the major highway. Despite all the construction, I enjoyed the little time we spent in Rapid City. A quick look at the map showed how close I was to local attractions, such as Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands National Park.
I finally packed up the car and was about to head out when the low tire indicator came on. Thankfully there was a gas station right next door with a free air pump and in a matter of a minute all tires were good to go and the indicator was off. I pulled out onto the highway and made my way towards I90 East towards Minnesota.
It wasn't long after my departure that the rain began to fall and the grey clouds surrounded me. This lead to a very slow and dull drive through most of South Dakota. Through the heavy drops, abandoned and run-downed buildings and barns could be seen but were unable to be captured because of the rain. Hydroplaning became a concern as I drove through some of the low lying areas. At one point the rain did stop long enough for me to get a glance at an old church with a windmill in the distance. Clearly old and abandoned I was instantly drawn to it, as I passed it I glanced back in my rear-view mirror to see that it wasn't just a church but a whole collection of old buildings.
What in the world was that? Also, where the heck was I in this state? A sign ahead revealed that I was close to the time change line and would be entering Central time. Thank you, South Dakota, that was helpful. I turned off on the next exit and made my way back to the structures only to encounter another sign that said I was leaving the central time zone and entering the mountain. Sure you can tell me the time zone but you can't give me one little hint of the town I was in.
After a few miles, the old town came into view with an exit alongside it. I pulled down into it with signs for a campground and a gas station but gates to the structures were closed. I had come across the 1880 Town Museum located outside of Murdo, South Dakota. From the road, I was able to snap a few shots of the buildings and made a note to come back again when it was open and see inside these buildings. Like I said earlier, I love historical places and museums.
Another turn around had me back on I90 and headed towards Minnesota. Even though the stop was worth the shots it had delayed me long enough for the weather to catch up and once through Murdo the rain began again and continued the rest of the way to the border. A stop in Mitchell, South Dakota had me filling up the car, grabbing a snack and enduring the cold wind and rain. There was no way I was going to get a break from this weather.
More rain with slower driving added more time on the road and at this point, I was ready to be done with the trip and settled for the night but still had over four hours to go. Once in Minnesota, I got off of the Interstate and onto a local highway which did not make the GPS happy at all. Instead of re-configuring to direct us on the new route it kept telling me to turn around, once again, I probably should have listened to the GPS but I always think I know better than it and continued North towards the cities.
When the route changed, the GPS reconfigured the route and the time to the final destination. Well, my GPS was so hell-bent on going the original route that every time it reconfigured it was not just adding a few minutes it was adding hours. At one point it told me if I didn't turn around now it would be 10 hours before I got to my destination. With an attitude like that it was only right to turn it off.
I had my dad's directions as a backup and I knew the names and locations of the towns on the signs, so it wouldn't take much to figure my way back to the cities. But the rain remained unforgiving and the roads became slick with hydroplaning once again coming into the mix. I was finally outside of the city and a glance at the clock told me that I would be entering the beginning of rush hour. I turned on the highway through the city and came to a dead stop.
Minnesota was yelling, "welcome home!" to me as I dealt with brake riders and tail kissers throughout the entire drive. A crash here and near-crashes there had me delayed another hour. At this point, it could very well be close to 10p before I would be home. Eventually, I made it through unscathed and stressed out. I was never so happy to see the sign for the suburbs I used to live in. A few quick turns had me off the interstate and onto a side road where traffic was less and driving was easier.
Another quick stop to fill up and grab supper had me back on the road again. A few more slow areas along the way and I was finally in Wisconsin where traffic spread out and opened up. The rain was with us the entire way but at times turned to a light drizzle that made the drive a little easier.
By 7p that night I was pulling into the driveway and Aria knew exactly where we were. She jumped up on the back seat, with a whimper and a yelp as if to say, "we're home!" Exhausted from the last several days on the road it was good to be back. Aria was quick to jump out of the car and take off running through the yard.
There was no place like home. With a sigh of relief, came a gentle breeze that blew my hair off of my shoulders. As I looked into the wind a song began to play in my head "Wind of Change" by the Scorpions. "The future's in the air, I can feel it everywhere, blowing in the wind of change...The wind of change blows straight into the face of time, like a storm-wind that will ring the freedom bell for peace of mind..." The word's echoed in my head as I looked into the wind towards the open field ahead of me.
After being on the road for almost two weeks exploring the West Coast it was nice to be waking up in my own room, own bed and back to a routine that didn't include getting into the car. As I reviewed the photos and edited the articles I started to miss the road and was eager to head back out again. However, the budget was tight and I needed to stay put for a while. I discovered that most travel writers would write about places near them and began to get creative. I looked at what was around me and what I could write about locally.
My sister-in-law had started working at a nearby town museum, Barron County Historical Town Musem, and it sparked my historical interest immediately. After a few conversations, I went over there to write my first article about a museum and photograph the collection of historic buildings before the season had officially started. This would be my first step towards museum writing and it would also let me know if I would enjoy it and would be good at it. It became one of my most popular blogs as well as the photos being published online at travelwisconsin.com.
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.