The Perfect Vehicle -

Minnesota : July 2010

The summer of 2010 trip turned out to be a car trip, not a moto trip, because I was worried that my sleep apnea would make a moto trip too risky. Plus, we can take Katie in the car. So we rented a Hertz Sebring (leather seats, Sirius radio, moonroof).

Tuesday 29 June 2010

D-day … we get a late start because we can (4-wheels are more forgiving) and because we need to. Route: Lynnwood WA to Kalispell, MT (Google Map) with a stop in Coeur d’Alene ID forĀ Hudson’s Burgers. Details.

Wednesday 30 June 2010

After a gorgeous drive through Glacier National Park, we head east. I’m looking for a Radio Shack because I’ve left my iPhone USB cable at home (I have at least three of them) and I can’t charge the phone. This is a big oops. (I don’t think about WalMart as being a probable source – they do sell Apple products and iPods. Eventually I buy a cable at a Target in North Dakota.) Kalispell, MT to Dickinson, ND with a stop in Glendive, MT to seek shelter from a thunderstorm. (Google Map) Details.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Spending the night in the car at a CENEX truck stop is probably more fun in your 20s. Off we go, across the plains, headed to Duluth MN. We get a great motel in Superior, WI. (Google Map) Details.

Friday 2 July 2010

After a visit to Aerostich Rider Warehouse in Duluth, we head south to St. Paul, where we stop by the home of Mike’s maternal grandparents. The folks who bought the house way-back-when are still the owners and graciously welcome us and show us around. Mike makes a pitch for the pool table! As we leave, Mike’s parents and brother are driving up to do the same thing! Then it’s a stop at the Apple Store to try to figure out why I can’t download images from my iPhone. The tech does an archive-and-reinstall of the OS. I’d had a wipe-and-reinstall done earlier in June. Finally, we get to Cannon Falls, the site of the family reunion. (Google Map) Details.

Saturday 3 July 2010

I want to visit Red Wing! Who knew that the boot company was named for a town? This turns into a family expedition. Mike and I are the only two who can’t find shoes/boots to fit. (There’s a buy-2-get-1-free deal.) It’s HOT and humid. Doh! We’re in central Minnesota in early July! (Google Map) Details.

Sunday 4 July 2010

The fourth dawns damp and overcast. We rethink our bunking in the screen-walled gazebo, move things that need to stay dry into Mike’s parent’s motorhome or the car’s trunk. I do a run to Cannon Falls to do laundry and discover a winery! The evening’s fireworks — managed by Mike’s second cousin (and the host of the reunion) — are incredible. Details.

Monday 5 July 2010

We head out for South Dakota, but stop for chocolate and BBQ and a picture of a cool sign. Originally we were going to stay in Rapid City, but we decide that we wanted to see Rushmore’s evening light show. So where to stay the night? We eventually pick Hot Springs, based on the description in one of the various tourist magazines we picked up in Mitchell SD (where we visited the Corn Palace and got tasty carmel corn). We also detoured by Wall Drug, which is a thriving series of stores nested in what seems to be a rambling warehouse space. (Google Map) Details.

Tuesday 6 July 2010

After breakfast at a very local diner, we head to the Wooly Mammoth dig, then drive out to the Mustang Preserve. From there, we backtrack to the Crazy Horse Memorial — which is in many ways more impressive than Rushmore. I highly recommend this as a Black Hills destination. Then we head west, towards Cody, WY, where we’ll stay at a KOA Kabin. Who knew that KOA Kampgrounds have cute mini log cabins? Definitely recommended for the no-frills traveler. (Google Map) Details.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Yellowstone after breakfast at Buffalo Bill’s Irma Cafe. Wonderful and not too crowded (except for Old Faithful). On to Dillon, MT where I will have dinner a childhood friend, the first time that we have seen one another in three decades. (Google Map) Details.

Thursday 8 July 2010

The slog from Dillon to Lynnwood is punctuated by my iPhone taking a swim in Katie’s water bowl and my getting a HPDA in Spokane County. Otherwise, pretty uneventful but hot. We are shocked to see that it’s 91 degrees in North Bend (according to our car’s thermometer) at 6 pm! Turns out to have been an extremely unusually hot day in metro Seattle. (Google Map) Details.

All told: ~4200 miles and lots of smiles and giggles.

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