Thursday, October 11, 2007

There and Back Again
The Long Way Round

Warning: These posts will be heavily laden with pictures that I didn't take the time to make smaller, so if you have a slow internet connection, sorry. Deal with it. Your problem, not mine.

Day 1

On September 28th, I, my mum, and my dad left Rochester and were Yountville (CA) bound. Our purpose was to rendezvous with Joleen and Sunny, pack up their shit in a U-Haul, then drive back home (with Joleen and Sunny now along for the ride in their Honda Civic...the U-Haul being towed by our Trailblazer). We left the house at 5am. We took I-90 west through Minnesota, South Dakota, and into Wyoming. We finished our first day of driving in Buffalo, Wyoming. Total driving hours? Fourteen and a half hours. Holy crikey. We arrived in Buffalo at 6:30pm...but it was really 7:30pm "our time" due to the time zone difference (which occurred somewhere in the no-man's land of South Dakota).

I took way too many pictures. And the majority of them were taken through the window of a moving car. All things considered, they didn't turn out half bad. Sure, the occasional picture is slightly marred by bug guts on the windshield, but that only adds character, right?

These are pictures that I feel are fairly representative of southern Minnesota. Hi. We have farms. We like corn. We have cows (is there a state without hordes of cows??). Most of MN was early in the morning. The first couple of hours were in the dark.

Starting in MN we began to see signs for Wall Drug. If you don't know what Wall Drug is, then you've never driven anywhere in South Dakota. I don't think that there is a place (or thing) with more billboards than Wall Drug. They boast having signs in Africa and the North Pole and other such out-of-the-way places. Yeah. There was a really nice gas station that we stopped at in MN that was even equipped with showers. It must be a gas station frequented by truckers.


So, after MN we drove into South Dakota. Aside from the Badlands, geographically South Dakota is a really boring state to drive through (but yes, there are worse states). However, they do have a crazy abundance of billboards along the interstate to keep you mildly occupied. Half of these billboards are for Wall Drug. The rest are for The Corn Palace, The Reptile Garden, Mount Rushmore, and The Dinosaur Park (and a few random hotels). And what's up with this giant antelope head, giant hammer, and little guys with spears? Weird.

Did any of these billboards actually work on us, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. The answer is YES. I felt that our road trip would not be complete if we did not make a stop at the Mitchell Corn Palace. Come on, you need a cheesy tourist attraction stop to truly make a road trip. Plus, it was right off the interstate. I was kind of excited about it, as it seemed kind of cool to have a palace made all of corn. Well, it was totally lame-ass. It was a building made of brick with cheesy plastic-y looking domes and minarets. The only thing corn about it was a few murals on the outside made of corn. Lame-o. If you're gonna advertise a corn palace, please have it actually be made of corn. That's all I have to say about that. I guess each year has a theme. This year the theme was 'Salute to the Rodeo.' I don't get why that was the theme, as the murals didn't seem to have much to do with rodeos. Whatev. Apparently, it was a pretty hoppin' place back in the 20s. There were a few tourist groups there. There was a touristy shopping center nearby with a bench and a fake dude named Zeke. So we got our picture with him. I liked Zeke. My dad did not.

We took one detour in South Dakota. We veered of I-90 to take the scenic loop through the Badlands. Which we had to pay for as it's apparently a National Park. I quite enjoyed the Badlands, but it did delay our travels quite a bit and contributed to the extremely long day of driving. We drove through an area that was fair teeming with prairie dogs. Seriously, there was crod-loads of them. They were super cute. We also saw a bunch of what look like goats but I think were big-horned sheep. I thought they were hilarious because they all had these tagging things on their necks. They looked to me like they had been chain-smoking goats and got cancer and had to have one of those fake larynx box things attached so they could bleat properly. Also, I took the picture of the Penske truck just for you, Elizabeth. You can't even avoid them in the friggin' desert of SD.


We then arrived in Wyoming. I was hoping to see all kinds of cowboys wrangling steer and whatnot, but I didn't. One thing Wyoming has loads of: antelope. One thing antelope are super good at: avoiding pictures. Seriously, it was driving me and my mom wild. I did manage to get a semi-decent one after much consternation. We also drove by a coal mine which I snapped of picture of. I don't really have any good pictures of Wyoming on Day 1, for some reason. They're all blurry and window-reflectiony. And kind of ugly.

Anyway, as I said before, we rolled into Buffalo, WY around 6:30. We drove around perusing our hotel options. There was this really cute quaint looking place called The Occidental Hotel. But it was all booked. So we ended up staying in a Comfort Inn. But we DID end up eating dinner at a restaurant called The Virginian which was located in The Occidental Hotel. I got a steak. It's Wyoming. It seemed appropriate. The Occidental Hotel has a decent amount of history behind it. Apparently, the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Calamity Jane have all stayed there. Thus ended day one.


At 10/12/2007 7:36 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Fucking Penske!!! Hahaha.

What are you doing with your hand in the Zeke picture??

At 10/12/2007 8:06 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Liz, get your mind out of the gutter! I'm just holding my purse which happens to be set between my feet.

At 10/14/2007 5:55 PM, Blogger Candy said...

Wow, it seems that you covered a hell of a lot of ground in the first day.

Was your steak a buffalo steak?

Jake, Jon, Ellen, and I were talking last night about how it would be cool to go on a big road trip. I really want to hit some of the national parks out west.


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