The Great Trek: Day 3


This is crazy! This is crazy! This is crazy! – Clark Griswald

It’s funny when you drive across country where your mind tends to go. I think I changed my voting preference at least 10 times based on whatever XM radio talk show I was listening to. I managed to sing “Stairway To Heaven” in Pig-Latin and made up my own sociology project by looking at passing drivers and pointing straight at them. Only one pointed back. What else am I suppose to do when driving across North Dakota? This is all I saw for 6 hours:

The good thing is that the speed limit increased to 75 mph so I pushed it to 85. And so did everyone else. With a cross wind of at least 35 mph I had my left foot depressed on the floorboard as if I was applying left rudder. You can’t take the pilot out of the plane, I suppose. That was enough to make me pay attention so I didn’t fall asleep and hear the familiar “bump bump bump rrrrrrrrrrr” sound as I drive off the highway.

And through the plains came the mountains. This is on the west side on North Dakota and I became a little more perked up as it was clear I had arrived at the beginning of the scenic route. It’s amazing how these hills and mountains just start. That sounds dumb because, well, how else should they? I guess after 2 and a half days of driving I can be impressed by anything. Especially the fifty foot cow you see above.

These are the Bad Lands and Holy Schmit they were awesome. As a city boy I am in awe how anyone could have lived here. The theme song to Dances With Wolves was constantly in my head as I walked around the park, looking at the wild horses way up on the top of these peaks and wondered, “aren’t they hot?”. It was a really inspiring break from the road. Right up until I saw this:

Back in the car!

Well, I drove straight on to Billings, Montana were I found a cozy spot at a Holiday Inn Express. And I needed a beer, stat. So I moseyed (I can do that since I was in Montana) over to the bar next door. And no shit, that’s were there were real cowboys. There is nothing better than sitting in between a bunch of the toughest dudes in America in designer shoes, Banana Republic jeans, The Clash t-shirt and order a Michalob Ultra. Especially when the Loretta Lynne looking bartender said “we got Bub and Budlight, sweet thing”. I got a Bud. Maybe I overplayed my hand on that one.

This story had a happy ending, though. The beers were only $2.25. Then I moseyed on back to my room.

11 thoughts on “The Great Trek: Day 3

  1. we have a big cow like that in the town next to us. it was a big deal when they repainted it and moved it from the gas station to the del taco.

    billy, you are an inspiration. this morning i told my husband that we need to put our house up on the market, quit our jobs when it sells, pack up and just move somewhere else. he said that’s what he used to do every few years, so i think he’s really up for it.

  2. Yes! It’s the world’s largest Holstein cow in Salem! Seeing your pictures is surreal, because I was at literally all of those places not even two months ago. The rattle snake thing was definitely weird. For some strange reason I feel like someday we’re gonna make that drive in the same vehicle.

  3. I though I felt a change in the air today….perhaps it’s because by now, you’ve officially entered the Pacific Northwest.

    So from me to you BIll, welcome to the PNW: land of mountains, skiing, trees, rain, scarves, lakes, blue skies, deep lungfulls of crisp mountain air, and coffee. I think you just may find your soul here…

    Don’t linger east of the mountains too long, Bill. Seattle beckons!

  4. LIke I said before, I have been to North Dakota. My Grandma spent her childhood there, and still had friends there that owned a farm. They have moved here since but it was nice seeing their farm and being jealous that I was too young to drive his tractor and my sisters were old enough to. And we even slipped into South Dakota to see MT Rushmore.

    I have relatives in Great Falls Montana. They have horses and have won awards in various Horse competitions. I went there a handful of times for their weddings growing up.

    I know now if someone points at me like that from their car to mine, I am going to point back. We always learn something at your blog. Once when I was a kid in the back of the school bus one day we thought it would be fun if we would wave at whoever pulled up behind us and if they didn’t wave back flip them off. Someone quickly waved the school bus down to tell them they weren’t amused at us flipping them off and the bus driver should punish us. I think the driver just told us not to do it again and we didn’t.

    That reminds me a couple of years ago my best friend and I were sitting in his car and this guy pulls up beside us at a stoplight with his front windows down and his radio up. I liked the radio station so I didn’t mind too much. He sat there for a few minutes and then turned his radio down and said “Hey, You have pretty eyes” I said thank you, we both smiled at each other and then he turned his radio back up and it was awkward until the light turned green. I hear that sometimes (and I bet that will be the first thing you notice when you meet me) I have pretty light blue eyes and when I was a kid I used to get compliments on them all the time. But that was the most awkward compliment I think.

  5. I thought the happy ending to your story was gonna involve some quality time with the Loretta-looking bartender…lol, but fine $2.25 beer is good too…

    …look foward to Day 4! πŸ™‚

  6. Man this is an awesome read! I was confused at first why you were driving through all these random states instead of going straight there but it makes the story that much better. My family has been driving from Arkansas to Utah for so long we have a traveling system. We only stop for gas and you do the three P’s while you’re there: pump, pay, pee. I’m a great cross country traveler and am bugged by people that have to get out of the car every other hour to stretch. But this trip is hilarious and I totally know what you mean about getting excited over nothing. A 50ft cow never looked so good. Hope you’re enjoying Idaho (HAHAHA!!) but be greatful you’re living where you are and not in Rigby or Declo. And definitely take advantage of being semi-close to Seattle or Salt Lake City.

  7. My ex-fiance did a similar sociology project once. We were driving through the back woods of a small town in Louisiana at like 6:15 AM, and every time we saw another car coming in our direction, he would honk his horn and wave wildly at them. He thought this was hilarious, because the driver would spend the rest of his day trying to figure out who the hell that was in the truck – it had to have been someone they knew to honk and wave like that.

  8. I was kinda hoping for a closer picture of the cow πŸ˜›

    I understand what you mean about the long drives though, I usually end up spacing out and not realizing how far I’ve gone, which I suppose is a blessing, though it’s probably just as dangerous. And 2.25 for a beer? I’m lucky to find it for less than $4 around here.

  9. OMG! The World’s Largest Holstein Cow – New Haven North Dakota! I have driveb by that oddity many, many times on our trips from Montana to Wisconsin. North Dakota isn’t prime scenery but suddenly there is a little black dot on the horizon, and it gets bigger…and bigger…and then you see that it is a ….giant statue of a cow. Hilarious! Brings back a lot of memories!

Speak to me, Egor.

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