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11 states in 8 days (Chicago-Phoenix)
|1999/04/11 - 1999/04/18||
Once upon a time there were 7 good little
cats..... but these are not them. These are: 1-boss, 2-athlete, 3-need love, 4-lazy,
5-shy, 6-baby and 7-spaz. They were with me and Christina, as we travelled many
miles to sunny Phoenix.
Christina was moving and i offered to
come along for the cross-country trip. We had a week to spend and hpefully see
a lot. Even though she had a 6ft by 12ft U-haul reserved, it wasn't available
and we had to fit everything into a 5ft by 10ft trailer. The TV, couch, computer
table, bookshelves, 2 guitars and almost everything fit, but the queen bed and
computer chair didn't. They had to stay behind. The 7 cats fit into 4 carriages
inside of her jeep.
Illinois .. Wisconsin .. Minnesota
We set out on I-94 on a Sunday morning
and headed north-east. We wanted to see as many states as possible, and make spontaneous
stops for interesting sights. We drove through Wisconsin and Minnesota, and spent
the night in a motel in Minnesota, not far from North Dakota.
There was a duck-refuge area along the
way, but otherwise nothing interesting. At night we found a motel in Bismark,
North Dakota. The following morning we headed south. The land was barren -- rolling
hills with little vegetation, and very little trafic. We did take little highways
since Bismark, but seeing 2 cars per hour seemed low. The April winds and afternoon
foggy skies added to the ghost-land feeling.
We entered South Dakota from the north,
and after Faith, we started turning east. The landscape started to change, there
was more grass now. We pulled over and walked to the lake. Just us two, the cats
didn't get to stretch their legs.
First we wanted to go to Mount Rushmore,
then we didn't, but after 2 wrong turns we were heading there -- so why not. The
sights along I-94 going west were quite different. We were back around civilization
-- the traffic, the road signs, the lifesize dinosaur figures... Mount Rushmore
was cool. Lots of photo opportunities. Even before the entrance, there was a cool
RV from Anchorage, Alaska.
Nebraska .. Kansas
We entered Nebraska at night and around
11pm went to eat. The locals recommended the Sand Dunes, which were kind-of along
our way. We drove by the Dunes in the morning, but never turned from the main
road -- time, time, time. In Kansas we were hauling at 80mph on a small 1-lane
highway. We noticed the oncoming cop car too late. His red-blue-white flasshers
went on when he got within feet of us -- but he never turned around. Phewwwwww..
We expected to see either him or another cop car from front or back -- but nothing.
The sign on the U-haul trailer said "45mph max" -- the the first digit
must be a misprint.
Oklahoma .. Texas
We only made a few miles through Oklahoma,
and then we were in Texas. While getting gas at Perryton, we found out about the
road flooding and possibly closed roads. We went to the sheriff's office -- and
it was a bit like in the movies. Small town sheriff's office with a desk, his
feet on it, and barred rooms in the background. I-83, the road we came in and
kept going on was not closed, but they told us to watch out for water on the road.
We left the little town, and were happily on our way. About half hour later, me
at the wheel, i saw something strange on the road. It looked like sand was covering
stretch of the road, about 100yards. It was water. And by the time i could stop,
we were in the middle of it. Just before entering, i saw an oncoming car on this
one-lane highway. It looked like we were totally submerged, the water was splashing
so much. We might have been doing 60mph, and with the U-haul behind us we sure
had a lot of momentum. We surfed through that water for about 30 seconds, not
seeing a thing, water was everywhere. I just kept the steering wheel straight,
didn't even try to brake -- i just took my foot off the pedal. Maybe there was
6 inches of water, maybe 12 -- who knows. Nothing happened in the end, the road
was straight and i kept it straight, so we just came out in our lane. Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Let's do that againnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
Dallas was a targeted stop. A few hundred
miles out of the way, and we had to miss Montana and Wyoming because of it --
grrrrrrrrr... We met up with Chris' friends, then found a motel for the night.
And then we got the trailer stuck. After almost a full circle around the motel's
fenced pool, I took the last turn too sharp and U-haul scraped teh telephone pole.
It didn't want to go forward, and backwards wasn't productive either -- not enough
working room. "Let me inch it" -- Gloria offered. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.
She floored it. The pillar was still standing afteerwards and those U-hauls are
like tanks -- they are build to withstand abuse.
New Mexico .. Arizona
......more soon ;-)........