After ~2200 miles, the front of my Pathfinder is a bug graveyard. I must have wiped out at least...oh... 0.0001% of the bug population on the I-90 corridor.
I have arrived in Chicago (yesterday around 3:30 pm CDT). As much as I love my SUV, I hope I don't have to get into it again for at least a week.
I left my hometown Sunday afternoon and stayed with a friend in Seattle that night. She highlighted my hair (I'm *really* blonde right now, I love it), then we went to dinner at a new place on Lake Union (Joeys...it was fantastic). Got an early start Monday and rolled into Butte MT in the early evening. My best friend from Wazzu grew up there and her dad still lives there, so I crashed at his place. Started early again on Tuesday and crossed the continental divide just outside of Butte around 7:30 am MDT.
Tuesday's drive was really pretty, all part of the country I hadn't seen before. The NE portion of Wyoming/SW portion of South Dakota is really specatular. I was planning to stay in Rapid City SD that night and had plenty of time to get there, so I took a side trip to see Devil's Tower (which is pretty cool). It was nice to get off the interstate for awhile, except when I needed to use the restroom while in the middle of nowhere. On the interstate, there are rest areas and/or gas stations at reasonable intervals, but not so on the state highways. I ended up stopping in Aladdin WY, population 15, at a little trading post. Their public restroom was an old school outhouse. Not a porta-potty, an outhouse. Better than having to go bare-assed on the side of the road for everyone to see, but gross none the less. Given my camping background, I would have rather gone in the woods, but there wasn't anything to hide behind on the side of the road.
When I rolled through Sturgis SD, I finally realized why I was seeing so many bikers on the road. The annual world famous motorcycle rally starts this weekend. There were even more bikers on the road heading toward Sturgis the following two days. Not just bikes, but bikes in tow behind trucks and some fancy schmancy motorhomes. I'm telling ya, it looks like those folks know how to party, that might be an event I have to go to at some point in my life, just to see it. Mardi gras, biker style. Although you have to wonder about the sanity of folks who ride a motorcycle at 85 mph without a helmet (chances of surviving a bike crash at that speed with no helmet being nearly zero and all).
Wednesday morning I went and checked out Mount Rushmore. It was impressive but what was more striking was looking out to the east of the Black Hills and realizing how flat it gets. The rest of South Dakota was pretty boring. I stopped in the town of Wall for gas, but I did not make it to Wall Drug. Billboards every half mile leading up to Wall were an annoying "something to look at" so I boycotted. I spent Wednesday night in Albert Lea MN, then made my final push to Chicago Thursday.
I thought the scenery in Minnesota & Wisconsin right around the Mississippi River was really pretty. Green, rolling hills, lots of waterways and lakes, etc. Further into Wisconsin, I laughed when I saw the Cascade Mountain ski area. As someone who grew up in the foothills of the real Cascade Mountains, it was a pretty funny joke. I should be careful about cracking on Wisconsin though because that is where my new roommate grew up!
By the time I hit O'Hare, the traffic was awful and it was hotter than Hades. In the trench of I-90 in bumper-to-bumper traffic, my outside temperature gauge registered as high as 109. YUCK!
But anyway, I'm here, I made it in one piece, and I'm looking forward to a month of getting settled and having some fun. Saturday my friends and I are going to the White Sox-Mariners game, Sunday we're going to go see Wedding Crashers, and Monday I will finally get to start unpacking since that is when United Van Lines is going to deliver my stuff out of storage. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed again!