Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Road Trip Day 2

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It’s a really exciting to wake up in a strange city – even more exciting when you know how you got there. Bryan and I were in Rapid City, South Dakota. I was out of bed at 6 AM. I wanted to get to the truck before the rush into downtown. The truck and trailer were parked illegally across four parking stalls at the top of parking garage down the road.

It was cool to see the morning sun through the window in the shower – hell it was cool to have a window in the shower. The claim to fame of the Alex Johnson is that Nixon slept there once. From the décor I think his stay must have been during the 1960 campaign.

After showering and loading up, Bryan and I headed to Mount Rushmore. We had to stop in you can’t go through South Dakota without checking that out. It felt good to be on the road. I was alert and excited to be in day two and to be this far into the USA. Yesterday was long but we were back on track.

Mount Rushmore sits above a tourist town staged in the fashion of a frontier town would look like. From there you go on a bit of a drive up the mountain to get to the monument.

Rushmore lives up to the hype. It is very powerful to see. The scale seems right – like it looked on Bugs Bunny cartoons and other TV and movie exposure. We saw it at the right time. We were there at about 8 AM and they say that’s the best light for pictures. I would agree –see picture.

We did the tourist thing and then went down to the town and did the buffet breakfast. We even tried the biscuits and gravy – heart stopping.

Back on the road I was feeling wiped – the quick energy of the early morning was now gone (might have been the energy zapping process of digesting biscuits and gravy). I decided to try Bryan’s Red Bull Cola – he bought two the night before and there was still one taunting us from the cup holder. I have to admit I had about an hour of insta-power. I knew there would be a crash but I would get us that much farther down the road and I then let Bryan take the wheel.

I-90 through South Dakota is one of the least interesting roads I’ve travelled. It’s damn straight and to make it even better summer road construction season was in full effect. Every 20KMs we were reduced to one lane and slowed. It made for a long trip.
We noticed by the travel rag Bryan picked up and the roadside billboards that Kevin Costner is a demi-god in South Dakota. They really like him there.

All this day was, was a damn long day of driving. We reached Sioux Falls, SD by 3:30 in the afternoon with only one short gas stop. I wanted this trip to go like today was going– it was boring but uneventful. It was just what the doctor order.
Just before 5:00 PM we pulled into Sioux City, Iowa for dinner. We stopped into a strip mall bar called Cheers and sat with the happy hour crowd and watched what looked like “Little house” or the “Waltons” I’m not sure. Bryan had a burger and I had a pizza burger. I thought a pizza burger would be a beef burger patty with cheese and pizza sauce. Not so, my burger was something fried in a bun?? I’m not sure what it was but it was neither pizza nor burger and not good – not good at all.

I realize this is pretty boring detail. I know it was but I see it as the best day on the road. Lets continue to bask in the detail of this gloriously boring day.
After dinner we drove another 2.5 hours south on I-29. When we reached Omaha, Nebraska we got pulled off the interstate by a misguided GPS that didn’t understand the concept of a ring road. About the time we reached the interstate again and after a flash rainstorm the instruments kicked on an “ABS” light that would not go away. I tried the brakes and they seemed fine but I didn’t feel good about it.

We drove another 2.5 hours and reached the outskirts of Kansas City, Missouri at about 11pm. Unfortunately we could now here a distinct grumble coming from the front end of the truck. We pulled into the first Econo Lodge we saw. Bryan got out and I drove around a bit to see if we could pinpoint the noise. No luck and we chalked it up to being punchy and delusional from being on the road for 15 hours. We were wrong.

We checked into and after a pizza order and some really bad Jimmy Fallon we went to sleep.

Day two down and another 1200KMs on the road. We got to bed at a decent hour and tomorrow we would pick up the car. I was excited - little did I know this was the high point of the trip.

To be continued……

Note: Recently decided to do a nut and bolt restoration instead of a body-off unless I run into a tonne of rust.

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