Sad about Sewagegate? Plan a road trip. There’s nothing better than getting out a map and looking at thousands of kilometres waiting to be discovered.
We did that the first year we owned our new Volkswagen Golf.
I had a thing about seeing the Badlands of South Dakota, and Yellowstone. So, on a fine spring day we gassed it out of Hamilton.
It’s wonderful how a new life on the road, replaces your former life at home. New views, new experiences.
We headed to Manitoulin Island and crossed into the US from Sault St. Marie.
At a pit stop at the Cove Bar we learned not to order a craft beer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The waitress, and she was the only woman in the place, looked at us like we had three heads. Talk at the bars was all hunting and fishing.
I documented the trip on a Tumbler blog, and highlighted a conversation in Munising Michigan, near the Shores of Lake Superior.
We were having an ice cream, viewing the main drag from a park bench. A guy screeched up pulling a boat on a trailer.
My husband said to him,
“It sounds like your bearings are going.”
“I know, I been greasin’ her steady.”
Priceless small-town talk.
Onward to Wisconsin where I would suggest staying at the Seagull Motel. For $60 a night the room was spotless, and the view was of the Apostle Islands.
In Red Wing Minnesota, the night view of the Mississippi River was magical, but the motel we stayed at was just shy of a dump. Across Minnesota seedlings dotted the farm fields with fresh green stubble.
In Pukwana South Dakota we passed on lunch at the Busted Nut Bar and pressed on toward the Badlands. A place where the views are rugged and harsh like the surface of the moon.
In the Black Hills, we pulled into the National Park where we chatted with the ranger at the gate, and he told me as a US citizen and a senior I was eligible for a $10 dollar pass that would get me into all state and national parks for the year.
The drive through the Black Hills was lovely, passing Crazy Woman Creek, the Bighorn National Forest, enjoying empty roads and driving at a leisurely pace.
Next stop was Soda Butte Montana, where Reefer Madness was playing at the old movie theatre, and I bought my husband a gas station t-shirt for his birthday.
Yellowstone was next. My brother, who lives near Yellowstone warned us that the park is so popular it’s often clogged with tourists, The best experiences were a long hike up into the trails. That wasn’t part of our plan. So we enjoyed what we saw at Yellowstone and carried on to what would be the most memorable discoveries.
I loved Idaho Falls and Twin Falls, and the eerie drive across the Bonneville Salt Flats and then Utah revealed itself.
Vast, empty, gorgeous Utah. Where you step out of the car and just see sky, rocks, canyons, and hear only the wind. In the solitude of Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef you feel humble and insignificant and grateful for it.
Seeing Utah was the monumental moment on the trip. Afterward we enjoyed Mesa Verde and Box Canyon Colorado, and the soft aspen trees leading toward the Continental Divide.
In Abilene Kansas we saw the America I grew up in, with posters for pie socials, and views of railcars and grain silos.
The Midwest feels like home, but the lonely landscape of Utah is what made the road trip.