We began our journey in Lee’s Summit. I arrived from Columbia in the early evening the previous day to spend some time with the family that was not coming across the country with me.
My grandfather insisted he would be leaving at 7 a.m. I was less than thrilled about this and protested. My protests continued into the morning, though not intentionally, I was merely delayed. I met my mother and grandparents at our nearby CVS (because they were just dying to get on the road) and we assessed our status.
I needed coffee. My mom needed rechargeable batteries. I needed window décor. My grandparents needed to get on the road.
So we split off, my mother and I running to Wal-Mart and Starbucks respectively and we were ready to get on the road at around 8. My dog, however, was not. He made sure that the half a cup that remained of my peppermint white mocha was no longer in the cup and instead all over my car. Needless to say, we spent 15 minutes mopping up sticky liquid.
Finally we were off at 8:15. Then it was at 9:30 a.m. we passed Oregon.
Oregon, Mo., that is, which I didn’t know existed.
Our first gas stop was in Sidney, Iowa where we also were able to cross into Nebraska and see the Lewis and Clark Trail Center that was there. It was very informational and since we happen to be following the trail so closely, I bought a book about it. My co-pilot read points of interest as we passed them.
As we drove one of the conversational highlights was regarding school zone speed limits. We’re pretty sure that if you were to set them at 40 mph, officers would be much more efficient at identifying potential kidnappers–because they would be the only ones going 20 through the area. My mother also pointed out that the speed limit is 45 at the elementary closest to her and those children manage to successfully run across the large road through traffic. School zone speed limits: the reason the obesity rates are going up.
There were a couple of quick stops at gas stations to grab some drinks but nothing too eventful occurred until we crossed into South Dakota and the rain started to fall. Nothing dangerous occurred, but I did get a pretty cool shot of some clouds.
Brynley was well behaved the whole time after the coffee incident. A bit hyper, but that is understandable. It’s kind of hard to explain to him what exactly is going on.
Shortly after the rain, my check engine light came on, which was a huge downer for everyone. We pulled over and tried restarting my car– still lit. We decided our best bet was to get to the next largest town and go to a mechanic (we confirmed this with our mechanically inclined male relatives). Once we figured out what the issue was, solving it became the slightly more trying challenge. It’s not a do-or-die issue, but I shouldn’t drive the rest of the way without fixing it.
Add “replace O2 sensor” to the list of things to do tomorrow.
Sturgis is soon to begin, so bikers are everywhere and they are all incredibly friendly. Most of them wave when they see all of the tags on my car. I’ve gained a couple of Twitter followers thanks to the Crayola Window Marker art.
We stopped at one very “middle of nowhere” gas station and chatted with some people (after each using the restroom). I found out the cashier attended UMKC. That was a surprising find in the middle of South Dakota.
My mom and I are also playing the license plate game. For those unfamiliar, you try to get all 50 states on long road trips. Naturally, there are a few unlikely ones, like Hawaii, but we’ve done well so far with 29 states. We’re missing some southern states and most of the New England ones. Also, randomly, Nevada. I have faith we can do better.
Tonight the stop is Wall, South Dakota, home of the infamous “Wall Drug” which is a kind of hokey drugstore with lots of touristy junk for sale and lots of random figures to get pictures with (like jackalopes and an 80-foot-tall dinosaur). We’re staying in the finest of pet-friendly establishments, Motel 6, where I am currently typing this blog on free wifi. Go Motel 6.
Until tomorrow. Click here for day 2.