August 2, Thursday
We slept on a rock-hard bed. Back is really feeling that.
We grabbed something to eat--the usual motel fare, along with coffee that tasted like charcoal. However the milk was nice and cold, and I had a raisin bran.
We have clear skies, but may run into rain according to the weather forecast.
We had a bad scare. Dennis' back went out as he pulled my suit case off the low hutch. His knees buckled and he went down. He said he felt a burning sensation, and laid down on the floor and we waited. He stretched out carefully, then used the pillow to put his hip back. He said he felt it pop back in. Then he took 2 Alieves for pain. He's in pain no matter. We figure it was from all that driving--500 miles or so yesterday. We didn't take that many breaks. We will today.
7:23AM, 64 degrees
On our way, heading to North Dakota. Only 50 miles to Fargo. Rolling hills of farmland with the usual stuff.
We came upon an accident that was a semi that went into the ditch, it looks as though he tried to get back on the road and got stuck. He's lucky he didn't roll it. I swear these guys are not driving with both hands on the wheel. We've been seeing them weaving on the road.
Anyway, it wasn't real bad, and we were delayed only about 5 min. Dennis spoke to some kids in a bright blue van while we waited. They were headed for Washington.
We make the Moorehead/Fargo border and now are in North Dakota. Dennis reminds me we gain an hour on the way. That's the good part about going out. The bad part when you come back you loose an hour.
WE pulled into a "welcome center", about an hour into the state. We took a fairly good break just for Dennis' back. Ate a cookie & had a small can of Sierra Mist. Yummy.
We are now into the wheat fields that are golden yellow, ready to be harvested, looks like.
Traffic is much less today. Dennis says the population of the whole state of N.D. equals that of Chicago. A plus on why we like it, but it has its down side. I'll tell you about this later. There's less people, less traffic and only 2 large cities of Fargo, and Bismark.
Less than 20 miles from Bismark and we saw another semi involved in an accident. This one was tipped over. It also may have just happened. I began thinking there was a reason for Dennis' back to go out this morning, making us late in getting down the road.
On the other side of Bismark we stop at a rest area. Dennis does a few stretches. He needs to apply ice and heat alternatively. We need to get to a motel with a microwave in the room.
12:00 - After Hebron we get the time change. It's really rugged out here. Some hills are conical in shape and may be remains of old volcanoes.
We reach Dickerson. They have and are building more motels here. Plus large apartment complexes. The oil boom still going strong.
We continue, and on course to reach Montana today.
Sky become cloudy, a led gray. We had to endure road construction, but nothing like yesterday. That was terrible. It was actually stressful on Dennis (probably promoting to the back thing), but me too. I hate the two-way roads where they put up those damned cement dividers--I fear some one's going to push us into them!
Anyway, the oil rigs are a real eye-sore around here. I don't know if it's a real good thing.
Dennis saw lightning in distance as we head west. We stop in The Badlands rest area. Beautiful here. We took a few pictures. But too cloudy, the lighting is real flat. If we'd had snapped a picture at the right moment, we would have had a bolt of lightning in it. Darn!
We move on, drive past Madora, trying to reach Miles City. Dennis is really in pain right now. He wants to try and find a place in Glendive.
5:00 PM Miles City Motel 6
OMG! If Dennis had only just continued driving to Miles City, instead of turning around (because he missed the exit into Glendive), we'd have gotten into a room way before this!
We pulled into the lot of a Super 8- Whatever they named these motels "super" for I haven't a clue. We've only found them in the poorest conditions and this was one of the worst. The woman looked like a $6 hooker with tattoos, and fifty rings on her fingers--which looked unwashed. She had one room left--a smoking room. But looking around there was like a day care going on, plus the woman was renting all these videos in the lounge. Gag me. We left, walked over to the Comfort Inn, across the way. Talk about night and day! They were professional, clean, and booked. Oil diggers are taking up all the rooms in town here as well. POO!
So, ticked off we tried another place--which was basically another dive. But since Dennis made the mistake of thinking someone's living room was the motel's check-in desk. Embarrased, we just got out of there. And missed the road that would have taken us back on to the Interstate.
I was thinking "this sure doesn't look familiar." Eventually we wound up on a back country road, and and then the road became a dirt road. Ummm. Yeah. We're lost. I said, "turn around". He refused to. I grabbed the road atlas. If I had a proper map I'd be able to say "Honey, this goes nowhere." with authority. As it was, I saw this gravel road meandering out of the end of town. We keep driving and come to a junction. If we weren't so lost and pissed off, we would have been taking pictures because it was beautiful.
An oil truck goes around us and turns. He sure knows his way around.
The road signs were next to unhelpful. I knew we were on #335, but it didn't say that anywhere. One road sign pointed to an oil dig. The other pointed to somewhere called "Marsh". Great. Which do we want to wind up in? A marsh or an oil field? Because I'm thinking Marsh is an unincorporated Hamlet, I said we should go that way. Even though the town isn't marked on my map, I'm going by how the roads on it are merging. One diving south--away from where we want to go.The one we are on eventually (I hope) will get us back to the Interstate.
About 45 min. later--yeah, there was a small place that may have been an abandoned town with the left-over ruins of an old store that had caved in. But remarkably people are living way the hell out here! They had to be oil people. Who else would live in such a terribly situated area?
We continue on. I'm going on gut instinct. I'm seeing what the map is telling me. We were in Fallon County. There was a place called Fallon at the end of this road that zig-zagged like a snake around a tree limb.
In front of us is an electric truck. We figure he knows where he's going. We keep following him. He disappears (probably into the marsh?)
We do come across fields of something that belong to someone. See distant farms/ranches. I keep thinking we'll wind up being lost in the dark knocking on someone's door asking for a place to bed down. I felt rather despondent at this point.
Finally, about an hour into this drive, we come to another cross roads. We stop. I say to Dennis don't turn left turn right. I'm going by the road atlas that Fallon is ahead on this road, if we go right. Some guy in a white truck turns the corner. Dennis powers down the window, meaning to ask for directions. Instead the guy thinks he's just being friendly and waves back. !!!
So, Dennis does as I say. About 500 feet or so, we are on pavement. Oh! I want to kiss the pavement, believe me! Then, not long after, Fallon comes up, and we drive on to the Interstate. We had about 40+ miles to Miles City. Motel 6 was a quick turn off the exit ramp. Two people were in front of us, and two came in behind us. One guy--biker--said, "You got enough bunks for us?" Hahahah.
The woman was great, she got us all checked in like a mad woman on speed. We were happy just to have a room--and the microwave was Dennis' salvation. He used a damp wash cloth put into the microwave, alternating with the ice pack: hot/cold/hot, ending with cold. He did this for an hour.
Tomorrow Day 3: Billings/Pompie's Pillar/Butte Montana