Archive for October 15th, 2010

Am I there yet? Day 36

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Being on the road is not always fun. And when you drive as much as I did on Day 36 (400 miles and seven hours) by yourself, you can go beyond antsy. By the end of the day I was getting a bit tired (not too tired, don’t worry), but to the point where I was what Vanessa has dubbed ‘driving under water’ – a bit giggly, a bit hyper, a bit over tired and a bit anxious, so everything is amplified. Add to it the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere and my phone wouldn’t get a signal most of the second half of the day, and, well, it wasn’t pretty. I resorted to talking to myself on my tape recorder.  I was actually intending to put the transcript here – even though I’m sure you’d all think I was insane – but believe it or not (and those who know me will believe it), none of it recorded. All my stuff from Texas is still on there! It seems I’d pressed some pause button on the side that prevents you from recording. Oh well…

I’ll just say that it was a long, boring drive. Lots of flat land, a few rock formations and not many places to stop. (Denver, though, was great – thank you, Jeff, for telling me to go to Red Rocks Ampitheater – I loved it! Just wish I could’ve seen a show there. And I’ll never forget those incredible apple pancakes – yummmmm…) Toward the end of the day, when I finally got to a rest area (and I mean just a rest area – not even a travel brochure to be found) in South Dakota, there wasn’t even water in the toilets. It was more like an outhouse. It was at that rest stop, just as it was getting dark, there was no phone signal, nothing around for miles and only one other car, that I first started feeling a bit intimidated. I began questioning my sanity, why I was doing this crazy drive by myself. I started seeing flashes of horror movies. As I got back on the road I also realized my tank was going low again and I prayed I’d make it to some town, any town. The darker it got, I couldn’t see anything around me as there are no lights seemingly anywhere. I began to question if they have electricity in South Dakota (wasn’t much to say about Wyoming, although I’m sure there are some nice places to visit there), but eventually there was a house with a lamp-post. It looked so inviting I was tempted to stop and beg the person to let me stay the night. I held myself back, though.

Eventually I did find gas and made it to my ultimate destination: Mount Rushmore! I had mixed reports (thanks Jake, for Googling it) about whether you could see it at night, and thank goodness you can. I was rather nervous driving through the Black Hills and not knowing where I was or what was around me (you really can’t see anything except the road directly in front of you, as you go winding up and down, trying to follow the small road). I was wishing I was back at Jeff and Lisa’s comfortable, safe, friendly home in Colorado! But it was worth the drive (and the anxiety) as I got some great night pictures of the Presidents. (Thank you to the phone people for making there be a signal at Mount Rushmore and to Tara for staying on speakerphone while I pulled over by the side of the road and hurridly got a few pictures before any bears, strangers or other things came out of the mountain to get me.) Now it’s time to go back during actual opening hours to explore the National Park I’ve driven so very far to see…

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