Northern Wyoming is gnarly, tough and sparse. The early settlers named their creeks with things from their life like Wild Horse Creek, Dead Horse Creek and Crazy Woman Creek. I was just thinking about a discussion I had with Riley and Jess about his mom when I passed that last creek. I laughed out loud.
Wyoming has also shut down all of it's Rest Areas, at least along I-90. I heard it was because the State is broke and can't afford them. What about no state tax and all of the rich folks living in Wyoming because of that and, hell, lost my train of thought...
Rolling into South Dakota was like having a dark veil removed, the lights came on and this beautiful state unfolded. Everything was spaced out more, the grass was greener, the sky was a soft pale blue and Sturgis was just down the road.
Shared the road East with a lot of bikers, some looking like tourists in a motor home but the covered bike in the back of the truck gives them away. Every cool biker in the country is bearing down here and the air was electric as I drove right on by.
I am now in a Rest Area somewhere in the Badlands of South Dakota. It is day twelve and I will probably be home by Friday. I'm road weary but still having the time of my life. Rock on...
Stayed at a nice place here in Billings called the Dude Rancher Lodge and after a $5 breakfast special here at 0600 I'm hitting the road. I have an itinerary, sort of.
From Billings down into Wyoming (Sheridan, Buffalo, Gillette), over to South Dakota (Spearfish, Rapid City, Chamberlain, Mitchell and Brandon) then abandon I-90 and head south on I-29 through Sioux City, Iowa and hit I-80 just North of Omaha, Nebraska to head East to Des Moines or continue down I-29 to Kansas City. That's as far out as I can plan.
Sitting on my tailgate backed into the last spot in a wooded rest area stoned with a drink in my hand and I get it. I kept thinking I wanted to go South but as I rolled past Mt Rainier this morning the reasons were nowhere to be found.
I flipped a bitch East at Yakima without even a hitch in my giddyup and merged right into I-90 as if I had planned it. East along the northern corridor was always my goal, I just needed to bop over to whacked out, glad I'm out of there, Washington so I could spend great quality time with my boy. Now I'm back on course.
I've never driven East on 90 past Billings, at least not in decades. There are memory patches that suggest I might have but are now totally irrelevant. I used to bop up into Billings often when I lived in Idaho but always returned home. This time I'm rolling straight into uncharted territory and since this rest area has no cell or internet service, I can't plan it out.
I'll spend the night in Billings tomorrow because I can and it needs to get done. I'm sleeping here tonight and should be there mid-afternoon. Rock on...
Saturday. Riley took a rare day off and we hung out all day. Friends and neighbors dropped by for a fire pit. Quality time with my boy. Hitting the road again this morning.
There is great mystery surrounding a video I shot of Brian and Nadia interacting in the hot waters of Lava Hot Springs recently. The question is, what in the hell is she saying?
I asked Brian and he said: No that was casual. You got a good look. Something lke that. She does speak French though.
One thing I've learned about myself after all these years is that I am a man who respects and maintains well the older vehicles that I have owned.
This morning I decided that my living space deserved a redo so I pulled everything out, swept it and rebuilt it.
btw: Those are magic blankets, both prized posessions of my grandmother and now mine. They help me make the connection to my other side.
Hung out with the kids well into the evening last night, great to be here. Here's some shots and no, Riley doesn't sit around flexing, but the subject of his biceps did come up. :-)
Wandered around the ranch for a bit...
I hooked up with Jess at the Safeway in Orting, WA. and then followed her home. I spaced out halfway through the drive when I wondered if that was really her Kia in front of me or am I following the wrong car. What if the person is freaked out that I'm following them up and down every little beautiful road and their husband is waiting at home with a shotgun? This marks one week on the wild open road and I'm starting to hallucinate.
We arrived at the Riley and Jess house. Thank god because I'm unarmed. Love this place, still have a hard time finding it, very much off the grid. I'll have more shots here as the weekend unfolds but in the meantime, The Garden:
Nothing like a good vehicle emergency to validate a road trip and mine happened this morning. The engine started running real rough and it happened just as I'm coming down that mountainous hill towards Wallace. I barely made it to the exit where I pulled off and she died.
Ahah, I said, it's my Farmers Insurance Roadside Assitance time to shine and I called the 1-800 number on my card. After identifying myself to Farmers with my insurance policy number I was asked if I wanted to start a text session, and we did.
I'm telling a robot via text where I am (just push a button when asked and you're gps is snagged), what the issue is, do I want a tow, yes, here's a few mechanics to try, ok, I'll go with Danny's Lube and Oil and the deal was done. They hooked me up to a web page that showed how many minutes out the tow truck was and that it was taking me to Danny's. It showed up 5 minutes early.
This little shop on the side of the road in mountain country was manned by salty magicians who ran a smoke test on her to check for compression leaks and the poor old girl was leaking like a sieve. There are many rubber caps attempting to prevent previously used connection ports from giving up compression and they get old, melt, break and I carry many in my glovebox. I looked at them of course before calling the tow and they all looked alright.
Garry's guys put some sexy things on top of several of the unused ports. I'll check them out more when I get to Rileys. They even replaced a hose that had cracked on the end and was leaking smoke. Bottom line she's airtight and back better than ever!
Where am I now? Rest area off I-90 about 30 minutes east of Moses Lake. Here you go:
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