Montana Bound (Part 1)

22 05 2009

I was originally planning on posting updates on the progress of my trip to Montana in search of a new (old) Grand Wagoneer (more on that later) on at least a daily basis, but surprise, there weren’t many wi-fi-ready coffee shops along US2.  Instead, I’ll have to give a recap after the fact.  Here it goes:

There was nothing unusual about the first eight or ten hours en route in the new Wrangler, since almost all of it was spent in Michigan on a route I end up driving at least a dozen times a year.  Mackinaw City was depressingly quiet Tuesday night (the calm before Memorial Day Weekend?), but my dad and I managed to find an open restaurant where I caught the end of the Wings game.

Leaving the next morning from the cottage, we finally started crossing state lines (see below).  My stay in Wisconsin was blessedly brief.

Wisconsin's stunning natural beauty.  I'm sure it looks better after a pitcher of PBR.

Wisconsin's stunning natural beauty. I'm sure it looks better after a pitcher of PBR.

The big problem with this trip is the lack of time.  We stopped in Duluth for coffee and noticed that it was, indeed, a very nice city—then drove on.  Northern Minnesota looks a lot like the Upper Peninsula, but they’ve apparently got Floodwood, the Catfish Capitol:

I'm not buying it.

I'm not really buying it.

I also saw the Mississppi River for the second time (but I don’t remember much about my trip to St. Louis).  This far north, it looks more like a bunch of wetlands that happens to drain south.  Maybe I’ll do a raft trip or something in the future.

Deciding to drive through the night, we entered North Dakota.  The scenery was even less varied than Garrison Keilor’s voice, so I’m fairly certain the darkness didn’t obscure anything.  The main highlight of the the North Dakota drive was being able to listen to Coast to Coast AM on the radio (there are no affiliates in the Detroit area).

I can’t encourage you enough to tune in to Coast to Coast AM if you have the opportunity.  It’s probably one of the most satisfyingly bizarre radio shows out there, though I was a little disappointed at the conventional nature of the Thursday morning programming: starting out with a gun rights discussion (can’t really complain here), it didn’t slide as far off the deep end as it usually does; near death experiences might be out there, but there’s at least some science behind them.  I wanted rants about the New World Order and serious discussions about how the ruling class is actually shapeshifting reptiles.

In the morning light near Minot, North Dakota, we finally caught a glimpse of the scenery we had been missing through the night:

"Gently undulating" is probably being really generous here.

"Gently undulating" is probably being really generous here.

I don’t want these posts getting too monolithic, so I’ll break the rest of my trip so far down into several more posts punctuated by lots of full-color pictures to keep your attention.  Thanks for reading!


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3 responses

22 05 2009
Jason

The wit and dry humor quite amuse me.

31 05 2009
Gordie

Graham – ML and I are enjoying the blog. Glad you guys made it back safely – sounds like an “interesting” trip. There is a “Coast to Coast” affiliate nearby. Your mom used to listen to her teeny-bopper music on “800 – CKLW”, out of Windsor. They used to blast out with mega-power, but now they power down at night, so the signal from Windsor to GPW might be weak.

3 06 2009
grahamkozak

Worst case scenario, I’ll stream it over the web, but it’s always more fun to listen to a real radio.

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