Day of Rest and Minneapolis to Bismarck (Days 4 and 5)

Sunday was a lovely day of rest in Minneapolis. Nice breakfast with Mike’s eggs and sticky buns from the nearby Isles Bun Co. which were big, hot, and yummy! Coffee and the Sunday Times followed by various supply excursions — farmers’ market to restock fruit and bread for the journey, Apple for a phone/car charger. Walgreens for deodorant. Dog walk at the lake, long nap, lovely dinner at Bukhara Indian Bistro — one of the best Rogan Josh’s I’ve had — very nicely spiced!

Then after breakfast and strong coffee, we were on our way again Monday morning about 9:00 a.m. Rain through most of Minnesota, but we drove out of it at Fargo when we entered North Dakota.

You can see a long way in ND, and I-94 is pretty much a straight shot across the center of the state. The water table is still very high from the spring floods. At several places the water was nearly over the roadway, and in one area the road was dry only because crews were actively building dirt dikes along the highway.

The speed limit is generally 75 mph, and you can sure lay down the miles at that, but the the expense of gas mileage — the gauge goes down fast! And there are few opportunities to refill — many exits have signs declaring “no services.”

Lunch at a highway rest stop. The only one so far situated between the east- and west-bound lanes with left exits and on-ramps. And this one has a very short acceleration lane, making re-entry to the highway a bit hairy.

We arrived in Bismarck to a most un-remarkable motel, but one of the very few around with a room available. The room is quite small — there is barely room to move past each other, and Maya takes up much of the floor space that isn’t bed and TV. We had planned another 80 miles today, to Dickinson, but alas there was no lodging to be found there. This means tomorrow — which was already planned to be our longest travel day — will be even longer! GoogleMaps suggests it will be 8 1/2 hrs driving time. Add maybe two more for stops with Maya, lunch, coffee, fuel, and stretches. But once we get into Montana, we’ll be following the Yellowstone River upstream. It’s the Lewis and Clark route. We’ll “gain” an hour when we cross the next time zone boundary, west of Bismarck. So Westward Ho!

There’s an autoparts store next to the motel — OK, it’s two doors up — where I got (and later installed) a replacement bulb for the burned out right-side, low-beam headlight on the Honda. Would you have guessed that two-door and four-door 2000 Accords take different headlight bulbs?? Me neither.

“Dinner” was at the Wood House, a long-established burger place, just a short walk from our motel. I had a bison burger, but alas they would not cook it less than well done, so it was somewhat a disappointment, and the onion rings, frys, and cole slaw were just so-so. Ten reviews on Yelp give the place a 4-star rating, but I would give it maybe 2 stars. Perhaps the high rating says something about the local alternatives and expectations. Seems like folks marked it higher because they have phones in the booth to place your order. Frankly, I’d rather have better food and a live person. Service was attentive and polite. And we avoided the chain-franchise joints that pepper the area.

Some good news did arrive by e-mail, however. Our household goods going by Red Ball weighed in at 14,100 pounds. 7 tons of stuff! But that was a full ton under the estimate, so the move is costing us quite a bit less than we had expected. Still not cheap at a bit over $11K, but they do take Visa, so we are racking up airline miles!

Severe t-storms forecast tonight in western ND and eastern MT, but they are forecast to be over by morning with little chance of more tomorrow. Hope so. Planning an early departure in the morning after the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. Miles to go before we sleep in Bozeman.

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