Thursday, August 16, 2012

Driven to delirium

Finally saw some elk, but got only one good photo.  I dunno.  I think I'd obsess if my butt were a different color than the rest of me.  It looks too much like a target.  Why do dark brown elk have light brown butts?
We're finally home after a marathon push to finish the last several hundred miles.  To accomplish this traveling feat, we went through 6 states in one day, and I'm not talking about east coast states where you can visit several of them in the span of a couple of hours. Yesterday we drove from Fargo, North Dakota, through Minnesota (lost hours stuck on 694 in the Minneapolis area due to construction), Wisconsin, Illinois (more hours lost to construction traffic woes) and Indiana before finally entering Michigan.  We pulled into our driveway at 5:05AM, said hello to Leo who showered us with dog kisses and went promptly to bed.  Gotta say, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.  I have officially seen enough fields of wheat and corn to last me a lifetime.  And I'd like to apologize to the beavers I ran over on I-94 in North Dakota.  There were 3 of them crossing the road at midnight and there was no place for me to go with the car racing at 75 miles per hour.  At least I think they were beavers.  Could have been possums but I couldn't see because my windshield was covered in bug guts.  It kind of made me sick to think I'd hit them and for the whole day yesterday, I could only think of those beavers as road kill lying on the side of the freeway in full rigor-mortis with their little beaver paws pointing stiffly up toward the heavens.  Oy.  I think too much.  

Today I'm curled up on the sofa with a dog, a cup of coffee and my remote control.  Last week, I was taking pictures of signs warning me to beware of snakes near the Missouri River.  This week I'm thankful not to see more road signs--especially toll signs in Illinois.  I lost count, but I think it cost close to $15 to drive one way from Indiana to Wisconsin.  Every time I thought we were making progress around Chicago, it was time to pull over and pay another toll.  I'm sure a hundred years ago, we likely would have met highway robbers along the way.  I'm here to tell you they're still around, only now they're state sponsored.

On our way west, we listened to the audiobook, Undaunted Courage, while driving.  Signs of the Lewis & Clark trail were everywhere we looked, especially throughout North Dakota. The book helped me imagine how difficult it must have been to accomplish what Lewis and Clark did without the Rand McNally Road Atlas, or a Tom-Tom.  They were undaunted, and incredibly courageous and maybe a little nuts.

There were lots of these signs within Yellowstone.  There are also signs warning the water bubbling out of the ground is both toxic and hot.  That didn't stop one teenager I saw from sticking his finger in the water.  I overheard him say, "Ow! That's hot!"  Now there's a genius in the making for you.

I saw absolutely no bears in Yellowstone.  Of course, I did no back country hiking, either, so I'm not surprised.  I wasn't disappointed though.  There was plenty of beauty to feast the eyes upon in this very rugged country without having a bear cross my path.

As proof of how picturesque this place is, here is a picture of the falls on the Yellowstone River.  This picture of the lower falls takes the sting out of the knowledge that my pictures of the upper falls didn't quite turn out the way I thought they did.  My iPhone got a better picture than the Nikon with the zoom lens.

Since I'm all over the place with this post, I think I'm still rather tired today and though I didn't get up until noon, I think it's time again to make an appointment with my Tempur-pedic mattress.

Do you think there is a beaver heaven?


Rositta said...

Don't obsess, it was either them or you. We instinctively want to swerve but at high speed that can be deadly. Elk butts are weird I agree. I've seen
them in Banff where they are almost considered pests. Welcome back...ciao

Miss 376 said...

What a fabulous trip you've had, although I don't envy you the journey home. Get well rested and enjoy the memories

Winifred said...

What an amazing journey you've made. Don't know how you can stay awake for so long. When I read stories like this I feel ashamed. I hate going anywhere by car now. We have a 3 hour drive on Sunday to a christening, it's not a great distance but the traffic is so awful.

Your photos have been wonderful. Sad about the beavers but it was an accident, nothing you could have done. We are back to torrential rain once again! Beginning to think it's the monsoon season. Never mind Tuesday we're off to Orlando. Think it rains quite a bit there too in summer.

Ruth said...

beautifull photos. My cousin is currently in Minneapolois she grew up there now live New York way.
Siitn on sofa with dog and drink sounds perfect.

Finding Pam said...

I enjoyed photos of your trip. Good question about the elk butt. In Texas it takes a whole day to cross it. Sorry about the beavers.

This may well be the last sighting of fields of wheat and corn, especially with all of this drought. I hate to think of the price of food.

WHere did Leo stay? I'm sure he was glad to see you.

The Bug said...

Glad you're back! Sorry about the beavers - that's the kind of thing that would haunt Mike too. I think there IS a beaver heaven - but they get there by way of covered bridge instead of rainbow bridge :)

Brenda said...

I am thinking you have the newest iPhone, because my husband has one and it takes great photos. My daughter has one also and she sold her Olympus because it was so good. Just doesn't have the zoom the others have...I think. I am not sure what to say about the critters you hit. It most of us at one time or another. That is why we always see so many on the side of the road. Vacations sometimes take a lot out of me...even though I look forward to them so much. Rest up!

Alice said...

Rest easy.

A friend of mine left her 3-11 shift to drive home. Close to the middle of no where, she swerved to miss a fisher cat . . . she ended up upside down in a swamp. She had to kick out the back window to get out. Wet but uninjured and 11:30 at night on a New England back road, (yes, we have lots of bears).

We told her, next time--ROAD KILL!

I'm glad YOU are OK.

Knitty said...

I understand your feeling bad about the beavers, but you did the right thing, given the circumstances.

Welcome home. I'm sure Leo is glad to have you back.

Stephanie V said...

I was just catching up with all my friends' unread posts. And you're home already! Isn't your own bed just the nicest place?

I'm sure there is a beaver wasn't an intentional death blow. I don't think you can be held responsible.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

oh my, glad you're home, i so know that feeling of first hitting that wonderful mattress! nothing like it!

hugs, bee

sandy said...

I had to google Quake Lake - never heard of it! I would have loved to go there and hike in that area.