I drove an extra 80 miles from my planned stopping point because I couldn't find a place to stay. Driving the byways is worth the lack of exits off the interstate with all their same-o same-o fast food joints, gas stations, lodging, etc. But when the time draws near that you want to stop for the night, it can be a bit tedious.
I had planned to stop at Hilltop Motel and RV Campground, and depending on the wind/rain stay in the motel or set up the tent. I thought of the Bates Motel when I walked in to this place. The lady who ran it said it would be $8 for a tent site, whereas I would have to stay in a smoking room with the dog, at $41.50 per night plus $8.50 for the dog. This place was not all that inviting, so I drove further into town and stopped at another uninviting looking motel. Talk about the Bates Motel, I spoke to Jason at the desk. This ritzy place did not accept pets nor did he know of anyplace that did.
I drove on hoping to find something at one of the little towns along the way. What I ran into with very little warning was a big sign announcing that the water was across the roadway, and to drive carefully at no more than 10 mph! By then I was in the line-up and didn't worry as much when I saw a line of oncoming traffic that included several small cars. I will bet they didn't have a clue what they were in for, nor did I, but I made it along with the big rigs and everyone else in my lane. They only allowed one way at a time as the middle of the road seemed to be the high ground. That is the strangest sight and an even stranger feeling, driving through that kind of water with a lake all around you.
So I finally made it to Aberdeen and stopped at a motel - again I was refused because of the dog. I came upon a big four story imitation of the White House, aptly called the White House Inn, and thought what the heck - I'll probably get refused but by by this time I have to try. I may have made Lady sleep in the truck at this point.
I did get a room, 2nd from the end in the back (near the door), and on the first floor. It will cost me about $60 and includes the $10 fee for Lady, but we have a beautiful and spacious room which even has a recliner! I'm enjoying the recliner now as I type this blog entry. I'm tired of paying motel fees though, and wish I would get to a wind and rain-free place for a change. To make matters worse, the wind was so strong it picked up the edge of my tonneau cover and the clip on the inside broke. That made my mileage for the last tank drop by 3 mpg. I will have to search through everything in the truck bed on the left side to see if I can find the part that is missing. Hopefully I can repair it, although that is really doubtful.
One of the comments to last night's blog asked me if I had ever considered a teardrop camper. The answer is a resounding "YES", as that is the first camper/RV I fell in love with, long before I knew anything about 5th wheels or dually wheels, or the whole RVing scene and full timing. I have always wished I had one, but I think I'm getting to the age where I need a "standie" - something I can stand up in. That is why I went to a monster tent as it was one of the few that had headroom in the entire tent. Most come to a peak or dome and that is what they consider the headroom, but it slopes downward from there. My back appreciates being able to stand up straight.
I still think about a teardrop though, and since one only plans to sleep in it I think I could deal with the lack of headroom. The cooking, eating, and lounging is done outside, and most teardroppers set up at least one screen house or canopy. It is a setup that is better for a weekend or several days, rather than quick overnight stops. The first I ever read about one was a trip journal with wonderful pictures of a couple in their 60's who borrowed their daughter & s-i-l's teardrop and traveled to Alaska and back one summer. I'm sure they didn't hang around very long in any one place.
Another question I got was about the name of the national monument - it is Custer Battlefield National Monument, and is explained here: http://geoimages.berkeley.edu/GeoImages/Starrs/CUSTER.html (sorry you will have to copy and paste - the link function just didn't work for me.)
As far as my views on Montana after such a limited time and experience there, I just think there is something about it that resonates with me. It is so big I am sure there are many different terrains, but what I felt while driving there was very powerful. Also, I am fascinated with geology, rock formations, etc., and would like to go back and see some of it up close. I was planning to take a course in geology while I lived in Asheville, but of course that was overcome by events. Now I've never lived anywhere long enough to get the resident's rate.
I will close today with a topic that is dear to my heart - The United States of America and her people. Upon entering North Dakota I saw a sign pointing to the left and the town of New Leipzig, and straight ahead to the town of McIntosh. Ah, I thought, only in America. Can you imagine the original settlers of these two towns? I guess the Leipzigers would be ok as long as they stayed out of the way of the McIntoshers. And can you even imagine the consternation among the families of a boy from one town dating and wanting to marry a girl from the other? I really believe our people are so strong and resilient because they got the best from all the countries of people who immigrate here - that just about covers the whole planet! And then all these "best" intermingled and had children who intermingled with another group, until very few of us can claim only one national ancestry.
Another question concerned Lady and how she is doing on the trip. She is a born gypsy dog and loves to go new places, just as long as she can sleep on the way. She doesn't eat much while traveling and I have to keep reminding myself that she is the best judge of what and how much she needs to eat, and just provide the food in case she wants it and plenty of water.
I'm not sure where I'll be tomorrow, but it will probably be somewhere near Madison or Sioux Falls.
I wish someone could explain to me how to get the size of my header picture to fit the screen. When I had the original photo up of my 5th wheel, it was smaller than the screen. Now the last two pictures, taken with the same camera, are oversized. Oh well, a computer or software expert I'm not. (I have a Mac which might make it a bit different to correct the problem. Speaking of the Mac, do any other users have difficulty seeing other blogs' pictures. Some of them appear but most do not, and I know from the text that a picture should be there.