Corps of Discovery 2013

We kept pretty careful records during our trip, so I decided to break everything down to see how much we spent, and what we spent it on. It’s how I roll. Total distance driven, miles: 6,735.6 Total number of days on the road: 12 Average distance per day, miles: 561.3 Maximum distance in a day, miles: 799.0, first day out Average time spent in the car, hours: 9 hours, 29 minutes Longest driving day, hours: 13 hours 45 minutes – […]

To start with, I’ll spare you the painful details of our drive back to the east. We saw Devils Tower, we saw Mt. Rushmore, we stopped at Wall Drug and the Mitchell Corn Palace. After that, it was just driving and talking about what we had seen and experienced. As for the big picture, we met all our goals. First, I managed to safely conduct my family across the continent and back, for which I’m truly thankful. While we were […]

Goodbye to the Redoubt

We cleared Montana today and passed through the northwest corner of Wyoming on our way to Mt. Rushmore. We’re staying in SD tonight, so we’ve officially left the Redoubt. Bummer. Although we have enough daylight left today to knock an item off my bucket list – seeing Devils Tower. I’ve wanted to go there ever since I first saw “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” as a kid. As I get further and further east, my mood continues to darken. […]

We're Going the Wrong Way

East. Crap. At least we headed north first, to Bonners Ferry. That was new territory for us, and was well worth the trip. In fact, the whole trip from CdA north was very revealing. After a second look at what Idaho is doing along the 95 corridor, somebody appears to expect explosive growth. Or, perhaps more to the point, they’re trying to stimulate growth – nice smooth new roads tend to invite development, after all. My prediction is that whole […]

Exploration Day 3: Palouse Redux

Sometimes we get signs, and we have to pay attention to them. There’s something about the Palouse that just gets to me. Not to get all weird, but years ago I had a very vivid dream that I still remember, which is very unusual for me – dreams quickly evaporate when I wake up. But in this one, I was riding a mountain bike across an endless field of impossibly green rolling hills, with my dog Jessy, gone these 10 […]

Exploration Day 2: Coeur d'Alene Is Calling Out

Our explorations took us north today, into totally different country. That’s the cool thing about this place – you can be in so many different and varied environments with just a short ride. Also, the Panhandle is so narrow that you can go across three states and two time zones during a very short drive. The recreational possibilities are endless. Indeed, recreation is the focus in the north. Where the Palouse was all about agriculture, Bonner and Boundary counties are […]

Exploration Day 1: Loose on the Palouse

OK, that was lame. We decided to abort our plan to make today a down day, despite the miserable cold fog that settled in overnight and made us want to head back to bed after a homemade pancake and egg Sunday breakfast. After mulling over our options, and deciding to leave Spokane on Wednesday so we can spend a day exploring western Montana on our way back east, we decided to loop down from Spokane into the Palouse to Pullman, […]

Greetings from the American Redoubt

Well, insofar as western Washington is part of the Redoubt. Spokane proper – not so much. More on that after the travelog. The trip from Billings yesterday exceeded my every dream about the west. Montana is by far my favorite state at this point, and if it weren’t for the cold, I’d reconsider Idaho, at least at this point. There is so much to admire about Montana it’s hard to overstate. Just west of Billings on I94, you get your […]

That's Why I'm Moving to Montana

OK, maybe not. Even though it’s gorgeous and warm here in Billings now, I doubt I’d survive my first winter. I wouldn’t die of exposure, mind you, but my wife would kill me. Fargo was not at all what I expected. It reminded me very much of Florida, of all places. Not just because it was warm this morning, but because everything was so new. It has a very boomtown feeling – huge retail strips, big stores and restaurants, and […]

Another Day, Another 800 miles

OK, I’m exaggerating – only 770 miles today. Indiana and Illinois both suck, IMHO. Sure, we only saw the extreme northern parts, so I should reserve judgment, but I won’t, because that’s how I roll after 16 hours of driving. Indiana’s smell never improved, and in fact got even worse near the steel plants in Gary. Illinois smelled much the same, and Chicago was astonishingly hideous. A perfect example of what a century of unimpeded progressivism can do. Traffic was […]