Let's ignore the garden for 2 weeks!

In other words, let's go on vacation! It's been years since we've had a proper break/vacation/holiday... in fact, 2005 was our last real one. Ouch. So we decided this year to get adventurous and take a road trip out west!

The problem is, any trip that starts in the midwest (St. Louis in our case) involves a day and a half of "boring" before you start seeing anything interesting. So here's how our trip started.


Actually, I can't show you day one of the trip, since that started at 9:00 PM Monday and involved a lot of stops to deal with cats. You see, we rented a motorhome/RV/caravan and took our cats along!

Since they previously have only left the house to go to the vet, they were not too happy about going into a rattling "house car" (their word for it -- what, your pets don't talk to you?) and bumping along the road for hours at a time. At least they weren't that first night.

There's something strange about Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, the place we spent the first night of "sleep" in the RV. Google doesn't know the numbers of your exits Mt. Pleasant, as we spent an extra 45 minutes in the wee hours of Tuesday morning passing the town and backtracking, trying to find our campground. It doesn't help that the main road through town was closed for construction and we had to take detours. Nor did it help that Google Maps on our phone told us to pull into some sketchy-looking road that contained a sign saying "class B road -- continue at your own risk" or something similarly menacing.

Not to mention that next morning the laundromat (needed after a night of nervous felines if you know what I mean) which was clearly marked on Google Maps does not exist. I even called to see what their hours were and they told me they were next to the Amtrak station -- and there was nothing next to the Amtrak station except residences! Luckily we had spotted another laundromat on our way over to the ghost laundry, and in another hour or so we were back on the road.

This is what we typically see in the midwest: corn. Maybe soybeans.

Oops. I can't believe we're only on day two of the trip and I've already forgotten what happened. I was wrong when I said that I can't show you day one. I can't show you day two either! Day two was pretty much uninteresting too and undocumented by photos, except for the fact that we decided that we had had enough of those bumpy Minnesota highways and decided to stop 2 hours early -- we found a nice RV campground in Saint Cloud, MN, just west of Minneapolis. That second night had no nervous cat incidents, although they were not yet quite happy about the new, temporary house.

Day three (Wednesday) saw us move into North Dakota and new territory for us. Nothing is more uplifting than seeing boring (but necessary) cornfields replaced by fields of cheerful sunflowers!

So maybe you live in Kansas, or Nebraska, or some other sunflower-growing state, and these huge spreads of yellow are just as boring and commonplace to you as corn is. (I wonder what we do with all of these sunflower seeds!)

What about hay bales?

Are they still called "bales" when they're round? Maybe hay rolls. We passed countless hay rolls on this trip... it must have been several thousands of them in all, sometimes stretching as far as you could see.

Cats were not interested in the view. Digby (once a stray in my garden) was the worst traveler. He gets nervous and fidgety, and sometimes only covering him with a towel or blanket would get him to sit still for more than a minute at a time. He's under the white towel.

That's what fields of sunflowers makes me feel like. (Smiling, if you don't see it.)

Then finally, as afternoon was just starting to turn into evening... hills!

Something different, something wonderful!

And so we reached Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. North Unit. The North Dakota Badlands!

That's where the fun began, and where we'll start tomorrow's post. So much more to come...


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (August 27, 2013 at 6:41 PM)  

I love road trips and I'm so happy that you're documenting yours in such detail. Yeah!!!

I've never traveled with cats but hats off to you for taking the plunge. Can't wait for the inevitable "the cat got out" story :-).

We spent a day at Theodore Roosevelt NP in 1993 and I've never forgotten how stunning it was, maybe because I had low expectations. I'd love to go back in person but for now I'm glad to relive my memories through your photos.

scottweberpdx  – (August 27, 2013 at 7:24 PM)  

A road trip WITH your cats...you are brave!

Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (August 27, 2013 at 8:16 PM)  

Great post! Beautiful pictures
I love the cat under the towel photo! It made me have a good loud laugh. Thank you

danger garden  – (August 28, 2013 at 12:37 AM)  

First vacation since 2005? Good lord man, I hope it was a very very good one!

Alan  – (August 28, 2013 at 9:05 AM)  

Loree: We've had short trips since then, and lots of travel but it was always mixed with business. This was the first since 2005 that involved no work and was more than a few days long.

Scott: Yeah, it was a crazy plan, but ended up working out. Details in upcoming posts.

Gerhard: we were not sure what to expect at TR either, but I really loved it!

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