Well, it's almost here. If the movers get the van loaded in time, we hope to take off on our big, fat cross-country driving adventure from Minneapolis to Carmel on Friday afternoon. I'm excited, but nervous. I've never been a fan of long road trips, and this one is loooong. More than two thousand miles, according to Google maps. Thirty-one hours on the road. I've never done anything like this. The weather forecast looks good, so I'm hoping for an adventure, not an ordeal. OG drove across the American West several times with his parents as a child, but I've never driven farther than Denver, and that was decades ago.
Because we're both planners by nature, we spent quite a bit of time considering the details of the trip. Initially, OG had planned to make the drive in four days. That idea faded fast as soon as we figured out how many hours we'd have to spend in the car each day. Even taking turns, we're way too old to drive ten or twelve hours at a stretch. OG is usually trashed after seven or eight. Throw in the fact that neither of us sleeps well in motels, and a four-day trip was out of the question. Five days will allow us several days of only five or six hours on the road. With luck, we should be able to handle that.
If we're able to get away Friday afternoon, we hope to spend the first night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I've never been to South Dakota, but I'm not expecting much in the way of scenery that first day. The second day is another story. Saturday, we plan to drive to Rapid City. Since I've never seen the Badlands, the Black Hills, or Mount Rushmore, I'm stoked. It's the only part of the trip I'm actually looking forward to. Sunday is Easter, so I'm not sure what will be open, but I hope we can see Mount Rushmore before we head southwest through the mountains to Laramie, Wyoming. Monday, we'll drive to Salt Lake City. Tuesday, on to Reno. Then Wednesday, home to Carmel.
I'm dreading spending that much time sitting in a car, but perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised. I know lots of people take trips like this for fun. I've flown over the western half of the country many times, but I've never seen it from the ground. I'm expecting vast, empty expanses. That's certainly what it looks like from the air. I hope to find a stark beauty in the landscape instead of endless miles of boredom. Soon, I'll find out.
I'd love to hear from anyone who has made this trip, or even part of it. What was it like? What did you enjoy? Are there any places you would recommend we stop?
If I can, I'll report in from the road. Otherwise, expect a full accounting once we've arrived and settled in. Wish us luck!