Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The long drive west

The Jeep got rolling just before midnight, the driving would end for the day in Sheridan, WY late the next afternoon.

Since I was just home from work and not tired I took the first shift of two hours at the wheel. As we crossed into Minnesota Jen decided she wanted to drive, a quick stop to switch seats and get the boys settled for sleeping and back on the road. Yes the boys were still awake at 2am watching movies. Jen and I swapped driving duties every two hours or so until Mitchell, SD where I got the wheel for the remainder of the day. ( I've driven tractor-trailer for 14 years and don't like being a passenger so Jenny lets me drive unless I ask for a break.)

The boys were still sleeping when we stopped for gas in Mitchell, SD so no detour to the Corn Palace. By 9am Jen and I were ready to eat, the billboards for Al's Oasis sounded alright so we woke the boys and pulled off to eat. Decent food and coffee for a reasonable price. The place had the look of a tourist trap so it was a shock to have good service from a friendly waitress. We got back to the Jeep without stopping in gift shop, might be the only one Zack struck out at.

Next stop was the Badlands National Park. If you drive through South Dakota on I-90 and don't take the loop through the park you are in too big of a hurry.

I forgot to pack spare camera batteries so the boys took photos with their Nintendo DSi systems. Here are the boys photo albums :

The only bad thing about the Badland loop is that it ends at Wall,SD if you are headed west. The boys were not interested in stopping at Wall Drug, and as we drove past it looked busy and the streets were packed. We stopped for lunch and gas before the final push to Sheridan,WY.

What to say about the 4 hour drive from Wall to Sheridan? Boring but hilly. I spent most of the last hour and a half second guessing the estimated miles to empty readout on the Jeep. Wyoming is not a place I'd want to run out of gas.

We finally got to Sheridan. After filling the Jeep we needed a hotel. Sheridan at first didn't look promising but after a full loop we found a newly opened Hampton Inn. Dinner at Wyoming's Rib & Chop House was recommended by the front desk clerk. Dinner was very good and the town looked much nicer after a good meal. A quick stop for batteries, a dip in the pool and off to bed.

Next up Cody and on to Yellowstone.