The hotel we stayed at in Minneapolis had the neatest indoor pool I’d ever seen. It was like a mini water park, with slides and fountains. The kids thought it was wonderful! We still had the pets with us, and they couldn’t stay in the room alone, so [my now-ex-wife] took William and Elizabeth to the pool while I stayed in the room with Tim. Using the wireless access in the hotel, I spotted a cache .7 miles from the hotel that had a travel bug that had been dropped there 2 days earlier. The bug wanted to go to Oregon! So off I went at a near run, found the cache and retrieved the bug, then back to the hotel. Later, we started to take the van off the trailer to use it to visit around the area. I got it all unhooked and dropped the ramps…and it wouldn’t start. Since dummy here didn’t pack any jumper cables, we called AAA. I had signed up for AAA when I rented the truck, since the $250 discount we got on the truck rental far more than paid the $90 annual membership fee. An hour and a half later, I left to go to the store to get jumper cables, with [my now-ex-wife] on the phone with AAA for the third time to find out where the heck they were!! Here we were, 200 yards from an interstate highway, in the parking lot of a major hotel, in a suburb of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, and it takes AAA 1 ½ hours to get someone out there!! Anyway, he arrives and jumpstarts the van. He says we’d gotten water in the relay box, no doubt while driving in the rain the day before, and it had drained the battery.
Off we go to visit with three different sets of cousins and enjoy a little down time after three hard days of driving. Back to the hotel that night, load the van back on the trailer, and get ready to pull out to Minot, ND on Wednesday, the 20th.
MN to Minot was not a terribly difficult drive. All of the terrain so far looked pretty much like home. Farmland, a few rolling hills, nothing major. Stopped at a couple of rest stops to hit a cache or two in order to add states to my found list. The biggest problem of the day is that poor Elizabeth got some sort of bug and was throwing up in the truck most of the day. Couldn’t keep anything down. She tried hard to confine it to plastic bags, but inevitably some got on her, in the truck, on William, etc., so by now my truck smelled wonderful. We got to Minot in the early evening and discovered that it doesn’t get fully dark there until well after 10PM! They are very near the time change line, and far north, so in summertime, it stays light late. I could tell we might not be in the best part of town, though. Some guy at a Pizza Hut a few hundred yards away was very loudly explaining to the police that he wasn’t doing anything and that they were detaining him for nothing. But we had a quiet night and got up early the next morning to visit with [my now-ex-wife]’s sister, whose husband is stationed at Minot AFB.
We pulled out of Minot mid-morning, with a long 600+ miles to our next planned stop in Livingston, MT. Unfortunately, there were no easy, quick caches near our route, so I could not log a find in ND. Eastern Montana looks just like everywhere else we had been so far. By the time we pulled into Livingston near midnight, [my now-ex-wife] was spent and having a lot of trouble staying awake. We stopped a few times to let her take a short break, including at a rest stop that warned us to stay on the sidewalks, since rattlesnakes had been seen in the grass!! But we finally made it to Livingston safely and crashed (so to speak) as quickly as possible.
We had planned to make the drive down to spend the day at Yellowstone National Park the following day, but we were so exhausted, and Elizabeth was still recovering from her sickness. [my now-ex-wife] bought a strawberry air freshener for the truck, which made a big difference. Now it smells like someone was eating strawberries and puked in the truck.