Road trips can be milked for mountains of pleasures, big and small. There’s the first sighting of a magnificent mountain peak; the sign announcing a town famous for outlaws or famous men/women or pie; the hotel that turned out to be the most homey, cozy, welcoming rest stop since you grew up and left home; the mom and pop restaurant that actually had the kind of food mom made; the herd of wild horses or buffalo or antelope grazing the big-sky prairie.
Then there’s me and my maps, on a paper journey with Rand McNally months before it’s time for the real thing. Now I only have eight more days to play map-quester, planning-geographer, highway-specialist. Then we head North. Up North. To the end of the USA. To Canada. WAY UP NORTH.
You already know the outline of the trip: Albuquerque to Winnipeg to Roseau, Minnesota to all around North Central Minnesota to Minneapolis to Sioux Falls to the Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana to Sioux Falls to Albuquerque. That’s the rubber hitting the road for 5,000 to 6,000 miles.
You also already know that my companions are granddaughter Teresa as far as Minneapolis, then cousin Vivian to Montana and back, then my own company back to Albuquerque. My usual mode of travel is just me wrapped into my own particular stream of consciousness interrupted by occasional coffee/pee/fish sandwich/gas stops. This time there are companions; will I love that?
The purpose of these pre-trip posts is to give me a chance to share Highway names/numbers as I track our way north and then a small jog south after reaching Winnipeg. To me part of the romance of the road is in saying “US Highway 16 to Custer, South Dakota” or “Manitoba 2 to Winnipeg” (same feeling as “Flight 32 to Singapore now boarding at Gate 11”—really!).
The two previous posts offered exciting highway numbers all of the way to Fort Collins before I gave myself over to making dinners for friends and cleaning house for company. Now it’s time to finish the plan all the way to Roseau before I switch into my Minnesota girl mode and begin babbling about not being able to see the forest for the trees and lakes and flowers and birds and bear and deer and walleye and my inner (little-girl-in-the-woods) child.
I will be back in the next post with those highway numbers that so many other people find equally thrilling. By the way it is 1,059 miles from Fort Collins to Winnipeg with NO cities to drive through in between. Well there is Cheyenne but it is a small cowboy city (approx. 60,000; metro area under 100,000) so I am not counting it.