05 June 2006

Whirlwind Pittsburgh to Bismarck

Holy Crap! Ok…we did it again. We left Pittsburgh on the 1st of June and were supposed to drive the 9ish hours to Mackinaw City, Michigan and put down there for a day or two. Michigan sucked and we bailed straight through. As a side note, there is a town in Michigan called, and I kid you not, Hell…I find that very appropriate.

So we skipped Michigan and drove on straight into Green Bay, Wisconsin. That’s roughly 16 hours for those who are counting. Oh, we almost hit a deer in Michigan. Bill had looked down at the speedometer for a split second, I screamed (almost like a little girl, but not quite), gave us both a heart attack, but he managed to slow down and swerve just enough to miss it. There were tons of deer all along the side of the roads, dead and alive. I think because we managed to miss the one that he told all his friends we were good people and not to jump out in front of us.

On to Green Bay, can I just say, I was disappointed. For a place that calls itself ‘Titletown, USA’ and the town slogan is “Green Bay – Where There is no Off Season”, you’d never know that it is the home of the Green Bay Packers unless you are standing at Lambeau Field. I don’t know if it’s because the Pack has been sucking it up the last few years or what, but the overall ‘football town’ experience is way better in Pittsburgh. I was really expecting not just Wisconsin, but Green Bay to beat the pants off Pittsburgh in that respect and they just didn’t. Anyway, Lambeau field is cool. I would even go as far as to say that the Atrium and all that is better than what is at Heinz field, but only because Heinz field isn’t open to the public year round and the Atrium at Lambeau is.

The Packers Hall of Fame at Lambeau is also very cool. It costs money to get into, but if you are a Packer fan, it’s worth it. Bill and I spent a couple hours rambling through watching some of the films they have in there and listening to the presentations and such. Like Bill says, there are two places that football fans will make a pilgrimage to, Pittsburgh (after all football started in Western PA) and Green Bay, WI. We have done both.

We left Green Bay on Sunday the 4th and arrived in Bismarck, ND that night at 10:30. We were supposed to stop in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for a night or two, but again…drove in and didn’t even bat an eyelash at the prospect of continuing on. Can I just take a second to say that the Midwest has the world’s worst drivers. Not the most aggressive, not the angriest, not anything like that…just the worst! As my step-dad says, “They don’t know how to get on the freeway, and once they are there they don’t know what to do, it’s like marathon bumper cars.” A truer statement I’ve never heard. The only reason we were going to stop in the first place was to break up the drive west and see the Mall of America. Really, it’s a mall I’ve been there, its huge, but still just a mall. So we pushed on and made it out of Minnesota alive and unscratched (1 in every 3 cars on the freeway through Minnesota had major body damage and/or was missing side mirrors. Not body damage from the chemicals they put on the roads in the winter, oh no, damage from hitting things).

We continued our drive west into Bismarck, North Dakota. North Dakota along the I-94 is so much prettier than the I-90 through South Dakota. It’s mostly flat and you can see forever, but it’s really rather pretty with it’s rolling plains and lakes and the sunset was incredible. The sunset alone made the 14-hour drive worth it.

So here we are, now in Bismarck, ND and here we will stay for a few days before heading down into the Badlands. The park we are staying at is nice, quiet, and the people are friendly. We are looking forward to exploring the Bismarck area and generally relaxing. I should have more to come soon.