Long Strange Trip

Wow. What a long strange trip it's been. In the past week, I have done things that I never thought that I would ever do and I have done things that I have always wanted to do, and something that I do as often as possible-spend time with the best friends a girl could ask for.

It all started Wednesday night, May 26, 2004 at about 7:00 Pm, Kelly called me and let me know she would be by shortly to pick me up. My bags were packed and I was ready to go. The white bug pulled up behind my building and we headed to the "loading zone" - where the truck and trailer were finishing being loaded by Jes and Kelly's dad. That loading job was one major engineering feat, let me tell you. About an hour after I arrived, we battled the rain to head off our first leg of the trip to Columbia, Missouri where Jimmy was staying with his grandparents. We went right to bed, knowing a long day of driving was ahead.

Thursday morning there was no turning back. We were Seattle bound. We left Columbia and drove, virtually non-stop to Mitchell, South Dakota, home of the world's only Corn Palace. We spent the night in Mitchell.

The next morning, we headed out to do a little sight seeing. Yes. We saw the Corn Palace. It was very cool. We then got on the road and headed west on I90 until we reached the Badlands National Park. The Badlands were magnificent, breath taking, inspirational and wow. I couldn't believe the view. No matter what you do, you cannot comprehend the beauty of that place unless you are there. And I got to see it from a z4 with the top down.

From the Badlands, we headed to Wall, SD, Home of Wall Drug. We stopped at a little bar, grabbed a bite to eat and did a little shopping. Everyone needs a South Dakota T-Shirt, right?

From Wall, we continued on I90 west to Mt. Rushmore. Getting there was a bitch. Taking a truck and trailer through a city and up a mountain is about as easy as it sounds. Mt. Rushmore was very interesting to see and very enjoyable, but what man creates cannot compare to what nature does. But, if you find yourself driving through SD, I do recommend that you stop. We powered on that night and made it to Sundance, Wyoming. Nothing is open in Sundance past 9:00. We got there at about 10:00. We ate sandwiches from a gas station for dinner and then we slept.

Saturday morning, we got up and headed to see Devil's Tower. No. We didn't climb it. We are not stupid. Ok. We are not that stupid. We grabbed some lunch at a little diner in Sundance and drove on. next stop: Montana.

Montana is a very big state. We made it into Billings early Saturday evening. We checked into our hotel and decided to search out dinner. After a round of indecision, we found a brew pub/ pizza joint in the AAA tour book. It was described as having "eclectic western décor", and it did. And it had good beer, good pizza and great service. If you are ever looking for a place to eat in Billings, MT, I strongly recommend Mackenzie River Pizza. And if you know of anyplace that sells San Juan White beer in St. Louis, let me know.

Sunday was a long day of driving. We drive from Billings to Bozeman where we had lunch at a college bar that served huge sandwiches, and free pickles. I don't like pickles, but I tried one anyways. I still don't like pickles. We drove, probably beyond our limits, to historic Wallace, Idaho. That night we contemplated heading to Spokane, but that was a bit too much to take. The panhandle of Idaho is really beautiful, the trees line the mountains and the hills and it is quite breath taking. I think this is where we saw the rainbow, too.

Monday morning, we headed on the final leg of our journey-to Port Orchard Washington. Washington is a beautiful state. And I got to see a lot of it going 10 mph. Memorial day weekend makes the roads very crowded. We made it into Port Orchard pretty late, we got a few things in the house, and we headed to find food. Wendy's was the only place that was open that late, which we could find anyways. So we grabbed our bags of cholesterol and saw Mecca, Fred Meyer. They were open. They sold sleeping bags and air mattresses. We had a place to sleep. We did.

Tuesday morning, we got coffee (Ok, I got coffee) and we unloaded the trailer. We then took the ferry over to Seattle. We did all the basics, we when to the market, pioneer square, walked around a bit, etc. We drove to the Space Needle and went up in it and saw all of Seattle and then some. It was a beautiful day. We finished the day with dinner at Ivar's Salmon House. I ate too much.

I never knew how beautiful this country is. I am not one to identify myself as a flag waving patriot, but I am an American. And proudly so.

Driving 2,400 miles also gives you a lot of time by yourself and with your thoughts. A few weeks ago, Mae asked on STLBloggers if High School was the best years of your life, I responded that "No. Now is." God, is that true.

On this trip, I never felt so close to people and so alone at the same time. I really do have the best friends in the world. Yet, I want the one thing I don't have: a soul mate, someone to share my life with in all ways. Watching my friends in love often brings tears to my eyes. I am so happy that they found each other and that they have that intangible something that I am yet to understand; but I want it, too. I don't know. Life is hard sometimes.