American Adventure Part 2 of ?
Day 2 – Friday 7th
Martyn may well have had a content night, but you should know that in the Midwest when the night is clear and the moon visible the temperature does drop, and unfortunately one blanket doesn’t cut it. So I found out the second blanket for next time, this happened in the morning and as Martyn was up and 6 a.m. I reluctantly was as well. I being the aforementioned and hopefully affectionately named crazy lady also go by the name of Haley or Happy which ever you find easier to pronounce.
Before we left for the day Little Blue had to be repacked, in his haste Martyn had done a fabulous job of fitting everything in, however I pointed out in my sleep deprived manner that possibly removing Molly and a few other items to get to the food three times a day wasn’t the most convenient way of working. He flounced, not amused at my attack on his carefully put together Tetris puzzle but begrudgingly rearranged the car to a different specification and admitted it may work this way also. Time will tell
Side note: Time did tell and the car stayed this way for the rest of the trip, not that I want to brag it is just something to know.
So repacked and ready for another full day on the road we drove to the bank of the Mississippi and kayaked for the first time on the trip. Yes the section was flat but it was the Mississippi and the section we stumbled on was within a place called eagle valley as it turns out it was aptly named. Two miles and roughly twenty or so bald eagles later of which I had informed Martyn was extremely rare to see after the first sighting, by the time we saw one dive down and take quite a big fish from the water and fly off I had my doubts of their rarity though I kept that quite.
We got back on the road and made it to the bike shop in St. Pauls, my Mum had ordered a pair of Fat bikes for her farm in Alaska and very kindly offered them to us for our trip out west on the condition we went and picked them up. So we picked the bikes up and after much time spent putting the bike rack on and trying to find the best way to attach two fat bikes to the rack and browsing the outlet shop filled with wakeboards, snowboards, skis, SUPs and a myriad of awesome. Martyn got a big wedge of Stickers from the shop.
By about 3pm we got on the road and an hour later into our really long drive we stopped at a Food Co-op for lunch, there was a pattern here that we maybe should have caught onto, but we didn’t and the trip was brilliant for it. After some bamboo cutlery for Martyn and a car fully stocked with food for a week, if you forget that one of us eats enough for 5 and I mainly eat salad. The drive post co-op was on a very long and straight road sided with windmills, long trains and fields upon fields of corn. We had a few miles to catch up on so we drove late and camped at a rest area just past the Missouri, there were fewer mosquitos this night.
Day 3 – Saturday 8th
We aimed to get a super early start and introduce ourselves to the majesty of Yellowstone tonight. This turned out to be all that was, an aim, but it didn’t matter and the day was awesome.
We started waking around 8am got our stuff together and, on Haleys’ initiative, finished off rearranging the van while simultaneously needing to leave as soon as possible (Haley - It was moving one sleeping mat, not the end of the world). After leaving as soon as possible and with some homework conducted by Haley we took a detour through the Badlands. On entering the national park it was clear what we should do, take the new bikes out for a ride in this Wild West set from pretty much every cowboy film I have ever seen. Tall spikey outcrops reaching out into a colour wheel consisting only of blue, sculpted riverbeds through dry desert where water once flowed showing layers of history and climate in the earth and dirt trails through this landscape. So we biked and it was ‘wow’, a word that repeated through my head almost constantly while we were there, interrupted briefly by “Damn its hot here”. What a perfect landscape to have a first ride on these fat bikes.
Martyn wants me to write that we saw goats and big horns’ he is very excited and getting used to driving over here in the states, on as he calls it the ‘wrong side’ of the road despite our lack of the ‘modern and superior’ round-a-bout.
We had lunch in the park under a tree, the strange British man did his best at putting up a tarp so there would be some shade… there wasn’t but lunch was amazing I made up some blackened chicken and it was yum (Martyn – It was really nice). Lunch set us up brilliantly for the afternoon, crossing the rest of South Dakota and into Wyoming across more big open spaces filled with green fields and under huge endless skies that soon turned into night whose opening act was a rising full moon. The drama coincided with our climbing the foothills of the Rockies known as the Big Horn Mountains, home to Crazy Woman Creek to which Martyn wanted a photo and I can’t imagine why.
We eventually stumbled upon Tie Hack Reservoir and under the light of the moon we washed in the waters and listened to the creek tumbling away from the mountain lake. We played with our cameras and the night sky until I took the opportunity to point out a notice board to the British man, on which was pinned a poster about bear safety in bear country. Amusingly we made it to bed rather quickly after that. Much to Martyn’s surprise considering his actions we survived to the dawn.