(On the third anniversary of our drive across the US and our arrival in the PNW, I think back and talk about what it was like on each day of the trip. This is Part 4 of an 8 part series)

January 24, 2011

This day was both my most favorite and my least favorite. We left Minneapolis and drove south to reconnect with I90, then we continued our journey into the West. The land was flat – just fields of snow for miles, with windmills or factories occasionally interrupting the nothingness.

I love road trips and I love exploring new places, so this was a good day. I had never been this far West, except for one quick weekend in Oklahoma and a weekish in California. And I had certainly never been up here, in The West. It was exhilarating.

Or maybe it was exhilarating because of all the snow on the road. With the land being so flat, wind would just rip across the highway, bringing snow with it. I had a hard time figuring out where the road was, nevermind where lanes were. I am a person who almost always goes fast, and especially on highways. I drove from the Harrisburg area to the Boston area so often, I made it in 5hrs 45mins once (it would take my mom 8 hours to do the same trip). Yet, on this highway, I was barely doing 30.

We had not planned to travel in winter. We wanted to travel out to Seattle in the summer, and do things like Yellowstone. But this is how timing worked out, that we were instead driving across a frozen tundra in the middle of January. This situation did provide me with the best photograph, though. My wife took the photograph, because I was too busy trying to play find-the-highway. I think we were going about 25mph when this was taken.

South Dakota in January

South Dakota in January

Yes, that is a 75mph sign. Yes, plow trucks were out. Welcome to South Dakota in January.

Anyway, we ended in Murdo, SD that night. But I’ll tell you about Murdo next time.