Day 11: Devils Lake, ND
This morning, when I stopped to get fuel, a guy noticed my license plate. It was just below freezing, a calm and mostly clear morning, with no snow in evidence except a bit on the ground. The guy asked (be sure to read this in a Minnesota accent), “So how do you like Minnesota, Virginian?”
“Bit warm,” I replied.
He laughed and got in his truck.
Thing is, there’s not much to say about northern Minnesota. I understand that there are many snowmobile trails, and lots of good hunting and fishing opportunities. Those, however, are outdoor, winter activities – no, thanks, I’ll just sit here by the fire. Well, I’m sure hunters, fishers and snowmobilers look at what I’m doing – traveling across the country, warm inside my car – with the same sort of incomprehension.
I’d hoped to get farther, today, perhaps to Minot, North Dakota, but I could find no haven there – all the lodging is either closed, or booked solid; I’m not sure which. Likely a bit of both. I found one place in Devils Lake, and paid more than I’d have preferred, but something about beggars and choosers comes to mind.
The drive, mostly along U.S. 2, took me through the lake country of northern Minnesota and into the northern plains. Far from the snowy hell I was expecting, the day remained pleasant and mild, and Route 2 is a four-lane divided highway with a high speed limit, even higher once you cross the border into North Dakota.
That said, I nearly fell asleep twice.
I did get a few pictures along the way. Here’s one of Oak Lake, in Minnesota:
The bulk of the drive, though, was a lot like this:
And I think it’s going to be more of the same tomorrow. Also, remember how I said I couldn’t find lodging west of here? Well, that continues to be true. For a long time. For about 12 hours, in fact. Until Shelby, Montana. That means tomorrow, I have to cross the rest of North Dakota and more than half of Montana, and we’re not talking about small states here. I’d planned to make this in two legs, not one – but I don’t fancy sleeping in the car unless I absolutely have to.
The good news is the weather forecast remains clear and mild (well, mild relative to the northern plains), and if I make it to Shelby tomorrow, that puts me in sight of the Rockies – at which point a lot of what happens will depend on the weather.