Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Away From God

This is the part I was dreading. We are now proceeding through North Dakota and while there is no snow or storm in the region the forty mile an hour winds are buffeting the van and creating intermittent white-out conditions that are fairly scary. There is literally nothing out here- no cell phone reception, few exits, no people, and potentially no help if something goes wrong. Once again I have to question why it was decided that this package should travel through the northernmost parts of the US in the most brutal month of the year. I suppose one might ask why we agreed to do it (hint: the answer begins with 'I' and ends with '-ation'). Regardless, I just want us to get through here as quickly and safely as possible and the problem is that we may be forced to choose one over the other, ideally the latter.

Later: After about 100 miles the wind died down and the going was easier. It was still deadly cold though, and even leaving the van for more than a couple of minutes was excruciating. This is not just a Texan's estimation, mind you; below zero is cold, period. Once we entered Montana we discovered that the roads had not been sufficiently cleared and once we started skidding we had to slow down significantly. Finally the roads dried up and we were able to make much better time to the point where we even passed up the tour bus. North Dakota is desolate and harsh. I recently read about the massive depopulation that has occurred in this region, but it is hard to imagine that such a cruel place would ever have been teeming with people. We are now in the center of Montana and it is nice to see mountains again. Nevertheless, we are anxious to make it to Seattle as we have friends there and we'd like a day off somewhere other than a truck stop or a motel in the middle of nowhere.