No matter how you try to slice it, 36 hours of driving is a heck of a lot of driving. I made really good time on the drive home, putting in two 14-hour days of driving to cut down on the amount of time I’d need to drive on the last day, when I knew I’d be completely burned out.
After formulating some serious strategery in a Pizza Hut dining room, I spent the first night at a campground just outside of Helena, Montana. I had driven through some heavy rainstorms from Idaho to Missoula, and I was pretty sure those storms would catch up to me that night and give my tent a good soaking. My tent is about seven years old now, and the nylon soaks up water like cotton socks. It’s rather lovely, as my friend Hank can attest to from our backpacking trip to Oregon back in March 2003.
Anyways, at Helena I decided to gamble against the weather and spend the night camping out. All in all it rained for a total of ten minutes, though in the morning my tent was covered in frozen drops of condensation.
I was massively pissed off for most of the Dakotas. The road was under construction for half the time, and the other half it should have been under construction. The cracks and frost heaves were rough and horrible, and every so often the frequency of the bumps in the road would match the frequency of my car and trailer, maximizing each other into a kidney-rattling gauntlet of misery. I would shout and yell and complain but no one could hear me, as it would be an hour before I would see another car.
Man, there’s a lot of country in this country.
I spent the second night at a campground just outside of Aberdeen, South Dakota. I snuck into the campground just after 10:00 and left just after 5:30 the next morning, to avoid confrontation with anyone who thought I should need to pay for the night. Aside from me and a really freaky-sounding animal that growled next to my campsite the entire night, the place was completely deserted.
I had to stop in Darwin, Minnesota on the way home, just to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. It was truly a thing of beauty, a landmark to the infinite capabilities of mankind, and I called all my friends back in Oregon just to let them know what they were missing. Also in Darwin, I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw a sign for the Darwin Rod and Gun Club. There’s gotta be some material for a Darwin Award in there, somewhere.
I reached my hometown shortly thereafter, and I am proud to say that I am now living about 1,500 miles closer to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine than I was a week ago. It’s still a two-hour drive from here, however. I’m totally jealous of one of my friends from high school, who now teaches in a school mere minutes from the Twine Ball.
So what next? I scrubbed all the bugs off the Subaru this morning, gave her a nice wax job, dropped off the trailer, and I’ve been busy stashing my gear into every little nook and cranny I can find. I’ve got two weeks before I start my certification courses for camp, which gives me more than enough time to dig through all these boxes and pick out the junk I’m going to need for the summer.
This is finals week at UMD, so I’ll be truckin’ up there late this week to party with friends and get down with my bad self at a Trampled by Turtles concert. Also, yesterday I scouted out launch spots for kiteboarding at Lake Waconia, so as soon as we get a good day for wind I’m gonna have to jam out there and get a taste, midwest style.
One last thing. Updates will be haphazard and infrequent for the next couple weeks, and will all but cease to happen when summer rolls around. I mean geez, I’m gonna be living in the woods, people, and the last time I checked most of those jack pines aren’t broadcasting 802.11g. As for the here and now, I just don’t like this room. It’s my old Nintendo room, and aside from high-speed internet it hasn’t changed much in twelve years.
Not only does this room kinda creep me out, it’s cold, in the basement and lit with fluorescent lights. Plus, this monitor only runs at 60Hz, which gives me an awful headache, and this keyboard has a spacebar that’s been split in half and partially converted into backspace button. It’s one of the most annoying and useless features I’ve ever seen, right up there with car stereo remotes.
Speaking of annoying and useless, I’ve all but had it with Windows. If I’m still using a computer come September, I’m switching over to a Mac. Seriously. I’m sick and tired of dealing with a dead operating system, that since 1995 hasn’t seen any advancement and innovation beyond security holes and bug fixes. Windows XP has been dead so long it stinks up the entire house, and I feel like I need to bathe after using it. The scope of Longhorn has been scaled back so many times, that at this point it can’t possibly be much more than a skin upgrade for XP. From what I’ve seen so far, all they’ve done is flay XP, turn it inside out, and stitch it back together with dental floss.
No. As far as I’m concerned, Apple has trounced the competition as far as attractive, secure and usable operating systems go. I’m switching over. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Their computers are damn expensive, however, and I’ll need to reinvest in a bunch of software, so if this is indeed a mistake, at least it will be an extremely expensive mistake.
As I always say, if you think you’re gonna screw something up, you might as well make every effort to screw it up beyond all recognition. Never forget that life is all about calculated risks, long drives and red-hot lovin’.