Wednesday, August 27, 2003. 515 miles in 11 hours
Check out the photo gallery page for more pictures of the MN to CA road trip.
After spending a couple of days of frenzied packing and goodbyes, and with the invaluable assistance of my bestest and oldest friend Mike Ziegahn on the last morning, we are ready to go at 2:30 pm. I strapped that bike on there like we would be driving through a hurricane, and had my cable lock involved to force someone to cut all the straps to remove the bike and rack as one unit. I have three guitars in there somewhere, all my audio gear, and a trunk full of clothes and immediately useful household items for our new home in California.
I have the cooler, music, car voltage to AC converter to power the CD player and cell phone charger all available to my right hand. Bob will jump into any car, any time, and yet, he’s frequently a little nervous. But he settled right in to his tiny little space in the passenger seat. Being next to the cooler does have its advantages, as he is always close to the next string cheese or turkey sandwich. I was worried about Sam. I have described him as a danger to all passengers in in the car in previous outings, and have scars to prove it. I gave up on him in cars 10 years ago. We had this giant kennel which really didn’t fit well.
I have a large, flat cardboard poster box covered with a sheet as the top layer across the back seat and Sam has about 10 inches below the ceiling. I was terrified of his free-range as far as the nearest PetSmart, where I intended to buy a much smaller kennel. I have no explanation for Sam’s relatively mild reaction to this enterprise. It was a miracle! After a few miles to the mall, he acted like he was sleeping on the couch. In total disbelief and cautious faith, I bought camera discs, and we hit the open road, kennel-less. So we finally headed southwest through the suburbs towards Mankato just beating the rush hour.
I’ve made this trip to the Bay Area or back many times, back as far as the late 70’s, when I would stop in Mankato to see Mom and Dad, and it has been my preferred route ever since. This would perhaps be our only opportunity for Bob and Sam to visit my old homestead, and so we took a short, but very efficient, detour through Mankato, stopping at the house at 238 Lincoln where we found an unfamiliar driveway with 2 unfamiliar dogs. I was cat-wrangling on the little traffic triangle, when the 2 residents appeared. I had to stop and adjust my plans, when Bob ventured alone to meet the usurpers, and he wasted no time in visiting “my roots”, those planted by some rogue squirrel circa 1970. I’ve always considered it “my tree”, but in reality all I did was NOT mow it down, which I guess is as strong a claim as any. I called him back and the tree’s current owners were left to ponder the aroma and possible significance of this strange visitor.
Original plans to drive to Sioux Falls were scrapped as I decided I needed to make up the lost day (see original itinerary). Around dusk, I called my own personal navigator, Cindy, to look on the website www.petswelcome.com, and give me a list of phone numbers in Rapid City, and Wall, an hour closer. I called the Plains Motel in Wall, and asked for a very late check-in of 1:30. Keys were waiting for us in an envelope tied to the office door. Here’s what Bob looked like after 515 miles and 11 hours of hard driving.
Continue on to Day 2 …