Now THIS is where true road warriors are tested, my friends. Driving West on 94 through North Dakota, the Great Plains, a vast civilizational void, America’s Siberia. Hours and hours of empty prairies and farmland, landscapes devoid even of billboards, Exit signs that read “No Services” more often than not. On the radio nothing but Christian stations and a few country ones. I switched over to AM and listened to a local “Swap Shop” program where local listeners called in to try and hock their farm equipment. I couldn’t even tell what people were trying to sell half the time; the phone connections were so poor and the callers mumbled indecipherably. But the host just thanked each caller and moved on to the next one. It seemed hard to believe that anyone could actually sell (or buy) anything in such a manner. But maybe I just don’t speak Dakota.
I slept at a roadside rest station last night. I headed straight out after last night’s post and hoped to make it as far as Fargo but that was not meant to be. My last job had trained me to sleep early and I found it challenging to keep myself awake past 10:30. I kept slapping myself in the face to stay focused. It actually started to feel kind of good… what does that say about me? Better not think about it.
I pulled over just outside of Fergus Falls, MN. I changed into pajama pants and threw a couple of pillows and a sleeping bag in the back. Then it was time to do up the windows. When you sleep in a car overnight in the summer it’s almost essential to crack the windows open at least a little bit, otherwise you’ll sweat like a hog and feel miserable. But how do you do this without being overwhelmed by mosquitoes? Here’s my solution:
I cut up a burlap coffee bag I happened to have and affixed it over the cracked-open car window using a crude combination of push pins and duct tape. As silly as it looks this actually did the job last night; I woke up without one bite.
It was not an easy sleep; the back seat of my Chevy is way too small for my frame so I had to lay down in a quasi-fetal position. And even with the windows cracked it was still pretty warm and humid. After struggling for about an hour or so I finally drifted off and got a good 4 and a half to five hours of sleep.
I woke up with sore knees which I tried to loosen up. I went into the men’s room, took off my shirt and cleaned myself off with baby wipes. I tried to camouflage the baby wipe small with a small bottle of Gucci cologne but it seemed to have little effect; the baby wipes are stronger.
On my way out of the rest stop I took this selfie:
They have these signs in rest stops all over Minnesota warning of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an invasive species that’s apparently destroying crops in the area.
Ha! I ain’t afraid of no bug. I’m an invasive species myself, and I already stink as it is.
See y’all in Montana.