Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Everybody Have Fun Tonight

Make sure you've started with Part I....

July 18th, 2013. I couldn't go back to sleep the first time I woke up, and that's pretty unusual for me. But, the Badlands were just a few hours away, and I really couldn't wait to get there. I grabbed a shower and made myself a makeshift breakfast sandwich from the breakfast room, and headed out to I-80.

My first stop was actually just about a half mile outside of the Badlands entrance, at the sod house called the Prairie Homestead.
Built in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Brown via the Homestead Act
I'd seen what looked like abandoned homesteads along I-80 during my trips, and I wondered if they had tried and failed at establishing a working homestead, per the letter of the law.

Hard to remember than South Dakota was barely inhabited in 1910.
It was pretty neat to see the tiny home, with antiquities that I grew up with in my own home, such as the stitching horse in the bedroom.
Black and white seems to capture the essence of the time period for me
From the main house, I moseyed over to the root cellar and other buildings.
Root cellar
They used Sears and Roebuck catalogs for TP!
Farming implements on the homestead
Prairie dogs were everywhere, chirping warnings and their holes making walking a bit hazardous!
Chicken coop, in sod to protect from predators
Well that has almost run dry at this point
Old car in the barn
Chickens and all sorts of random things in the barn
After spending a while at the homestead, it was time to move on to the main stage. The Badlands. I know I didn't spend nearly as much time there this year, but I still wanted to see it again, much like going to the salt flats. At least this year, I was early enough that there were a lot fewer people around.


End of the Window Trail.



Someone lost a hat here. It was kind of windy....






Back to the Yellow Mounds






So, gorgeous, and not enough time to just let it all soak in. :( It was back on the road for me.

Strangely enough, I'd been seeing a ton of Corvettes -- of all vintages -- on I-80 during my trip, and the further west into South Dakota I drove, the more I saw, all heading the same direction I was. When I stopped for a late lunch in Spearfish, it became clear -- they were convening in Spearfish for a convention! And at the bar where I went to get lunch, it turned out that the bartender was originally from Newport News, VA. She even knew exactly where ACU-4 (where the Virginia Autocross Championships are being held) was.

After lunch, I grabbed a sixpack of a local IPA (11th Hour IPA) and hightailed it towards Bozeman, Montana, to try to catch a late dinner with James from NASIOC again.
Bozeman Trail
I opted to just stay on I-90 through Wyoming this time, following the rough pathway of the Bozeman Trail that angered so many Native Americans 150+ years ago as Mullan made his way to Washington State. Pulling into Bozeman around 8PM, at the tail end of the music-in-the-streets-festival, I found a parking space and met up with James before heading over to the Montana Ale Works for a quick bite to eat.
James says there are always cool cars on the streets in Bozeman. We also saw a Viper RT/10.
We talked about our engine rebuilds and how we've done autocrossing since last year, then it was about time to head out. After unsuccessfully looking to see if James' lost ATM card was still at the ATM, I bid adieu to Bozeman and drove to Butte for the night. While I had been aiming for Missoula, I figured that was close enough to make it to Packwood, easily, by Friday.
It was almost frigid on Friday morning, leaving Butte. I still took the car through a car wash to remove the bug bra.
Excitement awoke me early on Friday, again, and I was ready to head out by 8AM (actually earlier, as I discovered you can't buy beer before 8AM in Montana!). I stopped for lunch in Post Falls, Idaho where I had an elk burger, then continued on to try to arrive in Packwood by 5PM, since I told my codriver Sam Krauss that's what time I should be rolling in.
Outside St. Regis, western Montana
Early into the trip, I thought I saw fog to the west. I was wrong. It was smoke, and it was insane. Wildfires through the areas of Superior, Gold Creek and St. Regis had smoke so thick, it may as well have been fog. I was coughing up a storm inside the car.

Lookout Pass on the Idaho/Montana border

Columbia River gorge
Wild Horses Monument at the Gorge
Karl Bender says there was nothing here six years ago and has the photos to prove it.
Mt. Rainier.
I was able to roll into the paddock building just before 5PM, as I'd planned, and Greg McCance and my roomie Annie Gill were already there. Greg helped me change tires, I registered, and then Sam showed up to take the car to tech. We walked the courses, and were as ready as we could be for Saturday morning competition.

Two WRXs, one Mustang.
I passed the DuClaw beers I'd brought on to Greg who shared some Red Hook ESB with me, and then it was on to a late snack (since I was still full from the elk burger) and nighty-night.

Next up : the ProSolo

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