Guiding the SmartBeetle through Mississippi

Day 8: Wisconsin, Minnesota and west to South Dakota's Badlands

March 13, 2000

smartbeetle meet Madison WisconsinIn the spirit of the original producers and advice from Reg, I have reduced the Bass and Treble on the stereo to null values - sounds a lot better, or maybe i am imagining it.

8:00A - Quick breakfast (2 bowls of Frosted Flakes and a banana) and fill-up. North and west on I-90 through Wisconsin. I need to mail my taxes in soon...maybe Seattle.

"Trailer for sale or rent..."

Hallgren calls from Boston - apparently i overpaid on my 401(k) contribution again...more tax nightmares to deal with. thanks for the bank visit!

cows and pastures in Wisconsin8:45A CST - Drove west into Madison, WI to check out Dr. Thomas' old stomping grounds. Nice college town situated around 3 lakes

9:30A CST - It's snowing in Wisconsin. When i look south out the window, i see Farmers in the Dells and snow covered pastures. It reminds me of Vermont, without mountains of course. And Buffalo.

Deep in the heart of the Wisconsin Dell's, I find the lost kingdom of Camelot - they have added Hot Tubs since Arthur's time!

80's mercury waving10:45A CST - Got passed by a family in a late 80's Mercury Marquis laughing and waving - do they think i look goofy, or are they goofy themselves?

11:00A CST - Cheesy State: Coming over a rolling slope, the landscape changes from rolling yellow/white slices of colby jack to giant piles of moldy gorgonzola.

jolly green giant in blue earth Minnesota2:40P CST - Blue Earth, Minnesota. . Sorry Carrie, but the photo op with a 60' Jolly Green Giant was irresistible! Nice lunch of MickeyD's Meal #3...terrible for the figure, but so good going down.

6:30P CST - The sky out here is heavenly at sunset. I've seen 3 rainbows and tens of colors throughout the clouds...what a ride. Cruising along at 81MPH, i feel like without these studded snow tires, i could put the car in neutral and let the earth spin under me at 1000 miles an hour and the sun would never set.

7:00P MST - i have once again successfully jumped backwards in time by one hour exactly while doing 88 mph on I-90.  The tires barely left flame prints.

minnesota sky

Soon after the time change, i noticed two state trooper cars in both lanes flashing lights. I pull over and it gets interesting.  Both surrounded the car (i'll bet they were confused at the lights and the laptop glare) and asked me for my license, registration and to get out of the car.

police car

Me: "What did i do?" 
Trooper1:"you were crossing over the shoulder and swaying"
Trooper1: "Could you step out and join me in my cruiser?"
Me: "Ok."

He gave me a warning.

Once in the car, he ran my plates and registration and started some conversation about the car and what not. I explained my mission and the sign and web page. He seemed interested. Somehow it came warning from state trooperout that i had lived in Boston and...

Trooper1: "it's getting pretty bad there?"
Me: "how so?"
Trooper1: "Crime and all
Me: "Yeah, i guess. White collar drugs and stuff in bars..."
Trooper1: "Like Cocaine"
Me: "Yeah"   (he was testing me and it went over my head!)
Trooper1: "Do you have anything in the car you want to tell me about?"
Me: (confused now) "No?"
Trooper1: "Would you give me permission to search your vehicle?"
Me: (enlightened and innocent):  "Sure"
Trooper1: "Do you have any drugs or weapons? Anything I should know about? Are you diabetic? I wouldn't want to get stuck by something sharp..."
Me: "No. Nope. No.  I have a box of markers and an exacto knife"

They proceeded to pull up the seats and open my bags and boxes, searching very thoroughly i might add. I asked if i could photograph them in action. Nope.

Trooper1 shook my hand and said "thanks for letting us do our job."
I said "thanks for proving me innocent"

So we chatted a bit and i got a picture of the car at least. Good to see the police doing there job and in a peacceful way! Trooper2 nodded and waved goodnight.

smartbeetle in the badlands, south dakota8:30P MST - Have been dying to stop at the Badlands - they are closed after dark apparently. I filled up with 90 Octane using the credit card on the only pump left on and attempted a dark photo.

9:00P MST - Stop in to Wall, SD to see the famous Wall Drug Store - closed - hours are 6AM - 6:30PM. Screw it, i'm going to call 14hours of driving a success and call it a night at the Kings Inn. Down to the local saloon for a burger and a beer. Terry at the Cactus Saloon was gracious and hilarious - rodeos and breedin'. Tomorrow Mount Rushmore!

21 hours of driving until i reach Seattle and the Pacific!

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Music of the day

  • Sinead
  • Sliding Doors Soundtrack
  • The John Lennon Collection
  • Goo Goo Dolls: Dizzy Up the Girl
  • Buffalo Tom: Big Red Letter Day