US Trip 2015 – Heading west

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After spending a couple days in West Bend, it was time to head west, towards Yellowstone. A trip we planned to use three days on.

We started with the long journey from West Bend, to Litchfield, Minnesota. The planned route was about 420 miles long, and as usual, we had several stops on the list.

We started the day with gray weather, but fortunately, it cleared rather quickly. On the first stop of the day, we saw a huge sign advertising “homemade ice cream”, so we got more than a smiley at this stop! A nice celebration of yesterdays major milestone!

Ice Ice!

The day started on smaller roads, which also means less traffic. We really like all the small markets along the road, and we had to stop at a few of them today. After driving along so many corn fields, we also had to try some sweet corn today (we don’t have that kind of corn in Norway).

The rest of the way towards the Minneosta border, was on I-90 and I-94. With a minor exception. Our Nüvi suddenly decided to bring us on a totally different route than we had panned. So we got quite surprised when we suddenly saw a half sunken building right in front of us. And shortly after, a pyramid. The Nüvi had brought us to Wisconsin Dells (which we had never heard of before)! Luckily for us, we were heading in the right direction, the traffic going in the other direction was quite heavy. But it was a nice little detour.

Wisconsin Dells

One of the virtual caches we had planned to find, turned out to be quite difficult, and since we haven’t gotten any answer from the cache owner, we have to DNF it (which I don’t think we’ve done with a virtual before…).

Shortly after crossing the border to Minnesota, we arrived at Mall of America. Since it’s the biggest shopping mall in the US, we just had to stop by. Apparently 40 million people visit this mall yearly, and now we’re two of them! The fact that you can find lots of shops and restaurants here, should not come as an surprise, but the huge amusement park in the middle of it, might! We had no intention spending a lot of time here, but it’s fun to be able to say that we’ve been here. And I think Heltinnen is happy with the visit in one of the shops..

Mall of America

After leaving Mall of America, we had about two hours left before we reached the hotel. We arrived not too long after the sun had set.

The next part was from Litchfield to Dickinson, almost 500 miles! We stayed in Litchfield for a very specific reason, and that was because the Twine Ball Inn in Darwin was out of business. I’ve been joking about going to the Twine Ball for quite some time, and one of my colleagues have been there, so driving through Minnesota without visiting the Twine Ball was not an option! We really enjoy small towns and quirky attractions like this! Sadly, we got here one day too late, and missed the Twine Ball Day. And the museum was closed when we got there. But we got to see it, and we got photos to prove it!

Twine Ball

But it didn’t stop there… After driving back to Litchfield, we turned around and went back to Darwin! We found one of the locals, who was nice enough to open the museum to us. Not only did he do that, he also let us get a photo on the inside of the Twine Ball house. We got some much better photos, and some nice Twine Ball souvenirs.

Twine Ball
Twine Ball

We thought this day, except for the Twine Ball, would be just getting from A to B (with a few caches in between), but we were proven wrong! We got to see a lot of stuff, and this really was the day of records! In addition to the Worlds Biggest Twine Ball (made by one man), we also got to see “World’s largest Prarie Chicken”, “World’s largest Sandhill Crane” and “World’s largest buffalo”.

As with the previous day, we had some gray weather, and a few raindrops, but for the most of the time the weather was nice. And the temperature was perfect! The scenery along the road has already changed quite a bit since leaving Wisconsin, and we know that it will change a whole lot more in the next days. North Dakota is just about as flat and remote as we had imagined.

When visiting the huge buffalo, we also spent some time walking around in the Frontier Village. We met a nice family from Seattle, one of them even spoke a bit Swedish (which is similar to Norwegian).

Frontier Village

While driving on the interstate, we also suddenly spotted a huge cow on the side of the road. So we just had to turn back, and quickly discovered that we had found Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow.

Salem Sue

We traveled back in time today, and we really needed it! It got quite late before we finally reached the hotel. A long, but eventful day!

The next part was from Dickinson to Wapiti (outside of Cody, Wyoming), where we also stayed last year. We spent some time finding caches in Dickinson (since a ordinary LPC suddenly turned out to be quite nice, we had to find a few more in the area), and we also did some shopping. So we got a late start that day, even though we got up 6:30 in the morning…

We’ve visited several small towns, and in one of them the Sheriff drove by while I was lying underneath a church bell. One would except them to stop and ask what we were doing, but instead they just waved at us, we waved back, and they drove on. We’ll never know if this is normal behavior in this town, or if they just knew what we were doing…

Is it there?

We spent most of the day on I-94, before heading towards Wapiti. We visited both Theodore Roosevelt National Park, or at least the visitor center along the interstate, and Pompeys Pillar. We’ve visited many Lewis and Clark sites, without knowing too much about them. After reading a bit, I do understand why they are so famous! The trip to the top of the Pillar was exhausting in the heat, but well worth it!

On top of Pompeys Pillar

The scenery has really changed, and so has the weather and temperature! Sunny and hot!

We arrived at Wapiti Lodge rather late, but fortunately we didn’t have to drive too long in the dark.

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