“Why aren’t we flying? Because getting there is half the fun.” Clark Griswald, 1983.
Carlos was not quite a year old when he took his first road trip.
The summer of 2001 we hit the road in a beat-up Dodge camper(The Caveman) for a family reunion in Minnesota. Imagine The Pope Family Vacation meets the Griswald Family Vacation head on. Us from the west, them from the east. Our final destination, the loons in Minnesota, their’s WallyWorld.
Instead of crossing paths with the Griswalds, we ventured off the beaten path. Anyone else been to the Testicle Festival in Montana? Heck yea, any dog-friendly event was worthy of a detour AND we all had a ball. How about the headwaters of the Mississippi River? Both Carlos and I jumped from one side to the other, the entire three foot span. Sturgis South Dakota for the motorcycle rally? No?
After visiting family in Minnesota, I dropped the girls off at the Minneapolis airport and the boys drove west, towards Oregon. This is me and ‘LOS in Sturgis…
We couldn’t find a campsite in Sturgis so I thought we’d try our luck or perhaps our fate in Deadwood~Gateway to Mt. Rushmore. No, it’s not what you think~Woody vs. Deadwood. These Harley folks endeared themselves to us and encouraged us to arm ourselves. As I noted in my camp journal, ” It’s bike week and the proper look is leather chaps, tattoos, facial hair, and a gnarly attitude. I stand out like a surfboard in a hog farm.”
The next morning Carlos and I hiked the three miles uphill to Mt Rushmore. Armed with just a camera, I took a shot of this magnificent monument…
…then walked back down to camp. Before the bikers had their morning coffee and fired up their rumbling hogs, I rounded up the dog in the Dodge, got outta Dodge, and headed west, towards Oregon.
Next stop, Three Forks. Nope, no diner here. Here is the where the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers converge to form the headwaters of the Missouri River. We set up camp on the east bank of the Missouri. The very spot Lewis & Clark camped, almost to the day, 200 years earlier. From here we hiked up the bluff to where members of the Corps of Discovery surveyed the trail west, towards Oregon.
A couple days later we crossed the Bridge of the Gods from Washington into Oregon and finally home to Portland.
We never did run into the Griswalds and I know they made it to WallyWorld and enjoyed their VACATION just as we did BUT at least our family dog made it home…ALIVE!
The Caveman? Barely ALIVE.
Woody? Woody Lives. And the legend of Outlaw Woody HANGS on the wall…above the toilet.