Big Sky Vacation Day 1: Through the land of cheese haus

Luckily, the alarm went off this morning. Otherwise, I would have slept through the time to leave.  Sascha finished the job by demanding to go out and look for squirrels.  I got moving and took my shower.  From there, it was time to finish packing.  Rich got moving, too.  Wow, even Rick got up.  Just in time to put him to work.

Sascha took one look at suitcases on their way to the car and started dancing.  Then the barking started.  She never barks!  I think she has forgotten all about motion sickness in the car.  She just loves to go.  Rick had to put her in the house since she wouldn’t shut up.  I was afraid she would wake the neighbors.

We got the car packed.  Everything found its place in the back or in the back seat.  Only later did I realize we forgot to pack the travel cooler.  Or maybe Rich didn’t bring it up so I wouldn’t try to shove it in.  The new Subaru just doesn’t seem to have the same room as the Honda CRV.  I miss my CRV.

I gave Rick a hug and a kiss.  I tried to give Sascha a hug, but she was too excited and barking to get near.  I managed to get a pet or two in though.  We got into the car and headed out for the great Western states.

First stop was for breakfast.  We got up to Richmond and stopped at the American Café.  I love this little place.  Food is always good.  We got coffee and Rich took the wheel for the first leg.  This gives me a good few hours to work on the right arm out of the window.  Once the temp gets too warm, I have to roll up the window and give in to the air.

For those who aren’t aware of it, we have road rules for the car when we take trips.  Over the years, we have devised a set of rules to create peace and harmony between the passengers.

Rules are:

  1.  Driver rules.  Driver gets to pick the music.  If you don’t like, bring your own music and headphones.
  2. Windows down until temp hits 84.  Then air conditioning can be applied.
  3. Driver gets the first slot in the center console for beverages and other items.
  4. Passenger is designated navigator and better not screw it up.

We only ran into traffic just outside of Janesville, WI.  There appeared to be the remnants of a chain reaction accident with about 8 cars involved.  The single lane traffic was gawking at the cars and multiple police officers.  There was no blood.  So why did we have to crawl at 10 miles per hour?

As we passed through several exits, Rich voiced a puzzle that he saw forming.  Is it a requirement that all Wisconsin exits have to have at least one cheese haus?  I thought about and watching the next couple of exists.  Apparently, they do.  And it is correct to say cheese haus.

Construction was minimal and didn’t slow us down much.  We played with the new EyeSight feature in the car.  This is an adaptive cruise control feature that looks for obstructions and controls the speed of the car for you.  Rich loved it.  I hate, but I like the cruise control.  So I guess I’ll live with it.

Here’s how it works.  You set the cruise control.  You can determine the length of the distance between you and the obstacle in front of you.  Rich goes for maximum at 3 bars on the graphic.  I got for minimum at 1 bar.  When you drive up to an obstacle, the car regulates the speed so that you don’t approach too quickly and keeps you the distance you want from a car or truck.  So you come up on a car at 70 MPH and that car is only doing 60 MPH.  Your car throttles back your speed to match the car in front of you.  Once you go around, it speeds back up to 70 MPH.  It won’t let you get closer to the car in front of you based on the distance you set.

Sounds cool, but if you don’t pay attention, you can find yourself going 60 MPH for a while.  You also can’t apply more gas, because your car totally ignores you.  It forces you to pass to regain speed.  I hate a car that’s smarter than I am.  Of course, I can see where this going.  A car that drives itself to the location you designated.  Can I take a nap until we get there?

We made it across the great state of Minnesota without incident.  Rich had to have his 2:00 coffee.  About 2:00, we were in the middle of nowhere.  Every exit was blank and the signs indicates that you had to travel 10 miles north or south to find the town.  Finally, we saw signs of life pretty close to the interstate.  We found the tiny town of St Charles that was close by.  We drove through town and found the Coffee Cabin open.  It was fairly busy, too.  Rich ordered coffee and I took a short break.  I came out to find that he had ordered a sandwich also.  No harm.  I was driving from here on out today.  The place was decorated in log furniture and plaques about cowboys and cowgirls.  Funny thing was, this place was located on Route 14.  This is the same Route 14 that runs just south of us at home and we take to work every day.  We need Coffee Cabin on our Route 14.

Back on the road, we continued to listen to blues music and ride with the windows down.  The temp never got over 82.  Lucky me.  Now I was working on the left arm.  We’ve been down this stretch of road several times.  One of my favorite town names through here is Blue Earth.

Without anything interesting happening, we made it to our destination for the evening.  We stopped in Brandon, South Dakota, which is just short of Sioux Falls.  The location was perfect for easy off and on with food available.  We got checked in and went down to Tailgater’s for dinner.  Rich got the Land and Lake.  This was a steak and walleye.  Turned out to be so-so.  I found that surprising for South Dakota.  We’ve had some really good steaks here.  Well, on the way back, we’ll have to hit the cowboy bar in Mitchell then for good food.

So I finished typing up the blog du jour.  I’m going to stretch out, relax, and read before it’s time to get some shut eye.  Hope tomorrow goes as well as today.

We are headed for a stop at Rapid City to eat at Firehouse Brewing.  This is one great stop that we never miss.  Guaranteed good food there.  Rich will drive in the morning so he can enjoy a couple of beers.  I’ll have beers, too, but they’ll have root at the beginning of the name.