Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 5, Tuesday: Badlands, SD to St. Paul, MN

Day 5, Tuesday: Badlands, SD to St. Paul, MN
KM start: 147,333 km
Trip Meter: 1,586 km
Time Driven: 6am – 6:30pm (12.5 hours driven)

It is surreal to drive these highways and make these tourists stops again. When I was 14 my family drove across Canada and came back through the States, crossing over into the US in Detroit. We are backtracking all the tourists stops we made then…with Mt. Rushmore, the badlands and Mitchell (with it’s Corn Palace). To think I was last here 15 years ago is CRAZY. I remember so much of it like it was yesterday, but that was half a lifetime ago! Or at least, almost half my lifetime, being 29. 

When we last made this trek, we were on a time crunch like we are now. But this time we were able to spend some time in the Badlands, and last time we were only able to drive through and briefly stop. As I scrambled over the rocks I’d yearned to climb last time, and as Paul called my name to show me a cool cave and ask for a hug I was in awe of the blessings of God on my life. Who am I that He should love me so extravagantly?  Paul and I have talked a lot about this in the past few days of driving – we are reminded, over and over again that it is not because of who we are that God loves us, but because of who God is. God is love. He made us. He said we were good. He loves us perfectly. Whatever that looks like in a moment, however that feels, that is the truth. And it is good.

Edited to Add, later: Well camping in the badlands sure was interesting. Paul managed to forget our tent, and we discovered that our air mattress no longer works. We had gone to bed under a tarp roof that Paul had rigged up. It actually wasn’t that bad…we could see the moon and feel the warm, breezy wind. We cuddled up on our air mattress and got ready for sleep. And within in hour the mattress was totally deflated. So we refilled it and Paul went to sleep on the ground, in case that was the problem (he only sleeps on an air mattress to be with me). Nope, within another hour it had mostly deflated. Plus with the wind, sleep was feeling impossible. The moon was so bright that Paul couldn’t sleep – he ended up in the car sleeping in the passenger seat. I took all of the pillows and lined them up under me, and used his sleeping bag over my head to help block the wind and moonlight. We were frustrated because we knew we needed a good sleep for the days 9 hour drive to Minnesota.

However, we managed to wake up fairly rested. Sore and achey but rested. The views around us, as we packed up and made breakfast and lunch for the day, really helped redeem the nights sleep. And despite the mishaps we would definitely camp there again.

We got on the road by 6:30am. At first it was hard to drive through the sleepiness but after turning on some sermons to listen to I was wide awake. We left the camp site, expecting 9 hours of driving but with some traffic at the end near Maple Grove we made it to the Pfaff’s in 12 and a half hours. At least we were there by dinner – since we were starving by that point.

As we drove we understood why Minnesota is called the “land of 10,000 lakes”. There were beautiful lakes everywhere. For some reason, as we crossed into Minnesota, we both felt like, ok, now we’re in a better state. I’m not sure why we felt that way….though the long dry, barren highways of South Dakota might play a part in that. We turned off the main highway for the last two hours and loved driving through the picturesque country side.  We were fans of this new state.

Our big or gps?
They often disagreed on the best route.
We usually stuck with the map.

Arriving at the Pfaff’s was lovely. Since this isn’t my side of the family, I’m always a bit nervous how a visit with new family will go. Well I definitely had no reason to be nervous. They are so welcoming and gracious. We were immediately swept up into their home and lives for a few days. We joined them for dinner, for Davis’ ball game and or DQ after. It felt like a typical American family evening. We stayed up somewhat late with them, just talking and watching Paul get to pester his cousins. It was perfect.

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1 comment:

LeAnna et David said...

When all you're driving is done you'll have to say how google maps worked for you. I found them only so-so for getting around England. Great on highways but absolutely horrible for actually getting in to a destination. Combined with a GPS it would've been good.

And the badlands look amazing!


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