The sun rose over Regina, shaking my belief that Edmonton is the most architecturally depressing city in the country. Regina’s downtown consists of squat, uninteresting cubes, with nothing even as fancy as our lovely MacLeod building to redeem it. Wow, I’m waxing sentimental about Edmonton’s buildings – it must be late.
We climbed into the Bulky Red Buffalo and pointed ourselves southeast. Southern Saskatchewan flew past us in a flat, green blur. We were held up slightly by a flooded patch of road. Not a surprise to those who have been following the news lately, however it was a surprise to me. Turns out the news is on at the same time as Barney Miller reruns back home, and I just gots to get me my Wojo.
The gatekeeper at the ‘Northern Portal’ border crossing was a tubby little creature, clearly honing his perfect scowl in the event that someone too “Arab-y” tries to enter his country. He asked where we were going, and Jodie replied that we were headed to Toronto, but stopping off at a music festival in Chicago this weekend. Clearly the idea of these hippies, clearly bringing garbage bags of pot and socialism into America, caused our chubby greeter a bit of distress. He waved us over, checked out the Buffalo’s caboose section for visible contraband, then went inside to cross-check our passports with the terrorist watch-list and, I don’t know, Interpol probably.
We were allowed to pass (didn’t even have to fight the Rancor!), and after doing some quick math to set our speed appropriately with America’s commitment to miles over kilometers, we were speeding through North Dakota. We first encountered a bit of intrigue, with a chain of rock piles set upon the crumpled green hills, spelling out two-digit years, from ’69 to ’01, in a random sequence over about a half-mile of scenery.
Intrigue turned to despair as we cruised through Minot, the area hardest-hit by those floods most people (not me) have read about. Farms, houses, roads, even entire communities could be seen doorknob-deep in flood water. There were lengthy aisles of sandbags around some homes, ten-foot high barricades surrounding others. Those neighbors who weren’t so prepared weren’t so lucky. I’m sure the folks in and around Minot will be long faded from the public eye once Hurricane Season begins (the public loves the sexier weather disasters), but these people will still be rebuilding.
The mood lightened as we motored through the state, with Sirius’s Deep Tracks station filling our ears with album cuts from the Dead, the Stones, and some prog-rock crap I probably could have done without. We had no time to stop and see the sites (if there were any), as our journey wasn’t set to end until about midnight, and we really didn’t want to stretch the day any longer than it already was.
A glorious sunset filled our rear-view mirror in Minnesota, and we all reflected on what we’d learned as our hotel in Chaska drew nearer. Jodie learned she was the only one in the family who would go on record as not being a James Brown fan. Colton learned that, in America, he is old enough to kill himself (or, buy cigarettes), but not old enough to drink. Abbey learned that calling everyone in her family “Bro” is a good way to get on their nerves. We suspect she’ll keep it up. As for me, I learned that a sloppy Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich is probably the one of the worst things one can eat whilst trying to drive.
Less than eight hours of driving tomorrow. Unfortunately, probably less than eight hours of sleep tonight. Oh how I love the road!