Today’s Biggest Decision – Motorway or Country Roads

Dakota Magic Casino to Albert Lea/Austin KOA

Today we had a couple of options; the shortest included back tracking North on I-29, about 80 miles on country roads and through Minneapolis, or the easiest driving I-29 & I-90 option, which was 40 miles longer. In deciding, we also factored into the equation that neither of us slept well due to a car alarm sounding all night in the parking lot. Don’t you just love gamblers!

Read on to find out which option we selected.

 Wednesday 30th July 2014

Summary

Temps – increased to mid 20’s

Weather – slightly hazy with cumulus clouds

Clox – none

Distance – 352 miles

Total Distance – 2,053 miles

Navigation

We had a couple of options, but with minimal sleep the previous night, we elected the longer, but easy driving I-29 and I-90 route. This was the ultimate low stress trip – ¼ mile from the casino to the motorway and about 1.5 miles from I-90 to the KOA.

Departure Dakota Magic Casino

Wow, practice makes perfect, as we are getting slick with the packing and hitching.  Got Judi up at 07:30 and we pulled out of the site shortly before 08:30. Real easy departure from our pull through site and drove to the diesel pumps by the casino entrance. A trucker was stopped at the front pump, having a cancer stick, so we pulled a 180 and used the pump on the other side. We didn’t have space to go around behind the semi, so backed out from the pumps, before getting underway.

Detailed Voyage to Albert Lea KOA

While not our longest journey or difficult terrain, for a couple of reasons it was the most challenging. Firstly, the aforementioned lack of sleep resulted in the last 50 miles being really challenging, and we stopped numerous times, for a variety of valid reasons.

The entry to the motorway was effortless and we continued South on I-29 through the typical flat prairie countryside, we have observed for the previous week. After about hour, where’s the camera, as the scenery is changing – that looks like a hill, not quite the Rockies, but most definitely an elevation change of a couple of hundred feet. It also has a rest area/lookout, so we make our first stop of the day. Judi had breakfast and made even more tea, while Andy walked the dogs and enjoyed the view down the hill and over the flat plains, impressive.

View from the first rest stop

View from the first rest stop

Onward we go, climbing slowly over undulating terrain with a mixture of crops and grazing land. We got about another 1.5 hrs when Judi announced the need to pump the bilge – too much tea this morning, so into the next rest area for a quick break.

Approaching the I-90 we start thinking about lunch and quickly realise that the dogs got the left-overs from dinner last night, so we have nothing to eat. As this would be the 3rd stop and we were only ½ way, Andy really didn’t want to take the time for a sit down restaurant, so fast food it had to be. Shortly after heading East on I-90, Judi spied a Rotten Ronny’s (McDonalds), only a short distance from the exit. We pulled off the motorway, parked and Judi ran in for food, or at least what they offer as being food. We choked it down and got back on the motorway, only 180 miles to go.

Finally, we rack up some miles before spotting a rest area almost 2 hours after the previous stop. With little sleep last night, this is the longest Andy wants to drive today without a break to stretch his legs and get the blood flowing. We pull into the rest area and Andy walked around a little with the dogs. Oxygenated and stretched we headed back to the I-90, only about 70 miles to go. Andy checks it frequently, but the distance to go is reducing really, really slowly today; in fact, it is reducing so slowly we could be walking.

The last two nights we had no shopping  within a reasonable distance, consequently we’re getting short on milk and a couple of other essentials. There is no way we were going back out shopping after arriving at the campground, therefore we require an addition stop to pick up milk for tonight. Judi checked the GPS and couldn’t find any grocery stores, but found a Walmart in the next town, about 10 mls from our current position. We stopped at the Walmart and Judi went for milk, while Andy did some exercise to again re-oxygenate the blood to help stay alert.

Back on the road again and only 40 miles to go. Those last 40 miles seemed to take an eternity, but we made it, arriving safely about 16:30. Really tough day and we hope it isn’t repeated.

Now we can relax for 4 days.

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