Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Well. I made it to Toronto. I was pondering 'the scenic route' but somehow that fell by the wayside with scheduling and the lonliness of the interstate. I left Benton City, WA at about 1 pm, and had a beautiful drive through open wheat country up to I-90. I made it over the Bitteroot Mountains of Northern Idaho, and passed Missoula and Butte. The temperature was fluctuating wildly, warm on the high passes and cold again in the valleys. Must be an inversion. I made it just past Butte, MT before I started to get a little tired. I made camp at the Missouri River Headwaters State Park. I chatted with the man in the camper next to me. He was the only other person around, the campground was otherwise totally deserted. The temperature was in the low 60s! Crazy for mid November in MT. The man in the camper said he was headed the opposite direction, from the East Coast to the West, and he'd had snow the day before in Wisconsin. Good weather for camping! I slept great in my thin sleeping bag after an instant soup and some sleepytime tea. Then to bed with my roadtrip ritual, falling asleep while reading the map. Day two was an absolutely mega-day. From Three Forks, Mt, to St. Cloud, MN. 950 miles. The driving was great. No traffic. Perfect weather. It was even HOT in the car! But no A/C for me! Don't want to put any load on the engine! As far as hypermiling goes, the Audi A6 Avant, is a bad choice. Quattro drive might be a good system for traction, but it not great for milage. I usually average 23 on the highway. Not good. But this day, over 950 miles, I averaged 26! I think the reason was that there was a crazy windstorm, right on the tail. I had at some times sustained wind over 35 mph, blowing dust around, tumbleweeds and leaves all over the freeway. And it kept up most of the day. Then, past Fargo a long, long downhill section. What felt like a down grade? Or maybe it was just highway hypnosis? Anyway when I finally found a hotel room in St. Cloud, MN, I really had highway hypnosis. Objects waved and shimmered. I felt as if I was still on the highway. The most horrifying was when I turned on the TV in my hotel room. I haven't watched TV since the spring, and being on the ship for 4 months has somewhat insulated me from TV culture. It was horrible. To sum-up-- Everything was about fear, and money, and power. Selling, by any means. Sensationalism. Fearmongering. Control. I sought refuge in The Weather Channel, but even there was death. A 'reality' show about the destructive force of Tornados. With a panel of meterologists turned fear dealers. And the commercials were packed with political ads from the coal industry, pre-emptively persuading the public of the doom that will become them if they even THINK about regulating carbon emissions or imposing a carbon tax. Well. I turned off the TV and went to bed. To wake up and burn a little carbon of my own. Day three I made it all the way to Toronto. I pulled in at 3 am. The border guards didn't harass me too much, everything was smooth as silk.