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Unto the Badlands

Some random thoughts:

• I often wondered whether Sirius satellite radio was somehow ‘smart’ enough to know whereabouts in American you were listening to it. On the east cost of Charleston, when I get BBC Radio 1, it’s time shifted by five hours meaning that I can listen to the breakfast show at 8am Charleston time, even when it’s really 1pm in England.

Alas, the time shift does not move with you I’ve discovered – it’s fixed to five hours, and as I’ve now driven a whole two timezones to the left[1] it’s now two hours out. Meaning that when I tuned in at 8 o’clock this morning, it was broadcasting as if it was 10 o’clock.

SatNav and GPS coordinates are always Nxx then Wxxx – The West has always had three digits which I thought was pointless because it’s always been a ‘0’. Not anymore! I’ve now driven far enough west that I’m now sat at N44 49.165 W103 85.457 as I type this.

• The temperature dropped today. For weeks I’ve been used to 80 and 90 degrees, pleased when it got down to somewhere in the 70’s. South Dakota – with it’s patchy phone signal, complete lack of Bank of Americas for me to not to go to, is now offering temperatures down in the 40’s. Chilly.

As a dead-straight and empty highway stretches out in front of me, I’m looking at the map and seeing where I’ve got to go. It’s ridiculous really … if this was a regular roadtrip, I would just head west from the Badlands and Mount Rushmore and head straight for Yellowstone National Park. Instead, I’ve got to drive 6 hours north into even more remoteness to a tiny town in North Dakota, which shares the name of a place on the tube map which has also always been very deserted all the times that I’ve been there.

The Road Ahead

Coming here during the summer months was wise. In all it’s beauty (and it is beautiful out here), I can’t help but wonder what it’s like during the winter, snow wise. The camp grounds we’ve stayed at the last two nights are both closed during the winter months, and we’ve seen lots of roads that have yellow metal barriers and ROAD CLOSED signs attached to them, ready to be swung across come the first flakes of snow.

All this, we we haven’t hit Montana yet. The state in which people tell me things are really sparse …

4 responses to “Unto the Badlands”

  1. geofftech says:

    [1] It’s not often I get to type that, either.

  2. Rudi says:

    Your observations about the Upper Midwest are astute with regard to winter.

    Firstly, it’s cold in most of that area in the winter. High temperatures sometimes struggle to get above 0˚ Fahrenheit. Most folks who drive have electric block heaters for their engines to allow them to start their cars at all. Diesel engines are a liability, as the fuel will turn to jelly in the tank.

    And then there are the winds: combine the snow (which is inevitable) with the wind, and you get blizzards and white-out conditions (made worse in the flatlands of the Midwest). Under these circumstances, the state will often shut down roads that are completely impassable due to blowing and drifting snow. Having been caught out in one of these situations, it’s not fun.

  3. geofftech says:

    I quite like the twitter I just got from @cheappd

    @geofftech It’s a long, desolate drive on US 85 once you leave Belle Fourche. Hope you have plenty of gas and snacks on hand!

  4. Kelly says:

    Did you know North Dakota is the country’s least-visited state? I really enjoyed it – I felt somehow cooler for having been there.

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