May 19, 2021
This is the last leg of our continental trip. We left off in Santa Fe, New Mexico, fully caffeinated and fooded. Now, we were headed to Kansas. We had a slight hiccup with our maps again. We were routed to go through the barrel of Oklahoma, as I call it, and I told my partner that we would see the Northwest corner of Texas, and the Tri-State Monument of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. He mapped it on his car, and I had my trusty Google maps, however we were off by an hour. When I looked at his map, he was headed to the wrong corner of Oklahoma which was 3 points Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma. We corrected this before getting way off track.
I didn't want to set foot in Texas again, because of past traumas. Last time I was there, I thought I could handle it, however I came home with terrible nightmares and I have been placed on Prazosin to help reduce or stop my nightmares. We did however take a picture at the landmarks and quickly moved on. Note that the Tri-State land mark is actually on the other side of a fenced farmland that you have to cross over to get a picture with.
While driving through Oklahoma and Kansas, we saw a lot of wind farms, and classic American windmills. Do you know the history of the classic American windmill? It was once a prized possession on any farm in the west, since it was lightweight, durable, long lasting, changes direction, and could go deep for water. One of the finest American innovations to be made to adapt to the American west.
When we got to Nebraska, we drove, and drove. The picture below is not a Windows 97 background, it is only Nebraska.
30 miles before entering South Dakota, we got our first flat tire. Over 5500 miles in, and we got a flat tire. Luckily with Mercedes, we were informed of the pressure loss as it happened and the computer system continued monitoring the pressure. We have ride flats, so we were able to drive 55 mph, and able to find a tire shop right before close time in Yankton, South Dakota. We were completely in the middle of farmland. The breadbasket of America. There were farmers at the tire shop who had farmed their whole life, and the highlight to their week was going to the livestock auctions. We were fixed up in 45 minutes, and back on the road in no time. We finally arrived at our destination at Kate's Cottage in Beresford, South Dakota. It was a small cottage on a farm surrounded by cornfields. The farm had been in the same family since it was homesteaded in the 1800's. The cottage was completely adorable. Shabby Chic, pet friendly, and plenty of room to run around outside. There were goats and chickens, and a black labrador to play with Marlin. In the morning, we had fresh baked scones with yogurt, and berries. Everything was so delicious.
We packed up and headed out the next morning, although the black lab was so upset that Marlin was leaving, and she either wanted to come along, or wanted Marlin to stay. He enjoyed himself, but was ready for more adventure. We had one more sleep! That's what I would tell Marlin. I think he understood. We hoped to avoid Chicago traffic. Google and Apple Maps put us in Chicago at around rush hour which is basically anytime except 3am to 4am. You can try to avoid traffic all you want in Chicago, but you will only send yourself down other rabbit holes that get you stuck and regretful of your poor decision-making skills. You know you are from Chicago when you finally give up on traffic, and give in to the fact that you'll never move any faster. You are just stuck. Fighting it will not move you along any faster. You can accept it, or you can make yourself frustrated and worked up, with no resolution and closer to cardiac arrest.
We get to the hotel - Virgin Hotels Chicago. They are dog friendly as can be, pets stay free with no weight restrictions. Covid really screwed the pooch. Marlin was hoping for peanut butter treats in his room, a Virgin bandana, and a yappy hour of some sort. The hotel is nice, big beds, a personal doggy bed; albeit too small for Marlin, and a dog dish in the room. With practice, Marlin became better at using elevators. We walked along the Chicago River. We learned that Millennial Park is off limits to dogs, however you can walk your pup to the lakefront, and there is a stretch of Lake Michigan that is a dog-friendly beach. There are plenty of outdoor restaurants and bars that you can bring your dog to, and parks that are open to dogs. Just make sure to clean up after your pooch. Marlin was amazed by the views from the hotel room. He understood we were high up, and he did get a little nervous, to which I had to change the tone and look outside and say "ooooh, ahh, wow!" in an excited and happy way. I did close the curtains after a while to ease his anxiety.
There is a pretty good coffee shop off the lobby, and we took our morning coffee on a walk around the city so Marlin could take care of business before we headed home. After the whole trip was complete, Marlin has visited 29 states, or 58% of the United States in his entire 3 years of life so far. He was very happy to be home, and immediately proceeded to the basement to write some poetry, and listen to The Cure before supper.
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