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Heading East along US Route 2

Glasgow, Granville, Bena, Iron River (MI)

sunny 23 °C
View Around the world 2016/17 on dreiumdiewelt's travel map.

The next morning, we left our campground in Glacier National Park and we headed towards Browning through a nice and hilly landscape. There we turned left onto US Route 2 which we wanted to follow east all the way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Admittedly, the drive through the great plains was not too exciting, but still very pleasant. Even though the road was only a two-lane highway, we were not inconvenienced by that in any way. After all, there was hardly any traffic on the road. It caused a rush of excitement when there was another car or truck in front of us. Unfortunately, the excitement happened not very often and once we had passed, there was nothing happening anymore for a long time.
And our van had a great day: it completed its 100,000th mile of driving through beautiful landscapes.

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We passed through endless stretches of agricultural land with lot sizes, but also tractors and equipment in enormous sizes that we had never seen back home in Germany.

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Most of the time the railroad tracks ran alongside the road. And the trains seemed to be endlessly long - mostly with over 100 wagons and a total of five locomotives at the front and rear of the train. You need to look closely, but the black line in the picture is one of these long trains:


We also passed through a string of small towns. They were not too exciting, but at least gave us a bit to see that was more interesting than just fairly flat farmland. And all of the towns provided us with stop opportunities for getting gas or taking a break next to a park with playground.
That evening we stopped for the night in Glasgow. And lucky us that we turned north into one of the signposted RV parks and not into the one south of the road – otherwise we would have ended up right next to the train tracks once again (and we were able to still hear it and imagined vividly how it would be being right next to them!). And otherwise we might have missed the beautiful Centennial Park where we had lots of fun playing a round of frisbee golf and where Sam ran two miles before heading off in the next morning.
It did not take long to reach North Dakota, which marked the last of our ten changes in time zone on the North American continent. The area around Williston was truly amazing: a modern kind of gold rush with oil pumps, storage and refining all over the place in what seemed to have been quiet fields until not too long ago.


While fascinating, we were not tempted to stop and rather continued onwards to the tiny towns of Ray for lunch and Granville for staying overnight. Both featured large parks with big playgrounds and were conveniently located not too far from the highway, but just far enough for not having the noise. But of course, there were the railroad tracks! Fortunately enough, this part of the railroad system seemed to get much less traffic vs. Glasgow, so we were not bothered too much.


On our next day of driving we got an early start and coincidentally passed through the town of Rugby, which marks the geographical center of North America. And once more we realized that despite five months of traveling the continent, we did only get to see a small portion of the enormous continent. With the mainland of Mexico, northern Canada and Alaska and the whole East and South of the USA, there’s so much more to see on future adventures.


Still, at that stage we were not looking for big adventures, but tried to cover as many miles as possible. After a quick lunch break in one of Grand Forks’ huge parks, we reached Minnesota and realized that contrary to all states we had passed since leaving Canada, we finally had T Mobile service again. We used that luxury right away to do some research on the internet and to do some WhatsApp calls with folks at home.


Unfortunately, the nicely located National Forest campground we chose for the night, was closed already. So we just took the first RV park we found along the road. It was not too far from the lake and provided a nice place to visit in the late afternoon sun.

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We were aware that this would mark our last night camping and sleeping in the van. So we consciously lit a campfire and stayed out longer than usual, our way of saying good bye to camping. After almost five months of sleeping in our van with only four nights sleeping elsewhere, we can truly say that our Westy was ‘home’. And it had served us so well and never let us down.
On our last leg of the journey east, we passed close by the Mississippi headwaters. It takes quite some imagination that the little creek we passed over would end up being the fourth longest river in the world.
Like all other days, we passed a dead skunk along the road and were still just as much amazed in regards to how badly it stinks for miles.
What was supposed to be the final spurt to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, did not really work out as such: already the previous afternoon the well-kept four lane divided highway had turned into a two lane highway. And as the road got more and more bumpy, the speed limits continued to decrease from the 70 we started at to eventually just 55 when we passed along Lake Superior – the largest freshwater body in the world – into Wisconsin and later into Michigan.
And finally we passed the town sign of Iron River, Michigan. Carol (my host mother Janis’ sister) already waited for us at our agreed meeting point and greeted us with still warm home-made chocolate chip cookies – what a nice surprise! She led us the way to their cabin on Hagerman Lake where Pete (her husband) waited already to show us around.
So after 1330 miles since leaving St. Mary in Glacier National Park of which we drove probably more than 1280 on US highway number 2, we made it back to the Great Lakes and almost closed the loop back to our starting place in Chicago.

Posted by dreiumdiewelt 19:15 Archived in USA Tagged lakes great highway drive route railroad oil frisbee plains farmland

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