November 5, 2012
Aptly for a Monday, the sixth day of our road trip was one of the more uneventful ones, a straight east-to-west drive on Interstate 90.
Starting off at the motel in Rochester, we had the first of many hotel-buffet-breakfasts. It was a novelty to me that most of the hotels we stayed in during the road trip offered free breakfast (of course, they weren’t really free, but priced into the room rate). Maybe we’d just never noticed before or had paid the rate that didn’t include it, but we had it now and JC became the official bringer of breakfast. She would go out each morning while I was still in bed and return with everything in the same Holiday Inn Express bag (from Cortland). It’s a sweet memory and one of my favorite ones from the road trip.
There were two unique things that we encountered only at the hotel in Rochester. The first was a La-Z-Boy recliner. We took turns sitting in it and pulling the lever. It was a shock when the seat-back reclined with unexpected rapidity. What a roller coaster ride. The second unique thing was how the bathroom was arranged. Rather than hung from a rack or placed in a neat pile, the towels were folded into bows on one side of the bathroom and, even more elaborately, in an elephant shape on the other. The shower curtain was tucked neatly into the soap holder in the middle, creating something like a big top circus tent. When I mentioned this to the owner at checkout, she said that it was something the maids liked to do, a way to brighten up an otherwise dreary bathroom (and job).
After checking out, we gassed up the car and went on our way. We used less than one tank of gas that day, stopping only to eat and go to the bathroom (at the Blue Earth Rest Area, at the McDonald’s in Luverne, Minnesota, and at the Beaver Creek Travel Information Center in South Dakota).
Once we arrived in Mitchell, we checked into the hotel before going to Walmart to buy dinner and some other necessities, including thermal underwear and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. The former was because we were heading into snowy territory and the coldest place we had been to so far was Niagara Falls where we had frozen our butts off despite maxing out our clothes; the latter was because we had been bombarded with Tennessee Honey ads while in London (especially in the Tube) and finally succumbed when we saw it at Walmart. Sadly, we ended up using neither of our purchases because the weather in South Dakota turned out to be great and the whiskey turned out to be so disgusting we eventually poured it down the drain (at the next city, wanted to try it a couple of times just to be sure).
We spent the rest of the night in our cozy suite (with a nice couch and coffee table) eating a dinner of various packaged foods and planning the route for the rest of the trip. After driving for over 5 hours from Chicago to Rochester, we realized it was too draining so we planned a more leisurely pace going forward.
List of packaged foods (for the record, of course):
- Birds Eye Steamfresh Super Sweet Corn, 10.8 oz
- Green Giant Steamers Macaroni & Cheese Sauce with Broccoli, 12 oz
- Crunch Pak Mixed Apple Slices, 14 oz
- Marie Callender’s Comfort Bakes Savory Chicken & Rice, 10 oz
- Michelina’s Traditional Recipes Tuscan-Inspired Garlic Chicken, 8 oz
- Boston Market Home Style Meals Turkey Breast Medallions, 13 oz
- Maruchan Instant Lunch Roast Chicken Flavor, 2.25 oz
Lastly, here is the world’s largest bull’s head: