Truckster goes on Safari!

New Mexico is not only the “Land of Enchantment” but also the land of critters!

To my surprise, the drive through New Mexico was not the barren desert that I had always imagined. The drive on Interstate 10 was filled with mountains, abundant grasslands, palm tree oases and for the most part it was actually raining! When it wasn’t raining, the temperatures were probably in the high 80s with incredible winds.

Mutant cannibal grasshoppers

Mutant cannibal grasshoppers

At one point, we had to pull over for some gas and came across a large colony of mutant grasshoppers! In addition to being neon blue and other exotic colors, these particular grasshoppers were monstrous in size and cannibalistic. A word of caution, the following video is a bit gross and may not be enjoyed by everyone:

Award-winning rest stop in '92!

Award-winning rest stop in '92!


We made our way down I-10 East and stumbled upon one of the best rest stops…in 1992. I’m surprised it hasn’t won any more awards in the last 18 years because the bathrooms smelled like fresh oranges and the soap tingled our nostrils with the scent of freshly baked cakes! It also had plenty of warning signs cautioning us of the rattlesnakes and wildlife in the area (safety first!). However, we weren’t warned about this extremely long walking worm and we began to wonder if any of New Mexico’s bugs were normal-sized.
Walking worm in New Mexico!

Walking worm in New Mexico!



Mexico/United States border fence

Mexico/United States border fence

Another thing you’ll only find in the southwest is the border fence. Neither Adam nor I had seen this before, but we paralleled it for a little while on Route 8 and contemplated jumping it. It looked pretty tall, which only made us more curious as to what was on the other side. We didn’t jump it, but only because we were on a time schedule.

Finally, as we approached our vacation home in Fort Davis, we saw a sign that read: “OPEN RANGE”. “No big deal,” we thought, “probably just for decoration like the ‘Welcome to Texas’ sign.” Boy were we wrong. In hindsight, the sign should have read: “CAUTION- SAFARI” because in the midst of the rain and nightfall, we came around a turn and crossing the road in front of us was the largest cow Adam or I had ever seen in our lives. Believe me, Adam lives in Texas and I’ve attended the Pennsylvania Farm Show almost every year since birth, this cow was HUGE. The rest of the drive was spent calculating the physics of a 3,000-pound object flying into our grill and how we would explain to a farmer that his freak elephant/cow is our new hood ornament.


Tomorrow, we finalize the drive to Austin and bring the Truckster home!

-John

Truckster Travels Through South Dakota

If you need to drive along Route 90 through South Dakota, I have the stops for you!   To some, this quest from east to west across the Dakotas may seem…boring? dull? Not if you do it right!

The first interesting thing I found while driving through 350 miles of grass is all of the grasshoppers! Seriously, it seems somewhat obvious, but it’s amazing if you ever witness it. The herd of them was so thick, at one point a grasshopper went Dracula on me and latched on my neck.  Don’t worry, I fought it off before any real damage was done.

Where...am I?

Where...am I?

Next, we had to stop at 1880s town. This place is no joke! They actually have a real (mechanical) Kevin Costner who sits out front and waves at you as you enter the gift shop. Why would they have this robotic heartthrob gretting guests? Dances With Wolves was filmed nearby and when you come here, you will feel it in the landscape. Kevin and I had a staredown, and you can clearly see who was in control…

After watching billboards for a store called, “Wall Drug” for hours, we decided to check it out (it was either that or say hello to more grasshoppers). The highlights of this “adventureland” were a monkey that sings and plays the piano and a reindeer/rabbit that you can sit on and ride.

Quite a crooner

Quite a crooner

The new Santa!

The new Santa!

Finally, we reached our destination of Mt. Rushmore! Want a grand view. I couldn’t get over that I was staring at actual Rushmore. I’ve always pictured it in my head, seen clips of it blowin up and crumbling in movies, but when you visit in real life, 4 stone heads can make you feel quite inferior. Theydidn’t explode in an awesome spray of cinders nor did they get blasted with lasers like in the movie Richie Rich, but their stillness was exciting.

Mt. Rushmore and Truckster

Mt. Rushmore and Truckster

Tomorrow, we’re continuting west to Montana!
-John
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