Minneapolis to Billings

Distance: approximately 850 miles
Time: approximately 14 hours

I had originally planned for us to drive directly from Minneapolis to Missoula, which would’ve been 17 hours non-stop. I always knew that this plan was ambitious, and as you can see, we failed to make it all the way to Missoula and are stopping for the night in Billings instead. I guess there’s only so much ground you can cover when you don’t manage to hit the road until 11 am.

The highlight of the drive was lunch at White Castle in St Cloud, MN. Ever since seeing Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, I’ve wanted to eat at a White Castle. I would occasionally buy the frozen, microwavable sliders, but it wasn’t the same experience. There aren’t a lot of White Castle locations, and the closest I came was when I lived in Chicago; however, the nearest location wasn’t particularly convenient, especially for somebody who didn’t have a car. But this time, the St Cloud White Castle was practically on our way. At last, my chance to fulfill my White Castle dream.

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I have to say that it was pretty disappointing. We had the original, cheese and fish sliders, and the fish sliders were by far the best. The original slider, especially, just lacked the satisfying, delicious experience I was expecting. Oh well, at least now I can cross White Castle off my bucket list.

Most of the drive was terribly, horribly uneventful. We drove through North Dakota and eastern Montana today, and I have never seen rest stops or gas stations spread so far apart on an interstate. Today we got my tank down by 16.7 gallons (and I have an 18-gallon tank).

While we were going through eastern Montana, we met our first bit of bad weather. It was only rain, but there was a lot of it. Poor Hide was pretty tired after that, so I took over the wheel for the last stretch.

Tonight we’re staying at the La Quinta in Billings, and it’s so new I can still smell the paint. The rooms are enormous, the Internet connection is fast, and the writing desk is finally big enough to be comfortable. I’m very pleased, especially given how terrible last night’s accommodations at the Park Plaza in Bloomington, MN, were. Even though the room (which was more  suite, as it had a sitting room) seemed to have a lot of potential, the couches looked horribly stained and dirty, the carpet worn-out and of dubious cleanliness, and the toilet tank sprayed water out whenever it was filled. At least the mattress felt firm and cushioned, so I got a good night’s rest.

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