2019 Travelling (part 3) ''The bus trip'' (part 1 of 2)
The journey to Peru, Indiana
Another flight and another interesting travel story is going to start this part of the journey. It’s time to go to Peru, Indiana, you probably don’t know where Peru, Indiana is and you might not even know where Indiana is. Well let me tell you that both this town and state are in the middle of nowhere, but this is where one of my friends ”lives” and that’s where we would start our journey from. You have to know that this bus is over 40 years old by now and it took my friend EJ a lot of hard work and a long time to fix it to the state that it’s in (think like 5 years). It looks amazing now, especially because I know what it used to look like but we also understood that a 40 year old bus is going to have troubles from time to time.
A couple days before I was flying in to Indiana EJ sent me a text that the bus was in a workshop because some things needed to be worked on my an actual mechanic, this was supposed to be done within 24 hours but eventually lasted till about 18 hours before I got to Indiana. It’s about a 15 hour drive by a normal car but with a 40 year old bus that can’t go faster than 60 miles an hour it will take a while longer. I get to the airport around 9:30 AM and I was fully aware that I had to wait for about 10 hours before anyone was able to pick me up. So I planted myself in front of a Chick-Fil-A in the airport for the next 10 some hours. Eventually it became clear that he bus was not going to make it to Peru Indiana until 7 PM if we were lucky (which is still over 2 hours away from the airport) , so my friend told me to check if there’s a greyhound bus that goes from Indianapolis to this town in the middle of nowhere. There was only one bus the entire day that would bring to the place I needed to go to called Kokomo. So after waiting in the airport for about 6-7 hours I hopped on a bus to Indianapolis to find the greyhound bus that would take me there. 3 hours later I got to Kokomo and to give you an idea of how in the middle of nowhere this place is, the busstop was on the corner of a small gas station. From here my instructions were to walk about 30 minutes to find an Italian restaurant that’s owned by some of Dylan’ family and ask for his second cousin. I found the restaurant, hung out with his cousin until Dylan’ dad showed up and drove me over to there house. After about 24 hours I made it to my destination. This was a great way to start an epic once in a lifetime trip with some of the best people to do it with. We stayed in Peru Indiana for 2 days and let me give you a quick summary of what happened there. We ate a lot of food, we went places we weren’t supposed to, we crashed someones wedding reception dinner, we crashed a kids birthday party (it’s alright, Dylan is good friends with the parents, it was the 3 of us that were crashing) and I secured the job that I am working right now, all of that in less than 48 hours.
Time to get on the road
It’s time to leave, it’s time to start this amazing journey that we’re about to be on. At this point it’s E.J, Gus, Dylan and myself, we are picking up our friend Lee just outside of Chicago that next day. Right before we take off Dylan decides he wants to join some of his friends and go to a concert in Chicago, conveniently enough that’s where we needed to go anyway. So we start our journey off with just EJ, Gus and myself, It took us about 2 hours to get to our RV camping spot that night. It’s raining outside and it’s just the 3 of us and a fold up bike, so E.J decides to go out on the bike and go over to the grocery store to buy us some food while I go out and put our chimney on top of the bus and start a fire in our Dutch oven. The oven is my favorite part about the bus and would keep us very warm over the next 3 weeks. This was our first night on the road and it was a good ol’ time to finally start this trip after talking about it for months.
The group of misfits is back together
Whenever I am out in public with a group of my camp friends I always say that people must think that we’re the biggest group of misfits they have ever seen and I love it. This is just a side note, at camp you don’t have a choice to meet other people and if camp wasn’t there a lot of us would have never met simply for the fact that we’re all from such different places and worlds. Now let’s get back to the blog.
Around 10 AM the next we were off to Chicago to pick up our now 2 missing friends. We hung out in a Walmart parking lot for a couple hours because we can’t just drive this 31 foot long bus into the city. Eventually our friends Lee and Dylan showed up and we could get this party on the road. After driving for a couple hours we settled down somewhere in Illinois or Wisconsin and we had our first night all together. This night looked like many of the nights that would follow: someone would hook us up to the electricity and water (if that was available), someone would go on the roof to get the chimney up and start the fire, 2 would start cooking dinner and one of us would fill up all the water bottles and water that we needed for cooking.
Right of the bat we were a well oiled machine, everybody wanted to chip in as much as they could so we could eat, start hanging out and do what we would do most nights, drink beer and play cards together. It was a good time. Lee, Gus, Dylan and I would usually play games like cribbage, presidents and assholes or we would venture into the role playing game called dungeons and dragons (which I had never played before but turns out to be pretty fun) and E.J would either join us or crochet next to us. In the mornings Lee, Dylan and I would wake up a little earlier and get like a 30 minute workout in. We didn’t really talk about this before hand it just happened. During our first night together it started snowing so in the morning the ground was covered in snow but was not going to stop us from getting some movement and training in. We did lunges through the snow, step ups on a snow covered bench and push ups while almost pushing our faces in the snow. Us working out for 30 minutes soon became something of a morning routine.
Madison, Wisconsin & some bad luck on the road
Most mornings would look like this: Wake up, workout, eat some food or prepare it for while we’re driving, go do your thing in the bathroom, someone would unhook the electricity and water hook up, someone would detach the chimney and then we would hit the road again. the driving part always looked like this: EJ was always driving, Someone would sit in the shotgun seat and you could not fall asleep if you were sitting there, the other 3 would do whatever they wanted but also take care of the 2 people up front and every hour on the hour Lee, Dylan and I would do sets of 25 push ups. It was super relaxed, one of those reasons being that EJ was the only one driving but also because everybody just did their thing and nobody judged each other for it.
So we get to Madison, Wisconsin to hangout with one of Lee’ friends and we got to eat all the things I love, we got a really good burger, great beer, average ice cream and delicious cheese curds ( something Wisconsin is famous for). Next morning we’re on the road again and this time we planned on going to Minneapolis, I said planned didn’t I? On our way we blew one of tires, and like I said this is a 40 year old bus which means that we would inevitably run into trouble, that also means that a lot the parts that were used on this bus are not very common anymore. That was definitely the case when it comes to the tires of the bus, apparently the size is not very common. We were probably in one of the worst spots to blow a tire, we were on our way to Minneapolis but we were still pretty far off. If you have never been to this part of the country or to the States in general you probably don’t know that there’s not a lot going on there. Not ideal when it comes to blowing out a tire that has a rare size. Eventually it took about 8 hours for the tire to get fixed, I won’t dive into the details much. You would think that this was a terrible situation, but all the 5 of us could say was that this situation was what it was and that down the road (figuratively and literally) it would be another story to tell. There was nothing that we could do about it so we made the best of it, we played card games, drank some beers/rum and did our hourly push ups (life as usual).
South Dakota, The badlands & black elk peak
We took it as a sign that Minneapolis was not in the cards for us so we went through the South part of Minnesota to get to South Dakota. If you have never been to South Dakota you probably don’t know how empty it is and if you don’t love the outdoors (climbing, hiking etc.) you probably don’t have any business staying there for too long. Before getting on the long highway that’s called 90 we stopped by this pretty cool waterfall area and hung out there for a little bit and then we drove further west to stop by the corn palace. The corn palace used to be a building entirely made out of corn, now there are a lot of corn murals that cover the outside, pretty cool looking but not worth going to South Dakota for.
South Dakota is a decently sized state and highway 90 runs all the way through it without seeing anything besides the occasional road and advertisement signs until you get to the Badlands. After being on the highway for that long without seeing anything (we all felt bad for E.J) the Badlands just sneak up on you. It’s a National park that you drive through with a huge Sand dune like landscape, the views are beautiful!
Later that day we would get to Rapid city, which is one of the only ”big” cities that South Dakota has to offer. We wanted to stop in rapid city because one of our camp friends named Max lived there for the time being, we worked with him in 2017 and even worked his wedding at our camp in the fall of 2018. He invited us to come stay at his house, we met up with him and got some good Tex-Mex. Apparently he invited us to come stay with him for a weekend that he was going to be gone for, so the next day after we would come back from our hike we hung out in his house without him.
I have been on a fair amount of hikes in the past couple years but this one in South Dakota was probably the best one of them all. The route that we took would take us up to a point called black elk peak, we were the only ones that day to go to the top. There was a pretty thick layer of snow on the ground but we’re obviously not going to let that stop us from hiking and thank god we didn’t! Dylan and I like to hike at our own pace so we were upfront while Gus Lee and EJ stuck together not to far behind us. It took us about an hour and a half to 2 hours to get all the way up and the view at the top/ on the way there were incredible. The snow covered mountains, the fogginess, the steep drop off points made it all the better. On the way down we got a little bit separated, but in the end we all made it back to the bus and we drove past Mount Rushmore on our way back (check that of the must see list).
Two roads diverged in a woodAnd I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference”
Devils tower, the last chapter to this blog
One of the big items on our to do list was a National park up in Montana called Glacier National park, to get here we had to cross a part of Wyoming first. Ever since coming onto highway 90 we saw signs and heard people talk about this place called the ” devils tower. The devils tower was not far away and basically on our route, so we decided to make a quick pitstop, you can’t miss this monument because it’s over 250 meters tall. It took us about half an hour to walk all the way around the base of the tall monument, that’s how big it is. There are different theories on how this monument came to be, one of those theories being aliens (because why not?).
In the second part of this blog you will find out why we did not get to Glacier National park or Yellowstone National park. You will read what we did instead and I will tell you about some of my favorite moments on this trip that happened during the last week and a half.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, let me know what you think. If you have any requests for future blogs feel free to contact me.