Man am I behind here! Hahaha... at this point in the Tour, after Renton it was July 26. I was eager to get to my Mom's place in ND and it would take 3 days of driving to get there.
The first day I drove across WA and just over the MT border. I found a wonderful campground (by then I knew National Forests were the best way to go, cheaper and more primitive) that was only $7! I built a fire and enjoyed the silence. I love the different nature sounds and plants you see going state to state camping... it was so beautiful.
The second day crossing MT was crazy. It's so flat you can see forever, and there were thunder storms all around. I could see it's raining over there, and over there it's really dark, etc. I drove right into a pretty gnarly storm... in fact I can say it was the worst storm driving I've ever done. There we all were on a 70mph highway going 35. Zero visibility at one point and everyone was pulling over, it was nuts! Just as I decided I would have to leave the road, it cleared. Freakin scary. I decided not to camp out in the Billings area, but found a motel instead. Later there were storm warnings and rain, so I guess I was smart.
By Billings, things were starting to look like ND. Lots of old men in short sleeved plaid shirts, the accent, the terrain... looking familiar. I drove on the third day to Mandan and arrived in the mid afternoon. You know, I've been visiting ever since high school, every year or two for 20 yrs, but I don't usually drive. It was an odd feeling to navigate to Mom's house and have my own vehicle there to use. But SO great to sit indoors with plumbing and family comfort. Aaaaaah...