So, Winnipeg, I owe you an apology. I'd take you any day over Bismarck, North Dakota.
We stayed last night in a chain motel just off the interstate, for convenience's sake, after a very long day of travel. We'd stayed in a handful of similar places during this trip and I knew that it would be unremarkable at best, and just hoped that it would be clean (first step is always to check the mattresses and linens for bedbugs, as Tim rolls his eyes).
This place got a basic pass on cleanliness (old coffee grounds still in the coffeemaker), but had zero atmosphere, and was more than a little bit worn around the edges. No matter, right? We were only there for a few hours of sleep.
I got up at around six-ish, took the dogs out for a quick pee, and had a small breakfast. About then I noticed an angry male voice. Initially I didn't think much of it, surmising that it was someone outside getting their car packed up or something of the sort. But the voice got louder and angrier, and it continued that way for about half an hour. I looked out the window to see where the guy was at, not wanting to cross paths with him when I went for my run. Nobody to be seen. I went into the bathroom and the voice became much louder, with audible bits and pieces of sentences. I realized then that the guy was in the room right next to us, that he was very, very angry, and that he was saying things like ''(inaudible) got away with murder'' and ''(inaudible) killed my (inaudible)".
I've heard raised voices in hotel rooms before, but this time something in my gut told me that this was different. I prodded Tim awake (he was wearing earplugs and was fast asleep) and told him we needed to leave, now. He actually didn't question me, and we scrambled out a side door with our belongings and the dogs and were on the road, unwashed, unbrushed and barely awake. I don't know what ensued at the motel thereafter and don't want to.
It was an inauspicious start to the day, and the scenery was flat and unappealing even if I had felt the desire to photograph anything. It was as if the wind had come right out of our sails after a long, exhilarating cruise. We had 7 or 8 hours to do today, and it was a welcome relief when the second half of the journey took us off the interstate and onto secondary roads, through small towns and into the forest.
The descent to Duluth was lovely, and the hotel we are at is gorgeous, right on the water, with a view of the lift bridge right out our window. The dogs have had a good play in the park, I got my run in, and Tim has been scavenging in the rail yard. All is right with the world again.