Wow! We’ve been on the road for over a month already and it really only feels like a couple days. I’ve got a lot to catch you up on, but don’t worry- I’ll break it into bite size pieces…
We left the beautiful Portland, OR when the weather was still soothing and not the scorching heat that we hear it is now. I’ve seen some facebook posts marking the passing of a couple hobbits on a journey to vanquish a ring in that heat. Thankfully for us, we escaped just in the nick of time. Plus, we were on a deadline. We had to get to Montreal by the 9th of June, and we left on the 4th. 6 days? Yup. We totally did it. We actually pulled in the evening of the 8th- so we did it in 5 days. 5 full days of driving 16-20 hours, only stopping to be horizontal for a handful of hours at a time. The first day we drove all the way through Idaho and stopped somewhere in the middle of Montana. I remember waking up the next morning to the smell of lilacs and a stunning horizon of mountains and cows. Poets write of these places. Painters paints these places. And clowns play in these places by jumping off of picnic tables and running around in circles.
That second day was filled mostly with North Dakota. If any of you have driven across North Dakota, then you know how tough that can be. It’s mostly flat, but still beautiful in its own way. We mostly entertained ourselves with audiobooks and planning our next road trip video. Whenever we stopped for gas or at a rest stop, we always took a little video. Before we left Portland, we all went to see the Mad Max movie and as we started our trip, that was still heavily present in our minds. We actually started filming the clown version- “Mad Mango: Fury Road.” By the end of our tour, we will have a full clown version, so keep an eye out for it.
In a foolish, idealistic world, we had hoped to make it halfway across Montana and all the way across North Dakota and Minnesota to spend the night at my parents’ house. That would allow for us to have a little time to recuperate before starting the next leg of our journey. Like I said- a fool’s dream. Night fell and North Dakota seemed endless. Around midnight we knew we weren’t even going to make it to Fargo, so we resigned ourselves to find another campground. But guess what- turns out there are no campgrounds in North Dakota! Unless you count the ones that charge RV rates for a couple small tents. KOA, I’m looking at you… It was around 2:30 in the morning when desperation began to set in. Before then we had been using an atlas and the data on Jeff’s phone, trying to find a campsite that wouldn’t break our little piggy bank. We had even followed one lead 3 miles off of the highway, only to find that the place didn’t even exist! We drove and we drove and we drove and I had vain thoughts of driving all through the night because that would be easier, but to no avail. We weren’t going to make it. We ended up pitching our tents at a rest stop nestled between two highways at about 3:30am. I can honestly say, that was one of the most restful 4 hours of sleep I’ve ever had.
We finally made it to Minnesota the next day in the afternoon. At that time, we were definitely ready NOT to be in a car for the next several hours. For me, it was a much welcomed return home. I hadn’t been back in about a year and I had really missed my family. The unfortunate part was that it wasn’t as much of a rest as we had hoped. The trailer, up to this point, was unfinished. We had ordered an assemble-it-yourself deal online from Northern Tool and Equipment- however, the shipping was messed up and we received it about a week later than we anticipated. Consequently, we only had time to assemble the trailer bed and so the entirety of our set was wrapped in a tarp cocoon and ratcheted into place. But it made it to Minnesota where my family (myself included) attacked it. In no time there were sides, a top and a fancy hinged door assembled and custom painted the same blue as our clown box itself. All we have left to do is paint the golden trim and it’ll be a meta box.
It was a saddening goodbye for me- to see my family for less than 24 hours after not having seen them for a year (more for my brother!), but Montreal was calling and so we set off once more. We traveled through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan with ease. The car pulled easier with the trailer than with the ratcheted tarp contraption and in no time we were at the border. We did get a few curious glances as we drove, but let’s be honest- it’s nothing like the glowing orange tarped box we used to strap to the top of our other car. At the border we were concerned about supplements and cheese curds getting confiscated, but we sneaked by on charm and spectacle. I bet we were the most interesting thing they’d seen all day! A honda fit pulling a tiny trailer filled with four months worth of belongings and who knows how many clowns? Priceless.
That evening we found a place to stay via couch surfer. It was a delightful family that took us three clowns in. We shared a meal with the couple and their three children and watched some Veggie Tales. It is so interesting and wonderful to couch surf and get a sneak peak into other peoples’ lives. If I could go back and grow up again, I think that their family wouldn’t be a bad place to do just that. The kids were inquisitive and enamored with us. We felt like rockstars- which, admittedly, is an awesome feeling. Regrettably we came in late and had to leave very early in the morning, so we did not get to spend as much time with them as we would have liked to.
One final day left of driving and we were in Montreal by Monday night, much to our relief. It was a hard five days of travel and when we left Portland, our housing situation was still uncertain. We had had two billets set up (the fringe festival finds volunteers to put up artists for free), both of which fell through. The last being only days before we left Portland! But it all shook out well in the end. I was staying with one of our wonderful Dell’arte classmates, Audrey, and Jeff and Laura were staying with a phenomenal couch surfer host, Thierry.
Thus, safe in Montreal, did we finally get to sleep for a full night.