Go West, Old Van

Posted on July 2, 2008
Filed Under Away from Home | Leave a Comment

Tomorrow morning I’m off to see my brother, Michael, marry his lovely fiance’, Amber, in Hazen, North Dakota (whose Wikipedia entry was written by someone with a fondness for Hazen and a way with the run-on sentence: “Hazen is also a great place to live it is located about a half an hour away from the largest lake in North Dakota.”)

My sister, Lynn, and I are flying there and will be back in Milwaukee by Sunday evening. The closest we can get to Hazen via passenger airline is Bismarck, which is 90 miles away. So, we’re renting a car and will take a ride through the North Dakota countryside for two hours.

The rest of my family is taking a much longer ride—driving the roughly 1,700 miles there and back to Wisconsin. My brother is driving with five of his friends in a custom van that he bought from Ebay for $650. It has curtains, captain’s chairs, and two gas tanks, but no air conditioning. It’s very retro, right down to the gas mileage.



My parents are driving with my other sister and her five-year-old daughter. If they don’t take a break for anything, anywhere, the entire trip will take about 26 hours. My dad’s the kind of guy who likes to get an early start and drive straight through, but I believe he’ll make more frequent stops for a little kid, especially considering his new car didn’t come with plastic seat covers. (Good thing he doesn’t know about the Stadium Pal.)

Both the wedding ceremony and the reception will be outdoors at a farm, so naturally, I was interested in what the weather might be like. When I checked the forecast for Hazen last week, the outlook for Saturday, July 5, was a high of 79 degrees with partly cloudy skies, which sounded pretty close to perfect. Every day since then, however, the predicted high has crept up at a rate of about two degrees per day and is now holding steady at a skin-crisping 94 degrees.

Michael assures me it’s a dry heat.