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TRAVEL JOURNAL INDEX >Turn Your Head (lights) and Cough

Devil’s Lake, ND to Fargo, ND   06/30/06 (Day 66)

Turn Your Head (lights) and Cough


Today is the day our Silverado gets its first servicing and we really do feel like parents at the pediatrician’s office as we hand the keys over for her first check up. We know she’s healthy (the truck’s been a dream), but we’d just like a professional to confirm it. Plus, no one wants to be that negligent truck owner who just blows by the manufacturers recommended servicing and she does have nearly 9,000 miles on her already (not bad for just over two months on the road).

In the waiting room of the Lake Chevrolet dealership in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota (So many good smells! So many accessories!), we spend the morning chatting with Service Manager Dave Kvislen, whose generous invitation is the reason we are here in the first place (see previous journal entry). We’re also hanging out with some pretty cool guys from the local John Deere dealership who love their Chevys as much as we love ours.

Dwight Jabs drives a 1996 Silverado 1500 with 222,000 miles on it. It's his company car and he’s clocking miles in it six days a week—so much time is spent in the truck that he refers to it as his office. It’s pretty easy to rack up the miles when he’s constantly calling on customers (mostly grain farmers) in a sales area that stretches from the Canadian border down through North Dakota to the border with South Dakota. One of his customers is 300 miles away from the dealership. One way. Dwight says the dealership once tried a Dodge truck, but quickly returned to an all Chevy fleet. "It's just not as nice a truck," he says.

Then there’s Ted Kurtz who shows us the 1953 Chevy truck that he and the Lake Chevrolet guys lovingly restored, then painted John Deere green and yellow. Everything is original (including the engine) and it has more than 200,000 miles on it. Ted drives it in parades all summer long. He says he paid $500 for it and won't reveal how much he's sunk into it to make is as cherry as it is today. It's gorgeous.

We urge all the guys to register their trucks with Chevy’s 200,000 Mile Club, then jump in our own beloved Silverado and hit the road to clock some more miles of our own. Next stop, Fargo. But first we have some landmarks to hit including the geographical center of North America.  

Employing the kind of brain power that simply makes our heads hurt, big old geeks have calculated that Rugby, North Dakota is smack dab in the middle of the North American continent.  We find it suspicious that the stone obelisk marking the spot is located in the parking lot of the Cornerstone Café in Rugby, but we pull in, snap a picture and eat lunch there anyway.

The Dakotas take full advantage of all their wide open space with hundreds of billboards along the roadways. Most are the usual effervescent ads for motels, diners, gas stations. But there are two note-worthy themes going on in the Dakotas. One gives voice to the state’s up-front anti-choice stance (the state’s legislature is currently spearheading one of the most aggressive challenges to Roe v. Wade to date). At the other end of the spectrum is a series of billboards that simply say “Smile” or “Be Kind” with no attribution or further explanation. You figure it out.

By the time we reach Fargo we have smashed into so many bugs (or is it the other way around?) that our truck smells like baked dragonfly.

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