My day started out at 4:30 a.m. this morning and I made great time on the first leg of my trip. I had a little mishap with a window, which turned out rather comical—but not so much at the time. More about this when I am not half asleep.

We have the alarms set for 6:00 a.m. and will be on the road at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. First stop will be in Bloomington, IL to pickup Tammie. Then we are headed North to Orr, Minnesota. The trailer is packed and Clyde is waiting patiently in the front drive.

This trip has been three years in the making for me and I could not be more ecstatic to finally be embarking on this journey of my Quest for a Black Bear. I found out today that the bear sightings are up and one was harvested.

Boy, it is going to be tough going to sleep tonight…again, I am happy that I am truly tired…maybe I will fall asleep quickly.

We were on the road in perfect time…destination—Bloomington, IL to pick up Tammie. That went off without a hitch. Once we were on the road with Orr, Minnesota programmed in Matilda; I was excited to be headed to my first bear hunt. Tammie and I were both going to be experiencing our first bear hunt but this was going to be Pat’s second bear hunt.

Pat working on License Plate Lotto...she seen alot of different states.

Somewhere at the Illinois border I blew through a tollbooth…but in my defense it definitely was not well marked. The toll lanes appeared to be an off ramp and the “Speed Pass” lanes looked like the perfect 3 lane Interstate—so straight through I went. It was an honest error and Pat is going to make sure that we take care of that through the website; which happened to be the only option when Tammie did a little research on he Droid. Well, that incident marked me jokingly as the Outlaw with Tammie and Pat.

We made real good time and actually drove straight through to within 45 minutes of Orr. When we decided to stop at a hotel in a little town in the middle of nowhere, another crazy thing happened that marked me as the Outlaw. We had been looking for a hotel for around 15-20 miles. Finally a Motel 8 quickly approached but we passed it before I had the opportunity to merge. We drove to the next light and I did a U-turn after checking for “No U-Turn” signs. As I completed the U-Turn Pat said OH NO!! Within a few seconds I had a police car behind me with lights.

As I turned off the truck and rolled my window down a pungent smell hit me in the face….a dead skunk was 10 yards in front of my truck. WHEW!! It was rancid. The cop walked to my window and asked me for license and insurance. Then he asked me if I knew why he pulled me. I said “I did a U-Turn but there was not a “NO U-Turn” sign posted.” He said, did you notice what color the light was when you made that turn. I answered “Yes, Green in my lane however the light was red in the turning lane but construction barriers had that lane barricaded so the light in my lane prevailed.” He shook his head yes. Then he said you were doing 61 in a 55. I looked at him and told him that I did not realize that the speed limit of 65 changed and that we were looking for a hotel because we had been driving since 5 a.m. All of the sudden he said ”WOW!! What is that smell!” I laughed and said “A dead skunk right there!” as I pointed. I kind of laughed because it was very obvious that it was a dead skunk. But he had to walk over and inspect it. He walked back up to the truck and said. “WOW!! That is bad! Really bad! Here, as he pushed my driver’s license and insurance card back in my hand…. I am going to let you go on. I told him thank you with a giggle and I headed to the turning lane to the hotel.

We stayed in an awesome Super 8 hotel…the décor was phenomenal with the neatest tree displayed in the entrance. We had a wonderful night’s sleep and were headed to Orr bright and early.

Super 8

We made it to Orr, Minnesota as planned and had to stop for some pictures. We pulled into the driveway at Ash Trail Lodge at 11:30 a.m.

Orr, Minnesota

Orr, Minnesota population 249...I bet we can meet them all before we leave on Saturday...

I hope this brings Pat some luck!!

Meghan was already at the lodge and Angie and Lynn arrived shortly after lunch. Now the excitement starts!!! I have waited three years for this hunt and was about to burst at the seams to be sitting in the woods. I really needed some time to organize my gear but for lack of time I just quickly threw together what I needed.