I mentioned we got a late start in the last post. That becomes more of an issue later on in the drive, as anyone who road trips and drives straight through knows.
We had gone quite a ways since our button saga ended and most of that is uneventful driving that needs no real description. We encountered some road construction, not as bad as some years, though we noted that the same areas seemed to be under construction every year.
I had developed a bit of a headache, so Mom was doing the bulk of the driving, but she was tired, and so was I, as my attempts to sleep were interrupted. Every time I closed my eyes and started to settle, lights from across the interstate or the off-ramps woke me back up again. I got no real rest, though I tried.
I did take over driving since I apparently couldn’t sleep, and set out behind the wheel after Sioux Falls. I was driving along toward Fargo, but the headache and lack of sleep were catching up to me, and I was ready for a break far sooner than I should have been.
The first rest area along that stretch of my drive was closed, leaving me with the next one ninety-three miles away.
So, tired as I was, I steeled myself for a few more miles of driving. It was starting to get a little rough near the end, and it was time to stop and rest the eyes.
Especially with the car that was coming up fast behind me and not passing, that was a little frustrating.
I turned off with relief, ready to stop and rest.
Then the car behind me follows us off. And even though the rest area directions show to have the trailers go to the other side of the parking lot and building, they do not, following our little car over to the one side. I am now so disconcerted I almost park in the highway patrol slot and have to move.
After I park, four guys get out of the van, heading inside. From what we could tell, four more were waiting in the van. We’re both a little unsettled, so Mom and I go into the bathroom together. When we get out of there, one of the guys is still lingering inside the information section.
This may have been a very innocent thing, but it was rather unsettling. Neither of us were comfortable trying to sleep with them still there, but he didn’t seem to be leaving any time soon, even if it had seemed at first almost like he was waiting for us to come out.
I tried to make excuses for why we were lingering. I was cold, so I thought about changing into pants. I didn’t find them easy to access from my suitcase from where it was packed, plus the idea of changing while they lingered… not great.
He finally got back in his van with the others, and I waited, but they still didn’t go. I was getting a little bit unsettled again. Finally, I grabbed some food, started eating, and was thinking of giving them five minutes to leave, but Mom and I agreed we should just go to the next rest area.
We did, leaving the van behind. I was working on adrenaline and the influx of food, so I was okay driving again for a bit, but as the miles went on and that wore off, I was starting to fade again.
The next rest area came, and we got off to rest again. We parked the car near the end, away from the building, and I tried to settle into rest. I was still having trouble as the noise from the interstate was keeping me awake. Then I heard something behind us, rather loud, and a car was driving past us.
Not a car. A van and a trailer. The same van and trailer as before. For some reason, unknown to us, they had driven straight through the rest area parking lot like they were looking for someone.
Really disturbed by that thought, we went into the restroom again, together, and decided to leave as soon as we were done. I couldn’t drive any longer, adrenaline or no, and so Mom took over.
For a while afterward, we watched and waited, not sure if our potential stalkers would return. We saw a couple other vans, and they made us a little nervous. It’s strange what the mind does at late hours with a bit of odd behavior and overactive imaginations.
All of this stuff from them could have been very innocent. It just… didn’t feel like it at the time.
So we had a potential van of stalkers on our hands for a bit. I think we eluded them if we did, as they haven’t been spotted past Moorhead, but you never know.