Dallas to Emporia Kansas Nov 26,2011

Well it’s time to return to the road and head home to Canada.  David, Kathy, Naida, Brenden and Radar(the dog) were up early to see us off.  After looking forward to our visit for so long, it’s over all too soon.  Brenden now is the tallest in the family, and next summer Naida will be touring to see which University she will attend in under two years.  Where oh where did the time go?

The car was packed by 9 a.m. ( the suitcases now heavier from the previous day’s shopping) and it was time to go.  It had rained overnight but the morning felt pleasant at +16.  Little did we know that was to be our daytime high. As we drive north into Oklahoma, the trees have fewer leaves, unlike Dallas where they are still in leaf for the most part.  The wind becomes very strong and we see the semi drivers having a time keeping their rigs in their lane.  Our temperature guage tells us it’s getting colder.  At one point, we hit 6+ C about mid day.

We definately have developed what I call the rythmn of the road….everything from packing, to loading the car, setting the nav system, entering the odometer reading for the day and settling in for the drive.  Both of us have different things that peak our interest as we drive along.  Brian is looking for the unusual and I’m looking at the flora and fuana…..and also for the sign of the day. We have divided the trip home into 400 mile sections and should be home Nov 30 in the afternoon.

As we have driven through Oklahoma and Kansas we have seen some interesting landscapes. As we neared our evening destination of Emporia, Kansas, we drove through miles and miles of open prairie…no fences…no cattle.  As it turns out, we were driving past the “Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.” in the Flint Hills area of Kansas.  It truly is unspoiled and hauntingly beautiful.

We’ve settled into the room and our “hotel” ritual.  Usually it entails setting our route for the following day, booking a hotel and deciding where to go for dinner.  After dinner I usually write here on the blog while Brian watches TV.  It seems we have developed a “new normal” 

 We can expect to wake to frost…and our scraper is no where to be found. Guess we’ll be doing a bit of shopping at the next gas station.

Thanks to the Ast Family for a great visit



Emporia Kn to Sioux Falls SD

We were up and dressed and ready to go by 9 a.m.  I am wearing jeans, fleece long sleeved top and winter jacket and gloves.  The temp this morning was -1C and the day time high ( if you call it that) was 3C.  The good news is…no snow……but lots of wind. Brian is persisting in his shorts and wind breaker…so I get to pump the gas! 

As we travel, we pass through farm land.  Some farms are large with up to date equipment and new homes and out buildings…and others…not so much.  As we hit the Missouri River area, we see the water still lying in the fields from the spring flood.  In some areas the fields have a foot or more of silt.  However, the silver lining may be the fact that silt is loaded with plant nutrients and feeds the soil and plants.

This photo is not a really good example but if you double click on it  and look closely, you will see mud and debrie still clinging to a fence.  To the left is a field covered in silt, not yet cultivated.

We are now travelling on Interstate 29 and covering the same ground we did Oct 9.   We are still at the same hotel in Sioux Falls, but tonight there is no charge as we used the points we have earned.  I did see a “sign of the day” but as I didn’t have my camera with me….I’ll just write it here.

SUCCESS – it’s a ladder you can’t climb with your hands in your pockets.

We got to the hotel and checked in.  Shortly after I treid to use my phone but AT&T had no signal.  My daughter did contact me through Facebook to let us know of high winds and grass fires in and around the area we live in, have put people on evactuation notice.  I quickly went on line and it looks like our community is not in harms way….but I may have friends who are.  There were fires threatening, and I hope and pray, homes and lives will be spared. 

Only a prairie girl would love the above photo.  Off to Minot tomorrow. 

Sioux Falls ND to Minot ND Nov 28,2011

I’s definately colder now.  Minus 3 C when we left, however for a brief time today the car temp guage showed 12C.  The wind is strong and feels very cold.  The gas milage is poor due to the wind.  As we travel north we find both the price of gas and the price of a hotel room going up.  You can imagine we have racked up loyality points so we are using them on the more expensive hotels.

As expected we did run into signs of snow today, however this was just north of Sioux Falls and did not last for long. If any of you are familiar with Interstate 29 North, you will know it is one straight line.   At this time of year the scenery isn’t all that scenic and the driving was very tedious as you can see by the photo on the left.  I didn’t even see any “signs of the day” unless it was the one indicating the birh place of Laura Inglis ( author of Little House on the Prairie) was up ahead.

We stopped just west of Fargo for lunch at Country Kitchen.  Love the seniors specials.  Lunch for two including beverages…under $15.

I was hoping for some stimuating conversation to make the driving easier, but that didn’t happen. I have seen many people driving and texting….wonder how many drive and take a photo?  Thank goodness for Sirius satellite radio.  We were singing along to tunes of the 60s for most of the day.

As I mentioned above, we are using our points to pay for our hotel rooms. When we checked in today we were told the cost would be $30 plus tax.  I indicated we had booked with points and there should not be any additional charges. The girl checking us in, went to the office to discuss this, and came back saying, she didn’t see points being used to pay for the room and the charge was $30 plus tax.  This seemed a bit fishy to me, but we signed in and then went for dinner.

Upon our return, I checked on line and our reservation was using points…the maximum points at that….20,000 or the equivalent of $200. I went back to the front desk and explained we were using our points to pay for the room and I would not be paying for the additional $30.  The young girl said I could take it up with the manager in the morning.  I told her I would be calling Best Western International tonight and also my credit card company to block any charges from this hotel.

As soon as I returned to the hotel room,  the phone rang.  It was the sweet young thing from the front desk…to explain the $30 charge was just a “holding” fee for any calls I might make and that if I didn’t make any calls, there would be no further charge for the room. I thanked her nicely for the information and reminded her I would be expecting a copy of the bill in the morning to prove I was not charged.

One should not mess with a woman who has been driving hard and long all day and is a might CRANKY!  Just in case you are wondering….this hotel is a Best Western Kelly Inn in Minot North Dakota.  The place is in disrepair and not so clean.  AVOID IT!!!

After arriving home and sending our complant to Best western, our points were credited to our account, so in fact the night cost us nothing.


An Unusual Sky