Minot to My Property

I’m glad I hung out this morning because I got a call from Sheree at GCR Tire Centers about my service call yesterday and that I wanted to dispute the $100 service call fee I hadn’t been told about. I said that if I had known the bill was going to be that high, I would have likely left the motorhome, gone to Minot in the toad to pick up a used tire, and then followed a service truck back.

She was very understanding and said she would speak to her manager then get back to me. She did so very quickly and told me she could take $50 off the bill since they had sold me the tire at cost (!). Good enough! I recommend GCR Tires for mobile tire repair in the Minot area. They got to me FAST and got me back on the road in no time at all.

I left Minot at about 9:00. I had about a quarter tank of fuel left so I decided to wait till Kenmare to tank up (60KM) so as to arrive in Canada with as much U.S. fuel as possible.

That first part of the day SUCKED. It was just soooooooooooooooooo windy. And, spoiler alert, the rest of the day’s driving was like that, too. πŸ™

I was surprised that the folks at the Kenmare gas station (the one right on the highway) let me gas up without prepaying.

From there, it was about a half hour to the border.

The Portal crossing really confused me. There was a sign saying commercial vehicles thataway to an area with no overhang. The non-commercial lanes were under an overhang marked with a 12′ clearance, but in front of that was another sign saying that the clearance was just 10′ 5″ (I need 11′ 3″). The obvious thing was to get in the commercial lane, but I know better than to presume in such situations! I waited at the junction until a lady came out of a booth and waved me over to the commercial lane.

She was really nice! She asked me how long I’d been gone, how much I had to declare, where I’d gone (nodding when I mentioned the Mexico trip, so I obviously pre-empted her on that), and the usual questions about booze, firearms, and tobacco. She then asked me to park so that someone could look inside and confirm there was no one with me. This was, of course, a reasonable request, but her tone really made me okay with the search as it felt like routine, not suspicion.

Would you believe that my secondary inspection guy looked like the secondary inspection guy who interrogated me at Coutts? Just a mini version of him, shorter and less muscly.

He started by asking me a few questions about my trip, why I went to the U.S., why I stayed as long as I did, how I supported myself, and how I met the friends I visited along the way. His tone was neutral and I didn’t know yet how the inspection was going to go. He then asked me to go to the rig with him because of Neelix.

I knew I was clear the minute we stepped outside because he handed me my passport.

The two times I had a difficult crossing, my passport was held until the very end. Last night, I Googled what my rights are reentering Canada and basically you have NO charter rights until you are detained, at which point you have the right to remain silent and get counsel. What being ‘detained’ means is fuzzy. For me, the line is crossed when I lose control of my passport.

As we walked, I brought up the subject of food, and his, “We really don’t care about that” made me realise that I have never been asked about food coming back into Canada! Yes, there are rules, but it’s at the bottom of their priority list. Dang, I should have smuggled in more cheese!

He asked me if I wanted to go grab Neelix and I suggested instead that I just guard the door. He thought that was a good idea. He continued to ask his questions as he poked through the rig and I made a mistake, not telling him that all the renovations were done in Canada (they are worried about mods being made to hide drugs). This wasn’t a huge deal, but I wish I had thought to tell him.

We talked about work and money and whatnot and his tone was 100% American: curious and open-minded, not suspicious. SO REFRESHING. He asked to look in the cab of the motorhome and then asked me one more time about any mods or repairs made to the vehicles. I told him what I had told the lady, about the throttle cable and the three blowouts (all tires declared), and then he told me I was clear, to be safe on the road, and to have a nice day.

Not anywhere near the easiest border crossing of my life, but that’s two good ones coming back into Canada in a row and I think I will be A LOT less stressed next year.

I’m just surprised that I wasn’t sent to the cashier. Between new batteries, a watering system, several tires, glasses, a computer hard drive, and all the goodies I bought this winter with Amazon gift certificates, I was WELL over my limit. And, yes, I declare everything. I can do basic math and know roughly how much I’ll be asked to pony up. Last month, some morons imported an RV at the same crossing, underdeclared the purchase value by about $13,000 to save about $300 in taxes… and had to pay $9,000 in penalties to get their rig back. Stupid!

From the border, it was a quick drive to Estevan. It was only 11:00 (I had gained an hour) and super windy out. It seemed stupid to hang out at Walmart when another 3.5 hours or so of driving would get me to my property. I grabbed lunch and then figured out where The Source store is located. It was just 1KM away, but I’d been to the mall before and knew it was barely walkable from the Walmart. So I just drove out there and, thankfully, found a place to park.

I went into the mall, found The Source, and was greeted by Joel. I told him I wanted a Turbo stick. The only Bell product they had in stock was a Mifi 2. I really didn’t care what the device is as long as a) it has the flex plan that starts at $10 and gives you up to 15GB for $100 and b) it doesn’t need 120V power to run. Joel made several calls to make sure that the Mifi 2 was eligible for the plan and then he got it up and running for me and we tested it on my Macbook Pro. What I like about it is that it’s like a wifi router, so I can connect my computers, iPad, and iPod Touch to it all at once. The stick would have been $0 down for a two-year commitment and the Mifi 2 was $50, withΒ  no activation fee. Good enough. The device has an 11-hour lithium battery that can be recharged through the computer (like I charge my phone) and it also comes with a wall wart.

From Estevan, it was another windy hour to Weyburn, where I planned to refuel. Halfway there, I glanced in a side mirror to see the plastic wheel well cover over the driver’s side rear dually snap loose and fly away! CRAP! Thankfully, I saw this happen, it didn’t hit anyone, and it happened at the first place I could pull over in about 40KM! I parked and then walked the side of the road until I found the part. It is really banged up, but I can likely effect a decent repair. Anything will look better than no cover at all! I’ll have pictures of that later.

There was a gas station right at the junction of 13 and 39 that looked like easy access, but I had to make a sharp turn into the pumps and I really didn’t think the toad was going to get clear without damage when I pulled out. I inched my way out of there and discovered that I really do know how to handle my rig because I was able to effect the necessary corrections to not only get the toad clear but also still make a very tight turn away from the pumps. A guy coming out of the c-store actually complimented me on my driving skills!

I think the GPS has the wrong speed limit programed for highway 13 because it always way overestimates how long it will take to get to my property. My ETA was 6:00 and I got there at just past 5:00. The drive in was scenic beyond description. In terms of wintering options, it would have made so much more sense to buy land in B.C. (never mind that I will never be able to afford to live there, much less buy property), but I so much prefer the landscapes and climate here (sunny hot dry summers, sunny cold dry winters). This is the land of my dreams and I am so lucky to own a piece of it.

I unhooked and made many failed attempts at backing Miranda into the lot. There is the beginning of a driveway entrance where the curb drops and it took several passes to finally get lined up with the entrance and backed in. The ground was SOFT and I completely failed at getting onto levelers, with my rear tires now in pretty deep. Dang. πŸ™ But the front ones are on cement, so I am optimistic that I will be able to get out of there once the ground firms up a bit. For one thing, I’d like to be much further back.

As I suspected, the village is too low in the valley to get a cell signal! πŸ™ So no internet at home. πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ I only have to go 1KM to get a signal and 3.5KM total to get to a spot where I can pull over safely. So I will head here once or twice a day to do online stuff. I’m going to make the back of the truck comfortable for hanging out so that I can do what I need to do without feeling too put upon. I just don’t like not being more reachable. I’ll figure out how to make this work. At least, the Mifi 2 is FAST. I came up here tonight to download some files for work to do over the weekend and thought I’d be here for hours trying to download stuff. Nope. So that almost makes up for no signal at home.

I’m wiped. I’m in work mode for the next bit, so the blog will be quieter than it has been. I’ll check in with pictures at some point tomorrow.

Quick Update From Estevan

I’ll have more later, but I just wanted to say that I made it back to Canada!

It is crazy windy in Estevan and I have work to do this weekend, so I am heading to my property. I have an Internet device, but I don’t know if it will work at my lot. Worst case scenario, it’s 20-minute drive to Assiniboia where I will have coverage for sure.

So check back tonight or tomorrow for details about the border crossing.

Visiting the Dentist in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico

I just got in from driving home from Mexico. Okay, saying I went to Mexico when I was visiting Nuevo Progreso is like saying I visited the United States when I was visiting Disneyland, but I needed my passport, so indulge me. πŸ™‚

It was a short drive from my hotel in Harlingen to the crossing at Progreso/Nuevo Progresso. Parking is immediately before the border; don’t miss the entrance or your car is going to Mexico! It costs $2 to park all day in a fairly secure lot. You then follow the walkway to the border. There is a big bathroom right before you cross. The entrance is shabby, but the inside is beautifully appointed.

You need 50 cents to feed the turnstile that will let you enter Mexico. There is a change machine there, but having coins on hand (I was prepared) will get you through more quickly. You cross the bridge, then go through the secondary vehicular inspection point. After that, you’re in Nuevo Progeso. You won’t have to talk to customs agents at all.

Even though the culture change was striking, it wasn’t confusing the way it is in Tijuana. Walking down Avenidad Benito Juarez, vendors will try to hock their goods and peddle their drugs, but they are very polite and back off if you say no. It’s not an exhausting gauntlet at all. I just said, ‘No, gracias’ to everyone and earned myself a smile each time.

I started off by locating the office of dentist Gilberto Barajas, which was exactly where I expected it to be.

It was about 10:30, so I had two and a half hours to kill. I set off in search of a manicure! I stopped biting my nails (FINALLY) just over a year ago and have been wanting to treat myself to a manicure to celebrate, but haven’t bothered since I’ve been doing some much manual labour. I decided to compromise and just have the nails treated professionally and not get a full gel set on them. So anyway, off I went down the main avenue, glancing at the wares as I walked.

Very quickly, I noticed a blouse style that was ubiquitous. Every vendor seemed to have it in different colours. I was in love and finally asked about the price. $40?! That’s crazy! I’d heard that prices in Nuevo Progreso are set for gringos, but that was insane! I eventually ducked into a quieter clothing boutique and found the blouse yet again. A lady came up to me and asked “Se gusta?” (Do you like it?” I was surprised to be addressed in Spanish and thrilled that I was going to get to butcher the language a little. “Si, quanto?” I asked (Yes, how much?) I didn’t get her entire response, but the gist of it was “$30, but since you speak to me in Spanish, $20.” Sold. πŸ™‚ Yes, a bit pricey, but it so rare that I really splurge on clothes these days, buying instead sale items at Walmart.

I had passed a bunch of manicurists, but they all seemed very busy. When a lady said to me as I passed, “Manicure, $6, you’re next!” I was all for it. Followed an hour of extreme pampering, including a full hand and arm massage. It’s too bad I didn’t have time to do my feet, too. πŸ™ I had the gal paint my nails blue, but it didn’t take me long to completely mess up her paint job, so my nails are no longer blue. But they look amazing. She gave them an extra long oil soak and they cleaned up beautifully. The salon was very shabby, but the instruments were all clean and were disinfected many times during the process. My neighbour getting her feet done was a lady from Winnipeg (!) and next to her was a very macho looking elderly farmer in overalls and a checkered shirt who said about 10 times about his pedicure, “There’s a first time for everything and I will be back!”

It was almost noon by the time I got out of the nail salon and it was time for lunch. I had done research ahead of time and decided to go to Arturos’s. There, I was greeted by tuxedo clad waiters who brought salsa, pico de gallo, tortillas, and a very extensive menu. I ordered lemonade to drink. To my delight, it came with a maraschino cherry. I love maraschino cherries. πŸ™‚

I didn’t feel like ordering in Mexico what gringos think is Mexican food so I bypassed the tacos, enchiladas, etc. and decided that it was time to indulge my bacon craving by going with the ‘Arturo Chicken Filet’, which was bacon-wrapped chicken, which turned out to be ham wrapped in chicken wrapped in bacon. Please, no guesses as to the calorie content! πŸ˜€ I had a choice of salad or guacamole to start. Having FINALLY developed a taste for guacamole, I picked that. Nom, nom!

Besides being a protein bomb, lunch was very carb heavy. After the tortilla chips, my meal came with onions rings, French fries, toasted bread, and tortillas! I’ve been on a tortilla diet since New Orleans so I passed on the bulk of the fried foods as well as the tortillas and sank my teeth into the delicious toasted slices. The tomato that came with my meal was sculpted like a rose; lovely detail!

Lunch was set at gringo prices, so two lemonades plus the chicken, plus the tip came to $17. I then used the bathroom and took the opportunity to brush my teeth. There was an attendant who stood by silently handing me paper towels as I needed them. She got a tip. πŸ™‚

I then strolled over to the dentist. I was a few minutes early and he was running late, so I didn’t get into the chair until about 1:30. No worries, there was a Reader’s Digest, Canadian edition, to pass the time! πŸ˜€

Dr. Barajas’ clinic is utilitarian. It is spare and clean. I met him, his wife (Dr. Karina) and the gentleman who handles the front desk. They were all very friendly and welcoming.

When the dentist was ready, the attendant led me to a cubicle at the back of the building and got me comfy. Dr. Barajas came in, introduced himself, confirmed what I needed done, and checked out my tooth. He said the damage looked bad but it was a good sign that I had zero pain. The plan of attack was to numb the area since I need extra numbing time, start on the cleaning, repair the tooth, then finish the cleaning.

He was very gentle. He started by applying a topical numbing agent to my gum and then administered the deep numbing agent. I didn’t even feel the needle go in! The cleaning, while not pleasant, didn’t hurt and he guessed, very incorrectly, that it had been about a year since my last professional cleaning. My teeth are in good shape!

I’ll confess to tensing up a little when he started up the drill, but once he got started on the bad tooth, I relaxed as I was feeling nothing except very mild vibrations. Before I could even register that the filling was done, he was polishing my teeth. I think I was in that chair 30 or 45 minutes. It felt very quick.

This was definitely the best dental experience I’ve had wide awake (nothing will beat the wonderfulness of my wisdom tooth extraction under full anesthetic πŸ˜€ ). I regret that I will probably never be able to go to him again, especially since he noticed that I have another small cavity starting, which he did not have time to fix right then.

I can’t stop feeling that tooth with my tongue. I’m just so relieved it’s fixed. Total cost? $65!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, $65 and the gas and hotel to come down here, but I got more enrichment out of the drive down here than I would have giving that money to a Canadian dentist.

I wasn’t as numb as I would have expected when he was done and I felt articulate enough to cross the border. It was almost 3PM and I had a four hour drive ahead of me, so it was time to go.

I am so very glad I was able to go to Nuevo Progeso today. The experience was worth the anticipation. The hidden bonus of the day was how much Spanish I was able to practice. I did both the manicure and shopping almost exclusively in Spanish. I cannot wait to come to Mexico for an extended vacation to really immerse myself in the language and finally gain a measure of fluency. Even though I spend USD today, being able to speak Spanish really made me feel farther from home than I really was.

The return turnstile needed 25 cents. There was a very clean bathroom just after, and another bathroom in the US customs building.

The first border crossing was painless. “What are you bringing back?” “A blouse.” “Have a nice day.”

The first?

I had been on the road home almost an hour and was going northwards on US-77 when traffic ground to a halt at an unannounced customs checkpoint! WTF?!

“US citizen?” “Canadian.” “Let me see your passport. What are you doing down here?” “Just visiting.” “Okay. Have a good day.”

Imagine if I hadn’t gone to Mexico! I wouldn’t have had my passport! I carry my passport at all times when I’m about 20KM from the Canadian border or closer, but I would never have thought to have it on me an hour north of Mexico if I was just hanging out there. Anyway, no big deal ultimately.

The drive home was quick and painless. I know y’all are sick of hearing this, but I love my truck. πŸ˜€ It’s makes those long hauls so easy and comfortable.

There were license plates from all over in the parking lot before the border. I was parked between Manitoba

There were license plates from all over in the parking lot before the border. I was parked between Manitoba

and Arkansas.

and Arkansas.

The infamous fence that separates Mexico from the USA.

The infamous fence that separates Mexico from the USA.

I was grateful for this bathroom! On the return trip, there is a bathroom right before the turnstile on the Mexico side and one in the US customs building.

I was grateful for this bathroom! On the return trip, there is a bathroom right before the turnstile on the Mexico side and one in the US customs building.

Thank God for America and For Our Winter Texans. Welcome home.

Thank God for America and For Our Winter Texans. Welcome home.

Welcome to Mexico!

Welcome to Mexico!

The Rio Grande.

The Rio Grande.

Standing between two countries.

Standing between two countries.

I'm really here!

I’m really here!

Found the dentist!

Found the dentist!

Avenidad Benito Juarez.

Avenidad Benito Juarez.

My pretty blue nails didn't last long. I can never seem to give polish enough time to dry. But there was no extra cost for the polish, so no biggie.

My pretty blue nails didn’t last long. I can never seem to give polish enough time to dry. But there was no extra cost for the polish, so no biggie.

Croft, has Norma opened a store in Nuevo Progeso?

Croft, has Norma opened a store in Nuevo Progeso?

I find it hilarious that the big store on the tourist strip is 'The Canada Store.'

I find it hilarious that the big store on the tourist strip is ‘The Canada Store.’

Avenidad Benito Juarez.

Avenidad Benito Juarez.

Avenidad Benito Juarez.

Avenidad Benito Juarez.

Guacamole and chips.

Guacamole and chips.

My calorie bomb of a lunch. Notice the tomato. The fries were very good and not as anemic as they looked. I would have eaten more than just one of the really yummy onion rings, but I was headed to the dentist after. :)

My calorie bomb of a lunch. Notice the tomato. The fries were very good and not as anemic as they looked. I would have eaten more than just one of the really yummy onion rings, but I was headed to the dentist after. πŸ™‚

Bread AND tortillas!

Bread AND tortillas!

I didn't know Del Monte makes ketchup! Different from Heinz, but very tasty!

I didn’t know Del Monte makes ketchup! Different from Heinz, but very tasty!

Avenidad Benito Juarez from inside Arturo's Restaurant.

Avenidad Benito Juarez from inside Arturo’s Restaurant.

The July 2012 edition of the Canadian Reader's Digest.

The July 2012 edition of the Canadian Reader’s Digest.

Anne Murray: "I don't know how Americans manage without Canadian Tire." Me neither.

Anne Murray: “I don’t know how Americans manage without Canadian Tire.” Me neither.

Driving home, I passed a gas station with very low prices. It's been closed a good long while. :)

Driving home, I passed a gas station with very low prices. It’s been closed a good long while. πŸ™‚

Driving over the big bridge in Corpus Christie.

Driving over the big bridge in Corpus Christie.

Coming off the big bridge in Corpus Christie.

Coming off the big bridge in Corpus Christie.

My blouse.

My blouse.

The parking lot had cars from all over. I was parked between Manitoba

The parking lot had cars from all over. I was parked between Manitoba

Nothing But Respect For US Customs

My mother had time to make crΓͺpes this morning, which felt like a proper send off and left me optimistic that I would get to Saratoga Springs tonight. I pulled out at about 9:00 and was waiting in line at customs by 9:55. It took about 10 minutes to get to the booth.

I got the same kind of customs agent as I did in 2011, one for whom even the most straightforward story would not make sense. “It doesn’t sound like you work.” “Driving through the US to get home makes no sense.” “Spending time with a friend over the holidays makes no sense.” “You see that green arrow that says secondary inspection? Go there, park, and go inside. Your documents will be waiting.”

My initial reaction was disbelief that I would have to go through what I went through in 2011 once again.

Then I realised that they had pulled over all the RVs and that the folks ahead of me had five yippy dogs. This meant customs wouldn’t go into their rig and they would get an extra grilling. If I stayed the course, kept my story as simple as possible, and emphasized that I had plenty of money of money for a few months in the US and that I was heading home, I suspected that I would get through in record time.

I was right. I had to expand on my story a couple of times, adding more details, until the agent literally threw up her hands, sighed, and said, “You’ve been asked these questions before; right?” Mm-hmm. “Never been denied entry?” Nope. She shook her head, handed me a slip of paper marked ‘cleared’ and said, “Just go.” I was out in less than five minutes.

I was getting back into the RV when another agent came up to me and asked me where I was going. I said I’d been cleared and he replied, “Not by me.” I wish text could convey tone because this guy was in a great mood and just going through the motions. I felt so comfortable that I actually replied, “Oh, you must be the fruit guy!” instead of, “Oh, you must mean the agricultural inspection!” He burst out laughing.

He asked if I had pets and I replied my cats. He then asked me to come inside with him to watch out for them. Every other inspection, I’ve had to wait well away from the rig.

Bitha and Nee’s papers are not up to date. Because of their age, vaccines are not recommended. I’ve never been asked for their paperwork and decided to take a chance. Well, the subject came up for the first time. He said, as he poked around the kitchen, “I’ve never heard of anyone being asked for papers for their cats. Are yours pretty old?” I replied that they were and he said the same thing the vet told me, that vaccinating older cats is bad for them! Then he said that anyone who would expect me to have them vaccinated to get across the border would be a ‘jerk.’

He finally opened my fridge and gasped. “Your relish jar exploded,” he informed me sadly. What is it with me and condiments?!

He cleared me for agriculture and then that’s when everything went to hell in the proverbial handbasket. You were expecting the other shoe to drop, weren’t you?

I’d had to unhook to park because there was so little room to park everyone. I was given the option not to, but I wanted to be as cooperative as possible. I don’t know if I was flustered and missed a step or what, but I could not get the e-brake back off the truck to move it into position to tow. It was cold and the agriculture agent guessed that it had seized up because of the weather. He got in and did something and got the e-brake working smoothly again. Then, he and another agent asked me to get my tow setup manual and helped me hook back up properly. I’m telling you, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried to hook up your tow bar for the first time while being assisted by US Customs Agents!

More later. I can’t get online with my cell phone without access to wifi first, so I’m at the McDonald’s doing that. I’ll write about my trip to Saratoga later.

Through the U.P. Along the Shores of Gitche Gumee

I made it to the Soo Ontario!!!!!!!!! I left Thief River Falls, MN, at 5:45AM CST and pulled into my final destination at the Soo (no room at the first inn) at about 9:00PM CST (10:00PM EST). It’s been a very long day, not aided by the fact that the fastest speed limit all day was 55MPH. At least, most of it was through the U.P., the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a gorgeous stretch of country.

This long day was soooo scenic. I love northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan! I went through a little bit of this area between the western and eastern tips of Lake Superior back in ’05 when I did my grand tour of the Great Lakes. I highly recommend making that road trip once in your life!

I really wanted to get across the border tonight to get it done, figuring that a couple more hours waiting to cross and then being interrogated wasn’t going to kill me at this point. So, of course, I only had to wait a minute and I got the nicest Canadian Customs officer I have ever dealt with!

Her: “Where are you from?”
Me: “Lethbridge, AB.”
Her: “My God, dear, what are you doing all the way out here?!” (that is verbatim, LOL!)

I explained that I was coming to visit family. She asked where I crossed and then we had a discussion about the fact that Montana extends into Saskatchewan. Bla bla.

Her: “Did you buy anything en route?”
Me: “I didn’t have time; I just drove straight through.”
Her, handing me back my passport: “Well, you be safe now. Have a good trip!”

No questions about booze, drugs, guns, nothing. She made my day. I wish I could have hugged her. πŸ™‚

Tip: Like at Sarnia/Port Huron and, presumably, Detroit/Windsor, there is a bridge connecting the US and Canada. You will need to have some small change with you as there is a fare. Today, it was $3 both CAD and US. When I crossed at Sarnia/Port Huron in ’05, the dollars weren’t close to par so the amounts were different and I remember opting to pay in US dollars as it was better value!

My destination tonight was the Super 8 motel. That chain is my standby on road trips as it is always clean and sometimes is very nice. But they were full and told me to try the Comfort Inn across the road. I did and blanched when I entered the lobby in my super casual skirt and tee-shirt to discover this is a much more luxurious hotel than I normally stay at. Everyone in the lobby was dressed to the nines and the next person in line with a suitcase had on a business suit. But I was there and the clerk didn’t even blink when she saw me so I figured I might as well inquire about rates even though I was sure I’d be turning around and sleeping in my truck at the casino.

I asked about a single, non-smoking, and was told that the singles were actually mini-suites with king beds, and their least expensive option at $99. What?! Had the Super 8 had room, it would have been $88. What was an extra $11?! I took a room, went back to the truck to get all my valuables, and then hoofed it to my ‘tower’ room. Pictures are below. It is insanely luxurious. I love the shower and that there is a proper work desk. I actually feel comfortable walking barefoot in here.

First order of business was a very long shower, which included a test of all the bath products available. This is such a fancy place that there is both body and facial soap. πŸ™‚

I’ll be heading to bed shortly. It’s 11:15 here, so I’m pretty sure a super early start tomorrow is unlikely. I have another 14 hours or so of driving to do, but it’s all familiar territory, so I’ll get home when I get home.

Driving the truck for such a long day has really made me see my Accents in a new light: I’m not even remotely sore. Moya pretty much drives herself, making her name very appropriate! I laughed when I stopped for gas just before lunch when a guy came up to me and said, “So, how do you like YOUR Ranger?” I looked up and saw Moya’s fraternal twin, a dark green topperless 2000 ‘sport’ Ranger. Not sure what makes it ‘sport’ since it’s not a side step model.

The pictures below are out of order as I finally got my camera pics dumped onto the laptop. So far on this trip, you’ve only seen what I’ve taken with my iPad. Tomorrow, I will see if there’s anything worth sharing from the phone since I didn’t bring the mini card reader adapter. That’s a crazy number of camera options, but I finally learned how to add pics to my posts from the iPad, so I’ve been favouring that camera since I’ve only cracked open the laptop a couple of times.

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

I gave a lady toilet paper at a rest area and she felt obligated to reciprocate with a box of Raisinets. Raisins and chocolate, I could not refuse. As for the drink, McDonald's sizes are ridiculous! But all the sizes were $1 and I wanted a big cold drink. So half the cup is ice, two thirds of the rest is water, and there's a shot of juice. :)

I gave a lady toilet paper at a rest area and she felt obligated to reciprocate with a box of Raisinets. Raisins and chocolate, I could not refuse. As for the drink, McDonald’s sizes are ridiculous! But all the sizes were $1 and I wanted a big cold drink. So half the cup is ice, two thirds of the rest is water, and there’s a shot of juice. πŸ™‚

bird near Donna's RV park

bird near Donna’s RV park

bird near Donna's RV park

bird near Donna’s RV park

park near Donna's RV park

park near Donna’s RV park

lovely bridge in Stettler

lovely bridge in Stettler

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

this reminded me of the pingo in Tuk!

this reminded me of the pingo in Tuk!

looking at the spiral maze from the top of the hill

looking at the spiral maze from the top of the hill

Stettler sunset

Stettler sunset

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

the Roving Acres + half of Travels With Miranda :)

the Roving Acres + half of Travels With Miranda πŸ™‚

Rugby, ND, the geographic centre of North America

Rugby, ND, the geographic centre of North America

entering Minnesota

entering Minnesota

the truck ahead of me is one step up from the Ranger, the F150. Same colour as my truck but definitely beefier!

the truck ahead of me is one step up from the Ranger, the F150. Same colour as my truck but definitely beefier!

entering Wisconsin, a sorely under rated state

entering Wisconsin, a sorely under rated state

I love the French names in Wisconsin, like Eau Claire and Fond du Lac

I love the French names in Wisconsin, like Eau Claire and Fond du Lac

It was noon when I hit the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI. I had a nap, then took the time to tour the museum before grabbing lunch and dinner (a Subways sandwich) down the road

It was noon when I hit the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI. I had a nap, then took the time to tour the museum before grabbing lunch and dinner (a Subways sandwich) down the road

Monarch butterflies land in Wisconsin in droves during their migration

Monarch butterflies land in Wisconsin in droves during their migration

more about Monarch butterfly migration

more about Monarch butterfly migration

Lake Superior has the largest surface area of all the fresh water lakes on the planet

Lake Superior has the largest surface area of all the fresh water lakes on the planet

"The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it." Aldo Leopold

“The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.” Aldo Leopold

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior from a viewpoint where I had my dinner

Lake Superior from a viewpoint where I had my dinner

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

I'm a direct descendant of Grosseillers, a French-Canadian explorer of this area

I’m a direct descendant of Grosseillers, a French-Canadian explorer of this area

a hole in the clouds after an impressive storm (had I been an hour behind where I was, in Marquette County, MI, I would have had to find shelter because of a tornado warning!)

a hole in the clouds after an impressive storm (had I been an hour behind where I was, in Marquette County, MI, I would have had to find shelter because of a tornado warning!)