It's September 28th. Here we are in Harlingen at Way of the Cross. The truck and trailer and we made it okay. The truck ran pretty well until a few miles short of the destination and then really poorly after placing the trailer. It had a very bad vibration when we went grocery shopping after setting the rig up. A glance underneath resulted in borrowing a ride and making a trip to the parts store for a u-joint and the dealer for a driveshaft center bearing. With some advice and help from Matt, the ministry mechanic, all is well again.
But back to the start of the story.
We had planned to leave midday from Regina and drive only as far as the Walmart in Minot, North Dakota. The strong westerly winds changed our plans. The best strategy I know of for dealing with winds up until they are too strong to permit driving at all is to slow down. Couldn't see that being too friendly to anybody following us on the two lane highways between Regina and Minot so we went East to Winnipeg on the four-lane Trans Canada. With a following/ quartering wind mostly until we got to Winnipeg we could drive faster. Also we would not be holding up anybody else. No sense provoking others to passing unsafely. If they guess wrong they do it where you have no choice but to be involved in their bad decision.
We stopped for gas at the Flying J west of Winnipeg, listened to the weather reports and decided that the winds were just going to get worse overnight and that we wanted to be south of that. Heading south from there we had to slow down for the cross wind, but at least we were not holding up traffic except when the highway compressed to one lane for road work.
Our leave-at-noon-drive-until-four-plan deteriorated into a drive-until-midnight-plan. Oh well, at least it was one time zone to the east and only eleven body-time when we shut it down for the night.
Also, there were no line-ups at the border.
Maybe that is not a good thing. Each time we cross the border we answer many of the stock questions. They must get bored asking the same ones over and over. A border guard with time on her hands may have a tendency to relieve her boredom in uncomfortable ways. Two years ago we were asked "How do you two know each other?". How does one answer that when you have been married close to forty years? This year she asked "Are you carrying any dry rice?". We accurately answered. "No." But what are they looking for? Asian contraband? Would they be worried about wet rice?
Way to pass the hours traveling down the highway - Make up smart aleck answers to border guard questions.
Way to pass hours at the border - actually use smart aleck answers. This is just conjecture. I have no intention of testing the theory.
We parked overnight in our usual truck stop in Grand Forks. It is now a Flying J so the collection of semi-resident trailers have been dispersed to other squatting spots. It was a lot warmer than the last time we visited, when we decided it was too cold to sleep so we might as well carry on north.
The rest of the trip was pretty much on the rails of our usual routing.
We overnighted in the parking lot of the WalMart in Vermillion, South Dakota. It is now open 24 hours a day so if they still sold cups of coffee we wouldn't have to wait until they opened in the morning to get some. They don't so we didn't.
We stopped at the Camping World in Council Bluff, Iowa and bought three vent covers and some other supplies. One vent cover was removed because we needed the hinge details to buy a new one and it was easier to get at then the one that failed. So two were replaced in the CW parking lot with the third left for another day. Once one of a set of plastic parts dissolves into rubble you might as well do them all. The one that broke into pieces on our first day of travel was under a rain cover so the heat may have got to it quicker, but even so the other two wouldn't be far behind. I was happy to replace the two on a nice sunny day with lots of time before we found out on the road that the rain shield over the broken one only worked when the rig was sitting still. After all, that one is over the middle of the bed. Even rain water is unacceptable as a bed-wetting medium.
We overnighted in another WalMart in McPherson, Kansas and then carried on the next day to the Passport America park in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Guthrie was the territorial capital and, briefly, before the state seal was stolen away to Oklahoma City, the state capital. It has lots of old buildings and things to explore. The State Capital Publishing Museum was closed due to the day or the temperature so we didn't get to tour that this trip. Maybe next time. We keep trying. But we did get to watch a gunfight enacted on the street in front and then walked around and explored a bit until it was time to take a one-hour trolley tour of the town. Learned a lot about the history and the architecture.
Later we met up with Indira who we last saw in Nicaragua in January. She is now married and living with her husband, Jesse in Edmond a few miles from Guthrie. We had a good visit over Italian food and, afterwards, Braum's ice cream.
Over the next few days we managed to hook up with a couple of other SOWER couples on our route south having good visits with Rick and Melissa Young and Len and Karen Cook. Hopefully we will see them again this winter in the Valley.
We also stopped for the semi-annual service of the tranny at Greatstate Transmission in Corpus Christi and had our walk on the beach on Padre Island. The RV park at Mathis is looking more dismal each year. We discussed finding something a bit more upscale next time we are in the area.
So here we are. It was good to meet up with the staff that are here. Some are still away for a break. We look forward to that.
Our work starts Monday. More on that next month.