We got up early and were on the road by 7am. Our hotel was on the east side of Colorado Springs, near the airport, so I thought we’d have a quick escape and not get caught up in the morning rush hour. And, for the most part, that worked. Still, it wasn’t exactly ‘easy’ getting back on track. The morning sun more or less blinded me as I headed out on the east side. No problem, I’ll just close my eyes and listen to instructions from the GPS. Well, that won’t work either — our Honda GPS was DETERMINED to point me back west, up to Denver, and then come back east on the big interstate. I thought I might ‘test’ the GPS and see for how long it would prompt me to ‘make a U-turn’ and try to lead me back to where I’d come from. Well, I blinked first. That GPS didn’t realize my intentions for at least half an hour. Finally, Sue plugged in our old Garmin — and then we had TWO naggers trying to convince me to take the LONGER route. We even played with the “easier, faster, shorter” settings to see if that would straighten things out — but no-sir-ee.
When that GPS finally shut up and started to cooperate, we hit road construction! A quick way to cancel whatever time advantage we’d had by taking this ‘back road’. Once we were through that it was more or less clear sailing. Not a lot of traffic (I guess all the locals knew the perils of taking this route at this time) and by now the sun was high enough in the sky that our sun visors actually proved to be useful.
So what do you do when you’re sitting side by side in a packed van for the second long driving day in a row? Well, as I believe I’ve opined before, you grow closer to your travelling companion. You ‘TALK’. Really, there’s not much else you CAN do. Can’t be busy in the kitchen, can’t be sitting at your computer, can’t check up on Margaret Daley’s Facebook status, can’t even pretend to be busy in the other room — so you’re stuck with your loved one, ‘talking’ — mostly complaining about what the other person is doing wrong. And all that monkeying around with the GPS resulted in a frank discussion about something that was bugging Sue: Why do I (Rudy) always tell other people that Sue is USELESS at navigating? And I today I learned that Sue feels that I’m saying that in a demeaning way. Well, okay, point taken. And if our two GPS units can’t even agree on how to get home from here, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on someone who is “navigationally challenged” (new, politically-correct way to say USELESS — just kidding). So I take it back: Sue is a GREAT travelling companion and I’m happy sitting this close to her for the entire day.
Speaking of which, once again Sue took the wheel and drove the second half of today’s trip. And once we got close to our destination (Sioux Falls), things were going so well (and the sun was still shining in the west) that we decided to add another 45 minutes to the trip and flitz right on by Sioux Falls and go up to Brookings, thereby missing tomorrow morning’s rush hour traffic and cutting down tomorrow’s driving time to about 6 hours.
Sue did her best to find a “pet-free” room — Man, that is just SO discouraging — the whole world revolves around PETS these days. We settled for a ‘mostly’ pet free room on the second floor of the Super 8. Before we even peeked into the room we headed across the street to the Applebee’s for some “fine dining”. That double-cheeseburger at McDonald’s only took me so far — it was pretty close to 8 o’clock and we were HUNGRY. We ran into some Steinbachers in the booth across the aisle from us and said hello and swapped ‘vacation’ stories. Then we walked back to our room, had a chocolate bar from the vending machine to go with our second glass of wine. Sue got her iPad Scrabble fix in, I wrote this ‘bericht‘, we watched some late night TV, and waited for one last driving day to begin.