On the road again

I’m heading down to Palm Desert, California. I’ve rented a friend’s condo in the Monterey Country Club until the end of November. I’m driving down in my van which is carrying a bicycle, 2 sets of golf clubs, a golf cart, a guitar, a small cooler, and a big suitcase. I’ve packed a lot of my Oak Leaf golf shirts, shorts, and sandals in that suitcase. And my trusty old (and it really IS getting old) MacBook Air. So I’m blogging again.

Monday morning, six o’clock. I gather up the garbage, turn off the hot water, lower the thermostat, and back out of the garage. On the road again. I drop the garbage bag off in a dumpster on my way out of town. It’s cold and dark.

Sunrise in Morris, MB

By the time I get past Morris the sun is coloring up the eastern sky. At the border crossing there is only one car ahead of me. Customs guy asks me all the usual questions and just like that I’m in America!

In Fargo I took a right turn and headed west on the I-94. Roads were fine, although the skies were cloudy all day and there were occasional sprinkles of rain — just enough to get the van dirty. I went through Jamestown and Bismarck and turned south in Dickinson, ND. Down a two-lane into South Dakota. The road started winding as I neared the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’d booked a hotel in Deadwood, a small tourist trap that I recalled fondly from 50 years ago when the Nikkel family went to the Black Hills. Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Cowboys and saloons and shootouts.

near Newell, SD
near Newell, SD

Right now I was getting a bit antsy about getting there. My gas gauge was getting near empty and there sure weren’t any towns with gas stations on this road! I punched in gas stations on my trusty old Garmin. Nothing until the town of Belle Fourche. The Garmin was giving me MILES to go, while the Honda was showing me KILOMETRES left with the fuel I had. So I had to do a bit of math. Yikes! This was going to be close.

I pulled into the CENEX station with the dashboard alight with warning lights. It showed that I had 2 kilometres of fuel left. Whew! As I pulled out of town and drove the last 30 miles to Deadwood I realized how tense I had been. My shoulders were all hunched up and tight. It would be better NOT to try that again.

It was dark, wet, and cold by the time I pulled into the Comfort Inn & Suites in Deadwood. Wow! Not at all the town I had envisioned. Casinos everywhere. In fact, after checking into my room I headed out to look for a nice restaurant and couldn’t find any! ONLY casinos. I ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant inside one of those casinos — something I found very disappointing, even depressing. Casino towns are depressing. Poor losers sitting at VLTs, tapping away at big red buttons while their credit disappears. Sad.

But the room was nice and I was tired. I had a glass of merlot from the bottle I’d bought on my way into town. And went to sleep.