Roadtrip home, Day 3 – North Platte, NE to Winnipeg and home.

It was just after 5:00am when I woke up in our Motel 6 room. Dave was ‘fossicking‘ around in the dark. Time to get up. I had a quick shower and off we were. The GPS led us down the road, a quick U-turn, drive-thru at the McDonalds for a coffee to go, and north up Hwy 83 which would take us into South Dakota. We drove and watched the sunrise. The highway was an undivided two-lane but there was no traffic and we made good time. I kept watching the gas gauge — and was cutting it pretty fine in between fuel stops. Not too many towns along this route today! Several times on this drive home we were down to about 35kms of fuel left when we finally pulled into a gas station. And so it was when we pulled into Casey’s General Store and Gas in Valentine, Nebraska, just south of the South Dakota state line. Whew! Made it. After feeding the van we went across the street to the Bunkhouse Restaurant and Saloon for a big hearty breakfast.

This is near Valentine, Nebraska. We were surprised to see snow on the ground. It got MUCH whiter once we crossed into South Dakota!

The scenery on our drive was ‘other-worldly’ today. I guess that big snowstorm that almost cancelled the Jets hockey game in Minneapolis on Sunday night must have dumped a LOT of snow across South Dakota and northern Nebraska. The gently rolling hills, mostly ranch land, was covered with the white fluffy stuff. The small towns we drove through had huge snowbanks on the side of the streets. We also saw a lot of deer and pronghorns, as well as big colourful wild turkeys, and ducks and geese along our route today.

We took Interstate 90 east to Sioux Falls and then turned north on the I-29 which would take us all the way up to Winnipeg. We again tested the Honda’s “estimated range” calculator and coasted into the town of Brookings on gas fumes. Filled up the tank and stopped in at the Dairy Queen for a burger and milkshake before heading back on the road.

We filled up once more in Grand Forks. It was around 4:30pm. If we hurried Dave might still get to watch most of the Jets game tonight. There were about 5 vehicles ahead of us at the border, but when we pulled up to the window the customs guy asked us where we’d been and for how long and waved us through. Lickety-split. Welcome to Canada. Welcome home.

As soon as we were across the border Dave was on his cell phone, programming his PVR to record the Jets, Raptors, and Blue Jays games. He was going to do some serious ‘catching up’ tonight! Then he was FaceTiming with MaryLou. Supper would be waiting for him when he got home. Which he did, at around 7:30. I dropped him off at the entrance to his condo building and we said goodbye. It was very kind of Dave to join me in Phoenix and then to drive home with me. He is, as he likes to say, ‘a professional driver’. It was fun sharing the driving duties these last couple of days. But more importantly, Dave is a true friend. I have really enjoyed hanging out with him this past week.

When I got home the mail was all neatly sorted on the kitchen counter. A note from Alex welcomed me home. She had bought fresh fruit, bread, cheese, and sandwich meat for me. Nice!

I decided I would unpack the van tomorrow. I made myself a sandwich, opened up a Goose Island IPA, and turned on my TV. Oops! No Jets channel. I quickly logged onto the BellMTS website and subscribed to the sports channels. Boom! middle of the second period. One-nothing Jets. Great!

That’s it for another trip! A good one. Everything worked out so well. I won’t be golfing in the next few days, but I’m hoping that I don’t have to wait too long, and that when I DO get out there my game will just get better! It’s been fun ‘blogging’ for another month, but I’m happy to take another break. So, until next time, thanks for following along with me on my ‘adventure’.

Auf Wiedersehen.