We got away before dawn; Orion was still shining brightly when I drove to McDonalds for my breakfast and Caroline’s tea, and it was still dark after I came back home to pick up Caroline. Spotted the inevitable Ontario and Manitoba plates on the way through town. We were on the road by eight minutes after six. Lara switched from her night display to her day display about an hour later. That grey shape on the highway in the picture is our long shadow.
Least Likely Licence Plate: Nebraska. Usually, we would expect to see Alberta and Saskatchewan next, but we found this Nebraska guy just after sun-up in Manitoba. Scored major plates today: last time we did this trip we picked up sixteen different states and provinces on the way to Bismarck, and this time we got twenty or more, including Arkansas and New Jersey.
Lara was strange today. As we approached the Steinbach underpass, she suggested we take the exit and run south on Hwy 12. We thought she had finally found a quick route that way, and I looked forward to some new scenery and also to crossing the border at around eight o’clock instead of nine. Wrong! We had forgotten to tell Lara ‘no gravel’ and she led us on a merry excursion through the farms between Steinbach and St. Adolph. This got us onto Hwy 75 just north of Morris, but put the kibosh on Caroline’s plan to get breakfast in Winnipeg. We found a Subway in Morris, though, so all was not lost.
Border crossing painless, took just minutes a little after nine o’clock. Temperatures rose steadily from the 17¦C to 30 by the time we arrived in Bismarck at around three o’clock.
It seemed as if Lara was determined to avoid Fargo, maybe she’s wanted there. Anyway, even though we had her set for Shortest Time, No Gravel, she was proposing to take a large detour around Fargo, and estimating Bismarck for 1435. As we ignored her suggestions to turn off the interstate, the ETA dropped to 1415, then 1403, and then back up to 1408. So why didn’t she suggest the 1403 route first? She just wanted to keep Caroline away from Fargo and food. We went to Fargo anyway, for food and gasoline, and after all that, Lara still said we could be done by 1430. So where that first route came from, I can’t imagine.
Went shopping across in the mall across from our hotel, I scored two pairs of shorts and a shirt for under $25. Caroline found herself a pair of Dansko shoes for work. Her legs have been sore lately, and her old pair of Dansko’s were over three years old.
Bob the shuttle driver is still working here, and gave us a ride to and from the restaurant. Dinner at the Bistro. Good as always, but sadly we both ordered the wrong entrees. I guess when you’re heading towards the coast, it doesn’t really
make sense to order seafood in the prairies. Serious plate envy of the guy at the next table with lamb chops. Anyway, our soup and salad course was lovely, and we ordered a Beringer Napa Chardonnay, which was a highlight. We’ll look for one of those in California. Dessert was nice, too.
The one drawback to this hotel is that it has no wireless internet in the rooms, so I’m writing this in Notepad, and I’m going to run down to the lobby to go online and add it to the blog.