OUR LAST NIGHT ON THE ROAD…..BEHIND A VACANT GROCERY STORE IN DURAND MICHIGAN:))
One of the last websites I clicked on Monday night was the radar weather site for the U.S. I was totally surprised to see a large amount of unexpected rain approaching from the west. Figured we had better get ourselves an early start in the morning & make some fast tracks out of there to the northeast.
With a full tank of gas & under heavily clouded skies, we rolled out about 6:20 a.m. this morning heading north on I-57. The rain never did catch us & we actually finished up our day under beautiful sunny skies.
Had it in my mind to at least reach Lansing Michigan if we could. We have made it all the way home from the Effingham area before but that was before & I like to think I’m a little bit smarter about that now. As expected, traffic picked up substantially the closer we got to Chicago. We were aiming to bounce of the east side of Chicago through Gary Indiana.
Didn’t take us long to become entangled in the Octopus’s many twisted tentacles of Interstates, Turnpikes, on & off ramps, constructions zones, roads, streets & suburbs. At one point we were heading for downtown Chicago & at any moment I fully expected to see Oprah Winfrey’s limo go flying by. We did end up making a U-turn in an abandoned Dairy Queen parking lot somewhere in Gary before getting ourselves picked up, dusted off & back up on I-80 ready for round two!! Not sure exactly how we did it but we eventually found us northbound on I-94 heading for Kalamazoo.
We are sooooo fortunate that we do not have to live in or be anywhere near a large city!! Regardless of where a big city is, it is still a big city & for us, big cities are simply places to be avoided at all costs. Been there & did that big city & big city traffic stuff years ago. No patience for that kind of nonsense anymore.
Finally made it to the Lansing Michigan area around 4 & pushed past the city a bit more to a town called Durand. Needed gas, so while I filled up the rig Kelly asked the lady in the store if she knew of a good place to boon dock for the night. Lady suggested a large parking lot beside a grocery store just down the street. The grocery store had gone out of business so that parking lot where this post is being composed tonight.
Saw our first skiff of snow here in Durand but it is melting quickly. In fact, the water you see in the photo under the rig is from the last vestiges of a few small snow banks in the parking lot. The outside air is cool but the sun streaming through the rig’s windows have us all toasty warm & cozy inside.
We are 85 miles from the border which will take us about an hour & half to reach once we leave in the morning. The border is always a high stress factor coming or going. Last year I stumbled with the rig’s license plate number. How is a 66 year old very tired guy supposed to remember his license plate number. It’s hard enough to remember my own name & where I am at any particular moment let alone my confusing alphabetically numbered license plate number. That stumble caused the kid in the booth to ‘pink slip’ us for a border check. He directed us towards a compound area near a building. As I pulled the rig in 2 young border guards came out of the building. One headed towards the rear of the rig & the other fella walked around to my driver’s side window. I hung my scraggly worn & weary travel head out the window, handed him the pink slip & waited for the worst. He looked at the slip & then looked back at me. I could see the pity in his eyes as he just silently waved us through. Now, with a little bit of luck I am sure I look even more scragglier this year than last. So, with that thought in mind we will head for the border in the morning & throw ourselves upon the mercy of the border guards & hopefully pity will remain foremost in their hearts once again………..:))
About 25 minutes from the border on our way home is the little town of Forrest. We always look forward to our very first pail full of Tim Horton coffee here every year. Five months is a long time without our sweet Timmy's. As Jackie Gleason’s character, Ralph Kramden used to say in the Honeymooners……“How sweet it is.”
Had an email from a reader this morning wondering if we were the only one’s at Cracker Barrel & did we feel safe. Answer to that question is yes & yes. Parking lot was quiet & well lit. I especially liked the quiet part. It’s very rare we do not feel comfortable somewhere & if we do, we just move.
CANYON DE CHELLY…..NORTH RIM
A Mexican fellow is trying to cross the border to America when a border guard stops him.
The border guard says to the Mexican guy that before he can cross he has to make a sentence for every word that the border guard gives him.
The border guard tells him that he has to use the words green, pink, and yellow.
The Mexican agrees and says, “Ok I’m ready.”
The border guard says,”Ok go ahead.”
The Mexican says,” The telephone goes green green green….. I pink it up…… And I say yellow!”
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