Traffic Signs. In Quebec, probably because of the French/English mix of their population and visitors, many road signs are graphical - no words. E.g., No right turn on red was graphical. (A Grey Line guide said the Quebec population is 70% French heritage, 20% English, 10% other.) I learned, on trying to enter a parking garage and encountering a barrier, but no ticket booth, that Sortie means Exit. Luckily, I did this early in the morning and was able to back up, then jump a curb to get in the Entry lane. If they had had an overhead drawing of an oncoming car, I might not have made that wrong turn.
In case you're wondering about bridge warnings of ice or snow plows: Ontario has no bridge warnings. They assume if you're driving here, you oughta know. Nevertheless, I was comforted to cross into Michigan and see the year-round Bridge May Be Icy signs.
Mileposts. I Googled up some information about the one-tenth mile markers on some interstate highways. A Wikipedia article about NY signs said:
This (1/10th mile-marker project) was initiated in response to the Highway Safety Act of 1966 enacted by Congress, in an effort to monitor traffic and identify high-accident locations.
It didn't say when NY installed the signs. Or what considerations determined which highways got them. I haven't yet found any later, or national guidance on the topic. I still suspect political shenanigans.
Eisenhower. One of my favorite highway signs is this small blue sign.
I think it's a nice tribute, though some people think it's not warranted. To me the fact that one man (once a boy from Kansas) achieved two ultimate positions of leadership - five-star General and President of the USA - is astounding and worthy of recognition and remembrance. I appreciate the interstate highways and I appreciate Eisenhower.
I found an article that explained that the Eisenhower signs are optional, state by state. (Maybe tenth-mile markers are, too). I'm going to suggest that the NM Transportation Department install the signs because we don't have them.
Back on the road: Here is a picture of the yard at the shop where the pickup's water pump was replaced. I found out, though, that they're about to move into a new modern shop on the highway (I-90/I-94). The shop office manager was really excited. There would be an actual bathroom. Next to the trailer, just out of the picture, is the outhouse they use now and she hates it.
Here's one car in the lot.
Sweet little BMW. The shop owner told me a sad tale. It's his car and it can't be driven because he can't get tires for it. Said his wife is really mad!
I had planned on a barn expedition in the area, but I didn't have wheels for that. On the way from shop to town, though, I got these pix.
We left about noon for a fairly short drive to Albert Lea, MN. Along the way we crossed the Mississippi.
We've been through Albert Lea (memorably, on the trip when we also visited the Spam factory in nearby Austin) a couple of times and Susie remembers a trip through there long ago that made her say, I want to live here. The main feature is a large lake in town, ringed by houses, boat docks, and estates. We found the road that circles the lake - mostly a one-way lane -- and did a circumnavigation. Very nice. A couple of pictures:
We stayed at a KOA in the country between Albert Lea and Austin. Here's the rural view out our front window -- Field of Beans.
One thing we discovered when we explored Albert Lea: Now the A/C doesn't work on the pickup. (Update. Had it checked when we got home; compressor needs to be replaced.)
Which brings us to Iowa. Our next day's trip was across Iowa to a destination KOA south of Omaha, NE. Lots of cornfields in SE MN and all of IA. Heard an ag report on the radio saying that MN was expecting their second largest corn crop ever this year. Prospects look good in Iowa, too. When I look at those dense rows of corn stalks in those fields, I think of the scenes in "Field of Dreams" where the ghosts of old-time baseball players fade into the rows between the cornstalks.
We drove S on I-35 from Albert Lea. Then, rather than continue to Des Moines and catch I-80 going west to Omaha, as Miss GPS wanted, we exited I-35 at Ames and followed US-30 west, for the sake of variety and actually to save a few miles, if not time. That made for a nice and relaxed drive. I didn't reset the GPS, just waited until Miss GPS understood my objective. I turned off her voice, so I wouldn't hear her pleading. Before every N-S road we crossed, she flashed the screen with a big left turn arrow -- all the way to the banks of the Missouri River!. Even after we turned south on I-29, she wanted us to go SE several miles to I-80, then make a V to the SW toward Omaha. As mentioned earlier, I need to update the GPS. Maybe Miss GPS will be a little more understanding after that.
Some people find mid-west farm country monotonous. That's why so many Kansans live in Albuquerque. But I like it a lot, especially compared to the tree tunnels you drive through in wooded areas. Talk about bo-o-oring. At least in wide-open farm country you can see the horizon and signs of life. And, satellite radio reception is a lot better.
Time to go home. I'm getting grumpy.
Speaking of satellite radio. Was listening to Willie's Roadhouse, channel 56 on SiriusXM. After a short while I recognized the tune playing as Somewhere My Love, set to a Texas Swing beat. I thought, isn't that a tune from Doctor Zhivago? Susie confirmed that it was. After the song ended the DJ said, "That's a song from Doctor Zhivago, arranged for Texas two-step. Maybe if they'd used that version in the movie, Lara and Yuri would have had a happier ending."
Drove cross-state on I-80 from Gretna (near Omaha) to Ogallala. Made this drive several tmies when Jeff and Valerie Hinkle lived in SD, then IA. The Platte River valley is pleasant country.
Next day, on to Denver and a half-weekend with Jeff, Valerie, Malia, and Macy Easterling. Jeff did a Warrior Dash at the Copper Mountain ski resort on Saturday and I went along as a spectator. The dash is a 5K run with several obstacles, notably a mud pit to crawl through along with rope and board challenges to get across or over.
There is barbed wire over the first several feet of the mud pit to make sure you stay low and to keep runners from diving into the pit. Here, Jeff emerges from the goo.
Back in town, Susie took Macy to Target to spend her birthday gift card. Later some play time in the park.
When we left Cedar Crest, lo, these many weeks ago, we had planned a leisurely trip home from Montreal. Target date for home was the last week of August. But, once we point toward home, that tends to become the focus for us. Plus, we had a couple of good reasons to get home a week sooner: Jeff's Warrior Dash and son Matt Hinkle's 50th birthday.
So, on Sunday, August 18, we left Highlands Ranch at 5:00 am and got home mid-afternoon. Drove over to Rio Rancho s little later and surprised Matt. Enjoyed a dinner prepared by son, Tony, and general family-news catch-up.
It was a great eight weeks. Our longest trip ever. Somewhere on our return trip I was checking the odometer and trip mileage and accidentally zeroed out the trip odometer. Data-gathering can be difficult. But, I estimate that we drove Tuzigoot about 5500 miles, maybe 6000. Another 2600 miles in the pick-up!
Thanks for your company. Always great to hear from you. Even if it's only spelling or grammar corrections.
Susie and Rob