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On the morning of May 8 we packed up, dropped the roof to driving mode, hitched up and left Colorado for Buffalo Bill's Ranch State Recreation Area in Nebraska.


We drove out into the plains. If I were back there now, I'd have gone a bit north east to the Pawnee National Grasslands but, we found ourselves running back to Toronto, not as fast as possible but, jogging. We had been away for about a month and home looking homeward felt good.

It is difficult to see the prairies as much more than huge tracts of agricultural and grazing lands. The people there haven't put aside too much acreage in recreational lands. It is possible to travel from Denver to Chicago on Interstates 76 and 80 without seeing any public lands. What there is of it is tiny. It is both easy and difficult to understand why the plains people don't respect their land. We had been following the South Platt River for hundreds of miles. It and the North Platt are of national heritage status but flow through almost nothing but private lands.

At the town of North Platt we crossed the South Platt river and camped out in Scout's Rest at Buffalo Bill's Ranch on a tributary of the North Platt River.

It was the place, on the banks of Scout Creek, where I ran out of my gallon of Gunslinger Pink.

That night we fell asleep to the sound of lowing cattle. The people of North Platt and Buffalo Bill's State Recreation Area are just to darn practical to let good land go to waste on wild animals.

The next morning, May 09, we were back on the road bright and early. The barns and buildings of the ranch were closed because we were about the only people there... there was nothing to do. We were just about the only people at Reverend's Ridge Campground back in Colorado too. It was recreation season in the Southwest but not in the Midwest.

We drove all day and made about 500 miles from North Platt to somewhere near Williamsburg Iowa where we dragged ourselves into a Walmart parking lot and pitched camp with the truckers and RVs on long range missions.

May 10

The west wind blowing us along and slipping behind semi tractor trailers I could go longer between fills and make highway speeds, just like the day before.

 
Drafting requires my full attention. Sight seeing is impossible. It was another dawn to dusk day to reach...
Sterling State Park in Michigan. We had traveled another 500 miles through Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.

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You know how the time theory works... you leave a place, travel at the speed of light, and you can never return to it in your own time? It works for terrestrial travel too. At Sterling State Park we had completed a loop started on April 12. It was definitely a different time. If you have been along for this journaled journey you might remember how this place looked then... MouseOver or touch above.


May 11

At the border crossing between Detroit and Windsor Mary bought 4 cartons of cigarettes in the Duty Free shop. She declared them at Canadian Customs and nothing else. The border guard grimaced an expression which could mean we were in trouble or this situation was trouble. We had been traveling for about a month and declared nothing but 4 cartons of cigarettes.

She declared, "You are only allowed 1 carton each. We have no control over what they sell in the duty free. You will have to pull over and either return the cigarettes or pay a fine."

Mary chose to pay the fine.

I took a wrong turn from the customs house and drove over the Peace Bridge back to the United States. It was difficult to explain to the American guard what had happened. From there we were allowed back into America and had to turn around in a freeway muddle and re-enter Canada. At the Canadian border we had to declare our length of stay in the United States which was about a half hour.

Fortunately, during our three border crossings, we were not searched... although there was some snickering.

We were back in our home at around suppertime and, as it turned out, the story was a comedy!
 

 

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