Day 1 Drive: Kenora, ON to Bismarck, ND

On the road at 0606, with breakfast from Mickey D’s in our clammy fists. Naturally, the drive from Kenora to Winnipeg is old hat, but this time last year it was frosty, and today it was mild with blue skies. Flooding south of Wpg obliged us to take an alternate route through Carman and Winkler. We found this route to be much more scenic than the run down Pembina highway. Winkler is bigger than I imagined, with big-box stores and five story apartment buildings. There was a sign advertising Farmer Sausage with Jalapeno – that’s ‘fusion food’, right?

Crossed the border at Walhalla – third in line for the one agent on duty. He was very pleasant, and his line of questioning focussed mainly on why people from Ontario would choose his point of entry. We thought ‘road closures’ would be stating the obvious, so we said we were heading west anyway… turns out he had no idea where Kenora was and thought we were crossing the border a very long way from home. I presume the worst possible answer would be ‘well, we were looking for a sleepy little border crossing…’

Patches of snow in North Dakota from last weeks storm

Warm and sunny this afternoon, saw at least 21C on the car’s thermometer, so we were surprised to see patches of snow in shaded areas, but they had a massive dump last weekend.

Lunch at DQ in Cando, ND. Service slow, food insipid. Beautiful picnic ground on the Sheyanne River at New Rockford. Stopped there for a stretch and clean the windows. Should have had a nap. Finally had to do that once we hooked up with the I94 and got back on familiar territory. Least Likely Licence Plate of the Day: Georgia, on a fifth wheel at the rest stop. Speaking of fifth wheels, we’re counting campers again this trip, trailers versus motor homes. Traffic incredibly light all day, and the tally was just 13 trailers to 7 RVs. 

By coincidence, we bought about  two thirds of a tank of gas (37 liters) before we left home for fifty bucks. Bought the same amount (10 US gallons) in North Dakota for forty bucks. I’m not going to write a lot about fuel prices. Besides the different units of measure and the exchange rate, octane levels and ethanol content vary from state to state. If I ever pay more than what it costs at home, I might mention it.

Arrived at Bismarck before 1700. Took a wrong turn in town, and Dingbat refused to speak to us for five minutes. No ‘recalculating’, no ‘please drive to the highlighted route’, just a surly silence that meant ‘if you won’t listen, read the stupid map display on your own.’ Voice service resumed when we rejoined the proper route. Hotel packed with wedding guests, mostly children under five. How many ring bearers and flower girls do you really need? We traded poolside room for parking lot view and consider ourselves lucky. Room is quite nice, and would be perfect if we could park where we could see the car, but the lot is so full, we were fortunate to find a spot near any entrance, never mind the right one. 

I better let Caroline have the computer now. Considering our ties to the hospitality industry, it defies belief that we forgot to make a dinner reservation for tomorrow. Mothers Day. Wish us luck!


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