From Mandan, ND

There were two very good reasons why Mark chose to go the northern route across the country this time:  1) We were leaving Wisconsin five days later than we had hoped and this is the shorter, more direct route, and 2) in looking ahead at the weather report across the country for this week, it showed rain but no snow.

The Walmart we were at last night in St. Paul, MN was an extremely busy one.  Mark got up and took the dog out early this morning and he said that cars were already beginning to park around us.  He was afraid we would be hemmed in if we didn’t leave immediately, so we left at 6:30 this morning.  With such an early start, we thought for sure we could be in Glendive, MT by the time we stopped tonight.

Minneapolis, MN

We drove twenty four miles to get gas and began noticing some slush mixed in with the rain.  We had to pay $175 to fill the gas tank, but we expected that to last all day.

We pulled in at a rest stop. It was the first time since last spring Tucson had seen snow.

We crossed into North Dakota.  “Welcome to North Dakota: Legendary”

West of Fargo, we began getting into forty-mile-an-hour headwinds.  That made a harder drive for Mark and it used up our gas quickly.  We had to stop and get another tank at $151.

The temperature board at the gas station.

Low visibility

At another rest stop, we slid to a halt!

Our first and only glimpse of the sun all day!

A winterized stern wheeler

Dobby came up front and settled down under my shawl and started purring. That put me to sleep for a while.

When I woke up, Mark said, “We need to stop somewhere near Bismark.  Fighting these headwinds, I’m using up gas, and I’d rather be driving in better weather conditions.”  I concurred.  $326 for gas for one day was considerably more than I had budgeted for our trip.  Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be only partly cloudy and winds at eleven miles per hour rather than the forty miles per hour we were fighting today.  We found this Walmart that would let us spend the night.  It was only about 4:30 when we arrived and still daylight.

Snow drifting across the parking lot

Not very deep, but enough to make it a little slick.

Mark braved the cold weather to take Tucson out and then go to the store to get us some juice.  He also went out to try to block a hole where cold wind was coming into the RV.  We have the furnace running and a space heater and we are still sitting inside all bundled up.  Baby, it’s cold outside!

We had discovered last night that our generator won’t run if there’s only a quarter of a tank of gas in the RV.  That’s why the battery on my computer was running low last night.  This time we have enough gas to use the generator for electricity.  We are charging everything up while we can.

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