A couple of things noticed on the way home: Glendive, Montana is directly south of Saskatoon. Fargo, North Dakota, is directly south of Winnipeg. We also observe the proliferation of casinos on street corners in Montana.
Eastern Montana doesn’t possess the magic geography of parts further west. The topography is moonlike – treeless, rolling, ancient-looking land, but it is still very ‘big-skyish’. As we drive along, I notice widely scattered cattle on a widely scattered land that seems to go on forever. Our long straight highway has a mesmerizing effect.
Parts of western North Dakota, our next state just east of Montana, look even more ancient, the land folding upward in little mid-brown hills, like a pile of old potatoes. There are hundreds of little buttes in mid-brown-green or reddish colours dotting the landscape. But this interesting sight will soon disappear. The route-view gets less and less interesting – all we see for miles around is flat land with fields of corn or soya beans. We feel lucky to find one Public Radio station among the Christian (either discussion or Christian music) or Country radio stations. We don’t enjoy the few seconds we listen to the Christian channels but we do get a laugh at the highly moralistic tone of some of the country music songs.
There is a funeral home in Park Rapids, Minnesota, run by a person named “Cease”. Funny. There are also an awful lot of Lutheran Churches in this state. I notice that as we approach larger towns or cities cars appear out of nowhere behind us. You never see them entering the highway; they’re just suddenly there.
The effect of the drive home for me is magical; for Naomi it’s a nightmare. I feel a bliss as the land, interesting or monotonous, sweeps by us. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and then the giant upper peninsula that is northern Michigan. Finally, we reappear in Sault Ste. Marie (getting through customs was a breeze; the tired-looking customs agent didn’t seem at all interested in hearing a thing from us); the Sault is a place we passed through over a month ago.
At a mall a helpful employee at the Bell store helps me restore my chip for my IPad so that I can return to my Canadian lite Internet plan. We’re back on the Trans-Canada highway. In a couple of days we’ll finally be home. As we approach our house 44 days after we headed off into the big unknown, I feel a lump in my throat; it’s an emotional moment.