The very last bit of our stay at Canyon Lake included a VERY fast overnight trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We needed to be there in person overnight to get our Driver's Licenses and finish establishing residency. So, we got up at the absolute crack of dawn(4 AM!!) and drove to the airport in San Antonio for our first leg ... a 7:30 flight from Texas to Chicago O'Hare.
We get in line for our security screening ... I have given this much thought and have dressed appropriately. Nothing metal. Nothing bulky or concealing. There has recently been a bomb scare in an airport, so screening is serious business. I am ready. Totally. We travel with Passport ID, proper boarding passes obtained easily at the airport, car rental info prepared, all electronic components in baggies, liquid toiletries ready for inspection. I am ready to be screened, patted, x-rayed, wanded ... whatever. Bring it on!
A cursory inspection of my passport ... yup, that's my face. "Have a nice day."
I efficiently whip everything into the plastic bins ready for conveyor. Carry-ons open, baggies exposed, shoes off, purse, jackets, Jeff's stuff displayed ... and I am eagle-eyeing other passengers who may try and pull a fast one and steal my stuff from the conveyor. Nuthin' gets by me! Mr. TSA man motions me forward. OK!! Wand me! X-ray! Inspect me!
"You're good. Thank you. Move on through."
Apparently, there is nothing remotely interesting or intriguing about me, whatsoever. Just moooove on through and let us get to the people who have a mysterious or deviant aura that I seem to lack. Hmmmph. I have to admit that I am a tad let down. But, tucking knees under chin in our tiny commuter jet, we take off on time and are carried to Chicago ... where we grab breakfast and get on another teeny 50 passenger plane for the trip to Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls airport boasts 8 ... eight ... EIGHT gates. Total. Two of them are being repaired, so there is a grand total of 6 gates for incoming and outgoing travelers. And believe me, there is NO crowding because the airport is operating at only 75% capacity. At the rental car area (30 feet down the hall) the 6 guys (representing the 3 rental companies) all perked up at the sight of us. 4 of them were destined to be disappointed. Our paperwork expedited,we are ushered out to our auto ... started and warmed up! GPS in hand, we navigate the snowy streets. I suppose I should mention that it snowed in Sioux Falls. Only about 6 or 8 inches, and the constant wind is so strong from the NNW that from the air it looked as though someone had been dragging a giant paintbrush over the ground, always from NW to SE. Some places the earth was almost bare ... but there were also small drifts. For South Dakotans, 6 - 8 inches is nothing, so they only do some cursory plowing. Slipping and sliding in a rear wheel drive car, we head out. First stop, our mail box location to meet the ladies we talk to and who helped us set up our vehicle registrations. Happily, the DMV is almost next door! Good thing we stopped, because it was vital to review the requirements for documentation. Then, on to the hotel. Geez Louise! Just walking from the car to each building is excruciating! The hairs in my nose are freezing. It is about 20 degrees with a wind chill of about 6. Criminey!
Sioux Falls looks like a place we actually would like to visit. Driving around, we see lots to do and see in warmer weather. The hotel is very nice ... people are lovely and friendly ... no surprise there. Everyone in the Mid-West and South seem to be congenial. We dashed out for a great steak dinner just next door at the Texas Roadhouse Steakhouse ... where I have a revelation about potatoes. Some TRUE GENIUS has devised a way to give you a baked potato ... loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese & Chives ... IN A BOWL. Not just plunking a potato in a bowl. They smoosh it and take off most of the skin (not all!) and lightly and carefully mix the luscious add-ons into the tasty baked potato juuuuussst enough. It is "baked potato without the work" in a bowl. Genius ... genuine genius. And bliss when paired with a meltingly tender Filet of beef that is cooked just past absolute Rare. Two of their enormous Margaritas went down my gullet, and did not feel the cold nearly as much when we staggered out to the car for the 90 second drive back across the parking lot to the hotel.
I never sleep very well in hotels, and twice I got up during the night to look out the window into the night. The American flag on the hotel next door was blowing straight out each time, in the wind. The wind ... from the arctic NNW, never, ever stopped. Brutal.
Next morning ... head to DMV for licenses ... CHECK! We are now legal drivers with fairly acceptable photos. Stop at the mailbox to ask a few questions and thank the ladies ... CHECK. Back to the hotel to finish packing and check out ... CHECK. Leisurely drive towards the airport to return out rental and begin our trip back to Texas ... CHECK. We took care of all our business and put a grand total of 27 miles on the rental car. Amazing. Back at the airport I am looking at the posters and information for incoming travelers to Sioux Falls. Most of the information seems to be along the lines of "Please Make Sure You Are Aiming At Actual Wild Game and Not Livestock, Electrical Equipment or Other Hunters". Very different from what you see in the airports at Phila, Chicago or San Antonio! Ready to board our plane for the first leg of the trip ... a teenier, tinyier 25 passenger plane to Minneapolis / St.Paul. Holy cow. Thankfully, it is a short flight. Then, aboard a full sized passenger plane that is only half full, we expand and finish our journey to Texas ... fully "Citizens of The Road".