Without a co-pilot I was the mercy of Edna - Edna, the Goddess of Garmin. Following her directions explictly, I was out of Kansas City headed south before I realised she had sent me on an alternate to our usual Lorna edited westerly route. In a fit of adventure, I went with the new route. So tonight I find myself camped in a motel in Joplin, Missouri rather than Emporia, Kansas. Ms Edna has been at this for a while. She's really a quit good guide unless she is derailed by road work detours, so this is likely a shorter route to deep Texas, but it did not send me through the Flint Hills, one of my favorite places in the world. It will likely still be there in the Spring, but the Little Bluestem grasses will be a metallic green instead of the flowing russet waves of winter.
Speaking of waves, as I left Albert Lea I noted that Fountain Lake is covered by petrified white water waves - snow white (duh) high-wind sculpted waves, cut with the blue snow shadows of the crystal clear mid-winter sunshine. Stop. Stop and really, really look at it. With an open mind and open heart ... it can be a religious experience. :-)