11:17 14 January 2016 between Elk Point SD and Hutchinson Kansas.   GS Jade Barrett csbnews.org USA correspondent

«You know the first time I traveled, out in the rain and snow» – from Canned Heat’s On The Road Again by Floyd Jones and Alan Wilson

The Midwest of the United States features the most challenging weather in the world. Home to extreme summer heat, strong winds, brilliant lightning storms that fill the sky, floods of biblical porportions, blizzards that rival the worst Antarctica has to offer and tornadoes of apocolyptic power, the airlines believe that if you can fly here, you can fly absolutely anything, anywhere. 

Driving in bad weather provides its own challenges, but on clear sunny days, the landscape of Eastern Nebraska and Northern Kansas has a beauty all its own. These long automobile rides provide more than adequate time to explore method, argue card play techniques, review system notes, write articles or even play online. We have given more than a few lessons while speeding down the highway or flying at great altitudes. To this extent the advent of the Internet has been both a curse and a blessing – allowing us to be connected to the bridge world at all times, while at the same time never having any time to ourselves. 

'We didn't underestimate them, They were a lot better than we thought...

Playing professionally is a truly fulltime business for our Great American Bridge Tour, given that our teammates hail not just from the four countries of North America, but Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and once, even from Africa, as well! There are exceptional players the world over, and it has been my distinct pleasure to meet a great number of them. Many of them are unknown to the vast majority of their peers, however, for they stay close to home, honing the edge of their partnerships preparing to defend their turf from the invading hordes of competitors from far-off lands.

It never pays to underestimate your competition.