Archives for the month of: May, 2009

So, I am in love with this land like I never have been before. Driving through Wyoming today I told Chris and Monkey that as much as it is a miracle that this is all one country, at the same time you look at how beautiful and magnificent it is and think that once they saw this, people couldn’t help but come west. Doesn’t excuse the genocides and other bad decisions, but just the same, for the first time I feel like I understand why so many people endured so much to be here.

Back to today. Wyoming is really interesting geographically–well, I’m interested. If you’re not, skip this bit. It starts like this, like western Nebraska, sandy hills and grasslands.

Then, it gets more hilly, where the Colorado Rockies to the south sweep into the state just a bit. It was in this section that I discovered the idea of a highway that could close:

It re-opened after about half an hour, and in the meantime we got to talk with a really nice local guy, and look at the fields some. I didn’t recognize a single plant and was flipping out, and then I saw dandelions and thought, “It’s gonna be okay.”

Next came a brief section of serious mountains. As in snow on the ground and it smelled like Christmas trees. There was a Lincoln monument all of a sudden, so on behalf of President Obama, we stopped and paid our respects.

I really love the chill at the monument, but Monkey got cold.

So we made it past that bit of mountains, and then at Laramie there was just this enormous plain/valley. For some perspective, it took us something like 2+ hours to drive through.

After that, the mountain cause a rain shadow effect, which is when the moisture essentially never makes it up and over the mountains. So the land became very dry and desert-y. It was gorgeous. People always say that deserts are gorgeous, and I’ve always been very skeptical of that, but you know? It really was.

So, tonight we’re in Rawlins. We’re going to get up early tomorrow morning and head to Yellowstone. We’ll be there a day or maybe two, and then on to Seattle!

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Warning: This post is very picture-heavy.

We spent last night asleep in a rest stop. Around seven in the morning we set out in search of breakfast. Monkey and I really dig food, and I for one get stupid and cranky if I don’t eat first thing.

The breakfast we found was the very best breakfast I’ve ever had. It was at a little diner in Beaver Crossing, Nebraska, and it tasted like every single item came from within 50 miles of the place.

Also, the town featured this:

So, tidbits of our day today, because I am exhausted. First of all, Monkey says hey.

We love Nebraska! It’s gorgeous and the people we met were everso friendly. It was flat but sometimes rolling hills, and the lakes reflected the sky like whoa.

But back to Missouri: St. Louis looked way cool, and Ozarkland was like being back in West Virginia with one important improvement.

It was at about this point in western Nebraska/nearly Wyoming that we all went, “Oh my god, we’re in the West! It looks just like in pictures!”

Also, antelopes or pronghorns or something–and let me add right now that not knowing what plants and animals are has been freaking me right out.

You know what, this is really long. I’ll do the rest in a different post.

We left Huntington around 2:20am. We drove to Morehead, KY where Chris and I got a hotel room, and Monkey kept a vigilant watch over the car (and bag of snacks) all night. We got to Morehead around 4:30am. In the late morning, the travel resumed and the journey out of the mountains began.

Monkey sat happily in a bowl filled with travel snacks. He ate a granola bar and fell asleep in the pile of food. When he woke up, the road signs flashing past all read West and North. Big, dark, Nothing-style stormclouds waited ahead.

The mountains ended sooner than we expected, and gave way to lush, verdant farmland. At first observation, Indiana seems like beautiful, easy country to live in. You find yourself thinking that if you came from here, surely you would have none of the character and hardship that you pride yourself on. Upon reflection, though, humans make their own mischief and really don’t need the earth to help.

We are in a hotel room in Mount Vernon, Illinois. The Champion’s League final game is on, Manchester vs. Barcelona. We’re rooting for Barcelona.

So far we’ve driven through 4 hard storms. We stopped somewhere in Indiana and dumpstered about 60-80 pounds of stuff. Our gas mileage had dropped to what would be crap for a full U-Haul, and I was seriously concerned about what would happen out West when the gas stations become very far apart. So we threw out some Pyrex bakeware, some shoes, a couple bags, a couple sweaters, and various other kitchen implements. The car is running almost like normal now.

Things I’ve noted: when ordering at a Subway in Indiana, I became paranoid about my accent, even though the kid behind the counter had a thicker one. Dueling dialects and nobody wins. The game is rigged.

When the country becomes really flat and it rains, you can see the clouds in three dimensions amazingly well.

The book Jeff gave me looks like an ancient artifact when lying on a hotel bedside table. Which in all fairness it probably is.

It’s been a good day.

I can’t actually remember any of the details of what I’ve been doing for the past 7 hours at least.

…Because you see, we made plans. And as we all know, nothing makes the universe chuckle more than a plan.

First we planned on leaving on Sunday. It was a Sunday, it was the new moon: I just couldn’t resist starting with all that beginning around me. But then I ordered this folding bike, and although their shipping page said it should get to me before the end of last week, Fedex said that it would arrive on Tuesday. Which it did. So, the plan changed. The plan became, we’ll get everything ready Monday and Tuesday, and the minute the bike gets here we’ll put it in the car and leave.

However, Husband’s family participates in this American ritual that is completely foreign to me: Memorial Day. You know what I know about Memorial Day? I know that it’s sometime in summer, and it’s when the pools open. That’s it. Oh, and that it’s about wars and veterans, I think. My grandfather joined seminary in order to get out of World War II–and that’s the one war that most people agree was justified.

My family never, ever celebrated Memorial Day. He told me on the day that he wanted me to come with him for emotional support. I told him I would, but that it was as foreign to me as puja in a Hindu temple. Later I retracted this: actually, I would have some idea of what to do at puja.

To cut the story shorter, we slept in because we’ve been exhausted, woke, packed a little, and then went to St. Albans. We ended up picking up my mother-in-law on the way. And driving through an amazing thunderstorm. The whole visitation thing ended up taking the rest of the daylight. That was Monday.

Tuesday I woke early, determined not to miss my bike. We got breakfast and spent the day running errands and packing–running around not unlike headless chickens. Bike showed up. We ate lunch with my sister who lives in town. She needed help moving some of her stuff out of her current place, into a friend’s place where she’s storing it while she deals with the mess her ex left her. We took a long break/BS session in the midst of this, and all told that took the rest of the day. More wonderful, thrilling thunderstorms. Pleas to not drive out tonight/die on the highway. Apartment still strewn with much matter.

We went home. I was filled with adrenalin and nervous energy, and so continued to work until sometime past midnight. Husband had gotten up even before me, and was bone-weary. Eventually, I have no idea when, we collapsed. Our dear, dear, incredibly wonderful friend John got up early the next morning and helped us some more. He’s bringing me lunch right now.

So, it’s after two. Husband is helping my sister move another load of stuff, and then we’re going over the apartment one last time, and then, in theory, we’ll pack the car and head out.

I love to laugh and understand that the universe does as well, but just for today let’s hope for some sobriety, shall we?

Today Monkeypuppet and I went out to visit some of our favorite places in Huntington. First I drove us up to the Huntington Museum of Art, to visit the trails there. We had just started down the steps when we saw a slightly crushed snail shell. Monkey took a moment and contemplated the cycle of death and rebirth.

We never did hike the trail, though. I stopped to read a book that Husband’s sister gave him, and then it was very hot and we were hungry, so Monkey and I went to Five Guys. We got grilled cheese.

This is the kind of thing I’ve been getting done over the past week:

Meanwhile, Monkeypuppet has a new Myspace profile picture:

In eleven days we will begin our journey to the Northwest. Husband is working online, arranging money in neat little rows and working on his portfolio. I am examining every single thing we own and deciding whether to keep it, store it, who to give it too. Monkeypuppet is sitting on a shelf helping Aslan guard a cursed d20. This is better than last week, when he spent years learning kung fu and pissed off his master, so that now he’s not allowed to mention dude’s name. That was annoying, but that’s Monkeypuppet for you.

Today I got rid of a bookcase, a Foreman grill, two cookie cooling racks, a pitcher, many coat hangers, and a homemade hula hoop. In getting rid of so much stuff I have learned that if I can see something, my impulse is to act on it in some way. Objects require action. This is another good reason to give away possessions.

For something completely different, I am currently watching the strangest Rutger Hauer movie, Blood of Heroes, about a post-apocalyptic game played with a dog skull.