My Jacksonville to Seattle Odyssey—Part 4

I had a lovely visit with my niece and her husband, and got to meet my grand nephews for the very first time. My nephew also stopped by. It was good to see them all.

And then I was off yet again. Miles and miles of miles and miles. I find myself intentionally hitting the rumble strips on the sides of the road to make sure the dogs are still alive and also to break my hypnosis. My boyfriend Chuck used to have an interesting theory about rumble strips. If you could place the ridges at specific points, as in a record, you should be able to have it make a sound, like a voice. So when you roll over them, they could say, “Waaaaaaake uppppp stupppppid…”

I saw a Wrangler billboard in Northern Missouri: “Where the heck does the trail end?” Good question. Very good question. I never thought I’d be on this trail, that’s for sure.

I’m having to get used to very long stretches between exits, and even longer stretches between gas stations. If I don’t time this right, it could be a disaster. So I’ll time it right.

Several new states for me today. I crossed a bit of Nebraska, and a whole lot of Iowa. Gorgeous rolling hills and lots of corn fields and other crops that I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t identify. At one point my GPS had me on some remote country roads. My GPS sometimes has a cruel sense of humor, so I began to wonder if I was lost. Another strange thing about my GPS is that it pronounces Sioux correctly, but Des Moines sounds like “Desmons” and Missouri becomes “Misery”.

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When I wound up here, I really started to wonder, but surprisingly enough, I was still where I was supposed to be. Huh.

I passed a Cattle Yard south of Sioux City that really made me contemplate vegetarianism. The stench went on for miles. I imagine there’s a whole host of disease associated with that smell. Meat production is a disgusting business. I wish I didn’t love hamburger so much.

I followed the same white ford for 150 miles. We were the only ones on the highway. I hope I wasn’t giving them the creeps. It did seem like a really badly written suspense movie for a while there. But then they turned off in Sioux City, and I suddenly felt a little lonely. But then I passed the Kum and Go convenience store and got a case of the adolescent giggles. Who thought that name was a good idea?

I started seeing billboards for Wall Drug today. It reminds me of the South of the Border billboards you see in the Carolinas. After a while, there are just so many of them that you know you’re going to stop, knowing full well it’s going to be a tourist trap. The curiosity just gets the better of you. So I will stop tomorrow.

I also saw a billboard that said, “Eat steak, wear fur, keep your guns, it’s the American way!” Well, I eat steak, anyway. So am I an American?

Crossing into South Dakota, the highway turned pink. I love that there are still a few pink highways out there. I thought historic Route 66 was the last.

Another stop that I had to make out of pure curiosity was the Corn Palace in Mitchell. I didn’t go inside because of the dogs, but the outside was impressive enough.

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I would have loved to stop at the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the South Dakota Tractor Museum, too, but the nation is suffering from the heat wave from hell, and I just couldn’t justify leaving the dogs in the car.

The local radio informed me that Pro Choice people are so anxious to kill babies that they’ll do anything at any cost to do so. That, in a nutshell, is a blatant and ignorant misunderstanding of the issue. It also makes me glad I’m heading toward a more liberal and enlightened Seattle.

But I have to say I’m loving these wide open spaces. A person can breathe out here. It’s funny. I get a great deal of comfort from being in the mountains because I feel all cozy and safe as if the land is embracing me. But out here in the wide open, there’s a certain comfort, too. The land is saying to me, “I’m bigger than you are. I’m solid. I’m here.” I like that a lot. And I’m not even in big sky country yet. I’m feeling oddly patriotic today.

Tonight I’m staying at A Bridge View Inn in Chamberlain, South Dakota. This charming little place deserves a blog entry all to itself, and I’ll do that at a future date.

Next stop: Billings, Montana!

Check out part 5 here!

8 thoughts on “My Jacksonville to Seattle Odyssey—Part 4

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