Friday, October 16, 2009

Cross-Country Trip: Day 2: The Long Road

Day 2 was all about driving. The open road. Putting the pedal to the medal. Getting from point A to B and whatever other phrases you can think of. I think Day 2 was when I drove the whole day. I opted to do it, and at first Johanna laughed at my request, but I figured I needed driving practice time in and I was starting to enjoy going 90 on those long stretches of nothing-road.

The plan was to drive all day to the Mt. Rushmore area and find a hotel there so we could go and visit first thing in the morning. So far, so good. Only thing was we slept til about 10 a.m. and were lethargic in getting our day started. But we finally got a move on, packed up, and checked out.

Remember I mentioned the toll charges? Well, my Tom-Tom has a feature to avoid the toll lanes so we decided to try it out. It made for an interesting morning. About 30 minutes into the trip we realized that the roads we were on all looked like they hadn't been paved since afros were in style. We were officially in the backroads of America and I started thinking stuff like 'hmm, we could probably find a little farm that sells bunny rabbits on this road.' I was a little worried about the wear and tear on my car (consistently, about every 30 or so miles there was a sign that said 'bump' which should have said 'HOLY SHIT, SLOW DOWN!'), but the change in scenery was worth it. It was the kind of setting you think of when you hear of Little House on the Prairie (minus the racism) or what you see in those cheesy commercials where people are running through meadows.

Nevertheless, it was agreed that from now on we'd just pay the damn toll. But, luckily, all the tolls were behind us anyway.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. We listened to The Shack by William P. Young (first time author, but doesn't he just sound like he should be famous?) on audiotape along the way. I had already listened to it (which reminds me, I should post a review of it...also a post about audiotapes...ding ding ding, ideas!), but it was Johanna's first time. Without going much into it, it's basically the story of a father who loses his daughter to a serial killer and a struggling faith in God. Interesting, to say the least. But, again, we'll return to that later.

Another notable thing is that we stopped at a shop in Minnesota. It was a colorful store with quilts and dolls and hats and all kinds of other randoms. I didn't see this myself, but Johanna told me inside that she ran across an Omish man and they continued to stare eachother like they couldn't believe what they were seeing. I guess he'd never seen a real life black person and Johanna a real life Omish (or maybe she'd never seen an Omish intrigued by a black person). either way, I immediately remembered that M&M commercial where they meet Santa:

We got into Rushmore territory pretty late and discovered that we should have booked a hotel ahead of time: all of them seemed to be full for the weekend. We finally found this place with a room for 49 bucks. The cheapness was kind of scary, but it was a room and the Yelp comments weren't too bad. Either way, we had a place to rest our heads. And we'd need it, because the next day we were Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone bound.

-Justin C. Key

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