miss posting an update by twelve hours and people get agitated. You'd
like people were paying to read this.
First, thanks to Sparkster, Happy Tails and Robert
Thorson for joining the Change
for Change Campaign. Congratulations to Gary Young for winning
the first segment of the Odometer
Now back to the Road Trip:
Having completed my visit to tourist-kitsch
hell, it is time to move eastward - to Iowa. With the MINI freshly
fueled, I head out for one of my longer scheduled driving days - 422 miles
from Rapid City, South Dakota to Orange City, Iowa.
90 runs the width of South Dakota and once I'm out of Rapid City, there
isn't much remarkable to see. The land vacillates between rolling
hills and completely
flat. The lack of scenery is a good thing - the insect population
of South Dakota is suicidal and my windscreen quickly covers over with
grey and red goo. Windshield wipers serve only to smear the insect
remains into a fine paste across my entire field of vision. A giant
grasshopper wedges itself into the windshield wiper arm, its dead eyes
staring at me for mile after mile.
enjoyed listening to AM radio throughout the trip. The lower end
of the dial always contains a station with Rush Limbaugh. Moving
upward, I find everything from NPR to local DJs playing birthday requests
and selling livestock. With South Dakota rushing by at 90 miles per
hour, I turn on the radio. First station: Rush Limbaugh. Second
station: Rush Limbaugh. Third station: Rush Limbaugh.
Fourth station: Rush Limbaugh. Fifth station: Rush Limbaugh.
Sixth station: Rush Limbaugh. It is stations of the cross South
The number of Christian radio stations increases
proportionately with my eastward mileage. I pause on the dial from time
to time to listen for a few minutes until I start to feel upheaval in my
bowels. WWJD? Bitch slap some of the people who proclaim to
speak for him, I would guess. Quakers don't have radio stations -
no one would know whether we were broadcasting or not.
a final nod to South Dakota, I stop in Mitchell to see the Corn
Palace. This building is decorated annually, top to bottom in
corn cobs. I declined a visit to the Doll Museum and Prehistoric
Indian Village in Mitchell, but I did buy some postcards from a gift
store and upset the owner when I left without taking my receipt.
I cross the Missouri
River, briefly pass through Minnesota, then turn south to Iowa.
As I do, the emergency alert system begins broadcasting tornado warnings
"for the following thirteen counties..." Now, I don't live in South
Dakota or Iowa and I have no clue what county I'm in. I suppose the
tornado warnings are really for residents - losing a few tourists is the
cost of doing business. I'd like to see a tornado - from a distance
- but I am to be disappointed.
of my older brothers, his wife and daughter live in Orange City, Iowa.
Orange City is just south of Sioux Center, which is just south of another
small town which is, in turn, south of another small town cleverly south
of a small town. You tell the towns apart by the names on the water
towers and co-op grain elevators. Rich towns make you slow down to
35 miles per hour as you pass through, poor towns are 45 miles per hour.
After 6-and-something hours, I arrive in Orange
City, Iowa. Orange City is proud of its Dutch heritage. They
have several windmills, including a windmill telephone booth, the high
school marching band wears wooden shoes (no, I am not making this up),
and the downtown merchants are required to fashion their businesses with
Dutch storefronts. The annual Sinterklass Day even includes someone
in black face. My hotel, the Dutch
Colony Inn, features dried flower arrangements above the bed, stencils
of tulips around the ceiling and a blue bedspread with tulip patterns.
off to present my two-year-old niece with a birthday present and see if
my brother has a storm cellar.
- Minneapolis and the Mall of America...