you to Joe Gallagher of Joe
the Barber fame for listing Road Trip 2003 on Leatherpage.com.
Five giant cinnamon rolls, a cup of coffee and a bottle of water:
I almost feel guilty this morning as I eat breakfast with Scott, Michelle
and Samantha. In San Francisco, a single cinnamon role costs $3.26
- or more.
It was time to head north after breakfast at the Dutch Bakery and a
tour of Orange City. Scott mentioned I would drive by the highest
point in Iowa, located in the center of a farm. I spot the sign about
45 minutes out of Orange City, pull over and take
a picture while the workers at the local silo stare at the stranger
from California. [If you click
here and look closely at the picture, the high point is indicated with
s small white marker to the left of the silo.]
from the smell of pig manure and tornados, I like Iowa. The little
towns are quaint. Perhaps I should buy a town, make it a queer commune
and open a restaurant which serves salads fresh from the fields - literally.
I stop at a rest area just across the Minnesota State border.
Southern Minnesota looks a lot like northern Iowa with cleaner rest areas.
I saunter to the wash room and notice a newspaper rack with ads for "Rural
Singles - Where Country People Meet". The headline of the current
issue reads "18 Wheeler Singles."
reminds me - Andy and Bill gave me a lovely 49-channel CB radio to chat
with truckers. I learned the radio doesn't work inside the car, so
I can only use it when I'm at rest areas. I suppose if I were into
rest-area encounters, I might be interested in this concept. Sweaty
foam pads in truck sleepers have absolutely no appeal. Maybe when
the trip is over I'll auction the CB radio off as valuable memorabilia
and donate the proceeds to charity.
I arrive in Minneapolis late in the afternoon. Whether through
my incompetence or a mix up at the travel agency, I end up staying in the
city rather than at a hotel near the Mall of America. I discover
my hotel was previously the Milwaukee Road railroad station and I'm pleased.
The hotel includes an indoor water park complete with water slide that
exits the building, twists twice, then spins around to shoot you back into
the pool. A camera broadcasts all the pool activity to every television
in the hotel - which would really be fun for a queer convention.
settled in and waited for rush hour to end, I head out for the Mall of
America. It is the only mall I've ever been to which has signs at
all the entrances telling you to leave
your firearms in the car.
Mall of America includes, among others: "911
Marketplace" - a store selling everything imaginable related to September
Farm Toys" (which, like Kum
& Go, I really hope will sell t-shirts but does not), and "Creative
Inspirations" - a Christian store selling figurines of Jesus playing basketball,
football and soccer. I watch people walking through the mall sullen
and distracted. I can't understand why they aren't laughing loudly and
smacking each other on the back. Some of them glare suspiciously
when they see my smile.
store features t-shirts with images of American flags rendered in Lego.
The red, white and blue theme is big in the flyover states. Nearly
every hotel I've stayed at has mints on the pillow wrapped in red, white
and blue wrappers. I've seen trucks with giant eagle and flag motifs
in the back windows, women dressed from head to toe in the flag and plaster
eagle statuettes with flags. If the economy recovers, I propose it
will have less to do with tax cuts and more to do with sales of flag-related
one might think of Camp Snoopy, Hooters, Lego, and Planet Hollywood, they
do bring the midwestern boys out in droves. Say what you will about
their questionable accents, they do have more nice butts per capita in
Minnesota than nearly any other state I've ever visited.
I have a short drive north to Duluth. I may spend the morning on
the water slide before I head out...