Terra Nomad

Every day is like survival. You're my lover, not my rival.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Road Trips of the Early Nineties

As I mentioned earlier, I take a lot of road trips. It all started in high school marching band (This one time...). I was in it for five years, and four of those years I went along on the big trip. From 1991 to 1994, we went to Chicago, Washington DC, Cheyenne and St Louis, and also to every moderately sized town in the State of Minnesota. We took a coach bus on all of the out of state trips. I have vague memories of visting relatives in Lincoln, Nebraska when I was like 3 or 4 and there are pictures of me and my sisters in the Black Hills, but the high school trips were the ones that told me I loved travelling and that driving is the way to do it.

- Chicago was the first time I had been in a large city other than
Minneapolis and St Paul. I was captivated by the skyline, the bustle
and the general feeling of being there. I remember going to an Aquarium
that was right on Lake Michigan and then sitting outside afterwards. It
was cool how the tall buildings gave way to a blue and tan coastline.
The view from the top of the Sears Tower was unforgettable. We also
went to Six Flags Great America and rode the rollercoaster that went

1992 - Washington DC was a different experience. It's
an odd layout because no building can be taller than the Capitol, but
it still feels like a large city. We marched in the Fourth of July
parade, which marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus sailing for
America (not the day, just the year). I was surprised how little our
nation's capital seemed to celebrate Independence Day. We went to the
Natl Air & Space Museum, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Wall and
I'm pretty sure we toured the Capitol (and laughed at the sign
'Majority Whip'). We saw the Iwo Jima Memorial and went to Arlington
Natl Cemetary to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal
Flame over JFK's grave, as well as RFK's next to him. As we were
driving through Pennsylvania, I saw a turnoff for New York City. I
wished we could take it and go there as well as DC. I remember staying
in a hotel in Maryland that was under construction. I also remember
feeling very wierd in Indiana, probably due to lack of sleep. But
things got wierder when the bus driver turned a seat around so that
four people sat facing each other. I'd had a dream about that a few
weeks before. Then, we stopped at a rest stop and looked across the
freeway to see ... the exact same rest stop! Okay, so all of those
things aren't really that odd, it was just the timing of it all that
freaked me out. I never liked Indiana after that.

1993 -
Cheyenne, WY - We drove through South Dakota and went to Wall Drug,
Wind Cave, The Badlands and Mount Rushmore on the way. I think we even
drove past the Sitting Bull memorial, which just looked like a big rock
back then. We marched a parade in Cheyenne and went to a rodeo. My
friends and I went to the midway of the fair that was across the street
instead of watching the cowboys. I remember the distinct smell of
cowpies, even downtown. Then, we took off one day to visit Rocky
Mountain Natl Park near Estes Park, Colorado. It was the first time I
had been on a mountain, and Estes Park was a beautiful city.

- St Louis - I don't remember very much about the city from this visit,
just visiting the Arch and going to Grant's Farm, which is a great
animal park. We also went to some mall that used to be a train station
and to a dinner cruise on the Mississippi.

Later that summer, my
mother and sister and I took another road trip, back to St Louis, on to
Memphis and then down to hit Texas before we headed back north. We
tried to go to Grant's Farm again, but you have to make reservations.
We did go to the zoo and to the Botanical Gardens and up in the Arch
again. My mom was surprised to find out it was built in the late
sixties. We didn't make hotel reservations for the first night and had
quite an adventure trying to find a place to crash. We hit some bad
neighborhoods and finally ended up at 'The Airway'. My family still
uses that term for any fleabag motel. We heard some gunshots right
before we ran into our room. We piled furniture in front of the door. A
few days later, we were in a Subway and saw an undercover cop take a
large gun off of a kid in the parking lot. My sister said the kid had
been inside the restaurant when we first got there.

We drove
down to Memphis, going through Arkansas where it rained the entire
time. We visited Graceland, because my sister has always been a huge
Elvis fan. It's a great tour, except you that exit into a gift shop
every time you leave an exhibit. Once, while we were driving on the
freeway, there was a big metal door in the road! When someone would hit
it, it would fly up so cars were swerving around it. We couldn't swerve
and ended up hitting it, but the car survived. We saw the hotel where
Martin Luther King was when he got shot and Beale Street. We also went
to Mud Island, which has scale model of the bottom half of the
Mississippi river. We started towards Texas, again through Arkansas,
and again it rained the entire time.

I had always wanted to go
college in Texas, so when I saw how close we were going to be, I said
we had to go. We went to Texarkana, which is on the border between
Texas and Arkansas. The main street divides the states and the City
Hall building straddles the line. We drove back to Minnesota through
Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. We thought Tulsa was pretty, but
ended up getting lost in Omaha because of a freeway detour.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home