Tag Archives: Minnesota

I don’t understand the behavior of cows

This was Susanne’s favorite quote from today. I of course am the utterer.  I was noticing how the cows out west here seem to all clump together in one part of the field, having no sense of personal space whatsoever. The New York cows, I noted, on the other hand, seem to have cliques. Susanne asked, seemingly genuinely, why I thought that was, to which I shrugged, giving the above response. We had other memorable lines today, including:

1. Looking at the following on the way to Weyburn, SK, we saw this:

 

Chieftan Motel

Chieftan Motel

Susanne: The funniest thing about it is why is he giving a Hitler salute?

2. Everett: You are the queen of the missed photo. This was said when we were driving past four semis, each carrying one propellor blade of a new windmill going up west of Minneapolis. She did not, however, find this humorous.

3. Susanne: You are the king of the missed photo. This in response to her needing to drive around the block so that I could get the picture for item #1.

Other stats from today:

Our total miles so far are 2420.

We’ve killed about 20 butterflies and thousands of other insects, mostly on the windshield. Oh, and one of those creepy orange millipedes, which apparently stowed away and made the poor decision to crawl across Susanne’s legs. He now lives no more.

We’ve driven past roughly 30,000 bales of hay. (Haaay, Jesse!) Here is proof.

 

Hay bales

Hay bales

If we drove past 30,000 bales of hay, we must have driven past 1 million sunflowers, all groomed nicely in fields in North Dakota. I suppose that’s where we get our sunflower oil.

We also saw this:

 

Canada Pacific rail

Canada Pacific rail

Awesome. I’ll try to get pictures of the ginormous granaries tomorrow, where the trains pull in and get tons of grain dumped into each car. After miles and miles of farmland, and possibly some missile silos, it’s been a bit monotonous. Today Susanne and I drove more in silence than any of our other days. I still feel like it’s all one grand adventure, which is good, but it’s starting to sink in that I don’t exactly have a home at the moment, even though I know I’ll make one. It’s exciting, this endless possibilities thing. Kind of like how the telephone lines in Saskatchewan go on and on forever. Susanne captured it in a shot.

 

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan

We drive into Lang tomorrow morning. I’ll take lots of pictures and see if I can find Mom’s old farm, or at least the farm plot. I’m sure there’s more to say, but it’s time to turn in.

Cows across America

 

me and cake

me and cake

We got up at the crack of dawn today–I actually saw the sunrise at Susanne’s parents’ house, which was gorgeous. As I am unable, I didn’t run down the stairs to grab my camera, but it was red and full over the tree line, and from the top of the hill where the house sits, it cast a pale ochre gleam across a half-sky of puffy clouds, battling the bright blue of the sky of the retreating night sky.

Okay, enough of that. We hit the road at 7:30 am and motored our way through to Kalamazoo and then the Michigan-Indiana state line. It was at this point that I realized that though there still are jerky drivers in the Midwest, they don’t come as fast and furious as they do in DC. It’s kind of like the easiest level of Frogger versus the later levels when the logs are all short and the otters are out in force. 

The drive was pretty uneventful; we stopped for gas a couple of times, and I saw a strange sight next to the station, a big pink elephant. Like the kind you’re supposed to see when you’ve kicked back a few too many.

 

Pink elephant statue in Elgin, IN

Pink elephant statue in Elgin, IN

We also saw that it was on a small road called “Elephant Trail,” which confusingly ended in a field (the field you see behind it). Trying to Google it I see there’s a large elephant monument in Elgin, Ontario, so I wonder if this has anything to do with that. Not too sure, since I’m now out of my neck of the country.

We had lunch in Illinois, in some random suburb of Chicago, in a building that looked like the bastard child of Denny’s and your friendly neighborhood orthodontist’s office. Denny’s in layout and menu, and Dr. Elkin in decoration and color choices. Hey, Dr. Elkin was my orthodontist at the Brace Place in New Jersey, and it looked just the same, okay? One buffalo chicken sandwich and California chicken croissant (which means it had two slabs of avocado on it) later, we were back on the road.

We entered Wisconsin and were suddenly confronted with billboard after billboard hocking cheese curds. No similar signs for whey, nor any mention of the availability of tuffets. I really think the tuffet lobbyists and marketers need to get off their lazy asses and stop the monopoly of ottomans. Further, descendants of the Ottoman empire who are out there reading this, how are you possibly okay with people thinking your greatest achievement is the footrest? That’s not the lasting legacy I’d be interested in, is all I’m saying.

So yes, cheese curds. We drove by cow herd after cow herd, standing, sitting, basking as it were, in their glory of cud chewing expertise. Brown Jersey cows, black and white cows, we’ve seen cows from New York through Wisconsin, but we hadn’t seen the barrage of “Lindsey’s cheese curds,” “Blue Hen cheese curds,” “Black Jack’s cheese curds,” all a mere highway exit away. It reminded me of driving through South Carolina seeing the plethora of signs for fireworks. Or Indiana, for that matter. I had no idea Indiana was the South Carolina of the Midwest, but there you have it.

As if the pressure to procure cheese curds wasn’t enough, I also noticed something strange. Somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin all the people of color suddenly disappeared. Now they were just abstract concepts; a legend that humans come in more than pasty white and ruddy white. Even stranger, the white people themselves started to look different. Men were no longer avoidant of mustaches, or plaid pants. Women’s hair fashions got bigger and bigger, almost in some kind of direct correlation with the size of their sunglasses. I started to feel alienated, and it slowly dawned on me: these are not my people. I can only hope that these folks–and I’m sure they’re all LOVELY people–are not like the ones I’ll meet in Walla Walla. Please, God.

We left the rural highway and made our way past Eau Claire and into Minneapolis/St. Paul, where we had a lively dinner with Susanne’s former coworkers at our hotel restaurant. We managed 750 miles today! We’ll head out early again tomorrow to go into Saskatchewan where I shall attempt to track down my mother’s farm, where she grew up. Presumably it has not moved in the last 50 years, so if it’s still standing, I can catch it. I’ll be sure to post pictures. Speaking of pictures, I’ll end with these from the wilds of Wisconsin:

 

Wisconsin field

Wisconsin field

 

Welcome to Wisconsin sign

Welcome to Wisconsin sign

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