cowgrrrl blues

rants, tall tales, and meanderings from a wander-lust, activist, cowgrrrl extrordinaire

Friday, August 18, 2006

westward

alas, i have made it to the great city of san francisco. charlie and i had a splendid adventure across the states. here's a breakdown of the week's events.

we started in brooklyn. while a u-haul would have been cool, old ida (charlie's '84 mercedes) just wouldn't have it. so, we feverishly mailed all our stuff via fedex. i heart fedex. don, our fedex super-hero, really helped us out, so we managed to leave town on time.

day 1: we left early in the morning, grabbed bagels in new jersey, and made it to fallingwater by lunchtime. mr. wright's masterpiece was ever so lovely. the house is, indeed, over a river. fabulous. afterwards, we made it to dayton, ohio where amanda and brian made us a splendid meal. did you all know that brian makes bread from scratch...regularly? it's delicious. i recommend a visit to their house, which is fabulous. also, amanda and mr. b's dog (porter) is ball of puppy energy that no one could resist loving.

day 2: drove to chicago and met up with tarkan, my high school sweetheart. the best part of chicago, besides tarkan's hospitality, was the local watering hole- buffalo bar. good variety of beers, hot lesbian bartenders, and a crazy dude that talked our ears off for about 45 minutes. here's the thing about the crazy guy--much of what he said made sense until he started talking about his next invention...nuclear fission. nuclear fission, huh? iintterrressting.

day 3: we managed to find the most delicious breakfast joint called 'egg harbor cafe' in some weird planned community. i ate this crepe, egg, avacoda thing that was perfect. it's odd when you find cool things in uncool places. a welcomed odd occurrence, but odd nonethless. afterwards, we started north. our second stop was a cheese shop in wisconsin. so idyllic. we bought cheese that was dusted with cocoa powder. cheese + chocolate = happy campers. i asked the shopkeeper, "what exactly is a dell? like the song about the farmer and the dell." a dell is a valley for those of you who also wonder. made it to minneapolis-st. paul before dark and tried a fancy italian restaurant with charlie's brother steven and steven's girlfriend jeannie. favorite line from steven. "we live across the street from the mall, the best buy, and the [chain] grocery store. what more could you want?" steven, you make me smile. just so you know, i would want a local coffee shop, a health food store, and a nice park with trees. to each his own, though. all i can say is that the hospitality, again, was unbeatable.

day 4: we make the trek across south dakota. first stop was the corn palace in mitchell, south dakota. what is a corn palace, you ask. we wondered the same thing. a corn palace is stadium with murals made out of corn. fascinating! we also tried to support the local coffee shop rather than going to pizza hut. the barista did not quite understand the difference between iced coffee and iced lattes, so i ended up spending over $4 on an iced coffee. of course, the only vegetarian option was egg salad sandwhiches. charlie just about died from disgust. sometimes it sucks to have principles. but, charlie, the sacrifice was worth it. second stop was the ever-famous wall drug. for those of you who have made the south dakota drive, no explanation is needed, i know. for those of you not familiar with the drive, think of all those 'south of the border' signs when you drive to florida. this is like that. hundreds of signs leading you to this tourist trap that you can't resist. it's a huge drug store-novelty store type thing. again, fascinating! with one stop in rapid city before we headed into the black hills, charlie and i drove around the twisty bends of custer state park for about 2 hours in the pitch black night before finally finding our campground.

day 5: custer state park is beautiful, really utterly beautiful. we hiked 'little devil's tower,' a steep, craggy trail, to the top of a peak. amazing view from the top. i wish i had a digital camera to upload the shots. you're just going to need to take my word for it. afterwards, we visited crazy horse monument. crazy horse is basically the same idea as mt. rushmore but a native american statue instead of dead presidents. it's kinda cool, but kinda weird because white folks run the joint. we ate indian tacos there (one of my childhood favorites) and bought cool books about native americans. then, we went down to sylvan lake and read our new books. we also tried to swim, but it was quite cold to say the least...like ice water, really. oh! i must also mention that we happened to be in south dakota during the big motorcycle rally that happens every year in sturgis. as such, charlie and i were camping, touristing, eating, etc. with the bikers. yeah, we're hip.

day 6: we made our way across the bighorn mountains and shoshone park, where buffalo bill is from, to yellowstone national park. much to my delight, we immediately saw bison. for some reason, charlie was never terribly impressed with the bison, but i think they're awesome. we set up camp and had a relatively good night's sleep.

day 7: this is our big touristy day. i will condense it by saying that we saw the usual yellowstone stuff. (mammoth hot springs, various paint pots, mud pots, hot springs.) it was great. the thing that wasn't great was the weather that night. charlie and i froze. there is no other way to describe it except to say that it was the worst night of sleep i have ever experienced. hard ground, not enough sleeping bag, rain and a leaky tent, not to mention the extremely cold air. here i was thinking that it was summer. hmmm.

day 8: charlie and i realized that we could not handle another day in yellowstone (as per the plan) because the sleeping conditions were truly unbearable. we took a nap in the sunshine then headed out. we drove, drove, drove. stopped in idaho falls at a microbrewery. then drove, drove, drove. made it to san francisco at 8am.


so, here i am. that's the story. i enjoyed it. hopefully, it wasn't too boring to read about.