A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about cross country

Today's Entry is Corny

So Much Corn Sioux-t got rejected.

semi-overcast 74 °F

Not much happened to today. Usually, there's an interesting detour, or something odd that comes up. Today, the detour involved getting off the highway for a bit, driving up through green fields on a country road, and arriving at a casino, where we promptly turned around and found our way back to the highway. We drive past corn fields, and bean fields, field fields. We drive past a sign for Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in De Smet, South Dakota. There's a lot of history, and a lot of hills. Transitioning between Nebraska to Iowa to South Dakota to North Dakota and then Minnesota is seem-less. The signs are small and blend in with the green highway signs.


We drove through the town we're staying in in under ten minutes. A railroad runs through the city of Wahpeton, parallel to the Main St. There's something small about the town, but not sad. Wahpeton feels proud of its quiet Midwesterness. But it's an indistinct place. We barely notice when we cross over a small river into Minnesota. We turn around and head back west after a series of silver silos that smell like Parmesan cheese.


From our hotel window, you can see the trains running past. I got up to watch the first few, but they're loud and feel a bit like a minor earthquake. For the evening, we are lazy, aside from the train watching shenanigans. I listen to a lecture by Neil Gaiman and Shari goes outside to enjoy the pleasant weather.


Posted by MiriG 20:24 Tagged road_trip nature driving usa road trip iowa south_dakota minnesota nebraska north_dakota cross_country lower_48 mirig 48 pcsd post_college_stress_disorder Comments (0)

'Cuz I'm on Top of the World, Yeah

New Mexico is Magical

sunny 88 °F

Today began a long, long time ago. I can still remember. We set out from Fort Stockton bright and early, fueling up with"high octane" coffee at the Garage. Good coffe is good. We head north along a two lane highway, speed limit 75, signs of human life limited toil pumps and rigs with the occasional ranch thrown in for variety. So much of west Texas feels infinite, power lines stretching into the ether beyond the horizon and flames from the oil fields.
Our first stop is in the almost ghosttown of Orla. According to Wikipedia, the population is 2. Which is an awfully large population for a ghosttown, in my opinion. They have a post office, a supply store, and a gas station where a woman with an AirJordan logo tattooed on her neck sells beverages and sandwiches. She is very nice. All four people that we interact with are. I stop into the post office to send a few letters back east. I wrote them two weeks ago, but then misplaced my stamps.* I asked to use the restroom and thus learned that post offices do not have public restrooms, and that letting non post office workers use the restroom could get the clerk terminated. And anyway, the water was out. Thus, we walked the gravel to the supply store, where no one would get terminated for letting non employees use the restroom. One of the workers there hailed from Portland, Oregon, and suggested places for us to visit when we get there. He also let me take water and iced tea from the fridge. (Thanks!) The woman at the gas station and rig worker worker aren't sure why I'm photographing everything, and Shari explains that it's a habit. Unbreakable. The worst sort.
About 20 miles out of Orla, we cross into New Mexico a and Rocky Mountain time, so it's now 11:15 again. Almost immediately, the land in greener and hillier. The Gaudalupe mountains fill the distance, and the road climbs and twists.
We decide that the town of Hope might be a good place to top off the gas and stretch our legs before we head into Carlsbad National Park. We should not have placed our hope in Hope. Thee was a small convenience store, sans public restrooms. This seems to be a theme. We get to Carlsbad NP, weaving through hills, valleys, and gulches. The views are sublime. We go into the caverns to see the Big Room, full of stalactites and stalagmites. The air is thin and smells mineral.
I drive the three hours to White Sands National Monument, on narrow roads passing through the Sacramento Mountains. From the top of CloudsCroft to Alamogordo , we descend nearly a mile.I touch the gas twice in the twenty minute descent.


White Sands is freaking stunning. We walk and run on dunes bare foot, marveling at the distant mountains, the sky, the softness of the sand and how the winds coming over the tops of the dunes feels like a sand blaster. I recommend leg coverings and long sleeves. It's nearly sunset, and three storm cells are visible to the south, west, and north east. The clouds are like anvils and mushroom clouds and when the wind dies down, we hear distant thunder. We leave the park at dusk, the lightening now visible in the darkening sky.

White Sands National Monument at sunset

White Sands National Monument at sunset

It's been a very long day, and I look forward to sleeping and having an easier day tomorrow. Los Cruces to Pheonix, AZ!

Lanie, if you're still following, we want you to know the your cookies made it to New Mexico and are still delicious. We evidently have more self control than previously thought.

  • if you want a letter/postcard, I probably don't have your address. Please fix this by sending it to me in a message/text/email. Thanks. Please be aware that my having your address is no guarantee of you receiving a letter/postcard.

Posted by MiriG 22:45 Archived in USA Tagged animals park monument mexico new white national texas sands cross_country carlsbad-national Comments (0)

Pre-Post-College Stress Disorder

"It took a lot of planning to plan the plan. " ~Harvey Stenger, Binghamton University president

Shari and I are currently about two weeks out from beginning our post-college adventure. We have a route across the US (see the map above) coupled with a calendar, a list of places to visit, and a search tab of the cheapest (yet least sleazy) hotels to stay at. (It's important to strike a good balance.) A few friends are hosting us along the way, and for that we are incredibly grateful.

Our objective is to see this country, in all its grit and glory, and not kill each other. Shari and I will take turns blogging about our adventures at the end of each day, so if we don't post anything for a day, we hope you'll worry. (Just a little bit.) (Or if Shari's the only one posting, then I hope my friends and family start worrying about me.)

So check in and keep up. Be a back seat driver! Live vicariously through our adventures. Check out our route, and let us know about cool places in your part of the country, or the time you crossed the US in a beat up VW Bug.

Posted by MiriG 18:23 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip usa cross_country lower_48 Comments (1)

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