OK, so now that have seen six years looking at cheese-ball tourist traps in foreign lands, it's time to see some in my own country! Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota, Corn Palace, Wall Drug, etc.,here I come!
I should mention that this is possibly the most half assed piece of travel I have ever executed, right up there with getting bored and going to Jakarta airport with a duffle bag to see if they had tickets left to anywhere kewl. (Repeat after me: the airport is not a bus station). Anyhoo, I have waited until the last possible moment to nail down my departure dates, and I'm still not sure the owner of one of the couches I plan to crash on knows I'm coming. The temporary plates on my new Honda are due to expire en route and when I arrive in Estes Park (on Saturday, Sunday or possibly Tuesday), I will crash with Kelly and Phil for somewhere between one and three weeks.
But I must say, after six years of highly regimented living, it feels kinda neat. And since my friends haven't seen me for years, hopefully they'll have mercy when I show up unannounced (or three days later than announced) at their door. Being the flaky friend from far off lands does have its moments, though I promise I really do not milk them. Too much.
A very loose itinerary (almost laugh as that word):
Thursday -- Get up, do laundry, pack and load card (as procrastinating too much to do it tonight). Attempt to depart at 10:00 am. Drive through Chicago madness to Whitewater, WI and stay with I-House friend Kevin, who is study abroad advisor at the college.
Friday -- Drive to St. Cloud, Minnesota to stay with Julie and new husband Shaun. Actually, he is 2-year old husband, but still new to me, kind of like the Honda, as I've only met him once. I hope they got the email that says I'm coming to see them. Fortunately, they live on a tiny college campus, so confident I can locate using elementary stalking techniques.
Saturday -- Going to South Dakota! Not sure why this is so exciting, as by all indications is another vast, empty state like Nebraska or Kansas. Relatives of mine were Lakota Sioux, so bet I will just feel at home there, like I'm in a biergaarten in Munich chugging Hefeweizen with all the other Maurers and Schwartzes. No friends in SD, so will probably just check in to a No-Tell Motel and attempt to sneak the cat in.
Sunday -- Inshallah, Estes Park, CO. Seems close to the Dakotas. Easy peasy driving day.
Still amazed at how little prep required to travel in the States. No visa, no passport. Every state is like visa on arrival, only don't need to stand in line for it or leave every six months to keep it. Brilliant concept.