On the Road to Colorado, Day 1

Quote of the Day: “A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” ~ Moslih Eddin Saadi

Rockford, MI

This week the Den is taking a bit of a twist in functionality as all words are twisted into my strange version of a travel log. That’s right, the day has come at last, and I have hit the road for the mountains of Colorado! Presently, I’m actually writing this to you from a nice little hotel in beautiful downtown…Des Moines, Iowa.

I hope you enjoy the peek into my mind and into my little road adventure, but to those of you coming here for poetry…I do hope you’ll forgive me for stepping out for a week or so! Promise I’ll have poems again once this little poet’s all settled in…

Now then, what was there to see? Well, let us reflect…

Today’s journey began in Rockford, Michigan. Hurrah for suburbanite America in all its glory. From there, I traveled 514 miles in 7 ½ hours (Tom Tom and Google both told me it would take 8 ½ – take that technology!). Along the way:

Hour 1: Morale is high, even when 94.1 abruptly changes from its alternative goodness to a firebrand evangelist preacher. Fearing that the Wells Hall preacher from MSU has tracked me down somehow, I quickly turn to 97.9 and don’t look back. Also, something in my back seat is squeaking. A lot. Madness.

Hour 2: 97.9 Turns to country. Twang twang. Scenery is pretty as the squeaking ceases. Sanity stabilizes with the emergence of the i-Pod. All is well.

Indiana: Oh hi Indi—oh? That was Indiana? But I didn’t even…well, that’s gone, I suppose.

Chicago: Chi-town. The windy city. The—OH GOD DID THAT GUY’S HUB CAP JUST BURST OFF ON THE HIGHWAY!? Fortunately, no one is harmed in the resulting evasive swerving of cars. 97.9 has returned from the dead as some sort of classic rock station. I hesitantly listen on. First toll booth—despite slow traffic at points, it’s probably the quickest trip I’ve taken through or around Chicago.

Illinois: Corn. Corn. Hill! Corn. Also a lot of semis. However I did see our…

Sign of the Day: Actually, this one was graffiti, but nonetheless…on a bridge somewhere outside of Chicago read the words, “Jesu rock around yo soul.” Given the prevalence of “He is coming soon!” signs elsewhere in this state, I do hope he shall wield better grammar than his heralds.

And it's all for little ol' me...

Iowa:
1. The great old Mississippi River! (By the way, the Mississippi River actually took me a count of 28 Mississippis to cross. Tsk tsk, false advertising.)
2. Now, I won’t deny it, after that, there was lots of corn, and a lot of flat…expanse. Regardless, I must say any time I’ve seen a river in this state, breathtakingly beautiful scenery has surrounded it. Vibrant trees, hilly dips, flowers, verdant everything…and then of course, more corn.
3. By God. The biggest truck stop in the country!—and all I can think is…Damn, look at all those trucks. Also of note: they did not have the lowest gas price in the state. Don’t give in just because it’s big!
4. Give me curves in the road. A bridge. Anything. BREAK THE MONOTONY.
5. Oh dear, glad I’m not going the other way. That is a semi. Those are a lot of ambulances and cops. And that…oh, that’s an emergency helicopter there to airlift someone out. Eek. Traffic on that side of the road? Backed up 5 miles. Everyone’s out of their cars taking pictures. I don’t fiddle with cameras while driving, so tough noogies to you readers.
6. Des Moines! First thing I notice…factories. Smoke. And an interesting array of clouds that lead me steadily to…

Best Western! See my hotel room? And that’s all for me, because they don’t really vary in their room types.

Best part? I’m apparently one of only three, yes, THREE guests in the entire hotel right now. In the words of the desk manager: “So, you know…don’t get too rowdy, or something.”

Rock on, good sir. Rock on. And right adjacent to my hotel? A gas station, a Cracker Barrel, and a Mexican place. (On which note I must say, Los Tres Amigos, you have been proven woefully deficient. While you charge $9 for your combos, and $2 for your drinks, EL RODEO charged a mere $7 for its combos, and $1 for unlimited refill drinks! I have seen your inferiority exposed!)

And thus ends, day one. Tomorrow? Nebraska. I must store up my courage tonight.

View from my window. What, you thought I was staying IN La Quinta? Goodness, note that sign's in the OTHER parking lot, silly.

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4 thoughts on “On the Road to Colorado, Day 1

  1. Four score and…. well, seems like it was that long ago. Your narrative brought back so many memories of the corn… and more corn… and what’s that… yep more corn.

    Many years ago I did the same trek with my family, only ours was from Chi town to LA… doesn’t sound like the scenery has changed much. I think we even saw that semi with the ambulances and the helicopter! (Well maybe a different one, but…)

    Enjoy the trip and the time for thinking….

  2. Oh, do find something to occupy your poor mind as you travel through Nebraska. As I recall, there is nothing there. At all. But, I was a little girl, so perhaps my idea of excitement was a bit skewed. Be safe!

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