I'd forgotten to bring sunglasses when I left home. now, I like sunglasses and it's been 6 whole days since I've worn any. I must have been 10 years the last time I wore no sunglasses for 6 consecutive days. you know how you can normally find crappy sunglasses in roadside convenience stores? I'd been looking and I hadn't found any. I found salvation in this pre-minnesota wisconsin roadside gas station and convenience store:
we totally don't get 93 octane in southern california. they have sunglasses AND 93. lucky duckies.
the minnesota auspices were good. the first chance we get, we stop to chill with the amish in minnesota. we pull into a nice little spot on the side of the road where the local amish make their way to hell and trade their souls to outsiders for their green paper treasure. I tried some amish bread... comme-ci comme-ca. the amish had A RACK of different tractor magazines. I'm talking about a full magazine rack which was chock full of different magazines all about tractors. I mean, I don't even have A magazine about tractors. let alone many magazines about tractors which would necessitate a magazine about tractor rack. in the amish shop, I got bunches of gifts for bunches of people and then bid farewell to the amish. there's apparently some viking figure who has made his way (the only way he knows how) onto all sorts of amish memorabilia. in every picture, he says "uff da!" I almost bought my grandmother a collector's travel spoon with him on it, but instead I opted for the more traditional amish spoon. on the way out, we found a genuine amish buggy.
upon our merry way, the weather started getting rough. this turned out to be our only bout with inclement weather. we saw the uff da car and I had this to say on the uff da car topic. after the uff da novelty wore off, we were left to contend with the harsh minnesota weather on our own. to our surprise, and our rescue, came spam. or rather, the spam museum. it first showed up on one of those road signs that you only see once and of which you cannot get a picture. did you know there exists a spam museum in austin, mn? none of us did. despite being 5/6 vegetarian, we were all fascinated at the fact that there's a spam museum out there. we were further fascinated by the part of the sign that said exit 1 mile.
before we got near the spam museum, we smelled it. there's a spam factory right next door to the spam museum and we could smell that bad boy for half a mile. the spam factory made as deep an impression on our olfactories as the oven rack did on our facefactories. in addition to the penetrating spam smell, we also got several visual cues as to the our proximity to the spiced ham of yore. we pulled into the lot and marvelled at the spamtastic sight before us. I've never eaten spam. I decided that if they had a free spample, I'd try it though.
once inside, it was very childrens museumish. lots of interactive stuff to do:
are we not lambda lambda lambda talent contest?
years worth of spam propaganda, and the girls of hormel pictorial. check this out, kimmy: it's a toilet. but not just any toilet, kimmy. and not just a toilet in the spam museum. it says "this stool flushes automatically" and that's a pretty cool double entendre in my book. I learned that the uff da! viking is a minnesota thing, not an amish thing. I didn't actually think that the amish chose a viking to represent.
it was with heavy hearts that we tore ourselves from the temply to spam. our hearts, however, were soon lifted by the comic contrast between a crappy bunch of restaurants with which we're all too familiar and that other place. in celebration of the lack of free spample, and hence my not eating spam, I busted out a banana and peanutbutter sandwich. I'd been planning on taking a picture of me eating spam. since that didn't happen, I snapped me in all my elvis glory.
the wheels on our car went round and round all through minnesota without further excitement. south dakota, on the other hand, had some excitement. certainly a lot more excitement than I'd expected from a flyover state like that. there was a gas station, not a big rest-stop, mind you, and it had it all. from beer to cell phone chargers, from car repair items to comic books. from showers to fireworks. if only all gas stations sold fireworks...
dj109 had been telling us about the corn palace for lots of miles. she'd been there in the past and said its corny goodness blew her away. we were a bit skeptical. I mean, a whole palace made of corn? it seems that there must be more suitable building materials of which one should build a palace. our hopes were raised a bit as we drove into mitchell, sd and learned that their high school basketball team is named the kernels. our hopes were appropriately dashed when we learned that the signs pointing us to the corn palace were pointing us to a modernish building which included some cement, tiles, lots of etc and other artificial flavorings. lots of corn, don't get me wrong. but the construct is far from all corn all the time. this was a place in which strangers ask you to take their picture and then return the favor. this was nothing like the made only of corn palace we'd been misled to expect:
we found a new chain of fast food. new to us anyway. our appetites whet by the corn faux, we were drawn to mexican food in south dakota. I really can't tell you what we were thinking. I am at a loss for words and the only explanation I offer is the tater tot nachos I found within. we didn't stop for gas on the way out of mitchell. I kind of wanted to, just based on the cool gas station, but we'd just recently gotten gas in the other cool gas station. what kind of flyover state has such cool gas stations? hours later, we stopped for gas in a small town. not even a town ( I am, I said. have I never been mellow?) more like a gas station on a freeway offramp. there, we fed the birds (tuppence a bag) and I ran into kelly.
kelly is the cute girl gas station attendant in not-a-town, sd. I talked to her for a bit and I learned some scary stuff. first off, she's not a commuter. kelly lives in not-a-town. second, I learned she's lived there her entire life - except when she went off to college. third, she went to college not far away - in south dakota. fourth SHE CAME BACK. fifth and most scary to me: I asked how far she's ever been from where we stood. she said montana.
sorry to interrupt mid-day. please stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of day 6.