Rocky Road

24 July 2008

Rocky Road

With our plans for breakfast cereal by the Missouri River dashed by bad weather, I had the excuse I needed to splurge on fried eggs (up), homemade sausage patties and hash-browns at Al's Oasis in Oacoma, Chamberlain's twin city across one of the rusty, iron bridges that crosses the Missouri.

The guidebook said that Al’s served unremarkable food, but it was big, came quickly and when my plateful had been washed down by two cups of five cent coffee, my stomach told me that the bad weather had done it a favour.

Our next stop was Sioux Falls, several hours drive along Interstate 90 and across what had become largely featureless arable land. It’s strange, but the more that we saw the effects of humans on the landscape, the less interesting it became.

Around halfway we detoured off the Interstate, by now reduced largely to a single lane bound by orange traffic cones, into Mitchell, South Dakota for more coffee and a short stop outside Mitchell’s Corn Palace. The Corn Palace has been famous since 1892 for annually being covered in corn. This alone seems to lure thousands of tourists like us off the interstate and into this otherwise unremarkable town.

I watched several Amish men and women eating ice-cream (apparently Rocky Road is a particular favourite) while I drank my double-shot vanilla latte and then we headed back onto the interstate so that I could attempt to keep my (almost) unbroken record of only demolishing three traffic cones on our way to Sioux Falls.

Tonight we’re at another functional, but otherwise charmless KOA campground (I refuse to spell campground with a k, no matter what their brand guidelines might state). Here we began to pack away our things in readiness for our last night in our RV tomorrow.

I’m very sad thinking we’ll leave our home on wheels in two days and that our journey is coming to its end, but I have learned some huge lessons on this trip. First, that traffic cones have feelings too and its wrong to knock them. Second, that home is anywhere you choose it to be and with the people that you choose to share it with.

We’ve read few of the books we brought along, played few of the games and watched hardly any of the movies that we loaded onto our firewire drive. We’ve worn few of the clothes that we packed and eaten most, but not all of the food we bought. What we did do is chatter, sing along to music and watch the world go by as we drove.  I could live my whole life like this. What else matters?

By Andy Clarke

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