October 26, 2009

Roadtrip: Final Leg

Posted in Look tagged , , at 8:33 pm by onetinyacorn

Mount Rushmore is one of those ubiquities in American culture that I was not too keen on visiting, but it was right there, and my mom wanted to visit. The one aspect that I was interested in was its inclusion in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, but it’s not mentioned within the park itself. I did have to visit the dining room, and of course it’s totally different now. The U.S. government promised these lands to the Native Americans, then carved the faces of 4 U.S. presidents into that same land, using rocks that Native Americans find sacred. That encapsulates U.S. history pretty well, I think.

What really shocked me was that I had never heard of or seen pictures of Crazy Horse Monument until this trip. Really? The world’s largest mountain carving, just a few miles from Mount Rushmore, and I’ve remained unaware of it for 30 years? It’s an interesting story: they refuse to accept any funding from the government for the project, so it is funded entirely by donations and profits from admissions and concessions.

October 22, 2009

Roadtrip, Part 3

Posted in Look tagged , , , , at 11:09 am by onetinyacorn

We came across this lovely little campground outside of Mitchell, SD. They have an antique store adjacent to the campground store, and have incorporated glass dishes into their benches and fences to create lovely little works of art. I felt the calmness and beauty of the prarie, admired the waving sheaths of Naples Yellow grain, the landscape dotted here and there by lonely houses and barns. I was looking forward to getting closer to home.

But first: the Badlands. Like an inverted Grand Canyon crossed with a lunar landscape. Breathtaking. Next time I’m doing some hiking there.

May 10, 2009

Westward, Ho! Herbert Hoover

Posted in Look tagged , , , , at 2:53 pm by onetinyacorn

Herbert Hoover’s birthplace is located less than a mile off of I-80, in West Branch, Iowa, and made an interesting little stop. First I bought this sweet passport to the national parks; it contains a map of the U.S., with the national parks and historic sites marked. The passport is divided by geographic region, and describes some highlights in greater detail. It has a place for me to stamp the passport with every site I visit. Since I love a good road trip, I figured it would be a good way to plan detours or destinations when traveling.

Things I Learned About Herbert Hoover

* He was born in a two-room cottage

* He was Quaker, and his mother spoke often at Quaker meetings

* His father was a blacksmith

* He may or may not have attended the one-room schoolhouse that you see pictured below

* The statue below is the Statue of Isis, a donation from Belgium

We didn’t go into the Presidential Library (I know, I know!), but I’m pretty interested in how they treat the subject of his presidency. Sarah Vowel has a piece on This American Life about this topic here (episode 167).

May 9, 2009

Westward, Ho! The World's Largest Truck Stop

Posted in Look tagged , , , , at 10:11 pm by onetinyacorn

On Monday, my husband and I (frantically) packed up all of our earthly possessions, and set out on a 1,500 mile road trip to Laramie, Wyoming. Those who had made the trip along I-80 in the past scoffed, “There’s nothing to see along the way.” Liars! We found lots of nerdy diversions.

Indiana and Illinois were fairly uneventful. I can’t read in a moving vehicle, lest I become horribly nauseated, so I’ve always submitted to the zen of the road trip. Most people find driving through flat expanses of farmland to be boring, but I think that it’s beautiful, in its quiet way. We crossed the Mississippi River at night, with lights glittering and small boats gently rocking. It was our first peek at Iowa, a state that pleasantly surprised me.

As we left Davenport, Iowa early the next morning, we were met with the delightfully kitschy signage for The World’s Largest Truck Stop. Obviously, we had to stop there. Having completed two month-long road trips around the country in the past, I could appreciate the grandeur of this truck stop: they had showers, of course, but also a dentist, movie theaters, a trucking museum, lounging area, chapel, and anything you could possibly need to deck out your rig.

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