into the wild west.

I think Gabe particularly loved this trip to Stephanie's wedding in Nebraska. In part because he has never seen southern Minnesota, South Dakota or Nebraska. But, also largely because if there is one thing that can make me break into proverbial hives faster than you can imagine it is bald eagles and flags. And dream catchers. And cowboys. And Mount Rushmore. And CDs filled with endless hours of Native American music.

Wisconsin and Minnesota, I once believed, held the crown. Thousands of middle aged men proudly covering their 12mpg trucks with bald eagle decals while squeezing into two sizes too small red, white and blue duds. I see them daily.

But I was wrong. I admit (document this now, I rarely say it) SWEET GOODNESS WAS I WRONG!

Since my parents were the type to take my sister and I on educational vacations (yes, I've seen nearly all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's homes as well as attended multiple French Voyager Rendezvous), I've traversed the Dakotas 8 to 10 times...however my mind must have been preoccupied with endless rounds of Travel Guess Who? as well as another game called YOU'RE ON MY SIDE, DANA AND NOW YOU MUST DIE.

But how I didn't remember the horror brimming inside each gas station, gift shop and restaurant is beyond me.

Just incase you haven't driven across the wild west here is a visual. There's a lot of this:

And this:

And just when you think you're out far enough to avoid any further dream catcher/eagle/flag blowing in the wind kitschiness...it strikes again. This time when your irritability threshold is particularly susceptible...a 2am gas stop in Podunk, South Dakota:

Yes indeed, my friends. A 5X tall "Freedom is Never Free...Brothers in The Wind" bald eagle t-shirt. The American pride tee that will trump all others until the end of time.

Now, I wouldn't normally pin Gabe as the type to purposefully irritate me. But, on our all nighter drive back, twice I awoke to the EXACT same Native American chant playing at ungodly volumes on the radio...and Gabe glowing with an unusual look of satisfaction and mischief.

Well, what goes around comes around. When we finally arrived home this morning...it appeared as though somone had thrown a cement brick through Gabe's window. Karma's a what? :)


  1. This is a different kind of travelogue! Hilarious! I'm heartened to know that your folks dragged you and your sister through history. Gabe and Nic had the same lovely upbringing. I have to say as much as I miss my kids. I love going to museums and history centers now without the two whiners! Wait it wasn't so much the museums that made Gabe whine. It was the library. Nic and I wanted to throttle him. I digress. I'm happy that Gabe made it to S.D. I'm one generation from N.D. and grew up listening to stories of life on the prairies. That was before all that mini-mart junk tho. My junk is special. I have an old cigar box that says in old hand writing, 'Mostly North Dakota Rocks'. Kind of catchy! Oh, I have my eye on that tee-shirt. I wonder if they sale on-line? ;o)

  2. I do not even want to contemplate the creature that would wear that shirt!

    Thanks for sharing a piece of America I was so pleased to be ignorant about. :)

    I'm glad the wedding was fun. My son's is in 11 weeks.

    What do you think my chances are for losing 50 pounds by then? lol

  3. HAHAHAHAHA!!! omg, this made me laugh!!! I live like 45 minutes from Miss Laura Ingalls Wilder!! hahahahah and there are native pride people errywhere!! however, south dakota isn't too bad ; ) some of us are normal!


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