Geography. Summer. 2012. Chapter ONE: LISTS

Road Trips…still the best travel of all!

Chapter ONE: Lists

I love lists. And I love to travel. On road trips these two loves intermingle freely. Especially as I prepare.

Be aware. You may find evidence of a (relatively harmless?)  case of obsessive-compulsive disorder as you read.

Hoping for northern cool…

Tomorrow morning I will leave for:

  • Sioux Falls
  • Roseau
  • Grand Rapids
  • Minneapolis
  • Reykjavik
  • And at least two small towns with characterless motels

I will travel on Highways:

  • I-25 to Trinidad CO
  • Un-numbered to Highway 96
  • 96 to Sheridan Lake
  • 385 (I think) to Cheyenne Wells
  • 40 to Oakley KS
  • 83/383 to Woodruff (still in KS, but barely)
  • 183 to Holdridge NE
  • 6 to 14
  • 14 to Niobrara
  • 12 to 81 (crossing into SD)
  • 81 into Yankton & on the 42
  • 42 to 29 into Sioux Falls.

There will be additional lists necessary to continue beyond Sioux Falls. It is clear my obsessive compulsive impulses extend to Atlases.

Packing. It is sheer luxury not having to subject every single pair of footlets, every scarf, every book, every liquid to lengthy consideration as to weight or threat level. So why not take everything I could possibly want or need over the next three weeks. Oh sure there are shopping opportunities everywhere but why buy toothpaste in Roseau when I can haul it from Albuquerque. So here is what is going into my car:

  • Suitcase for Summer pants shirts sweater for up north
  • Suitcase for Warm clothes for Iceland
  • Overnight bag for change of clothes pajamas books toothbrush for on the road
  • Backpack for laptop, portable printer power sources pet mouse
  • Backpack for notebooks diaries journals atlases
  • Shoes
  • Favorite blanket and pillow
  • Backpack for trip books

Trip books

  • Northern Lights Tim O’Brien
  • Americana Hampton Sides
  • A Popular History of Minnesota Norman K. Risjord
  • Great Plains Ian Frazier
  • The Lost Continent Bill Bryson
  • From the Hidewood: Memories of a Dakota Neighborhood Robert Amerson
  • Norway to America Ingrid Semmingsen
  • Koochiching Hiram M. Drache


  • Bitter Sanctuary Marjorie Neset (the half-written [a third of which is brilliant/a third mediocre/a third really bad) novel which, while at my brother’s in Grand Rapids, I intend to reread and decide whether to toss, fix or ignore for another 10 years.

Of course it would be impossible to read all of this material AND drive AND talk to my relatives AND sleep. But I had to share the fact that I’m not taking my usual detective/murder lit.

Finally. About food.

Usually I buy Fig Newtons and Cheetos for $10 or so at the gas station. Turning over a new leaf this time I shopped at Whole Foods instead for baby carrots grape tomatoes gluten-free brownies green machine stuff for ONLY $35.

But many food pleasures ahead:

  • Marshmallow Malts (like drinking sugar)
  • Butterscotch Malts
  • Pineapple Malts
  • Hot beef sandwiches
  • Hot pork sandwiches
  • Hot chicken sandwiches (I think I made that up)
  • Real grilled cheese sandwiches where the Velveeta oozes out between the white bread
  • Walleye for dinner, snack before bed, cold with morning coffee
  • Hot dishes
  • Jell-O salad

Forgive me. This is a very self-indulgent post. But so much fun. Tomorrow will be more profound and literary!

Going through a lot of Red States…making my Blue State (I hope) statement


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