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On the Road Again...Again

by NearlyNormal Tue May 26th, 2009 at 06:03:00 PM EST

Yippee, I'm getting ready to hit the road again...Is Willie Nelson popular in Europe, do you know his song, On The Road Again.  It always goes through my head since my Dad always sings it when we're heading out.  I think I left some pictures of him and his motorcycle "Ol Blue" in an earlier essay, but its a catchy tune and its been going through my head with increasing frequency.


This time, I'm not going by motorcycle, I'm taking the Honda Civic and two granddaughters and maybe my daughter, though she seems to be waffling of late.  We are heading out in a couple of weeks and will leave California and all its misery and beauty for a few weeks as we head first for The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, then to the Wind River Range. all in Wyoming, then over to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore, with the president's heads and the Black Hills. We'll mess around a little bit and then cross S. Dakota and make sure that we stop in at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

12 and 8 yrs old, the girls should be pretty good for this part of the trip, but then we get the great plains and a long, long day or two of driving.  Chicago will be a blast, my other daughter and her boys live in the 'burbs, now, and we'll stay there for a while.  Maybe we will go into town and go to a ballgame at Wrigley, or go shopping Downtown in that great city.  The 12 yr old will love it, she already has plans to be the lead guitarist in a Punk Rock band so the City of Big Shoulders should be pretty fun for her.

Next its on down the road to South Bend Indiana, 4th of July and a barbeque with Willie Nelson, John Mellenkamp and Bob Dylan at the baseball stadium.  family friendly and opens up at 5:30 with kids under 14 getting in free.  How cool is that?  There, I'll meet up with one of my old buddies that I grew up with, he's coming up from Marion Ind.  A place that is truly suffering from the economic policies of the Reagan years.

After the show we'll head downstate and hook up with the parents and both sets of the girls great-grandparents on their Mom's side, maybe even grandma will come up from Tennessee, who knows.  We'll probably stay in the midwest till the 10th or 11th and then head back.

We'll go across Indiana, Illinois, and stop in at Hannibal where the great Sam Clemens, aka Mark Twain, grew up a few feet from the Mighty Mississippi-and it is a mighty river, indeed.  Then across Missouri and into Kansas.  UGH, I really don't like going across Kansas, its okay the first time but....Colorado awaits and we'll shoot north of Denver and head for Estes Park and then go through Rocky Mountain Natl. Park and that is a sight to see.  Down on the other side we'll head for Steamboat Springs and stay a day or two there, and then its off across the remainder of Colorado, then Utah and Nevada (Ugh, again), and then home sometime around the 15th of July.

If it works as planned I'll have lots of good pictures and a good story to tell.  Should be a lot of fun.

Next year Europe, I've already started saving, so plan on having a pilgrim in your midst sometime around September '10.

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I really love heading out Cross-Country.  Its a wonderful feeling to be heading to and through the Rocky Mountains and across the plains.  I don't think I ever get tired of it.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 06:13:23 PM EST
One of my all time great trips (1968) was to drive Route 66 from Chicago to LA in a temperamental Brookwood (?) estate with a mad dutchman, a future Hollywood director (our actor), and an essentially pukka English producer called Howard and his wife. It was my first time in the States and we were making a cheapo movie for BUNAC - the British Universities North America Club.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 03:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always liked this road song by Haggard although Roger Miller's King of the Road had its appeal when I was hitching.



I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 12:22:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to see you doing your part to stop climate change!  :)  LOL.  Sorry.  That is one heck of a raod trip!  Throug some of the more boring parts of our fair country too.  (Hell=driving through Kansas.)

I'm in ChiTown.  Since you have family in the suburbs, you probably don't need any guidance with your stay in town, but let me know if you do.  

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 06:13:38 PM EST
Hey, its the civic!

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 06:27:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are out in Crystal Lake, now, used to live in the City, with all the great food and cool neighborhoods.  My daughter used to work at Heaven on Seven.  But, yeah, I'd love current info.  Thanks.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 06:28:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crystal Lake is pretty far out there, but it looks like they have a Metra stop.  That's convenient.  I always recommend the Cultural Center, Millenium Park & the Art Institute, which has just opened a brand-spanking new, architecturally amazing Modern Wing, designed by Renzo Piano, for vistors.  It's all right downtown, all in the same place, very convenient.  Have you seen the Bean?  Jerome liked the Bean...

My e-mail is poemless at gmail dot com.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 01:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have not seen the Bean, I'll make sure to see it.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 03:06:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't stare at it too closely...it'll eat you.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:45:35 AM EST
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Wow, that all takes me back - song included!

Hope you have a nice trip (though I don't think there's much doubt about that). I'm totally jealous of your July 4 event, but hey - don't mind me! ;)

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 02:52:16 AM EST
The take-back song for me is

Take me back to the Black Hills,
The Black Hills of Dakota,
To that beautiful Indian country
That I love.

Often heard as a child on BBC Radio.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 03:21:44 AM EST
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I was just going to say, NN, don't forget the Crazy Horse monument to balance out Mt. Fushmore.  Or the Wounded Knee monument, so the girls will never forget.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 11:52:58 AM EST
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Oh yeah, we'll go see both of them.  I hope to get up to Idaho and go past the Nez Perce lands, but I'm getting a little jammed on the time periods.  I'll be stopping in the Black Hills and we'll sit and listen.  I took my daughter through there once, and there was a ferocious lightning storm on the other side of the Black Hills and it made for the most dramatic backlighting of a mt range I ever saw.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 03:10:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me it would be :

"Oh,give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day."

Played on a four stringed banjo, bluegrass style and Al :-)

I've never been to the "States", the nearest was with Mic-Mac people in an "end of the world" sort of country in Canada (South of Halifax).

As a Biker since the age of sixteen, this trip would be something I'd love to do... Hope you'll fulfill my dreaming capacity with your pictures  :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 04:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Check out my essay, "On the Back of Ol'Blue"....At least I think thats what it was, Ive only got a few of them but one or two were about heading into the Rocky Mountains with my Dad on motorcycles.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 05:51:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Superb... Wasn't there a "Part 3"?

I did have a Sportster 1200cc (as we say here), but just when it started to be a nice bike in it's own juices (5 years) somebody stole it... So I went back to buying second hand bikes that nobody would think stealing (not Rats, I'm not there yet!).

For such trips, the 'Glide is the way but here (in Paris and in a 200km radius, I prefer a japanese 600cc (kid stuff), light, braking well, economical on fuel, and very efficient in heavy traffic...

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 06:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There really didn't seem to be much interest in a part 3, and I got caught up in electoral politics vainly trying to get a gvt that was serious about change.  Maybe I'll do a part three sometime, or at least a link to the pictures if I put them somewhere accessible.

Thanks for reading.  I like 600cc japanese bikes, they are incredibly effecient and powerful.  If I lived in Paris (don't I wish) and had a vehicle, it would probably be the SV Suzuki.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 09:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
make sure that we stop in at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

If you are in the mood, one of the best steaks I have had was at Louis', just across the railroad tracks north of I-90.  It has a giant plastic cow outside.  de Gondi assures us that there is also a Starbucks there.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:02:31 PM EST
Badlands National Park is also worth a visit.  When I was through it we had to stop while a herd of pronghorn raced across the road.  It should be stunning mid June to mid July.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:06:15 PM EST
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The giant plastic cow in Mitchell is becoming mythic.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 02:14:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A myth to some, a landmark to others!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 11:19:44 AM EST
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