Archive for August, 2011

The Great American Road Trip: Part Seven — Land of Lincoln

Nine or ten days in the car stopping off at American sites of great natural beauty and historical wonder.  With three kids.

The results were surprising to us all.

Click here to view Part Six.

We awoke in Springfield.

Ah, Springfield.

If you look in the distance, you can see the power plant with its tall stacks reaching toward the sky.  On the edge of town lies Lake Springfield.  A nearby community is called Shelbyville.  Is that a Kwik-E-Mart I see?

Wait.  It’s not that Springfield, is it? Continue reading

The Great American Road Trip: Part Six — Escape from Iowa

To view Part Five, click here.

When we left off, we were in Sioux City, Iowa:

The name Comfort Inn did not suit our hotel.  It was just the opposite.

There was an extremely tangy smell in the air.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.

Then, as I laid my head down on the pillow, I figured it out…

Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides—or fumigants—to suffocate or poison the pests within.

Ewww. Continue reading

The Great American Road Trip: Part Five — The Long Journey Home Begins

Nine or ten days in the car stopping off at American sites of great natural beauty and historical wonder.  With three kids.

The results were surprising to us all.

Click here to view Part Four.

Day Six:  Custer, SD to Sioux City, IA

The Comfort Inn in Custer was built into the side of one of the Black Hills.  It was a great place to stay.

At breakfast, a very friendly young woman from Eastern Europe hustled about the room to make guests as comfortable as possible.  We had met college-aged men and woman from places such as Russia, Ukraine and Romania.  They were working at Wall Drug and at various locales in the Black Hills.  They were all vivacious, energetic and helpful.  Upon checking out of the hotel, I asked the clerk about these people.

“They’ll all here on J-1 visas,” she replied.  “Aren’t they great?”  She then added, “We can’t get American kids for the summer.”

I agreed that they were all very nice.  I then asked the lady how she felt about people who were against immigration.

“Well,” she said.  “They should come here and do these jobs themselves.” Continue reading

Conversations with Island Boy

After our 9 day road trip to South Dakota Island Boy was happy to be playing outside of Kay Nou.

IB:  It’s good to be home.

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IB:  Do you know the name of my paratrooper?

RG:  No, I don’t.

IB:  It’s Justin Bieber.

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IB is working hard on good behavior when we got out in public.

IB:  I did a really good job at the Dollar Store, didn’t I?

RG, pausing to think about the errands we had run: Do you mean the bank?

IB:  Yes, yes, the bank.

–Running Girl

The Great American Road Trip: Part Four — The Black Hills

Nine or ten days in the car stopping off at American sites of great natural beauty and historical wonder.  With three kids.

The results were surprising to us all.

Click here to read Part Three.

Day Five: Wall, SD to Custer, SD

It was cooler on this day.  There was a steady wind.

We ate breakfast, packed up and said good-bye to our log cabin on the prairie.  We had grown rather fond of it.

But we knew spectacular things were ahead for us.  Continue reading

The Great American Road Trip: Part Three — The Badlands

Sunrise Run

Nine or ten days in the car stopping off at American sites of great natural beauty and historical wonder.  With three kids.

The results were surprising to us all.

Click here to read Part Two.

Day Four:  The Badlands

Running Girl started the day perfectly (for her) — a six mile run through the western town of Wall, South Dakota.  Part-way through the town, she found a jogging trail.  What could be better?  The sun was coming up.  The temperature was sublime.  All was bliss.

Until:

Continue reading

The Great American Road Trip: Part Two — South Dakota 101

 

Nine or ten days in the car stopping off at American sites of great natural beauty and historical wonder.  With three kids.

Truth was, we acutely felt the possibility that this would be the last occasion to cram family memories into the teenagers’ heads.  They didn’t want to go.  We forced them.  Our hope was that they would come to love the vastness and diversity of their country.

The results were surprising to us all.

Click here to read Part One.

Day Three:  Sioux Falls, SD to Wall, SD

Learnin'

Running Girl and The Major slept poorly.  We were completely scrunched up against each other on one side of the giant bed.  Island Boy, an invitee to our mattress, slept perpendicular to us in order to cause maximum damage.  Efforts to correct this “across-the-grain” sleeping pattern were fruitless.  No good deed goes unpunished, runs the old adage.  Henceforth, IB was banished to a sleeping bag on the floor. Continue reading