I am working on my 30th move. I have now arrived at my destination but my furniture and boxes don’t arrive for another week. St Paul, Minnesota. It was 12°f when I got up this morning. The high is supposed to be 14. What am I doing? I need to shop for warm clothes.
On the way out here we traveled through nine states. It made me realize we really do live in a big beautiful country. The first day it snowed all the way from DC to Columbus, OH. Just a light snow, nothing to be concerned about, but constant. When we hit 1,600 feet going over the mountains in Maryland, it was cloudy, foggy, but we could still see. It was beautiful. The mountains covered in snow. Kind of eerie.
In Ohio we saw a billboard that said “Jesus is Real”. And a little further on another one that said “Where do you plan to spend Eternity?”. We agreed that Bali would be nice. Outside Dayton we discovered the National Aviation Heritage Area with more than 15 aviation-related sites including the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum and the Wright Cycle Company.
It was Thanksgiving Day. We didn’t see a policeman all day. We did see people lined up outside Target waiting for the early Black Friday sales. We had our Thanksgiving meal at Ruby Tuesday. Not our best moment.
The next day we spent in Indiana and Illinois. We saw a lot of police in Indiana and many in unmarked cars. We were pulled over once years ago in Indiana by a policeman in a Mustang. We started seeing lots of billboards for Steak n Shake restaurants. I had never heard of them but they were everywhere. We finally stopped in Crawfordsville, IN and tried one. It was actually a sit down restaurant with waitresses. We didn’t expect that. The food was pretty good and the shakes were wonderful. Illinois was a blur, possible due to the shake induced coma and the fact that I was driving.
We cheered as we crossed the Mississippi into Iowa. We pushed on to Waterloo. The first hotel we stopped at was full. We managed to snag the last room at our second choice. It was a big game weekend at the University of Northern Iowa. We went across the street to an Italian restaurant and I ordered the lasagna. Now for me lasagna is always a crap shoot. You never know what you are going to get. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is awful. This was awful. There was no cheese in it at all. Only sausage. How can you make lasagna without cheese? Makes no sense.
Next morning was a dreary complimentary hotel breakfast and an early start. The sun was shining and it was pretty warm. A light blanket of snow covered the farmland and we enjoyed the red barns and silos that dotted the countryside. Outside Mason City we noticed we were entering Cerro Gordo County. In Iowa? Cerro Gordo County was formed in 1851 and named after the Battle of Cerro Gordo in the Mexican-American War of 1847. It was not clear why but I assumed there must have been some connection.
Cerro Gordo had another claim to fame. It was the site of the 1959 plane crash that killed Richie Valens and Buddy Holly and several others.
From there we hit the highway north to Minnesota. Near the border we came across a big windmill farm. I am always impressed by the size and beauty of windmills.
Now my work really begins. Moving in, unpacking, organizing, finding work, and of course a good pair of warm boots.
Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on Amazon.com. You can also follow her blog at ExpatAlien.com.