3:44 Hotel Lobby, 2nd day of trip

I hope I didn’t wake anyone up when I tried to sneak out of our hotel room twenty minutes ago. Not a very propitious way to begin the second day of a road trip with the grand kids.

A few years ago when I was fighting the Duluth School Board I often got up at odd hours to write when my head was full up and I needed to empty it out. I’ve been out of that habit for a couple years now. My good health would prefer to get a good night’s sleep.

I found myself on the edge of cranky yesterday morning. We hadn’t packed anything in advance and that meant we had to pack everything with two giddy little ones underfoot. We didn’t get out of town until 10 AM which left me plenty of time to file for the School Board. I didn’t because I hadn’t forewarned Claudia that I was once again thinking seriously of making a spectacle of myself. I’ll still have a couple days to file upon my return in about ten days.

If you are wondering that I would post this here there is a simple explanation. Claudia has never read my blog. She has never read my Not Eudora columns. I have read a couple of them to her. That’s about it. Its probably not that ignorance is bliss…..but then again maybe it is at least peace of mind – for both of us.

That reminds me I haven’t read my recent submission to the Reader for my Not Eudora column. I better reread it to see if its still cogent a couple days after the submission……wait just a moment please! Gosh. Its OK. No obvious edits seem to be needed. I hope the Readers staff member I emailed it to got it.

Despite the late packing our trip is not disorganized. I did buy a fancy box to store our clothes in and had roof racks put on the top of our Chevy traverse the day before we left. There had been a mix up at the dealership about ordering the racks so that was a bit of a last minute hiccup but I held my breath and the hiccups stopped. The only thing I hadn’t managed was ordering travel books for me to read out loud. I did a last minute google exploration and had three I proposed to buy to my fellow adults – Blue Highways, Travels with Charley and Little House on the Prairie.

After we had a rollicking time eating pizza at Sioux Falls Chuck E Cheese I had the family drop me off at a Barnes and Nobles a little way from our hotel and bought all three before walking back. I even had time to jump in the pool with the boys and splash around before bed. The littlest fellow at 3 and a half was a little to young and pre-bedtime squirrely to read the first chapter of Little House without constant interruptions. I did tell the boys that my Grandfather lived in a sod house (its almost true) and that his Grandmother Claudia’s Grandmother crossed the plains in a covered wagon when she was four. I had thought the book was about the Author’s family traveling to South Dakota but it turned out to be Kansas. That’s OK. The Great Plains is all flat and dry.

As for the other books I don’t know how much of them I’ll read. They are road books. I well remember reading glowing reviews of Blue Highways about ten years ago. Turns out I read them thirty years ago. That was a shock. A more recent reviewer on the great website “good reads” pointed out that the blue highways (secondary roads) found on maps had changed greatly in the last three decades. Another mentioned Travels with Charley written 30 years earlier by a sick and elderly John Steinbeck when we seemed on the verge of nuclear war. Charley was his wife’s dog. However much I read of these books, and I only plan to sample them, they will be an excellent follow up to Life on the Missippi which was a paean to changing times in the 1800’s and Warmth of Other Suns which is about the “Great migration” northward of southern Black-Americans that took place between 1915 and 1970 near the close of the Civil Right’s Era.

These aren’t all the thoughts that woke me prematurely early this morning but mentioning them will put any other entries on our own road trip in good context. I’ve also been doing a lot of imagining how nice it would be to teach again. I’ve got lots of ideas on how to make a class of 50 bored high school history students come alive. I can imagine some very fun historical navigation with Cell phones and Google in such a class.

I’ve also got Eukaryotes on the brain. A recent discovery of some fossils hints that they could go back 3 billion years on Earth and re-piqued my interest in them. They are all about sex, evolution and another billion years of road trips. Maybe I can go back to bed now.

Today, we will stop at Mitchell, South Dakota’s Corn Palace. The boys are so excited about it. Well, they are 3 and 5. We will come to rest in Badlands National Park at the end of our day. Until we get to our destination the boys will watch movies on video players. That’s a lot more engrossing than watching a sea of grass pass by your wagon every day for a month.

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