Well, we are more than halfway across the US. I’m sitting in a motel in North Dakota waiting for Jeremy to come back from a 50 mile bike ride so we can start today’s driving leg of the road trip. With this trip, during the pandemic, racial unrest and climate catastrophes that are the forest fires on the west coast, and Vince’s inevitable glee at being on his own, I thought that I would be sad and scared, but I’m pretty happy. I have hope! I see that people are wearing masks – even in tiny towns with one rest stop. I love the US and the drive makes me love it even more. I hope that we can pull it together. Everyone in the family is being nice to each other. We are trying to do things each day that make each person happy. We also made the critical decision to pay for extra space – so 2 hotel rooms instead of the usual one.
We left early on Sunday morning after spending Saturday packing. Vince and I are reluctant packers so we were dragging our feet on Saturday and then about 1 pm on Saturday, Jeremy said – ummm, I’m getting anxious about the packing can you guys please get it together? And then Vince and I conferred and pulled it together in about an hour or so. Vince made sure to pack sriracha – take a look in the IKEA pride bag.
Ning and Brian and Noah waved goodbye from the front lawn and we were off. We drove straight to Chicago to visit the gek tree. It’s a GenZ pilgrimage. You can read about this here. This pleased Vince to no end and I help recreate the album cover. (Though it did make me nervous we were on private property – though I think the company is gently condoning the trespassing.) We liked having the first stop be a Vince stop. It also enabled us to stay in a tiny motel in Des Plaines near a running/biking trail.
Vince was nice enough to mind Edda in the morning so we could go running/biking at the same time. Edda is having a good time, we are managing to have her still attend online school with data either from the hotel or cell data from a phone in the car that we use as a hotspot. We haven’t missed a class yet, though I think it’s only a matter of time. As the we travel across time zones, the classes get earlier and earlier. She is brutal at night – tossing and turning a lot. We have bumpers on the bed to help her stay in bed and not fall out, but at times, she overpowers the bumpers.
Then we were off to Minneapolis. We stayed on campus at a hotel called the Graduate.
We had a socially distant date with Dave and he showed us the UMinn campus in all its glory. It was a beautiful day, the students were outside studying (masked) and the grounds were beautiful. This was Vince’s second choice school and it looked amazing!
We stopped at Vincent Hall where Dave took calculus as a 10th grader (Dave is the smartest guy I know. Like literally. No surprise the math classes were too slow for him.)
And we stopped at the ChemE building (this is what we do on college campuses. don’t make fun). Amundson was Dave’s academic great grandfather.
It was so nice to celebrate my 48th birthday with a friend! One can kind of forget that we used to have friends to celebrate with during these pandemic times. Dave made these cookies (from a recipe from the cancelled state fair) and we celebrated on one of the campus bridges over the Mississippi. There was socially distant singing. I was honored and very happy.
Now Jeremy and I are again properly four years apart – this year averaging 50 years old.
The next morning we made a stop to the George Floyd memorial. We had advice from a friend to park and have breakfast at the Tiny Diner, a permaculture based eatery and then walk the two miles to the memorial. Edda is doing school in this photo. The food was delicious.
We didn’t take photos at the actual memorial because it didn’t seem quite right. But I snapped this photo of the barrier that cordoned off the entire intersection. It was quite moving and we were all glad that we made the time to stop by.
As we drive west, we see the increasing haze around the sun from the fires.