Roadtrip

Starting on Saturday, March 11th, Chris and I travelled around in mid-western USA. Here is my account of our journey. Sorry, it’s a bit long. I’ll add some pics as soon as possible…

  • Our first day:
    • We start in Houston, Texas at five in the morning and drive to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We want to stop at the State Capitol which has a very tall tower (it is the tallest state capitol in the US), but the tower is closed. When we cross some quarters quite near to the city center we get a good view of the aftermaths of hurricane Katrina, there are people begging in the streets…
    • From there we continue through one of America’s dullest states: Mississippi. The journey isn’t that dull, because we see a burning car on the Interstate Highway (which looks as if it came out of a movie) and some miles later a pedestrian crosses the interstate, looking very relaxed for somebody crossing a four-track speedway.
    • We try to leave Mississippi as soon as possible and reached Memphis, Tennessee where we concentrate on the city’s main attraction Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home. I regret that we don’t have the time to see the National Civil Rights Museum, but museums have the irritating habit of closing at 4 or 5 p.m.—even in the States.
    • From Memphis we continue our journey through Tennessee, Arkansas (which we shall pass through later again, but always at night), and Missouri to St. Louis, Missouri where we stay for the rest of the night.
  • 2nd day:
  • 3rd day:
    • Chicago strikes me as quite different from what I have expected: First of all, the neo-gothic style of the university buildings is a sharp contrast to the skyscrapers we know. But even in the commercial center of Chicago the skyline is different from Manhattan, because the Chicago skyscrapers are less densely built. We have dinner at The Signature Room, at the 95th storey of Chicago’s second-highest building Hancock Tower, and visit different parts of the city, including some antique bookstores.
    • In the evening we continue our journey and come to Iowa where we stop at a motel near Iowa City. It has become rather cold by now.
  • 4th day:
    • We start the day with a short visit to Iowa’s former capital Iowa City, Iowa; our aim is to take a look at Gilbert Grape’s state. We spontaneously decide to visit the Amana Colonies, where we have copious amounts of Germanish food.
    • On our way through Iowa we stop at Grinnell College and buy cookies at ALDI discount store in Newton which looks just like a German Aldi and may be the kind of store that plays a role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
    • Our next stop is Iowa’s new capital Des Moines. We go into the Iowa State Capitol and watch the on-going session of the Iowa General Assembly.
    • We continue our journey with a short stop at Kansas City, a rather dull town of the Mid-West. After we have crossed the border to Kansas, we are stopped by the police. The police officer is German too, but prefers American driver’s licenses. We stop for the night in Emporia, Kansas.
  • 5th day:
    • The next day we reach the Arkansas River once more, exactly where the two “smaller” Arkansas Rivers come together in Wichita, Kansas. There is an All-Indian Center that we visit. A very relaxed Native American asks us to sign the guest book and tells me the wrong date. When he realizes his error he comments: “Indian time!” which becomes my favorite quotation for the following days, esp. when Chris wants to do too much in too little time.
    • After a quick stop in Arkansas City, Kansas, “we're not in Kansas anymore”, but reach Oklahoma, the Sooner State, which seems even more lost in the middle of nothing. We take a detour through the Osage Indian Reservation, which is impressive, esp. for the landscape, but we don’t see very many Indians. We stop in Fairfax, Oklahoma, a Western town with a big convenience store. From there we return to Texas. It’s a rather long drive. On the spaghetti highway junctures in Dallas we get lost and have to take a detour through the skyscraper parking lots before we find our highway to Houston again. We get stopped by a Texas Ranger and Chris has a hard time finding his driver’s license. The rest of our journey is uneventful: We pass the colossal statue of Sam Houston and find ourselves on the equally spaghetti-ish Houston junctures.

One Response to “Roadtrip”

  1. Great trip ! We are also planning to go mid western U.S.A,your trip overview is very useful for us.please upload the pics so we get more idea .

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