Ok. I was out of commission for a little while. It seems that the vivax strain of malaria was hiding out in my liver for the past eight months or so and decided it wanted to run rampant through my body.
It did. I was ill.
I’m doing fine now. So, let’s get back to where we were. I think we were somewhere around Grand Rapids, MI.
From there I skirted around the city of Chicago and made way for Wisconsin. It reminded me of central Pennsylvania, a landscape of rolling hills dotted with farms.
I was feeling well, and then felt a little better because I was crossing the Mississippi River and a deep green-tree(ed) Minnesota was before me.
26 July 2000
The sky is dark and a light rain is falling on this tiny town of 858 people.
…arrived last evening…Main street consists of 3 blocks of shops, cafes, a pub and a winery…and Norwegian, U.S. and Irish flags. The locals are pleasant and kind.
The Root River passes through town–appears to be the economy (local tourism) of Lanesboro. The Root River Rails-To-Trails Trail follows the river’s path for 40 miles…you can go tubing or canoeing with Root River Outfitters too.
A bell is playing “America the Beautiful” to signal the hour. 9:00 a.m.
27 July 2000
Devil’s Tower, WY
man is little more than a laugh on the dawn of eternity
sky as big as the smile of a cherub
(thoughts while driving the Black Hills of South Dakota en route to here via rt. 16)
It is quiet here, except for the sound of a passing car or a distant bird song.
The sky is darkening, though I do not think it’ll rain.
OF THE BADLANDS (NATIONAL PARK)—
The drive through the park was nice. The rough and rugged rock sat in the open prairie…made me think of the moon…and then of the first Natives who came upon it. It must have been an awesome sight to them.
The rugged and vast landscape out here is magnificent…inspiring. Around every corner there is an impressive vista.
The East may be where one goes to settle into the bosom of life…The West may be where one goes to leave the bosom. The East is more wholesome and organic…The West is wild and free.
I just cracked open a Moose Drool Brown Ale, a product of Missoula, MT. It is good.
The tent is set up…a SOULIFYING sight.
28 July 2000
Sinks Canyon State Park, Shoshone National Forest
outside Lander, WY
Big belly full of pasta…
The Pope Agie River runs just below the campsite…bathed in it earlier…a backpacker/traveler shower.
The cliffs of the canyon rise behind me…eagles and hawks nest in them.
Driving through Bighorn National Forest and Wind River Canyon had me saying “I’m staying out here for a while.” There is so much grandeur and raw beauty. By far, the American west is the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen.
The sun is setting and there is a general peace falling upon my being. I am content and happy.
I then headed to Utah. I was excited about seeing Zion National Park.
Zion, basically, is a large canyon carved by a river. However, when you see the colors of the walls–reds, browns, terra cottas, beiges, greys–you quickly see that it is one of the most beautiful creations on Earth. And when the light of the setting sun is cast on those walls, you know that something greater than you does truly exist.
I hiked up to Angel’s Landing. The name is aptly placed. From the summit of a very precipitous trail, the entire canyon valley unfolded before me. Many people have had their ashes released here. Indeed, it is a fine place to pass on…
Today, I write to you from Ridgecrest, CA. In the coming months, I will share with you of my adventures here.
A final note of my trip across the United States: our country is HUGE and the people are incredibly diverse. What defines an American?
(written 3 September 2000)