Sunday, July 5, 2009

Surprising turns

Badlands National Park by day reminds me of Bryce Canyon in Utah, but on a smaller scale. Lovely and unfathomable, nonetheless. And hurray, there is a lodge serving breakfast on premises, so that takes care of that. Have I mentioned my absolute admiration for the bottomless cup of coffee? Said in seriousness, actually, as a comfort totem, or “nonny.”

It’s strange how the days are becoming less crystalline, and there is a bit of uncertainty about events and to which day they belong. The sense is of losing perspective in the face of so much space… when I realized I still have a thousand miles of eastward travel left today, it was overwhelming. So much space gives room for lots of things to come up! But, back to today which is finishing… while Moona drifts off in the teepee we’ve rented in the RV park (oh, yes, but it is indeed true and COMPLETELY worth it) just across from Pipestone National Monument, where we spent the best afternoon we’ve had in days.

So, mid-morning I realized that many of the folks I totally wanted to visit with in Minneapolis (our next stop-over) are not there at present. Driving while looking at the atlas, I considered abandoning that route. And felt again frustration with my lack of planning, and questioned my utter reliance on magick and flow. In spite of this, to the Corn Palace we awayed, and purchased $20 worth of Corn Palace souvenirs. Magic Pen book for Moona, Snow Dome for Orione, light-up rose quartz necklace for me. And then we beat it on down the line. Corn Palace was a little over the top, but no so bad comparatively. Back to the car.

And so Pipestone? One of the Minneapolis people I most want to see called, at the crucial moment on the highway just as the turn-off for Pipestone appeared. Seemed like a good place to visit and wait a day for Mindi to get home to Minnesota. Getting off I-90 was driving north along country roads that I know in my blood from growing up in the Midwest… farms, silos, thunderheads, rain shower, ozone. Familiar, lush, and not scorching on the eyes. The town of Pipestone is real old time, not re-olded. The monument is so well done… and so accessible, and very few visitors…and is still the only place pipestone is mined, and only by Native peoples. The teepee is cheap, comes with a pool, wifi, showers, helpful staff, and electricity to plug in. Did I mention it’s a teepee? Okay, and a few RV’s about, but people are so NICE here.

No agendas, and friendly and curious and this ain’t no San Francisco. Just Real. And when we started this journey, real was on the agenda fo sho. Eavesdropping at dinner “… and so I’ll just pay my health insurance bill until Obama comes up with something better…” And dinner was pizza and salad buffet (no tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers, yes to cheese and croutons) and for both of us it cost $11. That’s what I’m talking about… nothing overblown or fake real. And so today was about remembering that in spite of Wall Drug and Yellowstone and Winnebago and Starbucks there is still real real, here, somewhere.

Tomorrow we’ll visit one of the three places a non-native can acquire pipestone, and hopefully the Pipestone County Museum to seek out this photographer whose work we saw in town. It’d be cool if he’d take a picture of us. And then on to Minneapolis, where hip and city and cool abound.