The 2018 Road Trip: Day 2.

Earl and I drove from Tomah, Wis. to Jamestown, N.D. It’s been a misty drive, with the temperature never getting above 50ºF, but it’s been enjoyable. We’ve been singing, talking, and laughing in the Jeep. We stopped at the Mall of America for a bit. Earl had never been there. I visited back on a solo vacation in 2013 and liked the experience. It hasn’t changed much in nearly five years, but it’s still enjoyable for a mall. Tomorrow we continue west. We’ll finally cross into the Mountain Time Zone as we make our way across the prairie into the Badlands. We are off to a great start.

The 2018 Road Trip: Day 1.

Earl and I were on the road promptly at 5:00 PM Central. We are headed west on a 10-day road trip. We have things to see, states to conquer, and relaxation to be had. I’m looking forward spending every waking moment with Earl discovering what we find. Make life grand.

Be Sensible.

Remember when milk came in a carton? It really makes sense, doesn’t it. A carton is completely biodegradable, it’s easier to ship square containers, and there’s a cleaner manufacturing process for a box.

I’m happy to see boxed water all over the city of Chicago. I hope it’s catching on in the rest of the world. We don’t need smart water, we need this water.

Equality.

The Trump Administration announced that they’re no longer going to provide visas for same-sex unmarried partners of Foreign Diplomats coming to the United States. They claim this is in the spirit of equality, because after all, they don’t provide visas to opposite-sex unmarried partners of diplomats. The administration claims it is their interpretation of equality.

I would like someone to tell me in what countries a man or woman can be killed for wanting to marry someone of the opposite sex. The Trump administration says if the partners of these diplomats want a visa to visit, they need to marry the diplomat.

Except in many countries, gay marriage is illegal. In other other countries, simply being gay is illegal. And in some countries, being gay can result in the death penalty.

We live in really, really dark times. Anyone that claims differently should be avoided as they obviously don’t have a grasp on reality.

Truth.

Just imagine how wonderful society would be if demanded honesty, integrity, and morality. The hearty abandonment of these things, by the most self-righteous of the GOP of all things, is absolutely mind-boggling.

We just keep spiraling the drain.

Absolutely.

I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I can not speak further on the matter, for I will get way too worked up at this late hour, but Dr. Ford is a very courageous woman, a beacon of light in a country consumed by darkness. Thank you to Dr. Ford for speaking out.

Evolution.

We went to the Chicago Expo today. It was our second time attending this Art Show; like last year, I found this experience to be quite enjoyable. Actually, enjoyable is probably an understatement. I found several of the exhibits to be powerful. This photograph probably touched me the most. Taken by photographer Jess T. Dugan, the energy captured in this photograph brought me to tears. Such beauty. Such confidence. Such groundedness. The story of Momma Gloria moved me. Society tries so hard to force us into boxes: pre-defined existences that fall in line with the lowest common denominator. You’re either male or female. You act like a man or you act like a woman, and you better be acting the way that’s been defined by the genitals you were born with. I don’t believe the world was meant to be so narrowly defined. This is so apparent to me. Earl remarked, “are you evolving”? I am.

Angry.

I listened to bits and pieces of the Ford-Kavanaugh Senate hearings today. Apparently I still have a lot of stress from the 2016 election results and the sheer idiocy of this country since Trump was put into office because it took a lot of restraint to not kick in every television and drop f-bombs on Twitter and Facebook.

I want to slap every person that says they’re still proud to be an American and they know we’ll get through this because we’re strong, and powerful, and blah blah blah.

Women are victimized. Today’s government is a shitshow simply because the previous President was black. We have the highest gun fatality rate, crazy amounts of poverty, violence in the streets, a government trying to get rid of anything that helps the middle class, out of touch politicians, religious zealots trying to shove their fucked up beliefs down everyone’s throat, efforts to destroy the earth as quickly possible by reversing any common sense legislation to help thwart climate change, and a ridiculous amount of debt that no one has any hope of actually paying without further robbing the middle class. This country has turned into some sort of fucked up WWE match. What the hell are people proud of? Children in cages along the border? Water in Flint, Michigan that kills people? Over 3000 people dying in Puerto Rico because we didn’t send them enough paper towels?

I’m told I shouldn’t cuss and I should carry myself with dignity and class at all times. I should be the model American. By today’s standards of “the model American” I should actually dumb down my speech, swear a lot more than I do, rip holes in my clothes, and try to act as ignorant as possible. Oh, and I should get stoned. Very stoned.

I can’t even bring myself to recite the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. “God Bless the USA”.  Right. How about “God Help These People Get Their Heads Out of Their Ass”? What makes the American people think they’re so Yankee Doodle Spectacular that “God” really gives a shit about them? It’s not like we’ve done anything spectacular in the past 20 years. This country is on cruise control headed for a cliff. We work insane hours a week as some sort of badge of honor, lose touch with our families, and everyone gets cancer from our screwed up food supply. 

If Kavanaugh is ploughed right through to the Supreme Court tomorrow, the GOP will have met its master goal of destroying all three branches of the United States Government.  Rights will soon be taken away, my marriage will probably be nullified, and poor people will lose their rights to corporations, quickly. But go right ahead, keep thinking it’s all wonderful red, white, and blue fireworks and keep your head in the contaminated sand.

I want to see what the rest of the world has to offer.

Getting Away.

I spend a few hours a week “getting away” via Google Maps. While I’m not a big fan of Google (due to privacy concerns), I have to admit their data collection on places around the world is top notch. Being able to drag an icon onto a street and have a 360º view of that spot is awesome. I’ve traveled all over the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia by this means. It helps me escape.

A bunch of our friends like to take cruises; they want to go someplace warm and tropical on a big ship, lounge around, get waited on, and see crystal blue waters and a selection of aquatic life do their thing in the ocean. This type of vacation is enjoyable for me as well, at least until we get to the point where I have to baste myself in sunblock so that my primarily Irish skin doesn’t burn within ten minutes of the first whale jump. It’s probably because I grew up in the Lake Ontario Snowbelt in Upstate New York, but I don’t enjoy hot temperatures as much as I enjoy reasonable temperatures, and by reasonable I’m talking low humidity, a decent breeze, and something around 21ºC (70ºF).  One of the reasons we didn’t move to the South when we decided to leave the Empire State was because we don’t like hot and sultry at all. I like the snow, albeit, when enjoyed in temperatures that don’t require mandatory frostbite.

One of the places I’ve visited via Google Maps in Iqaluit, Nunavut. This city in northern Canada is very intriguing to me. You can’t drive there, you can’t even take a ship there year ’round, and the winter nights can be very long. It’s beyond the “tree line”, so there’s little foliage.  But I find the city to be very inviting. I really want to visit there. Convincing my husband that we should go there on vacation is another story. 

I found this video two folks made during their visit to Iqaluit several years ago. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I did.