The only place we’ve stayed more than one night so far is back in Lexington, Virginia, and that’s not ideal – two nights in one place is better than one! But, we’re getting better at taking the minimum amount of “stuff” into each hotel room (no camping yet!) to make a quick start in the morning. We’d be taking this early part of the journey much slower, but have a “Boise by May 29” goal, and so are really making tracks across country; still finding time to meander and pause at unanticipated roadside treasures…mostly natural food stores, coffee shops, singular restaurants, brew pubs!
From Kansas City, the Corps of Discovery made its arduous way upstream – by poling or pulling (known as cordelling) the 55’ keelboat. It took them a month to reach a spot near Council Bluffs, Iowa. We drove to and past Council Bluffs from St. Charles in a day.
Council Bluffs was named for the Expedition’s first encounter with Native Americans. We stopped at a lovely overlook on a bluff above the Missouri, imagining the men struggling against the current, and camping just across the river from where we sat.
We made a quick stop in Sioux City, Iowa, seeking coffee and internet access –two important resources we try to consult every other day or so. We don’t have advance reservations from here on, and so rely on Yelp, TripAdvisor and Priceline, which led us this day to charming Yankton, South Dakota. After dinner at “El Tapatio,” we headed to another important resource: Walmart – to provision for camping…and where the magazine selection was most interesting.
Before striking out westward to Rapid City, South Dakota, we walked across Yankton’s restored Meridian Bridge to Nebraska.
The scenery has been beautiful in ever changing ways, and though we won’t choose to live in the “flatlands,” there is something awesome about the Great Plains, the rolling hills and wide skies – how much of it Woodie Guthrie had seen when he composed This Land is Your Land, I’m not sure, but the landscape we’re passing through has kept me mindful of the power of the land and its meaning – especially as we celebrate, and remember, on Memorial Day.