Mad In Pursuit Notebook

Salina Kansas

Day 3: Davenport IA - Salina KS (536 mi)

10 Oct 2008 -- Oh, what a gorgeous day, driving through Iowa, then Nebraska, then down into Kansas. (I had a glass of wine in our room then a giant margarita at Applebees, so I’m mellow…) Iowa was a perfect painting of rolling farmland. Trees break the sweep of fields. The land is dotted with houses, barns, silos, cell towers. A billboard now and then. And road signs. We see some cornfields at a dramatic angle, revealing the rows, curving and waving. The corn is brown or green-brown. Trees are that dusty early fall gree,n with yellow-brown here and there. Splashes of crimson now and then. Greenish brown purple shrubs. Tall dry grass on the verges pick up a rusty glow in the morning light. Everything has a bit of red-gold sheen.

If I love the cornfields, my father must be near.

Too bad we are so removed from corn. From its origins in the sacred planting, our experience boils down to high fructose corn syrup and the flavor of our overfed beef.

Nebraska was, well, flatter. And we had our first epiphany of what it means to be in the middle of nowhere when we decided to “get a little farther” than Lincoln NE on our tank of gas. Oops, suddenly the red light was on and we were passing exits with “no services” or, at one, a boarded up old gas station. Temptation to panic. But finally salvation.

We decided we didn’t need to skirt Denver, so headed south to Kansas… again, sunny muted fall-colored scenery. Excellent for texture lovers. We are now in Salina, Kansas, where the hotels vary between run-down and expensive, so we chose expensive. If the stock market is taking a dive, well then, we will eat, drink and be merry.

I brought books to read aloud but we wound up listening again to old Weaver and Pete Seeger folk songs, with a little Woodie Guthrie thrown in. It seemed to fit the road.

From my handwritten journal the next morning:

That "perfect" margarita that tasted so delicious last night, made me good for nothing and crabby this morning, even after a long night's sleep. Headachy and touchy. DEEP breath -- another beautiful day ahead, even without hotel reservations Who cares! Enjoy! We have two nights before we're due in Taos. LOVE THE MOMENT. We'll never walk these steps or drive down this same road again. SLOW DOWN.

PHOTO: Salina, Kansas at dawn