Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Crossing the Craton

That’s the name of the new part of Annals of the Former World. A craton is defined as, “a large, stable block of the earth's crust forming the nucleus of a continent,” and it did seem large and stable. I was a little concerned about this part of the ride – everyone I know who has driven across the country says that Nebraska is deathly flat and boring. Cynthia, Bob and I had gone to Barnes and Noble, where I picked up the audio book of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” for the drive, and while at their house I researched the migration of the sandhill cranes. After two days of zero miles, I put on another 500. It took 200 miles just to get out of Colorado – maybe it looks more active in the spring and summer when there’s some farming, or maybe it always looks bleak. But it was interesting for its lack of interesting things. So, two weeks to the day when I left Los Angeles, I drove into the Central Time Zone. And back to I-80!

Before moving on to my new audio book, I had a Lewis and Clark audio book to listen to. I had it all through my time in Morocco but somehow it seemed too out of context to listen to it there. One of the things I noted is that when Lewis returned from his journey he experienced culture shock – although he didn’t call it that. I could relate! I stopped at another Taco Bell, this time in North Platte; still depressing. I thought about stopping at the nation’s largest rail yard, but since the drive was taking me longer than expected, I proceeded on. The stop I did make was one that intrigued me since I was first looking for things to do in Nebraska (my trip there at the time ended up being an overnight in Omaha, looking at the Missouri and thinking of Lewis and Clark, not realizing I would be learning more about them, and having an Omaha steak) – the migration of the sandhill cranes. This is supposed to be an amazing phenomenon, as thousands if not millions of them spend much of March on the Platte river. My internet research showed that the migration had just started that week – so I wouldn’t see anything amazing, but it was worth trying. Peak is mid-March. I went to a viewing area that had some trails and blinds. I saw some birds but I honestly can’t say if they were sandhhill cranes – they were a little too far away. Is it a case of if you’re not sure it’s them, then it’s not? I’m still glad I stopped, though I slipped and fell in the mud!

Then, it was on to Columbus, my longest driving detour of the trip. I thought that as long as I knew someone in Nebraska I would go out of my way to see her. Columbus was about halfway for me coming from I-80 and Ren coming from Norfolk. I hadn’t had a chance to see her to say goodbye before her medical separation from Peace Corps Morocco. Unfortunately, due to road construction, the detour involved a major detour (I might not have needed to go so far out of my way, but there was no way for me to know that). Ren got there even later; by the time she arrived, all of the restaurants in town were closed. We went to the supermarket and bought frozen pizza and cooked it in the kitchen of my B&B. I guess it was good that at least something was available! It was wonderful to see her, and the B&B in Columbus was very nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment