Now that the kitchen here is in some semblance of order (very important!), I can recap the last week+ of life-change (albeit bit-by-bit, so stay with me)!
Part One is our drive across the country. We took the northern route on Emily's advice, and when your grueling 4-day road trip feels like a vacation, you know it was a good idea!
Pittsburgh-->Des Moines, IA
Flat flat flat and flat. Had some White Castles!! I just love those things, probably because they remind me of visiting my grandparents, just like the aroma of Indian food reminds me of their neighborhood and walking by the beautiful mannequins in Sari Palace. But I digress.
Des Moines-->Sheridan, WY
Now it's getting interesting! South Dakota is rolling green hilly terrain with COOL lightning all over, flashing crazy shapes such as the flux capacitor (!!), and a big black cloud of The Nothing in the distance. Kind of scary because you're heading right into it, but not as scary as the tornado that ate Kansas the same day. After figuring out the reports you're hearing on AM radio are a couple states away (even though it's snowing and 50MPH winds are scaring the crap outta you), you're really glad you went north!!
The billboards across SD are quite funny, advertising from hundreds of miles away the merits of "1800 Town", "Reptile Gardens", the "Corn Palace" (which we happened to stop at, reveling in the requisite disappointment -- it's just a corn facade), and Wall Drug. We stopped at Wall Drug as well, but not before going through . . .
Badlands National Park!!! What an amazing place. I can't post photos just yet, but I will!! It's a different planet out there. It was too bad we couldn't spend more time, but we had to at least mosey through. It definitely beats Mt. Rushmore . . . and I haven't even been to Mt. Rushmore!