Friday, September 27, 2013

From the Road

I just finished a seven-day drive to and from Washington State. Six days of sitting in the car, mostly listening to A Clash of Kings, book two in the George R.R. Martin Game of Thrones saga. Yes, yes, I've read it a number of times before, but the audio is 38 hours long and we all could agree on it.

Here are a few of the sights along the way.

No matter what it does, the red horse never catches the grotesque, guitar-playing bear. (Seen at Goodwill in Olympia, Wash.)

The building is a billboard. Those are some gigantic stick-on letters. (Along the I-90 corridor in central Washington.)

And I started out concerned about ticks. (At a rest area along I-90 in Montana.)

One of the most offensive historical markers I've ever seen. It's unconscious of so much. It reads:

In 1876, this was strictly buffalo and Indian country. From 1876 to 1881, the U.S. Army rounded up the Indians and forced them onto reservations while buffalo hunters cleared the range for the cattle boom of the Eighties.

Pierre Wibaux ran one of the biggest cattle spreads around here in the early days. A native of France, he arrived in Montana in 1883 after studying the cattle industry from calf to packing house. Within a decade of his arrival, he amassed a herd of 65,000 cattle and prospered from business investments throughout the region. Wibaux had boundless optimism for his adopted state and once said that "If a man is intelligent, has courage, and can see things clearly, he can make money." .... When Wibaux died in 1913, his will provided a fund to erect a statue of himself in the town named after him.
I didn't stop in the town to check out Pierre's statue. (Seen at a rest area along I-94 in eastern Montana.)

Western North Dakota is home to the Bakken oil field. Every hotel in the area is busy with people working the oil fields, as evidenced by the much-used boot cleaner contraptions outside their doors. (At a Ramada Inn in Dickinson, N.D., but also seen at other hotels in the area.)

Ugly logo alert! Get that "The" and its inappropriate chancery typeface off the name of your paper right now. (On the door of a convenience store in Dickinson, N.D.)

Rest stops in North Dakota are not as bad on the subject of native people as those in Montana, but I can't help thinking it's romanticism rather than respect. (At a rest stop along I-94 in central North Dakota.)

It took me more than a minute to figure this sign out. That word is supposed to be Villains, as in Villains Month. It's both spelled wrong and made possessive for no particularly good reason. See, life really would be simpler without apostrophes. (In downtown Bismarck, North Dakota.)

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