Billboards, Corn and Cattle Piss

Day 1 Soundtrack:

Morning - Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
Afternoon - Elton John, Greatest Hits

Evening - Pink Floyd, Meddle

 

Day 2 Soundtrack:

Morning - Chad VanGaalen, Soft Airplane

Afternoon - The Travelling Wilburys, Volume 1 + 3

Evening - Spiritualized, Acoustic Mainline

Late Night (to get us through the dark expanses of nothing but corn fields) - David Bowie, Hunky Dory

Lots of fields, but mountains on the horizon. 

Lots of fields, but mountains on the horizon. 

If I were to sum up the first two days of our trip, it would be "Billboards, Corn, and Cattle Piss" - we've seen (and smelt) an abundance of each, after 20 hours crossing the Central States.

We left Hamilton at 9am on Friday and by 7pm we had made it through Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois to a small state park called Starved Rock. We pulled in from the I-80 in the dark, and haphazardly cooked some beans over the camp stove. We lost some beans when the stove fell over from the wind, but otherwise had an uneventful evening in the park with all of two other campers.

Cooking breakfast. 

Cooking breakfast. 

Yesterday was equally uneventful - though we made a pit stop in Iowa City so I could see AKAR Gallery in person (their online shop is known worldwide for their excellent selection of ceramics, and many of my favourite artists are represented there). After our quick stop we were back on the road, and decided to haul ass all the way to Colorado so today we could take it easy and enjoy some time in Denver while the sun was still up.

AKAR Gallery in Iowa City - I came very close to purchasing a Julia Galloway pitcher, but wasn't sure it would survive a month of us living out of the van.  

AKAR Gallery in Iowa City - I came very close to purchasing a Julia Galloway pitcher, but wasn't sure it would survive a month of us living out of the van.  

Our New Year's Eve plans were thus:

 

1. Stop for Instant Fresh Onion Soup at a rest stop just outside of Omaha NE while the sun sets.

2. Pull into the parking lot at Bush Municipal Park and get cozy. They had electricity (so we could plug our little heater in), and the park was free.

Bush CO Municipal Park

Bush CO Municipal Park

IHOP breakfast.  

IHOP breakfast.  

As a reward for finding a free place to crash, we had New Year's Day breakfast at the I-76 IHOP on our way to Denver.

We're now at (what appears to be) the hippest coffee shop in Denver CO "Thump Coffee" - where the exposed brick, industrial steel and raw wood furniture, excess of succulents and cacti, and bottled milk in the fridge are reminders of hipster cafes in the Hammer. The trends span far and wide, it appears. Great service, delicious tea, and a nice view of the Denver bustle.

We've got a couple hours of driving before we make it to our first "real" stop - the Rocky Mountain National Park where we will enjoy sub zero temperatures in our tent, very little public interaction, and lots of mountains. I'm stoked.

 

I hope you are all having a wonderful New Years.

Jesse waiting for the tea to steep. 

Jesse waiting for the tea to steep. 

E.