Stoop kids, 100 years apart! On the left, there's Aunt Mae and her husband Elmer on the cusp of their great big journey, and then there's Abby, our good friend and new roommate Alex, and myself on the right, full of anticipation and wanderlust! It was such a treat to have Alex and her mom there to see us off.
THE OPEN ROAD! How sweet a feeling it is to have all the nerves of packing, organizing, and planning melt away as the car picks up speed.
With only a hair of car trouble, which included a brief conversation with a ring-fingerless mechanic in Melrose, Minnesota, we made it out of the woods and lakes of Minnesota and into the open plains of North Dakota. The plains are so vast and empty that they feel more like an ocean than a continent; the waves of land are dizzying.
Our good friend Slinger put together a show with us at Laughing Sun Brewing in downtown Bismarck. He's come through Minneapolis many a time, and it was pretty sweet to get the chance to play music with him on his home turf! He says Bismarck is in the middle of a bit of a cultural Renaissance, and Laughing Sun is leading the way. They're one of the few places for live music in the city, they partner with the local food co-op to brew beer with North Dakota fruit, and there's the beautiful Art Alley right out back, full of gorgeous, intricate murals. It's so enlivening to see a community blossom with pride and art!
North Dakota as a whole, it seems, is rising up against the powers of industry and agribusiness and oil that have destroyed, oppressed, and milked it dry it for decades. We see that overtly in the bravery of the Standing Rock protesters. It's an incredible and awesome feeling to be in this place where you can feel anger and resistance shifting in the plains. It's like a force of nature. More on that later...