Saturday, March 4, 2000, 8:40 a.m.

We're passing Chippawa Falls, Wisconsin on I-94. We've been playing CDs, occasionally dealing a card game, stopping every few hours at roadside gas stations. Sleep in the van is a challenge. There seems to be no comfortable way to sit and lean back, so naps are inconsistent and short.

Saturday, March 4, 2000, 5:30 p.m.

It's been an easy day in Minneapolis. Our first stop was St. Paul, in search of a sculpture garden with a giant spoon. But no luck. Turns out it was in Minneapolis, where we eventually found it and had some fun climbing around on the sculptures in the sun. A noticeable piece of artwork was a series of, maybe, 20 benches, each with a message on them. Our favorite messages included:

  • "You can watch people align themselves when trouble is in the air. Some prefer to be close to those at the top and others want to be close to those at the bottom. It's a question of who frightens them more and whom they want to be like."

  • "When you've been someplace for a while you acquire the ability to be practically invisible. This lets you operate with a minimum of interference"

  • "Affluent college-bound students face the real prospect of downward mobility. Feelings of entitlement clash with the awareness of imminent scarcity. There is resentment at growing up at the end of an era of plenty coupled with the reassessment of conventional measures of success."
    Sculpture garden photo

    We lay on our backs on the lawn near the benches in the sculpture garden. I asked if anybody could make a seagull noise. Paula could. We closed our eyes in the sun while Paula chirped like a seagull — and suddenly, we were at the beach.

    Later, we went to a park at the edge of the University of Minnesota, next to the frosty Mississippi River. We ate fruit, played Frisbee, slept in the sun. It is absurdly warm, warm enough for short sleeves and bare feet.

    In honor of the warm weather, we each bought Hawaiian shirts at a used clothing store. I suppose any group of ten students would form a bond during a 19-hour van ride. For us especially, the humor has been good and there all indications point toward a good trip.

    Sunday, March 5, 2000, 9:45 a.m.

    We had a good night's sleep staying with Liz's relatives in Minneapolis. They were kind to feed us, let us sleep on their floor, play board games with us, etc. It was good to spend the morning sorting through the Sunday paper and eating fresh bagels. In the morning, we posed for a snapshot in our Hawaiian shirts, wrapped up some bagels for the road, and began the drive with a chorus of the Johnny Horton song "North! To Alaska!" on the CD player. Dave remarked "It's sad when we're wearing rayon as our warmth layer."