12/28/02 Day VII of the

12/28/02

Day VII of the Mormon Manwich Trail with Chocolate Sprinkles Road Trip of Prairie Delight

Iowa City, IA to North Platte, NE

If there was ever an ancient mecca for my family, we have surely worn grooves in the interstate highway from Iowa City to North Platte; we made this trip twice a year from 1970 to 1981. Back then there were 3 to 5 screaming kids in the car and a nationwide speed limit of 55mph, which explains why we never got much farther.

Today we were limited by our own late start out of the gate (we chatted languidly with the family over noodles before leaving) and a layover at the factory outlet center, and even though the speed limit in Nebraska is now 75mph, here I find myself again in North Platte, NE.

The similarities don’t end there, however; this “Quality Inn” rests on the same spot as the Holiday Inn we frequented, although the giant, beckoning cowboy is no longer across the street, having been knocked down by a windstorm some years back. We went searching through town for it before learning the bad news. That stupid giant 3-story cowboy used to signify the point where we would leave the Midwest and truly be in the West.

I should also mention that we stopped at the outlet mall intending to stay 15 minutes, and instead gawked for two hours at the Levi’s, the Gap, the Ralph Lauren store (yuck) and then the mother lode at Nike. My favorite basketball shoe ever, the Vince Carter Shox, is being discontinued and they were trying to get rid of all of them. Needless to say I bought two more pairs for myself, and then a bunch of pairs for friends. I believe this to be their best product since the original Jordans back in 1985, and I want a pair by my side at the old folks home so I can always look fondly upon them. You know, while drooling and spewing forth communist propaganda.

the sun sets over the factory outlet mall near What Cheer, IA proof that even the most god-forsaken places can have their moments

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