Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saturdays--and Sundays too, I suppose

two s's tangling together
to make a tremulous 
trigger of 
trips and
thoughts and
toe-wrigglingly sweet times . . . but
there are times we recall
they are only two 
struggling to win 
things already lost, and we
try not to lose
the imaginary magic of
two s's 

There was a time in my high school years that the weekend was a dull, dreary excuse to be only slightly less miserable than the rest of the week.  Thankfully, my college years have begun to alleviate that horribly pessimistic vision of the beast.

Music, driving, laughing with family and friends, seeing new sights.  A weekend is a chance to be someone else, something different.

take the time
to travel the 
tricksy track that 
takes treasured time 
on every other day.

I love driving.  Sitting behind the steering wheel all the time has added a new dimension to trips as a whole.  Weekends home this semester have become adventures.

Perhaps the most fun I've had on the road is hunting for historical markers.  When in Nebraska and off the interstate* you're bound to see smallish square blue signs depicting white oxen pulling a covered wagon, sometimes with a distance or arrow denoting an approximate location.  These signs foretell historical markers*.

Some of the markers themselves are obvious, like the ones parked in plain sight all along Highway 2.  These can be difficult: unless one is constantly on the alert for the predicting signs, you'll zoom past them doing 65 without a second thought.

Slamming on one's brakes at approximately 65 mph is interesting, by the way.  I don't advise doing it with an unprepared passenger.  It provided me with a decent photo of the following marker, though.***

You can't read this on my phone, so I'm glad the bigger version is legible!  :D

The truly delightful thing about this marker--and any other marker sitting immediately next to a highway--is you can prove it actually exists.  

This is where historical-marker-hunting gets interesting.

Remember the historical signs with directional arrows attached to them?


I had driven down miles of awful, rutted gravel in search of a marker before I hit a three-way split in the road (two of them having cattle guards) and realized this could not be the right way.  I drove slowly back into town, I stared down both sides of every street and crawled down the highway back out into the country . . . 

The marker did not exist.  

I trusted another such arrow, and gave up as soon as I saw the twisty, dirty path of doom.  Seriously!  The arrow DIDN'T EVEN POINT TO AN ACTUAL ROAD.  

These misadventures aside, I felt like my weekend jaunts down Nebraska's Highway 2 (and subsequent searches for historical markers) were grand old times.  

If you ever decide to go hunting for the markers . . . . good luck.  You'll want it. 

*These are the same thing, by the way: the interstate view of this state doesn't count as Nebraska.  The little towns with a church, an abandoned school, and a gas station are the authentic Nebraska.  Any town with a population over 10,000 is faking it, and does not count.  We need the frauds, though: I would not be happy without the delightful bookstores false Nebraskan towns can offer.

**If one was being horrifically blunt, each and every maker could say, "Once upon a time ago, there was a town here, but then it was considered more affordable and fashionable to live elsewhere and the town died."  This is the true story of Nebraska as a whole, and I'm certain that someday, there will be dozens more markers like Hecla's.
It makes me sad.

***'Decent' is the best any photo of mine will ever do.  First off, for the foreseeable future, any and all images I post will be taken with a cell phone.  I have no digital camera.  Secondly, I am not a photographer.  I like taking photos very much, but I have very little practice in it as an art form.

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