This morning in St Pauls, MN we went to what could best be described as a classic American Diner for a very special 5th wedding anniversary breakfast at Mickey’s Diner.

The short order chef David at work…making 3 breakfasts at a time. His other six arms work the toaster

There was a ‘bit of a queue’ out of the side door for breakfast following gym at 09:45 but it was only a short while before we were seated at the galley counter on worn red barstools with the rest of the 20 or so customers crammed into, well, a refurbished rail carriage

Inside there were four people and eight pairs of hands acting as one. From David, the short order chef whom the camera stuttered to capture, to Chris who filled our coffee mugs repeatedly and kept everything stocked up while we waited to give Mary our order. The very definition of matriach, she rules Mickey’s diner with an iron fist, a sandpaper tongue but gentle almost apologetic eyes.

Served with two cups of Joe in less than 15 minutes…Alison’s breakfast

So a busy morning for all but us. An orchestrated, death-defying snub to the never-ending chaos as an intermittent wave of customers surge their way up the steps into this tine capsule less than 2 blocks away from the centre of St Pauls and our hotel

Pookaverse loved every crazy minute of it and to any or all future visitors to St Pauls – Highly recommended. But oh, the portions. The gym is just a holding pattern – nothing else.

All topped up for the drive into the ‘Big Empty’…

Much more breezier in Minnesotta’s capital this morning with a slight chill. As if the slightly turning trees by the roadside are not invitation enough. Autumn has definitely arrived in the American North following one of the driest summers that America has experienced since 1988.

Alison and Marcie find a quiet moment away from Peppermint Patty to read to Woodstock.

A disaster for the farmers across the mid western states who have seen their cash crops whither, stunt or die.

National and local Newspapers provide coverage of this tragedy recounting personal and financial costs with many column inches.

Fields by the Interstate appear to have reflected changing fortunes. Ohio, brown and stunted. Indiana green and rich – without visiting Kansas, Iowa or Nebraska on this trip then the true picture may never be fully understood. Keep you eyes on UK food prices next year – the increases could be a painful pinch awake – a reminder of how important the agricultural fortunes of this vast country actually are and the impact of a failed crop to the global economy as well as the global psyche – bemused or terrified by the recent Arctic surveys.

Peppermint Patty in the Park….

Tales of woe from the rows compete with the ongoing American Presidential campaign. As we have crossed East, Pookaverse has occassionally had the opportunity to ask local people about the respective campaigns and their preferences in terms of candidates. we have learnt that the coastal states tend to vote Democrat (Blue) while the mid-western ‘red’ states vote Republican.

Noone is exactly sure who is going to win, so it appears at this stage that it is a close fought contest. All profess exhaustion with the debate, the ‘hammer into anvil’ coverage with the prospect of a vote on November 6th a long ways away.

Today, we turned the compass point for the last time. Now heading West. And will stay pointed West to North-West until we arrive in Seattle for 08/10/2012.

The drive was a modest 270 miles from St Pauls, MS to Sioux Falls which took us across the state of Minnesota and just across the border into the state of South Dakota. We took the chance to leave the AmericInn Motel this evening and open our 5th Anniversary cards as well as go and see the falls at Sioux Falls. Not quite Niagara, but a cool and refreshing interlude under a  cloudless evening sky from another tiring, rewarding and superlatively exhausting day.

I bet you never expected when you folded them into their envelopes that we would be opening our Anniversary cards near Sioux Falls, SD

Another day of sights breathtaking to behold. The wide open road through the dazzling ‘big empty’ awaits tomorrow as we drive over 400 miles to the Badlands National Park in  South Dakota,  Mount Rushmore, the emerging Crazy Horse Memorial and one sleep closer to Devils Tower – the spiritual heart of our journey – and on to the land of the Houyhnhnms .

You are with us and we are with you. Have a great day.


5 Responses to “West…”

  1. jose Says:

    Wow what an never be forgotten wedding anniversary, Crafflyn must have seemed light years away!

  2. Anne Says:

    Looking and sounding great. Glad that you have managed to do the zombie thing – have you got it out of your system now? Just remember you haven’t really done it until you have been to one of them there conventions!! (preferably a trekkie one) It is all looking fantastic and interesting and exhillerating – i.e. hopefully you are having a great time and it was the best decision you ever made to get off your butts and doooooooo it!!

    The diner does indeed look amazing and was clearly one of those things that you just had to do – however, you may need to spill a bit more dirt – how many pancakes did you have? What were the toppings? (Did you ask for a little bit of fruit – on account of being British – or did you go native and stick with the maple syrup?)

    Well done for all of the pictures with statues and “events” with suitable facial expressions – just what your paying audience are looking for. Also – a little bit more information on the gym – please, as I am assuming they are going to be amazing or complete dumps – either way, I am sure you will be able to make a good story out of it for the telling.

    Life here is jogging along. First really bad weather day today – typical autumn – lots of that really damp, get through everything sort of rain – brilliant. It was squash day today – Trish is back up and running with the training. My bum was killing me as I played hockey yesterday for the first time in a long time – those muscles don’t get used all that often!! Hilary has recovered from her stinking cold (although she looks rather wan and washed out) and had a great match against Andy – she has some really sneaky shots when she gets going. Hilary, Jan and I went to the chocolate shop afterwards – a couple of bevvies and a lot of chat – mainly about shopping (we worship at the feet of Hilary – she is clearly a shopping diva), Bertie (had his bits done) and Strictly Come Dancing!!! We will be arranging a girlie night in as it is now back on our screens!! If I can work out photo’s by the time we do that – I will see if I can send a photo through to you.

    Have another great week and keep us updated.

    (Not sure the getting a parking violation / ticket is that great – the one you have to watch out for is when the tobacco chewing / spitting (older) sherrif with a squiffy eye puts you in to the one cell of the police station in some hick town and you just know that he isn’t going to let you out again!!)

  3. Rach Says:

    Hey bro, abosutely blown away by the picture of Sioux Falls – breathtaking! But seriously touched by the statues of Marcie and Peppermint Pattie (stop callin me Sir!!) What a wonderful tribute to Shultz 🙂 Seriously loving your tales of your epic adventure – Me and mum are really missing you loads. I had a Hessian Tesco bag today, and mum said “oh – that’s the bag that Ali used to always take shopping with her. Bri and I had to remind her that you’re not actually dead !:-) Liverpool lost to Man U today 2-1 – we have 2 point out of 15 and are firmly in the relegation zone – who knew? We invoked the power of gugu which caused Gerrard to score. but then Agger was sent off and it all went downhill from there. Bri and I are going on a mini-break to Lake Vyrnwy next weekend courtesy of Travelzoo – thanks Ali!! 2 nights at a 4 star hotel on one of the most unspoilt lake in the UK. 5 course meal in michelin starred onsite restaurant and the chance to try clay pigeon shooting and all for £179 for 2. Real price would be £400+ Can’t wait to get ma gurn and wayste them round squirrrl sumbitches. Love to you both and don’t forget to take the Underground Tour when you’re in Seattle Rach xxxxxxx

    • pookaverse Says:

      Missing you both too. I thought that you would connect with those statues. We watched Charlie Brown when we were children and that’s why it really connected with me too. really pleased that you have booked your mini-break. I think you will enjoy it.

      Alison and I went clay pigeon shooting in January as part of a Travelzoo deal. Top tips. Hold the gun tight into your shoulder with a firm grip – that way it won’t jump when fired and brusie your shoulder.

      Secondly, shoot with your eye and not with your hand.

      Thirdly. That place under your ribs. When they release the clay pigeon in front of you and you feel a rise of excitement in your gut – Pull the trigger. You should hit the target dead on – or at least split it.

      Finally,the most important tip. Have fun.

  4. Rach Says:

    BTW – forecast for UK this week is Rain rain and More rain – good job – my newly planted Kale will love it big time x

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