Denver Vignettes

Since this week has been  the wettest one of our entire trip, Will and I have spent most of the week working and playing video games respectively, so here are a few things that have happened this week.

We went to Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop, which was a sort of overwhelming experience. It’s a store filled top to bottom with candy and soda, most of which I had never seen before, including about 8 actual bathtubs filled with bulk candy, with a heavily retro soundtrack featuring the theme song from Gilligan’s Island. We both bought some candies we’d never seen or heard of before.

I got a chocolate bar with entire mini-marshmallows and almonds in it, which is actually not as good an idea as it sounds, because the bar was of a normal thickness, so they stuck out and the scoring on the bar was completely useless in terms of being able to break it into even pieces. Will got a bag of very strong sarsaparilla drops.

We also went to Noodles & Company, which, for those of you not in the know, is a noodle-based chain restaurant that can be found in the midwest, and, apparently, west, about which I am perhaps disproportionately enthused. Though they no longer seem to offer completely customizable dishes, they still have a great range of noodle dishes from a variety of flavor palates, and pick your own proteins. Will says he tempered his expectations from my florid praise and had a pretty good time.

We also went to Blue Sushi Bar & Grill, which was amazing. I tried something called tofu sashimi, which turned out to be slices of silken tofu with sauce and shredded nori on top. It was delicious, but I’d been expecting some rice or something. Their sushi was great, including something called the cowgirl roll, which has fried pickles and possibly barbecue seitan. I love avocado rolls, but it’s nice to go places with vegetarian sushi that has protein in it.

This hasn’t been our most exciting week, but it’s been a good break. Also, tune in next week for some exciting news!

Hot Springs, South Dakota

On Sunday, we drove across most of Minnesota, and pretty much all of South Dakota. At nine hours, it was by far the longest single day of travel for us, and I’d say it felt like it. When you talk to anyone about driving across the country, inevitably the subject of interminable cornfields will come up, and while there were some in our drives in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, this was definitely the day of endless fields.

I don’t know much art history, but in one lit class I took, we discussed the aesthetic of the sublime and looked at some paintings. Of particular relevance, we looked at some paintings with endlessly repeating things like columns and arches. I’m sure you can see where I’m going here. The endless repetition of furrows, and on a larger scale, of fields, telephone poles, and ads for Wall Drug Usually when people talk about driving through the breadbasket of America, they describe it as something like “boring.” While I can’t speak for states further south, I can say that “boring” doesn’t do this particular drive justice.

Anyway, we’ve been spending the week in Hot Springs, which is a very small town near Rapid City, notable for being the home of an enormous, well-preserved deposit of mammoth and other prehistoric animal bones. There are a few abrupt, red stone hills in the town itself, so you need to walk up these enormous flights of stairs to get to some neighborhoods.

We wandered around a residential area that was on one of those hilltops to watch fireworks for the fourth, which was nice. Supposedly there was a town-official display somewhere, but if so, it was pretty indistinguishable from the various people who seemed to be setting off fireworks. There was a particularly good set going on the high school football field, but it still seemed to be just a couple people setting them off. The problem with that, though, is that while we got partial views of several fireworks displays, but didn’t actually get a good view of any of them, so we headed home to pack, because tomorrow, we’re driving to Denver!