Author Archives: thevoicewriter

West to West

Rob Dixon
Siuox Falls, Public Campgrounds

I’m sorry. I haven’t put a pixel to page in many a gigasecond. I’ve been busy. Let me explain…

Driving through the pacific northwest and then to find yourself in the big skies of Montana and South Dakota — it’s humbling. It’s tiring. It’s amazing.

I’ve seen things, man. I’ve been there. Perhaps you know full well. Perhaps you have some idea. Perhaps you have an inkling. Perhaps you have no clue whatsoever. Words can’t explain…

But I’ll try.

Diana and I have been camping most of the way since Seattle. Part of that is because I’m cheap. Yes, I admit it, but before you start throwing stones, the real reason is I needed a change and I knew I would.

I needed away.

Not away from the woman I love, my travel companion here and in life, but a change in pace, a change in tone — a change in scenery and in soundtrack. As I type, right now I am serenaded by crickets, frogs, and oddly enough, the hum of cars on Route 11 SD. It’s a far cry from the fighting couple on the tenth floor of the Richmond Marriott or the skitzo twenty-thirthy somethings meandering throughout Seattle. It’s peaceful. It’s soothing. It’s tending to the fire rather than calling the front desk. That’s the best way I can describe it.

I have encountered the screaming children slamming the doors to their RV, but this campsite is peaceful. I can hear the hum of traffic to the north and the fauna songs, but that’s it. The human contact is minimal except for Diana, which is greatly appreciated.

Everything is wide open here. The scenery just goes on and on. There’s miles and miles of flat countryside dotted with the occasional tree and the more frequent livestock resting by a shallow pond or under the shade of a billboard.

When we do run into the locals they are extremely friendly. There is the occasional disinterested teenager at the checkout, but I think that’s everywhere. Lots of cowboy hats, but not as many as Texas.

We visited Wall Drug and saw the Corn Palace. If you don’t know about those, you’ll just have to look them up. Let’s just say if you’re touring South Dakota and not doing the sport-hunt-fish thing, then you must visit Wall and Mitchell to truly get a feel for the local flavor.

Next…Minneapolis.

see-voo-play.

By Rob Dixon
Day 5
WiFi Hotspot at Nola Marriott

I love New Orleans. The drawbacks: (1) Nothing can be done outside (quickly anyways) during the hours of 11AM to 3PM as the atmosphere and humidity resemble the surface of the sun in thundershower. (2) 9 percent sales tax. Sheeesh. I thought CT was grabby on taxes.

Other than that this is a wonderful place.

We’ve stayed in the margins of the old quarters and avoided the center city. Every nook and cranny tells a story. The most subtle lampost can be a voodoo hotspot where powers congregate. Every conversation pours off the lips of the locals — tourists buggering them for directions and no one seems to mind. It’s life in slow sips and steamy drips, rather than a New England chug-a-lug for coffee before work. I like it. I love it.

I took this picture of Di and me at the Nola Aquarium in a little corner in the rainforest exhibit.
Rob and Di

A trip of ten thousand miles begins with….

Rob Dixon

The outskirts of Metro Charlotte, NC
Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop
day 2

Our first day was spent mostly on the road putting miles between us and CT. We arrived in Richmond about 8 p.m. and found ourselves a room at the Richmond Marriott. After a brief respite and washing up we moseyed down to the Penny Lane Pub, a anglo themed watering hole right in the center city.

The pub advertised all things British with a great emphasis on the Beatles and football — the real football. I had fun waxing philosophic with the bartender (whom I think was an anarchist) and felt a little nostalgic seeing patrons lighting up their smokes at the bar. Apparently in VA they don’t draw and quarter smokers for smoking in bars, not yet anyway.

I do want to gripe a little about the ice policy at the Richmond Marriott. When I ventured from our room to the floor lobby for ice, the ice machine had a hastily affixed sign reading, “Due to the high demand for ice we can only offer ice at $5 dollars a bag at the main lobby.” Did the $130 not cover that? No. Ice is extra, just like the $13 per diem Wi-Fi.

All things being equal (which they never are, but I digress) although Richmond was a brief layover, it was still a nice stop…bring ice.