A cross country trip by car is a cultural cliché in the US, helped along by National Lampoon’s Vacation, the book Blue Highways, catchy quotes from Yogi Berra, and untold numbers of blurry Polaroids from western National Parks.
When I was a kid, we drove from Georgia to South Dakota, and then a few years later from South Dakota to Washington State, and each time I was rattling around without a seatbelt in the “wayback” of our light blue Ford station wagon–our version of the Griswald’s Family Tripster. Times were different then, and much of what I remember centers around a “squirt ring” that we bought at Wall Drug in central South Dakota. My older siblings were…um…good sports.
Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the squirt ring (I think it’s probably in one of my suit pockets). So my childhood may be lost–but I still have the desire to drive across the country. I’m going to go as far west as Devil’s Tower, hopefully squirt someone in the face with my replacement ring, and then head on back. Suzy is meeting me in Minneapolis (by plane), thus avoiding 20 hours of driving on each end (honey, bring eye protection and a towel, ok?).
At each stop, I’ll highlight a local dish, likely starting in Wisconsin with brats or curds. Then it’s on to Minneapolis (juicy lucies), up across North Dakota (fleischkuekle), down to South Dakota (kuchen), and finally on to Devil’s Tower (devil dogs). On the way back I hope to hit the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan (pasties) and then on to Cleveland for sauerkraut balls (you can’t make this stuff up).
Don’t know what some of these dishes are? Well, neither do I, but I’m aiming to find out (and yes, I did make up the part about devil dogs). If you are interested in knowing more, hop in the virtual wayback and join me for the ride as I leave today. You can find out where we are by clicking here. Seat belts, devil dogs, and squirt rings optional.