20 October 2009

North Dakota: it's not where you think it is.


The other night I had a small leaving-do with the friends I've made here over the past year, and the topic of my road trip came up. I made fun of the fact that I'm ridiculous for planning a road trip in the dead of winter, and one girl made a joke that it was going to be like one long endless Fargo. Once we explained to a shocked-looking companion that we didn't mean the pregnancy part, we meant the long endless snowy road with nothing but fence posts to pass the time and distance part, the topic resumed. Then somebody asked me, 'Hey! Where's North Dakota?'

I.
had.
no.
idea.

Of course I lied about it--after all, it's not like they knew, and I couldn't let my countrymen down by proving myself to be another dumb American--and waved vaguely in the air, 'sort of top-middle. Above South Dakota.' He holds up two index fingers: 'So if this finger is Oregon, and this finger is Chicago, where would it be?' I lowered Chicago slightly (to make it look like I knew what I was doing), then waved another finger vaguely between the two: 'It'd be, like, right here. With Minnesota and Wisconsin right here.' To indicate Minnesota and Wisconsin--one state in my mental map--I waved again. This appeared to satisfy him, I sighed with relief, and the conversation resumed on a much-less demanding course.

It has since occurred to me that I'm going to start driving across this landmass roughly a week from Sunday.

I know.

So today I typed 'United States of America' into Google maps. Just to, you know, 'check it out.' I wanted to see how badly I butchered North Dakota's location (turns out I had it somewhere up in Canada) and I wanted to see if Minnesota and Wisconsin were in fact two separate states (they ARE. And BIG ones). Now I'm hooked: this map is FASCINATING me. It turns out that between Diana in Memphis and Gina in Pittsburgh, I'm going to be going through KENTUCKY. And WEST VIRGINIA. Dude. That's WILD. KENTUCKY. WEST VIRGINIA. And then also I had totally thought I lied to a friend a few weeks ago when I said that of COURSE I was going through Mobile, Alabama, because really, what road will ever lead a person through Mobile, Alabama? but then it turns out I CAN TOTALLY GO THROUGH MOBILE, ALABAMA. Between New Orleans and Memphis! Isn't that INSANE? And I can even knock off a corner of Mississippi while I'm at it! MISSISSIPPI!

This trip is getting wild. I can't even handle it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find a way to make St. Louis fit between Ohio, Chicago, and Wisconsin...

10 comments:

alison mcquade said...

meet me in st. louis!

Rona said...

Okay! When will you be there??

deee said...

you are going to have so much fun! maybe see if someone will let you borrow their GPS?

sassymum said...

I think we need to implant a tracking device!

okieinthecity said...

Silly, Rona. Hit St Louy when you head south or hit it when you head north from The South. To mix it between Ohio, Chicago, Wisconsin (state, city, state :P) is a lot of drivin'.

Rona said...

Okay, I just took another look, and here's what I think: I'll hit St. Louis between Memphis and Louisville. It's not an insane path (90 degree angles versus a vector, say), and it won't mean any backtracking.

okieinthecity said...

Now you're talkin'. I'm diggin this comment correspondence, btw.

LatinaDiana said...

St. Louis is between Memphis and Chicago... four hours from here-- yippee yippeeee yipppeeeeeee

i hear W. VA is where all carnies come from. j/k. kinda.

Rona said...

Ha! Me, too! I feel drunk with power now. Plus when I look at the comments and see, say, 8, I feel like a total bad-ass, even though half of them are mine. I'm FANTASTIC! I mean, YOU'RE fantastic!

Nana, W. Virginia IS where all the carnies come from. This is why I am hoping to photograph them in their natural habitat, pre-showtime.

Jeremy said...

Huh... turns out ND is straight north from OK. Funny how that hasn't come up for the last decade (since middle school geography).

Wikipedia also tells me its the 3rd least populous state. (Just above Vermont and Wyoming.) So NY, at 77% the physical size of ND, has 30 times the population...