I am in Pittsburgh, PA right now, and I am awkwardly continuing this story. Last you heard, the four of us were in Minnesota. I say this to you now: open your ears.
After arriving in Minneapolis, we filmed our last interview. His name was Joel and he had just opened a coffee shop called The Beat. The shop serves as a forum for the artists of Minneapolis, providing a stage for theater, wallspace for 2-d art, and both open-mic and scheduled concerts on the weekends. It also serves as a forum for Joel’s church, though he was sure to mention that his shop was NOT a christian coffee shop. He wanted to make sure that everyone felt welcome to his coffee. And it was good coffee, too.
At the Beat, all of the coffee is brewed with a french press. In fact, one of the items on the menu is a french press, which can be shared between 2-4 people. All things considered, I found Joel to be a man making a serious attempt to reach the cultural center of Minneapolis. And if he recruited a few new members for his church, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.
After the interview, Anna left us to go to work for the rest of the week (she’s from Minnesota, you know) and we headed north to Esther’s dad’s house in Brainerd, MN. Here are the three of us near Esther’s house:
In Brainerd we were dined (but not wined) and we heard real live loons! Also, we saw Paul Bunyan Land, and we learned all there is to learn about mining for gold in these here present days (Esther’s brother is doing it in Alaska as I type). And I picked up a few chords on the old banjo, which I’ve been meaning to learn.
On our last day in the North Country, Anna came up to see us off. It was Saturday and we filmed our final reflections on our two weeks together. And then it was time to go, and Anna gave us hugs goodbye, and it hadn’t really sunk in that this was the end. The three of us had at least another day together, but this was the last time all four of us would be together on this trip. And then Anna left and we three set off for the east–Wisconsin first, and then Illinois and Indiana, those skinny twins.
Even the drive home was a race, though. We knew these Eastern states too well, and so we spent all of our time in the west and midwest. As a result, though, we left Minneapolis at around 6PM on Saturday and drove straight through the night until we were all in our homes. This was necessary because Jesse and I both started work on that Monday. Yesterday. But it all worked out because Jesse made it home sometime around 10 PM and probably slept immediately in order to wake up in time for the morning shift. But hey, I think we would all consider our time well spent.
So now I’m here, writing to you from the house I grew up in, and everything is the same as it is every summer, and I have to keep looking at pictures to remind myself that I just saw more of the country than most Americans will ever see. Which is what you can do too. Just go to the webshots page and you can see all of our trip photos.
Thanks for reading. Now it’s back to our old blogs, and our old lives. If you have any comments or want some advice for a future road trip, please feel free to leave a comment.
And now, here at the end of it all, I can only wish that we were still out there, enjoying the west like those Grads without Borders. But we are not grads. We still have borders, and can only work within them and work to bend them. And oh we will try to bend them.