Molly Smithson

Days 2 & 3: Bookin It Out West

Molly Smithson
Days 2 & 3: Bookin It Out West

In two days, we've made it through the heartland and to the West. We're one state away from home and I couldn't be happier. 

Friday was a whole lot of driving through Iowa and Nebraska. We took a quick detour through Kansas City, which included Luke and my favorite activity, judging architectural choices. 


Stoner Drug Store was our biggest point of note, both because of the name but also because it had captured the time when highways pumped lifeblood into the midwest, spelling promise for young middle class Americans. This is the America the right wants back.

Half of the products on the drug stores' shelves were probably expired. We were the youngest patrons by 40 years. A white haired woman ran the soda fountain and cooked our burgers. At the end of our meal, she gestured at Luke and me. 

"What... Are you? Friends... or....A couple?" She said, when I offered to pay.

"We're friends," I said, "Luke has been kind enough to help me drive cross country to move."

"Well good." She huffed with an unspoken judgement about youth values. She turned back to her own friends, a roost of other white haired hens drinking coffee and sharing what little town gossip was left for the 1,100 residents of Hamburg, Iowa. 

On Friday night, we stayed in Cheyenne at the Historic Plains Hotel. Other than a slight fear it was on top of an Indian burial site, it was a stunning piece of Wild West history. We also experienced some local color at the Royal Crown bar. A rock and roll band made up of burly middle age men blasted the Beatles, Kris Kristopherson and Tom Petty. Local townies who were short on dental work and generous with good drinks clustered around the wood paneled bar. 

Yesterday, we partook in Cheyenne's Saturday morning market, where we tried roasted peppers and bought some german sweets. We then ate the best breakfast burrito of our lives at an Elvis themed diner: two of my favorite things. 

To get out some energy, we bouldered in Medicine Bow National Forest. I have always loved climbing: the infinite paths you can take, the roughness of rocks in your hands. For a long time, a fear of heights kept me from going on climbing trips- if something was too steep or sheer, I would panic and didn't want anyone to see that. I've been lucky to realize that if you enjoy something, physically or mentally, you should embrace questioning and pause, instead of pretending it doesn't exist. Ask questions, be challenged and you'll come out better for it. 

We trucked through Wyoming and dipped into Utah, where we stopped at our first In-n-Out. God love the hamburger, but I'm ready for a big salad once we get to Portland tonight.