Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
May 03

The Definitive Ranking Of All the Shitty States I Traveled Through On My Way to California

So, guys. I did a thing! I went to California (San Jose). I went via train (well, technically, a bus and three trains that sucked away 55 hours of my life!). Thanks, California Zephyr!

California Zephyr Map

Considering traveling cross country by train? I’ll tell you when to sleep.

I haven’t written about it yet for some reason (hint: I suck at blogging). I plan to eventually post a couple photos here with some comments.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the album on Facebook if you’re my friend and have missed it. Though, I don’t see how you could, given that I had to upload in multiple posts! LOL

I also think the following ranking of the states I traveled to and through will help you navigate your own travels in the future. You’re welcome very much!

6. Iowa

It’s really fuckin’ hard to decide whether Iowa or Nebraska is worse. But Iowa was a flat, empty shithole devoid of cell service and we didn’t even stop in the one city! For that alone, Iowa ranks lowest on this list. Sorrynotsorry.

Also, the state was humid as fuck. What gives?

I highly suggest Iowa change its slogan to “Abandon hope all ye who enter.”

5. Nebraska

I really thought I was going to see the country and think, “Wow, how beautiful!.” But I took very few photos in Nebraska or Iowa. There’s just nothing to look at. We made a few more stops in Nebraska, and at least the state has multiple cities that I can name. Buuut that’s only good enough to rank slightly higher than Iowa. Nebraska is a shithole. I am not sure why anyone would visit the state let alone live there. I really feel grateful to live in a lush state such as Wisconsin after seeing this hellhole.

If Iowa’s slogan should be straight out of Dante (and it should), then Nebraska should strongly consider going with “At least we’re not Iowa.”

4. Utah

Listen, Utah is spare. Bare. Desolate even. But you can’t really appreciate it until you’re in it. The only thing it has going for it is Salt Lake City. And did you know their population is something like 200,000 people? That’s it?! That’s it! It’s smaller than Madison. I know, I know. It’s not very populated, but I figured maybe the one place that did have people would, you know, have people. Nope.

I do have to give Utah some credit where it’s due. The rock formations are nice. But it was hard to appreciate them because Utah was mostly no service, and I was traveling through it during the period when restlessness really set in. It wasn’t my own, either. Everyone in my train car felt the same. Okay, we’ve seen Utah. Can we get the hell out of it or at least to the next smoke break (and I don’t even smoke!).

3. Colorado

I was so excited to see THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS on my trip. This is the big draw, right? You go through them and, for a six-mile stretch, under them. And as the mountains grew, changing from rocky to wooded to snowy, it was an interesting view. But it was a little underwhelming. I think this is due to two things.

I awoke in Colorado on the first morning to a super pink sky and a sliver of moon. I was ready to do this! We pulled into Denver pretty early, and I noticed that there isn’t much in Colorado. The parts that aren’t a city or the mountains are, well, nothing.

And going through the Rockies just wasn’t what I expected. I think I might have been more impressed looking at them from a lower elevation to really get the full impression of the mountains looming in the distance.

I didn’t hate Colorado, though, it just didn’t do as much for me as the next state.

2. Nevada

Nevada is a desert, right? And you can see it with a wide expanse of scrub brush that someone from the lush state of Wisconsin might find laughable to call “plants.” But it makes the perfect juxtaposition with the Sierra Nevadas in the background.

I woke up in this state on the second day and was pretty much in love. The sky was pink, and I could still see the moon in the distance. The snowcapped mountains were slightly closer, and the desert lay right outside the train.

It was like real life parallax. I didn’t mind when I didn’t have reception,

1. California

I know that California has terrain that’s different from anything I ever experienced, but the knowledge wasn’t the same as actually being in it.

As we left Nevada, the mountains became rolling, green hills. The snow thinned, and the trees grew taller. Boy, did I miss trees! The further inland we moved, the more farms we saw — a few vineyards, too.

Then, came the cities. Big and uniquely laid out around bodies of water like the SF Bay. Everything was so large and alive — and there were so many portals!

But that wasn’t everything. California had museums and rose gardens, and you can’t forget the ocean! The Pacific from California (Half Moon Bay, to be specific) is so different than anything I experienced in Japan. And California had it all, which is why it tops my list.

I just realized that I didn’t include Illinois in this list. I’ve traveled through the state both east-west and north-south. It’s definitely less aggravating when you’re going the short way and you see fewer wind farms. My feelings from Illinois have changed from “Worst state ever” to “Not half bad when compared to Iowa.”

It sure as hell no Wisconsin, though.


Jun 22

Oh What Heights We’ll Hit

After a very long sleep following an exhausting weekend, I can finally breathe. This weekend started with the city’s annual Summer Kickoff, where I took my sister to play games, jump in bounce houses, see a firetruck and eat deep-fried junk food. We met up with our cousins, and it was a good time.

I left from there to see Jurassic World, which was a great movie. I think I’ll review it soon on Reviews by Cole. It’s funny — I didn’t realize I wanted to see it until after after else already had and was raving about it.

I came home with enough time to pack to leave for Minneapolis early Saturday morning. We stopped on the way for breakfast and then to visit Crystal Cave, a sight I don’t remember visiting before but have heard stories about from mom. It was cool, literally and figuratively. Although it’s warm enough outside that only four bats currently call the cave home, we were able to see two of them, including a fuzzy lilakewood cemetery sculpturettle thing right next to us on the other side of the glass. I stopped by the gift shop to pick up some things, including a gift for my sister and some small trinkets to hide.

We arrived in Minneapolis, grabbed a quick lunch and then headed out to the U of M, where we intended to see the replica of the sitting room in 221b, Sherlock Holmes’ apartment. Alas, the information online wasn’t quite updated, so we wound up at the wrong library because it’s such a large campus. When we found the correct one, it was closed for the day. So we got to wander around a large, beautiful and fragrant campus. I would have spent more time there, but my comrades weren’t down.

Instead, we headed to the next stop on the trip: Lakewood Cemetery. This cemetery makes many of the things-to-do-in-the-cities lists, and I had heard it was large, park-like and had a chapel with some great stained glass. When we got there, we were wary about being there, but we wandered around. There was a water feature, the older chapel, newer reception buildings and the most welcoming atmosphere of any cemetery let alone park I’d ever visited.

Wendy and I wandered over buildings set into the grassy hillside and saw some great monuments and headstones. During this, park security approached us to give us a pamphlet and map! We expected to be in trouble, but it was the opposite. And the information contained in there was interesting and helpful. We discovered a lake in the cemetery that was as big as our big cemetery back home, and drove around it. There were cranes, peacocks and robins chirping away, and some beautiful stained glass monuments. Unfortunately, the chapel was closed for a private function — a wedding! — by the time we got there, but with so much space to explore, I will definitely be going back!

We returned back to Wendy’s and enjoyed some frozen yogurt at her local mall and stopped in at a few shops to see what they had. Everyone bought awesome things from Hot Topic, including my new Day of the Dead damask shower curtain. Woot!

Yesterday, the only thing on our plan was the Mall of America. Robyn wanted to see the Star Trek exhibit. We snacked on crepes from a shop at the mall before I broke off from them. In the 2 or so hours they spend doing that and walking through the Nickelodeon theme park, I shopped the entire second and third floors. I got the only thing on my list — stylish black shorts — and some snacks in addition to splurging on some Mac nail polish for myself.

The drive home was relatively unexciting — though some sort of wreck did mean we got home a little later. I’ve just been trying to cool off because the heat, humidity and activity have got me beat! I’m headed back for Convergence in two weeks, though!


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