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Nowhere Land

KOA MapI’ll keep it brief. (Just 500 words, instead of 1,000 like I’ve been doing lately).

Welcome aboard Nikki who (in a style extremely reminiscent to Doctor Who) became UndUSA’s companion number four today, landing in the intense mess that was MSP airport. I only had to loop round four times, and get shouted at by the snotty security guard twice before I made a successful pickup. “No stopping!” he shouted at me. Twice. “Really? Well how do people pick their friends up if they’re not actually allowed to stop?” I retorted. Idiot.

North of Minneapolis, Elm Park is nothing to blog about – it’s a nothing crossroads in the middle of nowhere. Hell I didn’t even really tell you properly about the cute Latimer that I stopped in the late the other night, or the tenuously linked ‘Green Park Farm’ in the farmlands of Wisconsin the other day. But as everyone should acutely be aware by now, it’s not totally about same-named places – not all the time anyway.

I’m sat in the laundry of KOA right now in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Laundry rooms at KOA camp ground are open 24 hours, lit, air-conditioned, and always the best signal for the internet connection that they provide – trust me, it’s where to go when camping at a KOA). And I like the fact that I’m in South Dakota, because this is now truly the gateway to getting out into proper middle-of-nowhere America, what I’ve been itching to see since the off.

And as if to ram it home, hung above me on the wall is a map of all the Kampgrounds across the USA, and there’s a little part of me that just thought “Oh Shit!” right now, when I really that there aren’t THAT many conveniently located for the route that I want to take over the next few days – north Nebraska, upper South Dakota, lower North Dakota and eastern Montana. So this is going to be, err … interesting.. to say the least. But after a considered moment, I instead turned that “Oh Shit!” into an “Oh yes!” because I realise that that’s actually quite exciting. Away from the same-named-tube-stops, we’re going to be hitting some extremely small towns (including one with a population, of, er … one!) and finally see the real wilderness away from the major town and cities of the USA.

The metaphor in my mind yesterday was of a spotty pubescent teenage boy at a party. You know … the one that goes up to a girl that he likes, flirts with her awkwardly for a moment and then ducks out again. Well I feel like I flirted with the plains of Kansas and Nebraska and the nothingness, before getting out of their almost as quickly as I’d got in, made my Wisconsin and Minnesota detour, only for me to turn around and have a second shot at it all … back into the lands where things get decidedly more scenic, and the gas stations further apart.

7 responses to “Nowhere Land”

  1. MumTina says:

    Five posts in 4 days, slow down I can’t keep up! The only thing I know about Dakota, is that Doris Day sang about it in ‘Take me back to the black hills of Dakota’,and ‘That beautiful Indian Country that I love’, so watch out for bandits. Yet again another song dredged from my memory banks with the same name as the place you are visiting, I think there’s been one almost for every place so far. All I know about America I learned either from a popular song, or the movies. Now I have a new source, your blog!

  2. Rudi says:

    One thing to consider, Geoff, is that there are a plethora of state parks with campsites throughout the Midwest and Great Plains. Here are the URLs for the respective state parks in:

    North Dakota
    South Dakota


    (I hope that WP doesn’t tag this as spam because of the four links!)

  3. Michael says:

    Mr Marshall,
    You’re now headed into my favorite part of the country so I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming posts and watching the vids. And please, please stay far away from KOA campsites. It’s like stopping into the local McDonald’s in every town to get some local flavor. Sure, the girl behind the counter might have more teeth than the girl behind the counter at the previous McDonalds, but the food is always the same.

  4. Brent says:

    I hope, hope, hope you made your way through Mitchell, SD, in attempts to see the Corn Palace. I highly recommend it! Hopefully you haven’t already gone too far past…turn around!! It’s quite the spectacle!

  5. Sally says:

    I agree with Michael. Kamping at KOA is totally lame. National parks are the way to go for camping. So much more real.

  6. geofftech says:

    Stay away from KOA? But then there’d be no daily blog post, no photos on the go, and no videos. because i need power & internet to do that, something which KOA happily provides in bundles. i’m not sure that national-forest style camping is going to have an internet connection… 😉

    @sally, what National Parks can you recommend that will let me blog on the go?

  7. BevMor says:

    This is from April 2008 so it’s probably not totally current, but it should help:

    State Parks with Wi-Fi

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