Collage correspondence, part 5: First points west

After leaving Iowa and heading west, I wrote notes to project backers on a few custom postcards that I had made during the last leg of my trip. Here they are:

Postcard collage of happy miner and the phrase "Make Your Own Coolant-Recovery System"

Dear Kimberlie — I didn’t make my own coolant-recovery system, but I did replace my transmission, and when I was done I felt just like the smiling miner on the front of this postcard — except instead of having a pickaxe that advertises underground tours, I have a van that advertises nothing. The Lake Superior shoreline was one of the highlights of my time in the Midwest, although with the fall colors on this postcard it’s rocking a serious New England vibe here. When I visited it felt more like the Pacific Northwest. “Minnesota, you chameleon,” Walt Whitman probably should have said.


Postcard collage of singer in front of "UFFDA!" Minnesota license plate with text "legendary vittles"

Dear Emily — Greetings from South Dakota! I know, this postcard is from Minnesota; I was there last month. But the postcard is actually like three years old; I bought it in the Minneapolis airport in 2009. Why am I telling you this? And why have I used so many semicolons here? Sorry. Anyway, the point is that I foresaw a very special future need for Minnesota postcards when I purchased it, or so I choose to tell myself now. I made the collage at a friend’s house in Duluth, where everyone sings and gestures like this all the time.


Postcard collage of buffalo, Sleeping Bear Dunes, a danger sign, and a wooden masonry form

Hello Zarah! Greetings from Badlands National Park. I was in Sleeping Bear Dunes about a month ago, and decided that this postcard would look better with a buffalo on it. Mission accomplished! I might have seen some buffalo yesterday, but they were a long way off and I was near the park border, so they might have been cows. I’ll leave it for the courts to decide, and until that happens I’ll compromise by choosing to believe that I saw a herd of beefalo. The badlands are nice. Sleeping Bear Dunes had the edge on lakeshore property, but South Dakota has the edge on prairie.


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