Monday, April 20, 2015

Road Trip Inspiration by DeeDee Lane

When my mother and I took a road trip from Tomah, Wisconsin to Sioux Falls, South Dakota I knew it was going to be an adventure but had no idea it would be the inspiration for a series of novellas. We set out on Interstate 90 to go to the National IFYE conference. IFYE is the International 4-H Youth Exchange and both of us had participated in the travel exchange program. My mom to India in the 1950’s and approximately 30 years later I went to Italy. The conference was a chance for both of us to connect with other IFYE’s and road trip to South Dakota, with the vow to stop where ever we wanted!

To give us a theme Mom brought along the book American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads. Author, Pascale Le Draoulec, drove through the US looking for great pie to eat, pie makers to interview and recipes to collect. We knew we needed to pare it down a bit so we focused on the by-ways near I-90 and apple pie. We hoped, and it turned out to be true, that looking for pie would give us the encouragement to look out for other hidden road trip gems.

By the time we reached Mitchell, South Dakota, home of the Corn Palace we were in full adventure mode, apple pie connoisseurs and frankly looking for a stop that had NOTHING to do with pie! After we visited the Corn Palace and marveled at all the creative uses of the corn plant we asked a local for recommendations. She gave us directions and a brochure to the Dakota Discovery Museum another cultural highlight of the area. The brochure described the museum: “Our engaging environment invites you to explore the traditions of Native American culture and early American settlers through artifacts dating from the 1600′s through 1940.” And with that we decided to by-pass the cafĂ© advertising pie and take in the museum instead.

When we arrived I was immediately drawn to the Blacksmith’s exhibit area which was set up with many of the artifacts used by early Dakota settlers. It was so realistic I could almost hear the neigh of the horse and the clang of steel horseshoes. I remember thinking, “What would it be like if this exhibit came alive and I could just walk into it?” Outside we visited the Historic Village Complex, walking from school house to settler’s home through grassy fields, kept to look like a prairie. Again, I was struck by how amazing it would be to learn history by slipping back in time. From there my imagination took off, adding conflict of course. What if you didn’t want to go back in time? And it just happened? And what if you slipped into another time and found your greatest desire?

Several years later when I was imagining the story of MY MOUNTAIN MAN I was able to create a story that tried to answer these questions.

So my Mom and I never ate pie in Mitchell but we discovered a road trip gem and eventually made it to our conference in Sioux Falls. And on the closing banquet night when we could choose between a slice of delicious looking apple pie or a raspberry sorbet… both of us chose the sorbet.

DeeDee Lane

Coming Soon To The Wild Rose Press

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