The day started with quite a scene. Bintuğ took off for Los Angeles in the morning. No actual tear drops were shed, but we got as emotional as two biker dudes could get. Wind and cold made our eyes a bit wet but all was fine. Knowing that we would not be seeing each other until fall, we hugged, and of course tapped each other on the shoulders for what appeared to me as 48 times… This is a good indication of the inability of Turkish males to communicate emotions. It gets the message through without making a big scene.

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At that point we were quite sure that we made it to the other side of the Rockies. We couldn’t be more mistaken. It took more than a few more hours to get to the summit. Road conditions were OK, but everywhere was covered in snow. It’d been a few years since I last touched the snow so we pulled over and played some snowball. No need to say who kicked ass! Just watch the video. I’m sure the truckers passing by had a good time too.

We didn’t even stop in Denver and headed straight to Nebraska. It was a very quick transition. Soon we found ourselves surrounded by endless yellow fields. For miles and miles, the scenery is exactly the same. Yellow grass fields and a spotless blue sky. There is nothing here! But don’t get me wrong. That ‘nothing’ is beautiful.

I remember thinking what makes a good ‘view’. What are the true condition(s) that constitute a view and differentiates it from a regular scene. What makes highway officials create these “vista point”s and the real estate people increase the prices of a property? If it’s the ability to evoke a feeling of infinity, these grasslands and fields have more than enough of it.

Culture is most visible when man and nature are in direct relationship. I’m not talking about high-culture, pop-culture or any of those complications. I’m talking about culture in it’s bare sense. For the first time since we took off four days ago, I felt a change. It began as the language of road signs shifted towards the truck traffic. Normally, they are very brief and the author is not visible. Something like “RIGHT LANE MUST EXIT”. The ones here are more like: “TRUCKERS, DON’T BE FOOLED! YOU HAVE 5 MORE MILES OF STEEP CURVES AHEAD OF YOU!” They cater to slow moving vehicles that need convincing. Funny. But the more interesting and important change happened with the beginning of agriculture. Everyone we see or talk to is somehow ‘different’. The connection between the land and people is so strong that it’s very easy to see one changing the other. While stopped on the side of the road, we saw a boy riding on an ATV in the fields. He wasn’t doing it for fun. He was herding the cows with it. I guess that makes him a cowboy! A genuine cowboy… My first!

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading east. I feel much more relaxed about the schedule. I needn’t check the map and GPS as often. We’ll be following the same road for as long as we can… Life is simple.