Words by Alexa Daugherty

Dear Mom/Dad/All,

We are running – actually, cycling – away. We admit, however, that our participation in a fated adolescent flight might just be a way to spend (and celebrate) that awkward time between The Fourth and Fourteenth of July. Regardless, Our Mission is simple: to appreciate the Wild American West. That might mean many things. Bike up a mountain, buy Slim Jims, jump in some hot springs, film a movie, see high school sweethearts embrace at a rodeo, eat a snake, save a snake. Whatever dreams may come, they’ll all occur via our own Tour de Ford Explorer. Note: This Tenspeed Hero is currently situated only 5.6 miles away from Buffalo Bill Cody’s Ranch. At this juncture of ventured recklessness, we look to renowned sharp(never straight)shooters like Buffalo-B himself for inspiration. Here are some other landmarks we have felt the need to shoot with our cameras so far:

Louis Sullivan Bank– Grinnell, Iowa

Merchants’ National Bank, one of Sullivan’s trademarked ‘Jewel Boxes’ popped into our line of vision just as one Hero mentioned a pressing desire to, “rob a bank.” A constant reminder of how architects shaped small Midwestern towns, Merchants’ now serves Grinnell seven days a week with its Cartouche-decorated façade.

Bowling (mural) – Grinnell, Iowa

Just around the corner from a roadhouse diner where aluminum road signs were as highly visible as the patrons’ neon clothing, we found red, white, and blue bowling mural. In spirit of our sandwiching holidays, we think bowling leagues and the newly-formed TSH band need to hang out here more often.

Middle Seat of the Car – Interstate 80, USA

Open plains as far as we can see. Heros + equipment as much as we can squeeze. Bonus institution known as Young Jeezy played more than we can handle thanks to airplay on SIRIUS XM Radio.

Super 8 – motel, movie, film

TSH declared luxury means a fridge, a microwave, a in-bath coffee brewer and two bikes (one our custom-made Method, the other a neon nineties Serotta) propped up against the window.

El Ranchito / La Hacienda – “A left, another left, and then a right turn”

We will never be sure what restaurant one kind North Plattian directed us to. We do know that the way she said ‘Ranchito’ was endearing, that static lightening storms exist, and that $1 will get you either a lottery ticket handed over from across this restaurant’s bar or a 5-ft long plastic string from this restaurant’s quarter-vending machines.