Sunday, April 12, 2009
Lord, I'm Five Hundred Miles From My Home.
So I did a little bit of driving, last week. Actually, it was a hell of a lot of driving. I flew to Rochester, New York and drove a car 2,400 miles back to Salt Lake. My brother bought the car on an auction and I was in the mood for a road trip. So I offered to shuttle it back. It's nice to get out on an empty highway with a full tank of gas, set the cruise at 85 and zone out to fantastic music. At least it's nice for about 2,000 miles. The last 400 or so were pretty brutal. And the fact that they were spent driving from Rawlins, Wyoming didn't help.
Here are a few highlights:
- Jessica, the nice shuttle bus driver at the airport that gave me a lift 30 miles from Rochester to Leroy, New York to pick up my car. She did this on her day off in her own car for twenty bucks. A cab would have cost me fifty.
- $1.85 gas and $30 dollar hotels. The down economy isn't all bad.
- My Ipod Battery. Holy crap! Between the flight to New York and the three days of driving, I probably listened to 40 hours of music off the old Ipod without charging it. I was pretty bummed when I realized I forgot my car charger and figured I would be jamming out to AM radio the last two days. But when I pulled into Salt Lake, the Ipod battery light wasn't even in the red. Amazing.
- Listening to AM Coast to Coast. Lunatic conspiracy theories about how Obama is in cahoots with the Illuminati are best received when listening to them on a crackling radio while driving down a lone highway in Indiana under a full moon at 2:00 in the morning. The same way ghost stories are best told around a camp fire with a flashlight pointing up your nose.
- Rediscovering how much I love Peter, Paul and Mary.
- Biscuits and Gravy at that truck stop in Davenport, Iowa. I like it when waitresses call me "hun".
- Driving into the Nebraska sunset while listening to Explosions In The Sky. (Stupid video, but amazing song.)
A few lowlights:
- Eating Burger King at the Salt Lake airport before my flight. Always a bad move.
- Cornless Iowa. I have driven this strentch of highway before. But in previous trips, it was in July and August. I love driving through agricultural areas. Endless fields of green crops, sprinkler pipes, white farm houses and red barns are some of the most pleasant scenery you can drive through. It makes you want to sing John Denver. "Life ain't nothing but a funny, funny riddle . . ." But there are no amber waves of grain in early April. Just a lot yellow grass.
- That horrible noise that happens when your cell phone is too close to a speaker. I hate that sound.
- Missing Lost. Man that one hurt. For those of us that have been hooked on this show for years, this season is delivering big time. Season 5 is the Mormon Honeymoon. After years of frustrated anticipation, finally some pay off. It was tough to postpone my viewing a few days. But I just finished watching "Dead Is Dead" on ABC.com and let me tell ya, it was huge! On the bright side, I only now have to wait three days to see the next episode. All good things come to those who wait. (I'm applying that statement to both aspects of my little metaphor.)
- Cheyenne to Evanston. That is a brutal stretch of road. I love the state of Wyoming. I have a lot of family from there and have spent a lot of time enjoying what "Big Wonderful" has to offer. Between Star Valley, the Tetons, Jackson, Yellowstone, The Windrivers there is no shortage of natural awe in Wyoming. But the southern edge of that state is the nutsack of creation. Wind swept desolation and sad little towns.
- The Ohio and Indiana turnpikes. For a guy born and raised in the west, toll roads are an inexcusable nuisance. Look Ohio, where do you get the balls to charge me $11.70 for the honor of driving through your precious state on your fancy pants toll road? It's I-80. The exact same I-80 that runs by my house. The same I-80 that is free to drive down for thousands and thousands of miles. Why is it free? Because it is part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, paid for and maintained by federal tax dollars. And yet for some reason, we need to pay for pleasure of driving through the section that goes through the sainted land of Ohio. Gas taxes weren't any cheaper. The road wasn't any nicer. I guess the flat, monotonous scenery of Sandusky is too overwhelming to be complimentary. And it's not even the money that pissed me off. It was stopping at a toll booth fifty times in a day to stand in line.
Confound your toll, troll. (snaps) SSSSSSSSSS.