Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Keep on Keeping On (Lessons Learned at Age 24)

Started the day with an All-You-Can-Eat flapjack breakfast by a famous KOA frycook. I guess he's famous cause he makes spongebob pancakes but mine were just your ordinary pancake. The record I'm told is 28 flapjacks, 3 days in a row by some teenage boy participating at a swim meet. I thought that was outragous. I almost puked after eating 3 so that kid must be a mutant alien to injest that many carbs. I really enjoyed camping out last night. I wish the weather would stay warm but alas I'm heading into the cool northwest. It was pretty sunny when I left Rapid City but it quickly became apparent that I made the right decision to put the ickshnay on Yellowstone. Thick black clouds bordered the western skyline when I crossed into Wyoming. It started to drizzle and continued for most of my ride. The landscape in Wyoming is breathtaking. The picture doesn't do it justice but I literally slammed on my brakes and swerved to the side of the road to take the pic b/c it's just so gosh darn pretty. I stopped in Billings, MT to get my car checked out b/c the squeeling fan belt is starting to annoy me. I have an oil leak that I need to keep an eye on but we are good to go. I will be taking a Siesta in Billings, MT at the Motel 6 right next to the Adult Store. Now I can stock up on supplies for my personal pleasure. LOL!

Mount Rushmore

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wild, Wild West

Today has been the best road trip day yet. I am sitting at Mount Rushmore this evening typing a draft for my blog. The sun is peeking around Mount Rushmore giving it a heavenly glow. Mount Rushmore is really astounding. The detail is unbelievable. It's their eyes that are amazing, giving them lifelike expression. It looks just like they are gazing out, watching all of America. I have truly enjoyed driving through South Dakota. I wish I had a covered wagon so I could ride through the grasslands. I actually had tumbleweed roll out in front of my car on the highway. That was a hoot. It was a gorgeous day to drive. A pheasant ran across the highway in front of my car. I saw buffalo and deer grazing on the plains. Lots of cows. It was in the 80's today. Don't be jealous. I'm driving into snow tomorrow. I stopped at the famous Wall Drug today. South Dakota is billboard capital of America. The highway is stacked with billboards and many of them are for Wall Drug. The propaganda made me stop and see what all the hoopla was about. It's a sleepy little frontier town with a mini mall that has all the western wear and Indian crafts you could want. I hung out at a local coffee shop in downtown Rapid City, SD for the afternoon trying to debate my next move. I consulted with a woman at a travel store called Roam'n Around who introduced me to a website dedicated to couch surfing. It is totally legit so I'm hoping to hook up with free couch surfing. Don't worry I haven't forgot about Rule # 1: Safety First. I am staying at a KOA tonight where I am currently typing my blog from inside my tent. Lov'n it! I'm taking advantage o the good weather while it lasts. Good Day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Is that a Silo or are you just Happy to see me?

I am officially out west. I crossed the Mississippi River today. I have driven about 1,000 miles in the past two days. All of it has been through a landscape of amber waves of grain with the exception of the big city of Chicago splat in the middle of it. I have driven through hundreds of miles of corn fields, dotted with old, rundown farm houses and silos, stretching as far as you can see on both sides of the highway. It really is amazing how vast this country is. It was raining when I left Chicago this morning then I drove through a minor snow squall that lasted the entire length of Wisconsin. The industrial RainX the guys at NTB put on my windshield rocks. It sends the rain drops streaking across my windshield like tiny, little shooting stars. I barely had to use my wipers. So cool! My drive ended with the sun shining through puffy white clouds as I arrived in Sioux Falls, SD this evening. I visited Falls Park on the Big Sioux River in the Downtown area. These falls were visited by Lewis & Clark and served as the p0wer for the Queen Bee Mill and a Hydro-electric company. When I stepped out of my car at this tourist attraction I was knocked back by a marvelously putrid smell that brings up nostalgic memories of old school Westbrook. I forced myself to take a couple of pictures then ran back to my car gagg'n. I don't know how this could be a tourist attraction. It's more like a tourist repel-tion. I am sitting at a mom & pop diner, next to the Motel 6 I'm staying at, eating a greasy cheeseburger that I can almost guarantee I'm going to regret during my drive tomorrow.

Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin; but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever say in my life!--Day Three

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.
The Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.
(Lewis Carroll)
I had a fitful night of sleep at the Stanford Hostel, mostly due to the outing club partying to the wee hours of the morning. I'm pretty sure they were performing a drug induced vision dance, similar to the Native American pow wow, around a meager bonfire. I believe they were trying to awaken the spirit of Bigfoot to aid in my journey westward. I arose early in hopes of getting my windshield wipers fixed. Blessed Be-- the National Tire and Battery Auto Center is open on Sunday and does repairs. I spent the morning surfing the web and chugging The Dew at Panera Bread in Macedonia, OH, very similar to that of Windham, ME. It was not the wiper lever as I had suspected but the goddamn wiper transition motor, not an easy part to acquire I was told. Ray, at NTB, is the man! He worked some minor miracle, which I believe was partially manifested by the pagan witch dance around the fire last night, and I was on my way to Chicago before noon! Ya-Hooey! The rest of the road trip to Chicago was uneventful. I managed to maneuver my way through rush hour 5 o'clock traffic with ease and arrived safely at the Chicago Hostel. I dream of a peaceful evening in a private room and going to bed early to catch up on sleep. HA! My reservation was totally screwed up. FYI- Never book a hostel on-line, call the hostel directly because my night in OH was messed up too. I am in a room lined with four bunk beds, definitely not a private room, right next to the subway train! In an experiment conducted using the authentic scientific method, I took 10 consecutive split time trials using the stopwatch on my cell phone to determine how often the train passes directly by my bed. The results were startling! The train rattles by my room an average of every 2 minutes and 20 seconds, sometimes the north and southbound trains passing at the same time, doubling the noise factor. Tonight is a good night to pop a Quaalude and pray for a good night sleep so I can tackle another 10 hour day of driving.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Down The Rabbit Hole- Day Two

Day One was your typical drive through New England. I stopped at my favorite haunts in Salem, sipped tea with my Aunt and had a slumber party at Alligator's.
Day Two began with a lovely breakfast at a local greasy spoon run by a biker couple (rumored to have received rave reviews from the infamous Purple Room Guru). The first four hours of driving were uneventful. It was HOUR 4 that the real adventure across country began. I stopped to gas up at a service area in New York when the torrential down pour and howling wind began. I took off from the rest stop with bolts of lightening streaking down on both sides of the highway. As the rain started to ease-SNAP! My driver side windshield wiper broke so that it was hanging across my side mirror. Thank Jesus, Budda, Allah, Zeus, Mother Earth and all the world's dieties, rays of sunlight peeked through the clouds and a road sign appeared telling me I was 1 mile from a rest area. It's official the wiper lever is broken and unfixable today. The question became, Do I continue to follow the white rabbit down the hole? The clouds cleared and I continued on my journey. To add insult to injury, 15 minutes after declaring the wiper dead, I pulled up to the Buffalo, NY toll plaza to be greeted by a large prison inmate who painfully extracted an $11.65 toll, followed 10 minutes later by another toll ticket plaza. I will fondly remember New York as the "prison shower" of my journey. The most memorable NY road sign to sum up the day, "Correctional Facility Ahead, Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers." I arrived, after an 11 1/2 hour day of driving, at the Stanford Hostel in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, to be entertained by a group of disco dancing, accappella singing divas. It's really had been a delightful day on the whole.
Tolls in New York: $14.50
Parts and Labor to fix wipers: TBA
Road Trip Across America: Priceless