Saturday, August 04, 2007

Six good and four bad from the trip

It's been a couple days, but more than 3,200 miles and nine states later, I have returned to Indiana. This is fine, I suppose, although I miss the mountains.

Good

1. The Rocky Mountains. I am fond of them. It was especially nice to stand on the top of a mountain, 12,000 feet above sea level, look to the east, point and yell "HAHA!" to my poor co-workers who were dealing with racing stories.

2. Finding homestyle fries at the Fort Morgan, Colo. Arby's. It's good to know at least one Arby's hasn't imprisoned its customers to an indefinite tortuous fate of curly fries. Seemingly, they are the lone holdouts in the country. Or at least the parts of the country I have seen. So if you don't want to eat crappy fries, go to Fort Morgan. It's in the middle of nowhere in northeastern Colorado, but it's worth it.

3. The Cubs, Royals, Rockies and Twins won, while the Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers and Brewers lost.

4. On the newspaper stands at a rest stop in extremely rural Missouri, I saw next to USA Today, various car traders and "Diabetes 101," a publication called "Country Singles." Due to the potential of being alternately terrified and struck by bouts of manic laughter at the gems that lay within, I bought a copy. I was not disappointed. The "incarcerated" section of personal ads (under the heading, "ATTENTION READERS: Please DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT send money to any of the incarcerated!! Thank you for your cooperation!!!") was my favorite. One SWF imprisoned in Nevada said she is, "Willing to relocate."

5. Kansas and Nebraska. While they are both mind-numbingly long and were key contributors to plunging our nation into a Civil War due to the Kansas-Nebraska Act (although, if my mid-19th century history is correct, it can be blamed more on the pro-slavery "border ruffian" Missourians who invaded Kansas, but I might just be making stuff up), I liked them in the way chocolate ice cream with bits of razor blades is enjoyable. Parts are painful, but for the most part, they're OK.

6. When you're in the middle of nowhere, especially in Kansas and Nebraska, chances are you will be able to watch a small cluster of clouds in the distance grow and develop into a large thunderstorm. I like that.

Bad

1. The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed a couple hours after I drove out of town. I did not drive on the bridge, but it's chilling to think that it's possible some of the people I passed on the sidewalks on Tuesday and Wednesday could have been on the bridge.

2. Motel 6. Cheapness in lodging is a fault of mine. I don't typically feel the need to spend a great deal of money for a place to sleep. In fact, I would be perfectly happy sleeping in my car. Unfortunately, my car doesn't have free HBO that I won't watch or a pool I won't swim in. However, it would be a good idea for me to at least graduate to Econolodge.

In the past two years, my adventures at various Motel 6's around the country have included: 1) what appeared to be a bullet hole in the floor (Washington D.C.), 2) a strange man knocking on doors hoping he would be let in (Dallas), 3) mouse poo on the bed sheets (Minneapolis), 4) jackhammers shaking the windows at 9 a.m. (Omaha), 5) another strange man who was smoking in an elevator while wearing a shirt that eloquently stated, "F*** you. I love hatred" (Denver), 6) overly angry cleaning crews (Baton Rouge, I believe, but maybe D.C.), 7) an entire team of 12-year old softball players who creepily referred to themselves in colorful soap on the windshields of their parents' cars as "The Sexy Babies"(Kansas City) and 7) a parking lot so small that many people had to park at an adjacent gas station (Boston).

3. The bug that exploded right in my line of sight on the windshield somewhere in Iowa. It was the size of a small mammal.

4. Apparently the designers of the central Illinois rest areas believed that, on average, human beings are 4-feet tall. That is the only way the bathroom stall doors could possibly be that short. I believe the quote from the guy who walked in and saw the situation was, "Jesus Christ, Illinois! Can we not have some privacy?"

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