[Patreon] Part II: The Plains (Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa)

The plains tell us where we are and where we will go if we are not willing to take a chance.

Sunday, April 3, 2016.

For every road trip, there is one requirement: Bob Segar’s “Greatest Hits” must start the journey. This one was no different, and I pointed the car westward to the opening strains of “Roll Me Away“.

“Took a look down a westbound road, and right away I made my choice.” I love that opening line so much – it speaks volumes to my love for the road. The album carried me to the Iowa border, when it was swapped out for the Indigo Girls’ “Rites of Passage”. Because Reasons. 🙂

Illinois gave me two excellent parting gifts, “Illinois Highways” and “After The Storm”. Much to my surprise, both of these came out excellent when a test print was done:

“Illinois Highways”:

Illinois Highways

“After the Storm”:
April Trip - Illinois After the Storm.jpg
In Iowa, I stopped at a rest area along I-80. Iowa said hello and thanks for pissing here in a most spectacular manner. I call this one “FireSky”:

April Trip - Iowa Sunset

No filters were harmed in the making of these photographs. 🙂

The remainder of the night carried me through to Lincoln, NE and my crash space for the night. (Thank you Stef for facilitating Andira and Devon’s conversation with me, and a big thank you to Devon for providing said space.) I had thought I would arrive at Devon’s place around 11pm… and fate delivered me there at 130am instead. Nothing happened to the car enroute, I just failed to properly consider my needs along the drive. This is why I try to build in travel time to my travels – just in case traffic decides to stop on the interstate for no discernible reason. Not saying that happened in Des Moines, and I’m not saying it didn’t happen.

Devon and I conversed about relationships, health insurance, housing in Lincoln, chasing girls across the country, and Grindr until about 430am when I could no longer hold my eyes open. I crashed, and fell asleep to the hum of tires on asphalt in my head.

Monday, 4 April 2016

I hate Nebraska. Seriously. That damn state is flat, brown, and full of soybean farms, wheat farms, and cows. That’s it. Just say no, if you can. Unfortunately, I was headed to Denver, which meant that Nebraska was a requirement.

I saw Nebraska as a chore, a task I needed to complete and nothing more. “The mountains were calling,” I said at about mile marker 230 to my traveling companion Hobbes. “If only this gorram state would hurry up and end, we’ll be in Colorado,” and that is when this poem started to crystalize in my head – and where the quote that opened this post originated.

The last thing, besides a sign saying “You are now leaving Nebraska”, that the state gave me was the understanding that I was not just on a roadtrip to Vegas, not just traveling to pay the rent, but rather this journey was going to be transformative in ways I could not yet fathom. I didn’t know the specifics, but the atmosphere in the car was palpable with anticipation and hidden potential.

Little did I know what awaited me in the mountains. Little did I know. I’ll tell that tale in Part III: The Mountains (Colorado and Utah), which should go up tomorrow as I recreate these posts from notes after inexplicably losing 20K+ words worth of work last night from my machine.