Be Afraid, U.S. Interstate Sytem, I’m En Route

I know all sorts of useful things about vagabonding the States. For instance, I know that it is quite difficult to sleep squatting on the flats of your feet, huddled in a blanket. No matter what those mushroom pickers told me, I don’t think it’s actually possible to do for any extended time. Sure, I can fall asleep, but to stay upright’s the trick. I also know that Arizona kids sometimes slash not one, not two, but four tires if you refuse to buy them alcohol (not that I could have, I was nineteen, which, apparently, they didn’t believe). Quick hits of good advice:

1. Throw the game. Do not play pool for money at a bar where the owner also owns the trailer park out back.

2. Abstain. Or at least do not get drunk with strangers off-strip in Vegas.

3. Shove on. If you find assault rifle casings near an otherwise perfect campsite in the Sawtooth Range, all the “otherwise perfect” in the world does not outweigh the casings.

4. Look away, Dixie. It is impolite to stare at what might or might not be a polygamist family in the West Desert. You will probably be outnumbered and undergunned.  

5. Fido knows. If your dog hates someone, you should hate them too. 

I’ve gleaned this and more, but I also know the importance of good music for any trek. Before a trip I put together a few playlists meant to coordinate the tunes with the terrain. Sometimes this works, sometimes not so much. But as I get ready for my summer trip East, it’s come time to map the route, chart the anticipated playlist, and hit the local casino for some cheap cigarettes. This year’s playlist should be easy because I’ve got a destination which will channel the music selections through definite states, regions, and cities. One of these cities is Youngstown, Ohio, roughly twelve hours from my starting point. Here’s the song below from a live Springsteen concert in (serendipity!) Youngstown. The song (serendipity!): “Youngstown” from his 1995 accoustic album, The Ghost of Tom Joad

I’ll be scouring my collection for more music soon for this particular trip and will continue updating as the playlists come together. And, of course, I’ll worry so much about the playlists, I won’t remember to pack socks.     


3 Responses to Be Afraid, U.S. Interstate Sytem, I’m En Route

  1. Ham says:

    I’ve driven coast to coast more times than I really care to remember. Along the way, Mr. Fido sat in the passenger seat, hanging his head into the breeze, ears flapping in the wind.
    You are absolutely correct, when he decided to take a snap at someone, chances are I needed to punch the gas and leave. Dogs are great character barometers.

    Dogs really are uncanny about that stuff. She does not take “no” for an answer either. I’ve tried to calm her down about people before, and she just doesn’t care. I learned right quick that if she gets all bristled and even hints at flashing those pearly whites, it’s time to go.

    Have you ever felt, though, going coast to coast that the U.S. is actually like a dozen little countries with very little contact with each other? The difference between Southern Illinois and Northern is just one example of how insanely different the regions can be. It’s neat and the number two reason I’ve never left the country. Number one is aforementioned DawgE who gets seperation anxiety and cannot be away from me for very long without turning her rage and sorrow at getting ditched toward couch pillows, remote controls, and her paws: she licks the fur off them.

  2. writerchick says:

    Hey Puddlehead,
    Have a great trip. On my last cross country trek I played “Riding with the King” with Clapton and BB King. It was great traveling music and got me through many hundreds of miles of desert.
    Great tips – I’d take all of them.

    Hey, WC. Thanks! I should be out of here by Tuesday morning but will be able to keep up on my reading and all that jazz because my visit stops have wireless. Plus, I’ve a satchel full of work to keep up on, so I’ll be looking for good reads to best procrastinate.

    I love the suggestion: A little BB King and Clapton might be in order. I don’t know where they’d go in the region analysis, though. Chicago would be good because of the highway 61 Blues route connection, but I won’t go through Chicago this time. Hmmm. Cleveland might work because it’s where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located.

    Do you love the desert or hate it? It’s my favorite place in the country, though I can’t live there yet. But I’ve never met a person who didn’t have a strong opinion about the U.S. deserts. It’s a love it or a hate it sort of thing.

  3. writerchick says:

    I love the whole southwestern landscape – deserts, mountains, oceans. I like the heat, so the deserts don’t bother me that much. I think if I painted I would paint the desert, such stunning and stark visuals there and there is nothing like sunset in the desert – breathtaking.

    Yes, I feel you. The desert is my favorite sort of terrian. Everything in the desert is just so, perfeclty placed and could not be otherwise. It’s the best.

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