You know you're in Wyoming because it's towns' initials are burned into the mountain sides. And you know you're in Nebraska because the town's name is on the side of the silos and Illinois because each town's water tower tells you where you are.
Indiana's roads are full of billboards for strip clubs and Michigan's roads are shit until you hit Ohio, then it's smooth sailing. The majority of the Pennsylvania's roads are under construction. It's hard to tell when the construction ends and resuming normal speed begins.
The only constant on highway 80 is the heavy truck traffic and the birthplaces of famous people.
John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman & Buffalo Bill Cody.
Buffalo Bill's hometown is North Platte, Nebraska and one of the town's main attractions is Fort Cody- a pile of wood and dummies dressed up as Calvary soldiers and Indians. The bartender at the Whiskey Grill...not the Whiskey Girl...was a cute enough little lady, but the dude at the end of the bar gave me the creeps- your token local with a heavy heart for your token local cutie bartender.
Are you calling me easy? She asked me. Yes, I replied.
GTI and I were shucking on from Salt Lake over to Windsor, Ontario with me proceeding on to sunny Philly. It started at 6:16 in the am on Thursday, a minute after check-in for my flight was over. New flights, new times, same spots but just pulling into Salt Lake a few hours later. The Phoenix airport, while an anomaly in daylight savings time in the US, was 90 percent good looking ladies and 10 percent soccer moms. All of the sharp ladies were wearing the same shoes- heels, kind of like a sandal. I don't know fashion, only hot chicks...
Less than 24 hours in the mountains and we were headed east. Highway 80 will take you straight on until morning and little else. A quarter of the way into Nebraska, the mountains to your right start to disappear and there isn't much to see until Omaha and the sight of the College World Series stadium is mildly interesting. Saturday was jam band day and I filled the 350 with Widespread Panic, Moe, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, the Black Crowes, and Bruce Springsteen, who probably isn't considered a jam band, but The Rising proved to be the perfect hour plus soundtrack to the doldrums of Iowa. And blasting the remixed version of Pearl Jam's Ten while cruise controlling your way across America in a big ass pickup truck is as important to the mission as ice coffee and good sunglasses are.
Crossing the border took a shade under three hours and included everything except full body searches. A lot of stamping and scouring of passports and life stories and criminal records and what exactly are you doing here?
Where are you headed? "Oliver" the polite Canadian in the booth asked.
Windsor, GTI replied.
You're in Windsor.
Three hours of mind-numbing interactions and stepping up to the window a few seconds before you were supposed to.
Did someone call you? "Asshole" the gruff American asked me.
It's just a bridge over a small river that separates the US and Canada but it's incredible how different the two sides are. Windsor is a lovely town. Clean and quiet and true to what the Australians said, full of good looking ladies. Across the river, with GM announcing it's bankruptcy, Detroit looked hungover and beat down. A city just waking up after a hell of a bender with problems far more severe that just wondering what bar you're credit card is in and how the hell did my car get here.
Detroit is a great town to drive away from.
And America is a great country to drive through. Especially if you have jam bands, a cup to pee in, and the time changes to your back.
See you next time Nebraska.