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Odometer Start
10:06 AM: 0,000 Miles

Starting City
Chicago, Illinois

Odometer End
9:00 AM: 0,000 Miles

Crash City
Palookaville, USA

Daily Donner Report
No one ate each other yesterday.

Musical Selections

  • Old 97s
  • Lakeside Rebar
  • Letters to Cleo
  • Joan Osborne
  • AM: Nothing of note
  • FM: Nothing of note

  • Justification
  • Personnel
  • Route
  • Equipment
  • Bibliography

  • Saturday, September 16, 2000

    ...posted at 23:26:39 AM...

    Notes from the day:

    MAX: "We have set the trip odometer to zero. I haven't had any coffee."

    And with that, we're off!

    The goal today is to put some mile on the odometer, and ease Max the East Coaster back into driving. Morgan drives from Lincoln Park. We hit a Dunkin Donuts on Fullerton going toward the Kennedy, I-90, which we will take for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

    Conversation: Max says “good morning” 18 times between leaving house and getting sufficient caffeine down her gullet.

    Then: directions, work, career, corn.

    Potential slogans for the trip/day are suggested.

    Morgan says: “Nothing but positive!”

    Max hears: “Nothing but pasta.”


    The first major stop is Madison, WI, which is a lovely college town.

    Max sez:
    “Had a nice walk on State St. in Madison. Admired the campus, peed in a Starbucks. Drove out to the highway, paused to pick up THE BEER. Pulled into a car wash with “Let’s Kill Saturday Night” on the CD player. Bright neon lit the daytime carwash announcing us SPOT FREE. The carwash was a Lazer Dry 4000, apparently looking forward to the fourth millennium.

    Lettered sign on the local bakery ‘Run, Bambi, Run!’ Deer season has started?”

    A quick explanation of THE BEER. When Max and Morgan drove up from New Orleans, Max bought a cheap trinket for her guy Jamie in every state between NO and NYC. Earlier, Morgan asked Jamie is a t’irty pack of Old Style should be transported from Chicago to SF. Much debate ensued. While Old Style will be delivered, it will be accompanied by local beer form every state encountered on the trip. Most likely, cheap local beer in cans. Th-th-th-th-that’s Multiculturalism!

    Mile 207. Somewhere in the Dells. Lunch at the Green Mill. Buffalo Chicken Wrap; Cobb Salad, Inside out sundae (which was impressive, if kind of disgusting.)

    The Dells, if you have never been, are sort of a Branson, Missouri for watersports lovers. Billboards for Tommy Bartlett abound, including one for Tommy Bartlett’s ROBOT MUSEUM. Outside the Green Mill, we discover that the ROBOT MUSEUM contains parts from MIR. (Which means in Russian both “peace” and “world”, Max tells Morgan over food. “Makes for interesting negotiations.”)

    Morgan thinks about suggesting going to see MIR, but then realizes that a ROBOT MUSEUM may somehow involve a rampage against humanity. Which is bad way to start a trip, torn limb from limb by maniacal mechanicals..

    Then: drive, drive, drive.

    CROSS THE MISSISSIPPI. Truly, we enter the West. Take bad pictures of big river.

    Then: drive, drive, drive.

    Mile 370. Max takes over the wheel for the first time this trip!

    She discovers the pleasures of cruise control.

    Then: drive, drive, drive. Also: Crappy Digital Video of the Day!

    We pass by Austin, MN: Home of SPAM! We are not impressed enough to stop.

    Processed meat does not impress us! We are DRIVERS, with miles o ground into the dust of history. No spiced ham can stay us from our quest.

    Then, oddly, we stopped in Blue Earth, MN at a Texaco, and happened to see a towering figure standing behind the gas station. “Whut th’?” Is it Paul Bunyan? An unmarked statue of St. Urho?

    No, it’s the Jolly Green Giant. By turning our disloyal carnivorous backs on the home of SPAM, we encounter the King of Vegetables. Picture taking abounds.

    Many pictures are blurry because of swarms of mosquitoes going for our blood. Oddly, this complaint is the first Lewis and Clark reference. In their journals from the area of travel in what is now Minnesota, they vituperate aggressively about the blood-sucking devil insects. History is your friend, shows how people are all the same wherever you go (tm Ebony and Ivory). However, you are your own friend if you pack insect repellent.

    We did not. Thus, blurred pictures.

    In any case, tourist instincts satiated, we bought local beer and drove on.

    Between Blue Earth and Sioux Falls, our next planned stop, we discussed the size of the sky.

    “Hey, Max, pull over into the next rest stop so we can take a look at the stars!”

    “Uh, I think if I did that, it would unnerve me too much to drive anymore.”

    There was also career talk, relationship talk, and much consideration of the human condition. At one point, Morgan has no response to a statement of Max’s but to pull out the latest Nerf Herder CD and play Track 3, “Lamer Than Lame.” (Do not attempt to translate inside jokes! You will only fail, in misery and shame!)

    Plus, we have beef jerky! We were hiding the meat products all along! With beef jerky, no SPAM need apply! And no damned legumes, either. Silly Green Giant! We merely abused your verdant hospitality!

    Then, under the harsh gaze of the Motel 6 security cam, we checked in, planned the drive through South Dakota tomorrow, and crashed like Skylab. Not like MIR! Not yet!


    Corn palace! Wall Drug! Badlands! Mount Rushmore!

    Maybe even more regular updates.


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