Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Only Hate the Road When You’re Missing Home

I’m back.

My return journey, including a compelled overnight stop in New Jersey, has deposited me back in Boston, where I’ll have to settle for this boring view from my apartment:

In the past, the return journey has always carried with it a sense of dénouement – gratitude that this happened but disappointment that it’s over. But this time was different. As must as I enjoyed all the sights and experiences of this trip – and I did – when I took that eastbound ramp onto I-70 out of Terre Haute yesterday, I felt nothing but excitement. I knew that in only 2 days I’d be waking up early and once again stumbling down Mission Hill and up Huntington Avenue towards NUSL. I knew that soon I’d be back in my routine of morning classes, afternoon reading, and evening freedom. I knew I’d soon have the chance to complain about classes and professors to people who felt the same way (or who would tell me I was wrong). And most importantly, I knew that soon I’d see my school friends and classmates again and have the chance to share with them more of the “Breakfast Club moments” that made this year so special – and that every mile I drove would bring me closer to that. My speedometer rarely dipped below 80.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I’ve Got Nothing

Sorry, folks. After hours of thinking it over, I’ve been able to come up with nothing significant to say about today. Maybe it’s that I’m becoming progressively more tired each day, as I stay up later and later to write these things (which does not bode well for next week when classes start again). Maybe it’s that spending time with another person in the car means that I’m spending the driving days having actual human interaction, instead of the kind of pure reflection that tends to produce the best posts here (although when I make the last 2 legs of the journey alone tomorrow and Monday, I’ll have plenty of time to myself). Not that I’m complaining – I’m sure this trip has been better than if I had taken it by myself. It’s just that it may not lend itself as well to blogging.

Friday, May 23, 2014

But Do I Really Feel the Way I Feel?

It’s strange how things work sometimes. The day involving the least walking is the day when I end up the most tired. Granted, my tiredness during a given day isn’t determined by the amount of aggregate exercise done that day, unless my tiredness sensors can somehow predict how much exercise I’ll be getting throughout the rest of the day – in which case, they need to be applying that ability to the useful parts of my brain. In any event, it’s probably the cumulative effect of several long days and of staying up too late to write. So thanks, guys. This is all your fault.

None of that prevented us from having a full busy day as we journeyed from the Midwest through the heart of the South. Tonight we’re in Memphis (and yes, every time I say, hear, or think the name of this city, that song gets stuck in my head. There are definitely worse songs for that to happen with, though). Getting here took us through this trip’s first first-time state – Arkansas. 

I have no pictures of the other 75 miles of Arkansas we traversed today, mainly because the farms there look pretty much the same as the farms in Missouri or Indiana – large and flat. There were some oddly shaped irrigation ditches on some plots, and we had a flyover from a crop duster, but that was about all Arkansas had to offer. Not even a travel center to stop and buy a refrigerator magnet. So on to Tennessee it was.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do Elephants Lay Eggs?

For a day with an itinerary reading “ribs, Cardinals game” today we managed to cobble together a full slate of St. Louis-iciousness – and one that again left us both thoroughly exhausted. Again we found ourselves walking more than we expected, although we didn’t come anywhere near the 12 miles (Lindsay did the math) that we’d covered in Chicago. And, mercifully, it didn’t rain.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Keep On Walking

Ah Chicago, we hardly knew ye. Just as quickly as our time together began, it has come to an end. But before the end, we two travelers checked off 3 items the Quintessential Chicago Experiences list: taking the L, riding the Navy Pier Ferris wheel, and seeing a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

The fact that I have nothing of interest to say about the L probably constitutes a positive review. The best way to explain the view from the Ferris wheel is probably to show it to you:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Electric

This is one of the rare times when I’m at a loss for what to say about today. Not because something so profoundly fantastic or terrible happened, but because so much happened. I was so busy doing today that I never really had time to stop and think of a theme that tied it all together. So, as much as it pains me, today’s Chicago adventure will have to take the form of a bed-to-bed story.

It began with a 150-mile trip north through western Indiana. Since the designers of the interstate highway system failed to consider the importance of a high-speed linkage between Terre Haute and Chicago, we had to slum it and take a lowly U.S. Highway instead. Except, in parts of the country like this, I sometimes prefer those over some cold Interstate. Because they’re not limited-access, there are interesting things along the side of the road. Plus, these roads aren’t subject to interstate highway rules, so they’re free to go in a completely straight line with no bends whatsoever, all the way to the horizon.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Channels of Interstate Commerce

Traveling over 700 miles in a day can get boring. I can usually entertain myself for 2 hours with music from the radio, another 2 hours with talk radio, 2 hours of my own music, and sometimes another hour of podcasts. But when the itinerary calls for 12 hours of driving, that still leaves some gaps. So this time I tried to fill one of them by marveling at that part of western Ohio where the terrain starts to look like a completely different country from where I live:

But then something else caught my eye. On my left, I appeared to be racing someone:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

As I was saying before I was interrupted…

The time has come once again to hit the road. But before I get to the details of this new adventure, let me set the stage (there are pictures after the jump, I promise):

Another semester of law school is over and, once again, I find myself in a different place than when it began. While the life of a law student is often compared unfavorably to a war, a marathon, or any number of seemingly impossible unpleasant tasks, I see it differently. Call me naive or oversentimental, but it often feels to me like a love story. So if last fall was “boy meets girl,” this spring had its roots firmly planted in “boy loses girl.”

Friday, January 3, 2014

Back to the Future

I don’t usually make concrete New Years’ resolutions. I do, however, find some meaning in that moment when the calendar rolls over to the next year. It’s a time to reflect on the past year, put away its baggage, turn the page, and look forward. With all that in mind, while I wanted to add a final chapter to the story of Steve and the Magical Boat, after the new year it just felt strange to cross that line in the other direction. So I was ready to be done with this trip, for blogging purposes at least.

But just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

We’ve discussed this before, but let’s take a moment to revisit one of the purposes of this whole operation I’ve got going on here. As all 3 of my longtime readers know (actually, now that I think about it, there may be more like 6), I’ve always tried to use this space to capture my impressions of an activity, a place, or a time, and to preserve them. That’s why I often stay up far too late just to be able to write an entry on the day its events occur (protip: you can tell how late I stay up by the quality of the writing, which is inversely proportional to the number of hours since I last saw the sun). Even when my computer self-destructed in Kanab, I made sure to write out the day’s entry longhand on a legal pad (why I thought to bring a legal pad on that road trip is still a mystery).

That’s why, when I got home from the Land of the Midnight Derricks and was too tired to write anything coherent, I resigned myself to the fact that the moment had passed and that the last day would just have to remain a mystery, much like the last day at Yosemite (when, by the way, I climbed up 1,000 feet in a mile and a half. There. Now it’s in the blog.).

But apparently my mid-sized sedan full of followers is a vocal bunch. So, since today’s New England sowgasm has left me with an unplanned day at home, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Where did we leave off?