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I was mistaken... for a dad?

Posted on September 12th, 2007 after 4492 miles by Dean Croshere.

Greeley, Colorado. The first stop on this trip where the only way I knew the person was through the Internet.

I've been posting to Forumopolis for several years now. I simply posted a thread saying I was going on a road trip and I needed couches to crash on. Plenty of people, including MsFrisby (her username on the forum), responded.

I usually try to arrive at my hosts locations in the evening. No later than 8 or 9. To show up later is rude. Unfortunately, I did not expect the drive to take me so long and I didn't arrive at MsFrisby's place until after midnight.

In the morning, after she made breakfast, we packed her kids in the car and took a quick tour of Greeley, including the libraries where MsFrisby works. Greeley has the most impressive public library system I've seen.

Shortly after this quick tour, we headed to Estes park. I started off the trip with the kids addressing me as "sir," then "mr." then, simply and with all the familiarity in the world, "guest."

First order of business in Estes: silence the kids and our stomachs. We headed to the Smiling Elk restuarant.

I had a very tasty jalepeno and bell pepper burger served with "elk lumpies" (mashed potatoes). She had some nachos that were unsurprising save for the chicken, which had a strange sweet flavor.

The kids suggested we ask for the recipe. After laughing because the chef would never give us the recipe, we asked anyway. Sure enough, he told us the secret ingredient. Margarita mix. Good idea, really. Margarita mix, a little paprika and an herb or two and you'd have some delicious chicken for nachos.

Here was the strange part. It was me, MsFrisby, and two kids. A perfect little family to anyone who cared to guess. The waitress certainly did. She handed me the bill directly. I paid it.

The kids were wonderful. Well, annoying, but wonderful. I've never really spent much time with kids before, they were 7 and 9. The opportunities for missed sexual humor leads to endless moments of grownups being "weird."

Did I just describe myself as a grownup?

Oh shit.

Huh. Funky. Anyway...

While cooped up in the car, the kids got loud and played dumb games.

"Lets find a car!"

"yeah!"

We were on a highway, next to a car dealership.

"There's one. Another one. Anotherone. Anotherone. Anotherone. Anothernothnothernothernotherone!"

The suggestibility of kids is great too. How easy it is to make them think something is a good idea.

"How about this instead." I suggested, "Lets find the numbers on car license plates."

"No," they said.

"That sounds dumb," they said.

"I see a 1" I said.

"I see a 2" they cried, "and a 3!"

"Let's find a 4!"

Told you.

The trip to Estes complete, we ditched the kids with a sitter and headed to Boulder to meet another "forumite" and tour the bars.

Boulder has some awesome bars and restaurants. Apparently there is the highest ratio of restaurants per capita in the nation. 1 restaurant to 4 people or something like that. We started off at a microbrew that had floor seating. I mean literally, you could sit on the floor. It was quite the comfy carpet. Or you could stand at the bar, or sit at the long table with everyone else. Throughout the short time we were there, we took all of our options. When we were at the table, the waiter sat next to us, asked "what's up?" and chatted for a moment before asking what we were going to order. He did it like he was trying to decide what to order himself.

We were on a liquid diet. I had a couple of beers that used nitro in the tap instead of co2. It came out very smooth, kind of like Guinness.

After our beers, we headed to this loft place where the bartender actually admitted he didn't know how to make the drinks we ordered, but did an excellent job of mixing the ingredients once told.

We also ordered the basic nachos. What we got was a masterpiece only a college town with 1 restaurant for every 4 people could master. You'll have to forgive the cameraphone in a bar picture:

They were quite tasty. Since they were basic, there was no meat. We couldn't compare with the nachos from earlier that day.

We left the bar because there was a free Irish session playing at another bar, they were going to be done soon. They played some authentic music, though it was a practice session, so they were playing for themselves and we were just listening in. Apparently we could have bought them drinks if we wanted to. We didn't even buy ourselves drinks. We just sat and listened for a while.

Last, we went to a bar with a live band. It had the poorest whiskey selection I'd ever seen. I asked the bartender if he had any bourbon. He picked up a bottle of Irish Whiskey. I went with a 7 and 7.

I would describe the band, but I would fail. I think it was Indian pop rock or something. There was a guitar, a bass, and a few other instruments. At one point, the lead singer, dressed in a wifebeater and tie, was playing the triangle furiously. All the while some people were dancing in the middle of the bar which had no dance floor. They were quite talented. The ladies knew how to show off their assets and the guys, well, the guy, knew how to show off the ladies assets.

I was a little toasted by this point, and I was now realizing I would have to be up early to make it to Sioux Falls the next day (remember, this all happened before the "So Tired" and "Alone" posts). What better to do while slightly drunk and tired than take Boxer up to the town overlook and walk around the safety fence for a better shot. I didn't have a tripod and the battery on my phone (which I've used for every picture so far) died the minute I pressed the camera button. I borrowed MsFrisby's camera, asked her to hold my flashlight on Boxer, and took a million pictures. The low light meant a slow shutter speed and I only had my knee to steady the shot. I held my breath and tried to steady the camera. One of the shots actually came out.

We got in the car and headed home. I passed out minutes after leaving boulder, letting MsFrisby drive the hour back home.

::Discuss::Permanent link::Location

South Dakota: The First 11 hours.

Posted on September 12th, 2007 after 4492 miles by Dean Croshere.

::Note: This all happens before the events in this or this post.

What would you say if you were on vacation at a national monument in South Dakota and you saw some kid lugging a 50 pound metal... thing down the granite walkway?

"Looks Chunky."

"..."

"..."

"Hi"

"..."

Nothing else. A lot of people stared. A couple of people stared, realized they stared, glanced up, realized I saw them staring, and awkwardly said "hi."

I felt like a well endowed woman wearing a low cut shirt.

It is Mount Rushmore. The president's faces carved into the sheer rock. You've seen it before. You probably got a better look at it, actually. It is kind of small, way up there on the mountain side. Cary Grant wasn't even climbing down it. Also, the viewing area was nothing like in the movie.

Some old guy came up to me and pointed way down below at the base of the mountain and muttered something about a mountain goat. We're at one of the most impressive feats of stone carving ever performed, a piece of national pride, and he is pointing at a mountain goat that just ran behind a tree.

I guess he'd also seen the monument before.

On the way back from the viewing area, someone did find the courage to ask me something about my burden.

"What is it?"

"My school's mascot."

"...?"

The brave question asker was stunned, but the floodgate, the conversation, was open. A small crowd formed and they all asked me the same follow up question:

"Did you lose a bet?"

"Lost the coin toss eh?"

I probably looked like I'd lost a bet. It is a long quarter mile (up hill both ways, naturally). I tried to explain to them that it was an honor to have Boxer, that there was any number of people who are jealous of the fact that I've touched him much less driven him across the country.

They probably didn't care, they were just wondering what the hell was going on.

I'm sure they won't be the last.

I do have an annual parking permit for the Mt. Rushmore parking lot. Anyone driving a "Blue 4DR" with an "OR" license plate can save the $7 if they visit the park before the end of the year and want mine.

The drive to and through North Dakota was pretty quick. I got unintentionally lost for the first time. Navigating using a combination of the sun (I knew where west was), a GPS (I knew exactly where I was, though not where that or anything else was), and google maps on the iPhone (I knew where I was trying to get to and where everything else was, but it could only be updated when I was in a town and I didn't know where I was).

I drove north and south a few times, only to realize I was going the right way the first time. I had just guessed my mileage wrong. I suppose I should use my odometer too. After putting all of the information together and getting re-oriented, I got back on the road.

I passed Lost Springs, population: 1. The sign itself was worth a boxer shot. I pulled off into the town (a fair feat, I wasn't driving slowly and the turn was close). I considered briefly looking for the sole inhabitant of the town, but I didn't know where to look. He could have lived in any of the 10 or so houses, the farm on the other side of the hill or the one on this side. Either that, or he worked in the bar. Maybe the "Antiques and Stuff" store. Maybe he lived behind that huge billboard telling tourists to come visit Lost Springs.

Maybe "he" was a "she." More likely, "he" was a "them."

No, I decided it was just a tourist trap with oddly drawn town lines so it could have pop: 1. I pulled off by the side of the road and cooked myself lunch. This was quite the adventure, it will be the subject of an episode later.

Anyone who has driven through South Dakota will recognize this place:

A marvel of roadside advertising, Wall Drug makes itself a necessary stop. Imagine a carnie town that centers itself around a drug store in South Dakota. There are all kinds of buildings built to look old. There are lots of narrow streets with rotting looking wood sidewalks that are not actually rotting. In fact, rotting looking wood is the primary building material for the buildings. At least, thats what it is supposed to look like, I'm sure it is just faux rotting wood paneling or something. I mean, Wall Drug proudly proclaims has been there since 1931. The other buildings sell "Authentic Gold!" or are an "Old Miner's Bar!" I thought I saw a miner themed video arcade too.

An interesting stop, a marvel of advertising. I didn't go in.

::Discuss::Permanent link::Location

Iowa, it's not that bad

Posted on September 12th, 2007 after 4492 miles by Dean Croshere.

Yesterday I decided I was going to stay nearby. I was going to hole up in a motel (one that was at least a little nicer, wifi was a must) and get some work done. I still had video to edit from Coeur d' Alene and I was in North Dakota.

This would also give me the chance to relax I had promised myself.

I spent most of the day finding Tollef Tollefson. I did find him in an adventure that included mystery, tragedy, and a kindly old man. Then that kindly old man again. It'll be in an episode. (Yeah, I've promised two now and I haven't started editing either yet. Maybe I'll do another motel in a few days to catch up again.)

Anyway, I finished my search and decided to plan ahead for my room. I remember all those awesome Priceline Negotiator ads and decided to give it a shot. I searched for hotels that would give me the same price as the "so cheap your imaginary friends can sleep free" joint.

It put me at a cushy Mariott that usually charges twice the price. I guess they aren't kidding about saving 50%.

So I stayed in Sioux City yesterday, just over the border into Iowa. All I remember from Sioux City is that the city itself smelled odd. I kept trying to decide what it reminded me of. Some kind of food. If it had been delicious home cooking, I would have said it smelled great. Instead, it was probably some mill on the river. I decided it was sickening.

I only had a short drive to make. 3 hours the fast way, 4 hours the long way. I naturally took the long way.

I expected Iowa to be horribly boring. I mean, it's Iowa. You never hear anything about Iowa. Just some big midwest corn state. That's why I was stunned by this hill. I really enjoyed the trees and the fields beyond. I drove down it before deciding it was worth a Boxer shot. I found an old motel to park at and carried him down the road for a bit. There were a million butterflies about. They kept lifting off the ground, flying a few feet further in front of me, landing, then repeating as I caught up a again. A fun little dance, distracted me from the weight of Boxer.

I don't think the picture captures the view at all. Now that I look at it, it just feels ugly. I think the clean clear air (even next to the highway), the sounds, the butterflies, and the feel of the trees just made the environment.

I got back on the road and drove for an hour before coming to the windmills.

I had been fighting the wind the whole drive. The entire time my car pulled to the left. The northerly wind was strong. The wind turbines were no surprise. I decided I had a great opportunity for some Boxer shots and turned on a dirt road to go find them.

I had hoped to get right up underneath them, but I eventually gave up. I figured I could get a pretty good shot and took this picture.

I went to turn around and pulled a few feet further ahead... into a little road that led right up underneath one of the turbines.

It is tough to capture how big these things are. I'd say they were.... really big. I'll print it here in about as big a picture as I can get in an attempt to show the size:

These things are also incredibly unnerving. I'm sure the size of them is part of it. They are so slender and tall. then there are those gigantic blades spinning about. They look so slow from a distance, but when you are standing underneath them it is impossible to avoid imagining what would happen if that thing came off, way up there, spinning like that.

Then there is the noise. I thought about recording it, but I figured no recording would do it justice.

Imagine this:

The wind is blowing hard. You can hear it whistle by your ears, a low howl. The corn is dry and rustling about. Crackling and brushing in its tight rows.

The windmill is overhead, towering over you like a giant, completely ignorant of your existence, devoid of caring for your plight.

The generator hums along inside the windmill, the beating heart, the high pitch oscillating just right to resonate with the wind in your ears. Thoughts of a UFO in a bad sci fi movie fill your mind.

Then, on top of all of it is the maddeningly repetitive, predictable yet uncontrollable, woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh, the blades make as they spin so perilously overhead.

All the while, you are standing in the middle of a field.

In Iowa.

::Discuss::Permanent link::Location

"Hey, Guess What?"

Posted on September 13th, 2007 after 4869 miles by Dean Croshere.

“Hello.”

A pause.

“Hey man, I haven’t talked to you in forever, what are you up to?”

Another pause.

“Yeah? That’s great. Yeah.”

A much shorter pause.

“So I just called to tell you something. I was going to send you a picture in the email, but I figured you’d want to hear. I’ve got Boxer sitting on my dining room table.”

Ahh, that's satisfying. To hear an alumni brag to another about having Boxer on his table. I definitely means something to these ex-students.

Especially for Jeff Wilmes. He almost broke his neck for Boxer 15 years ago.

There was a Boxer toss on campus. The tosses were basically multi-hour scrums where loads of people fought as part of groups to try to gain possession of Boxer. While he was resting from the fight, a wrestler came up behind him and suplexed him (tossed him headfirst) onto the ground. He was pictured in the school newspaper:

He looks a lot better now:

I’m staying at his place in St. Louis for the next couple of nights before I head back north. I’ve finally reached the Mississippi River and some big cities. I’ll tour the city tomorrow and post about it, naturally.

I made some mistakes on the way here though.

I let myself get hungry. Being hungry lead to being impatient. Impatient and tired. This will come into play in a minute

As I drove south from Iowa, the terrain changed from the browning corn to the rolling green hills of Missouri. Steinbeck had mentioned that he considered himself to be halfway across the nation when the landscape changed from green to brown. He was going west, I’m going east. I guess I’m halfway across.

The hills and trees were beautiful, definitely worth a stop to get some Boxer shots. It ended up being the most frustrating stops I’ve yet made, so I’m going to post a bunch of images from it to try to make it seem a bit more worthwhile.

I figured since it was such a nice area, I would use it as my GPS coordinate point for this post. The batteries in my GPS unit were dead, so I replaced them and set it on top of my car. I usually do that because it takes a few minutes to get a good signal after powering on and it takes longer from inside my car. Usually the amount of time it take to take the pictures or fill my car with gas is perfect to get a good reading of my location.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

After I took the pictures, I hurriedly loaded Boxer in my car. Remember, I was hungry. I had driven good 10 minutes off the highway to find a good spot to take the pictures. The point where I had pulled off the highway was 20 miles from the nearest large town. I wanted food, I knew it was only 30 minutes away.

Boxer loaded, I jumped in my car and took off down the road.

I had taken a few turns to try to find this spot, and I wasn’t exactly sure which way I needed to go. I reached to grab the GPS which I use primarily as a compass when I’m not making posts.

It wasn’t there.

I had left it on top of my car. It wasn’t still up there.

It was only a minute or two back behind me and a long narrow gravel road that I’m sure no one else had driven. The GPS was bright yellow, for this exact purpose I’m sure.

I drove up and down that road 3 times carefully looking for the thing. I even walked halfway down it. Nothing. Couldn’t find it. Far more than a half hour had passed and I was still a half hour from my planned food stop. Frustrated, I reached in my car for a can of soup.

I needed calories.

The can gave me trouble. It was one of those pull top things. I had to pull it hard to get it to come off. I didn’t think about the consequences, I was consumed in the battle. Me and the lid, a battle for the contents of that Cambell’s can.

I ignored that little voice in the back of my head telling me to stop, to pull out now. The voice told me it was already I losing battle. I didn't care, I had to stay the course. I was going to come out victorious.

I did.

The soup, liberated, didn’t stay in the can.

It splattered all over my hands, my shirt, my arms, my ego. Beef chunks, bits of potato, red sauce. Everywhere. My shirt was, previous to this explosion of freedom, white.

I reached in my car for some water to wash it off.

There wasn’t any.

No water. None. Four empty gallon jugs in various places throughout my car, two empty pint bottles, one empty knockoff Nalgene. All dry. I started this trip with so many gallon jugs of water that I didn’t think about the fact that I was going to run out. All I had was one napkin that already had a bit of food on it (I had used it to clean my spoon) and some hand sanitizer (that I had used in conjunction with the napkin to clean my spoon). I soiled the rest of the napkin and cleaned my arms as best I could with the sanitizer.

Finally, I grumpily ate my soup. It was really salty. Water would have been nice. Figures.

I slowly drove out, looking for one small glimpse of that damned GPS device I was now blaming for the whole incident.

Knowing myself, I probably managed to put it somewhere in my car and forgot I did it. Somewhere stupid, like my camera case. I’ll probably find it tomorrow. (hoping).

I was still hungry, and now it was quite apparent to me I was really tired. I downed a Red Bull (I have a Costco case of them in my trunk, by the way).

I finally got to the town I was planning to eat at. I stopped at some Northside Diner or something like that.

after pulling into the parking lot, I looked down at my now orange shirt. It was crusty. It had to be changed. I reached into my trunk for a new shirt and was removing my old crusty shirt in the parking lot when a bunch of young girls walked out into the parking lot. They were arguing over who was going to get shotgun as I frantically rebuttoned my shirt. I pretended to be doing something really cool and important in my trunk, hiding my stained and partially buttoned shirt from them as they got into the car next to me.

I’m not exactly sure why I cared.

I finally got my shirt changed and went into the restaurant. I think I was the only one there under 70. The waitress called me “hun” and set me down with a menu. Everything was really cheap.

One of the advantages of the Midwest, I suppose.

I ordered a burger. I’m a fan of them if you hadn’t noticed yet. There were both French and American Fries on the menu. I was going to ask what the difference was, but I simply avoided the issue by ordering curly fries. It all came out in the most picturesque American diner burger experience you could possibly have. I suppose a glass 5 cent bottle of coke would have been the finishing touch.

I wolfed that thing down (the meat was a little dry and the bun fell apart, though I’m sure it would have been delicious had I been in a better mood) and got on the road. Still tired. I chugged another Red Bull.

No dice. I was getting too weary to drive.

For the first time on this trip, I pulled over and passed out. I slept for a full hour sitting upright in my car.

I began to feel better as the food turned into energy and my mind began to work properly again.

Oh, this guy entertained me. He was driving a purple and gold Harley (A nice color choice if I don't say so myself) at speeds that matched mine. We drove for quite a distance with him in about that spot. He had his head so low on his shoulders I imagine it had to be painful. It was like he was trying to hide from the wind, but he was too man to get a windshield or a helmet. Instead, he just looked like was torturing himself.

I guess that’s pretty manly.

Early on in today's trip, I did accidentally end up in Des Moines. This building was awesome so I took a picture in front of it. I don’t know what it was. My guess is the Iowa capital building, but who knows.

P.S. I've been informed that contrary to my post about Iowa not being that bad, people do talk about Iowa. Iowa is the birthplace of many important things like the SAT and ACT exams, Maytag, and John Deere. I think we are all thankful for the SAT and ACT exams. (Thanks Steve)

With that in mind, I decided to make the location for this trip Macon Missouri, hometown of the Toastmaster. I know this because the town water tower proudly proclaims it so.

::Discuss::Permanent link::Location

Something is wrong

Posted on September 15th, 2007 after 5244 miles by Dean Croshere.

This isn’t right.

My hand is damp, cold: clammy.

I’m a little dizzy. Disoriented.

Clink. I heard that. Barely. My ears are ringing.

A dark stain appears. It runs down my shirt. My shirt… wait, that’s not my shirt.

I’m wearing it, but it’s not my shirt.

I step forward a bit. Ungraceful, not purposeful.

Crunch. I definitely heard that.

The floor is wet. Covered in glass.

I start to raise my hand towards my mouth.

That’s the problem. My hand is empty. It wasn’t a moment ago.

Oh.

I’m not that drunk. Am I?

It was a beautiful morning in St. Louis Missouri. On my car, dead bugs were begging to turn the front white. In the sky, the clouds were fast burning off and the temperature was steadily rising to a nice comfortable middling warmth.I had a short list of places to visit and take Boxer pictures, though I only really intended to go to one.

My first order of business was to get a camera. A nice, high quality, still camera. I would have started the trip with one had I accurately guessed the course the trip would take. If I knew I was going to have Boxer. If I knew how difficult it would be to film and edit while on the road.

I know now, so I got myself a nice camera. One that isn’t attached to my phone. One where I have manual options, a zoom, a focus ring, aperture, shutter speed, depth of field.

I decided it was necessary when I looked back over my favorite pictures so far from the trip. They look great on the phone, on the website. I’m incredibly proud of several of them.

Large size though? The full 2 megapixels? Terrible. Grainy, off color. This is the case even if well lit, especially distance. I couldn’t print them or do anything that required quality imagery. They don’t even look great as desktop pictures.

So I had my camera and I headed to the only St. Louis landmark I knew I had to get a picture at.

I enjoy taking pictures with Boxer. I love the added challenge. The first issue, naturally, is that Boxer is heavy. A pain to get on site.

The second issue that he is only a foot or so tall. Most things that are worth photographing are high in the air. This means I have to find a way to get Boxer off the ground (we return to the heavy issue) or I have to get low to the ground. I’ve spent a lot of time lying in the dirt, cameraphone in hand.

Then there is the issue of the fact that he is a metal Chinese dragon dog. I wonder if Boxer has ever been through an X-ray machine before. He has now.

It was rather fun convincing the guys at the Arch security to let me take Boxer up in the little trams (speaking of Campbell’s soup cans, those trams are NOT for claustrophobics…).

“What is it?”

“My school’s mascot”

“Why do you have it here?”

“I’m taking pictures of him across the nation.”

“So you want to take him to the top?”

“That’s it”

“Does your school know you have him?”

“They do.”

“Would you tell me they did, even if they didn’t?”

“I would lie to you, yes.”

“I guess I can trust you then. He’ll have to go through the X-Ray.”

They wouldn’t let me take a picture of Boxer in the machine.

“So I have to know. Really, it doesn’t matter, but I have to know. Does your school know you have him?”

“I’m not sure if they knew when I first took him, but given that there is now a huge banner about it on campus, I hope they know.”

Waiting in line with Boxer seemed to take forever. The conversations with people about this thing were actually quite entertaining. It didn’t take long for people to get it and start offering suggestions about places to go and pictures to take.

When our little car of 5 people got to the top, stepping out of the door with Boxer was great. Gasps, laughter, I think someone even clapped. I’m not exactly sure why, but they loved the fact that I had carried that thing up there.

Pictures were tough. I still wasn’t terribly familiar with the camera and the lighting was far from ideal. It was too bright outside for the little lighting inside to do anything. I ended up with a lot of Boxer silhouettes against the square window.

I got one that came out all right.

After loading Boxer into my car I got a phone call. Jeff had warned me that he might not be able to have a place for me to stay. He would give it a shot, but things might not work out.

They didn’t.

I was out of places to stay. I decided to leave my car in the parking lot of the Arch (I now have a collection of 3 parking passes) and walk to the nearest Starbucks for a net connection. I’ve yet to actually drink anything there, but the net connection is fast, the power is easy enough to get to, and the seats are comfortable.

I hit up couchsurfing.com. It was a desperate shot. 4 O’clock on a Friday. I sent out 10 emails with my plight. I finished a couple of other things up online and worked on my living arrangements for the next week. (I should be all set through next Wednesday night in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana).

That done, I headed down to the sports bars across the street from the stadium to get a cheap bite to eat and a local microbrew.

I had just sat down when a local came in, sat down, and ordered his usual. He was so confident that I ordered the same, a sausage and pepperoni pizza. We chatted for a bit. He was a local guy, a programmer that had just moved to town from Illinois. He was a nice guy, said he usually gave his extra pizza to a homeless guy. A hard worker, also mentioned that he had no love for Muslims, all they know how to do is blow shit up.

He ordered us both shots of wild turkey, addressing the waitresses as babe, honey, or sexy. They were, but that’s beside the point.

He was right about the pizza. It was delicious. I’ve also got to give props to the bar for serving it on the oven pan it was cooked on.

By the way, St. Louis and Chicago have a bit of a rivalry thing going on.

I was just about to leave. To go find a Walmart parking lot in the middle of nowhere to sleep in when I got a phone call. It was a response to my couchsurfing request. This guy was going to let me crash on his couch, but we were going to go out on the town. It was Friday night after all.

I drove out to his place. It happened to be a few blocks away from the camera shop. It was a nice area of town, I had no problem leaving my car there overnight. We chatted for a bit before setting out for the bars, looking for all the hot babes, the sexy chicas.

We watched the end of the St. Louis/Chicago game at Bar Napoli, it got exciting. Two outs, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, St. Louis down by two. They didn’t win, but the bar was into it.

We headed to a swanky rooftop club. It was really nice. It was one of those joints with round doors and red mood lighting. Unfortunately it was dead. We chatted with a couple of people before we decided to head to “the” bar downtown.

It “happenin,” loaded to the brim with guys with popped collars and bleached blonde women.

Now, if it wasn’t apparent by now, this isn’t my scene. I don’t go clubbing. I’m a terrible dancer and it isn’t my game. I’ll play the part, at least I’ll try, but I simply don’t enjoy it.

I understand the appeal. Going home with someone new is a thrill. It’s succeeding in your goal. It’s winning in the battle of wits and attraction, to have all of your careful preparation and grooming pay off. Maybe, in the morning, you’ll find that not only is she attractive, you can even stand to talk to her. Well then it’s love.

To further explain why I don’t enjoy this game, lets examine this little conversation I had with a woman who decided to tell me what I needed to change to “win.” Step one, she said, “pop your collar.” She even did it for me, helpfully.

“No.” I put it down.

“Fine, unbutton another button.” Sure.

“Then pop your collar.”

The conversation was over. St Louis, the “lou.”

They had some swanky clubs and some sexy bleached blonde women (I prefer brunette). I dropped my drink and had some fun. It’s interesting town, far more interesting that I had predicted, actually. All I knew about it previously was something about the Spirit of, and it’s flight across the Atlantic.

Tonight I’ll be in Chicago.

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Grandpa
Carlsbad, CA
Central Ala- 'Bama
The middle of the state.
Heaven on a Bun?
Next to the CdA lake
Driving in Idaho
Just south of Coeur d' Alene