"Hey, Guess What?"Posted on September 13th, 2007 after 4869 miles by Dean Croshere.
“Hey man, I haven’t talked to you in forever, what are you up to?”
“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.
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.