What now?Posted on September 22nd, 2007 after 6661 miles by Dean Croshere.
&I wasn’t sure what to do next.
For about a week, my stories just kept getting better and better. Without trying I was able to top myself time after time. There was the arch, clubbing, Chicago, Wrigley Field, The Sears tower, all these great stories. Then there was the accident and the Detroit River. How do I top that?
How do I keep improving?
I keep writing.
Well that’s obvious, but about what?
In two days, the only somewhat exciting picture I took was of corn in Ohio.
Well that’s not true, that isn’t being fair. There are quite a few interesting things that happened in the past couple days. Back in Detroit, for instance:
“I said don’t stop. If the car in front of you stops, go around him. If you are at a light, run it.”
“I told you not to stop.”
“If someone gets near the car, step on the gas. This is the ghetto of Detroit. We’re inside 8 mile. DO NOT STOP.”
Then, about 5 or 6 blocks later.
“Excuse me, do you have a permit? This is a PRIVATE park.”
“We just want to take a couple of pictures.”
“mmmmhmmm, well be quick.”
While we were in the ghetto, a few blocks previously, the only houses without broken windows and spraypaint tagged plywood doors were the ones that obviously belonged to the old ladies.
Then you cross the line.
Then the houses are nice brick affairs with fancy windows and big ornate front doors. Each successive block the houses get bigger, fewer of them on the block. After the 5th block, there is one house per block. Bonafide mansions with gates and curved driveways. It was clear that we (I was still with Eloisa, remember) were ruffian kids trying to get into that park to cause mayhem and mischief.
One of the more surprising things about Detroit was how the extremely rich and the extremely poor butt right up against each other so commonly. In most places there is a long gradual change between one and the other. In Detroit, you can take a wrong turn around a mansion and end up in the wrong part of town. Then you don’t stop until you are at a mansion again.
After Detroit I went to meet up with another forumite (who goes by the handle Paramour) in Fort Wayne Indiana I stopped once to take a picture in a nice long tree lined drive in southern Michigan, but I found that I had never turned my camera off after the Detroit river affair and the battery was dead.
Paramour was an extremely nice guy who made me a delicious dish for dinner. I can’t remember what he called it, but it had an informative history. He was an extraordinarily intelligent guy and I wish I could have stayed up longer talking to him, but I passed out shortly after arriving.
The next day I drove through Ohio. I’ve been to Ohio once before. I was not impressed. This time I was considerably more relaxed (last time I was coming down with mono, ugh) and I enjoyed myself some more, but I was still not impressed.
I do enjoy Stewarts brand root beer from time to time (nice stuff, you find it in bottles occasionally. There is also cream soda and I think an orange soda). Anyway, I found the original Stewarts root beer stand in central Ohio. It wasn’t the tourist trap I expected. In fact, it was pretty much your standard grease pit. Tasty, greasy burgers, a quality root beer float. They had tray service to your car, but I got out to get some fresh air.
I was the only one there the entire time and according to their signs, they were closing for the season in a week. A little research showed that they had sold the root beer to some big plant in New York.;/p>
Oh well, Boxer has been to the home of Stewarts Root Beer.
I got quite lost trying to take a shortcut back to the freeway and found myself stuck behind this Amish guy. I don’t think I will ever get over the strange dichotomy of these carriages in big cities.
I stayed the night in a hotel in Ohio. Priceline set me up very well again. I sat down and tried to edit the movies I had promised, but I couldn’t get the creativeness going. No matter what I tried, it did not work.
I tried to write a post. To get something online. I stared at my online form for a while, daunted by the fields I usually had no trouble with.
I opened up Word. My standby for writing longer posts.
The blank page was worse. Nothing. I could write anything. Create any worlds. Tell my story any way I wished. Nothing came to me. Nothing that could even compare to Detroit.
I tried to create another film. I had a brief moment of inspiration, an epiphany about the way my films work, but the feeling and inspiration fled me before I could edit it. I stared at the screen for a while longer.
What has happened? Am I out? Am I done? Steinbeck lost his good stuff after his first time across the nation. He had one traumatic great story in Oregon, then he lost it. He described everything that happened to him as he drove back, but it was clear that his story ended in Oregon.
Did my story end in Detroit? After two and a half weeks?
I hope not.
I did find this letter from Ms.Frisby’s daughter back in Colorado. It cheered me up a bit. (I blurred the name out).
I fell asleep while discussing my laments with a friend back home. In fact, I was out before the conversation was even over.
Next step, Buffalo, New York.
I did feel a little better in the morning. I looked forward to New York. I’ve only been to the east coast once before. That was when I was on my 8th grade Washington DC trip. It was fun, but I was young and we moved fast through all the attractions. I want to get a chance to feel the east coast like I’ve experienced the Midwest so far.
I realized that I hadn’t even thought of Niagara Falls and I booked a hotel there. Priceline wouldn’t give me a place for my usual price, but a few more bucks landed me in a 3 star place. That’s a whole extra star.
I drove directly there to see what the star and couple extra bucks were worth. It had a swankier lounge, a workout room (I planned on using this later), an indoor AND outdoor pool, and a more expensive restaurant attached. The room had more expensive looking furniture, more pillows, and the complimentary bathroom stuff was nicer. Not only was there was separate shampoo and conditioner (I can’t stand the two in one crap), but it was bath and body works orange ginger energizing aromatherapy shampoo and conditioner. I plan on stuffing that in my bag on the way out.
All this stuff was nice, but the Internet wasn’t free. Go figure.
The room scouted, I headed to the falls. Here I took the pictures that brought me back into the trip.
There is still fun to be had, pictures to be taken, people to meet, and distances to lug Boxer. I hauled him almost 3 miles. I decided against using the weight room after all.
By the time I got to the falls, the sun was setting. Excellent. I do believe this is my favorite picture so far. In fact, previously I had my desktop picture rotating through all the pictures I’ve taken so far. Now it is solid on this one. Feel free to click it for a high-resolution version if you would like to do the same.
Even the Canadian knockoff space needle looked cool in the sunset without the falls.
I was about to walk back when I remembered that there was still another half of the falls to see and a walking bridge over to it.
I wasn’t sure how far it was, but I wasn’t going to drive this far to miss a view. Plus it was right over there. It didn’t look that far.
I later found out it was a mile around to that point. Nice picture though. It was a bit better of a view of the falls, sans sunset though (sorry about the blur, I didn’t think of bringing my tripod).
I was still not to the other half of the falls though. That was a quarter mile away down a hill. It is really tough to slow down while carrying Boxer down a hill. People kept walking really slowly, cutting back and forth horizontally.
It was as if you could see them thinking:
“I’m going to stop and take a picture right…NOW.”
Barely missed that guy.
“Oh, let me move this stroller right in front of that kid trying desperately to slow down. That’ll be a great idea!”
I’ve never shouted excuse me with such… need.
She moved it.
Exhausted, I put Boxer down at the bottom of the hill. I was standing only a few feet away but some ladies who didn’t speak English (I have no idea where they were from, I didn’t recognize the language) sat and had their pictures taken with Boxer. I, with permission gained through gestures and smiles, took the opportunity to take their picture. Astute viewers may notice that the framing on this picture is horrible.
There was a lot of steam here and it was getting dark. I still didn’t have a tripod so I couldn’t get any nice pictures (Though I really wish I did. Long exposures of water look great). I do kind of like this one.
After all this I hauled Boxer back to my car. Stealing one of the little golf carts zipping around crossed my mind more than once.
I had hoped they would put all the nice colored lights on the falls like in the postcards, but they didn’t. There were lights, but they weren’t colored and they cast strange shadows I didn’t like. It wasn’t worth hauling Boxer back out of my car.
Back at my hotel I decided to mitigate the extra costs of the 3 star by using the coffee maker to brew hot water to make some ramen (with canned chicken breasts and canned whole kernel corn, that is a very tasty and filling meal. Warning, not low in sodium).
To Albany today, Vermont tomorrow.