We changed plans a little and kicked off our Fourth of July celebrations with a drive to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. We set off at sunset, under a lemon sky and pink clouds. As we were going along we probably witnessed twenty or thirty fireworks celebrations. I tried to snap some pictures of the ones igniting above us, but I was too slow.
After a few hours we stopped to switch drivers at, lo and behold, a WalMart supercenter, our brief stop being the first of many encounters with this evil yet comforting corporate giant. On the way to the bathroom Baz and I failed at frugality and bought some really awesome looking magic pre-made decks. In all the trip last night brought us six hours west. Our next stop was Iowa City, and then to Boulder a day early! Agenda (mine, at least): bouldering in the Flatirons/Boulder Canyon and a visit to the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Do people have any other suggestions?
Yesterday morning we woke up in a foggy parking lot and prepared our first meals of the trip. Zagy bought some walkie talkies for communication from the front of the van to the back (and for our national park expeditions). Then it was on the road, with an australian GPS voice named Lee, a red Toyota I followed for eighty miles, and three napping buddies to keep me company. We stopped at a rest area for gas and lunch, and to switch drivers. For Nani’s driving shift Baz rode shotgun, while in the back I read The Mezzanine and Zagy watched Tron. We spent more than four hundred miles on I-80 traveling from corny Pennsylvania to congested Illinois and beyond. Baz made sure to play the Sufjan Stevens’ album Illinois, and the billboards made sure to show us a dozen times that if we buy one firework we get six free at Krazy Kaplans.
Things I’ve recently seen for the first time:
The full extent of an interstate, or five states in a day.
So many Illinois license plates at the same time.
The highway bridging across a massive quarry.
Buffalo farms and giant windmills.
A Nascar truck.
A gas station convenience store selling guitars.
I’ll end this entry with a funny quote from The Mezzanine on the loss of brain cells:
“Mathematicians need all of those spare neurons, and their careers falter when the neurons do, but the rest of us should be thankful for their disappearance, for it makes room for experience. Depending on where on the range you began, you are shifted as your brain ages toward the richer, more mingled pole: mathematicians become philosophers, philosophers become historians, historians become biographers, biographers become college provosts, college provosts become political consultants, and political consultants run for office.”
Some fireworks on the road
MORE PICTURES TO COME SOON (McDonalds wifi is failing me), check back to this post later in a day or two.