Woke up on the second day of tour in the Economy Inn of Maumee, Ohio. Maumee is Toledo's shriveled conjoined twin, a clutter of strip malls and floundering economy, steadfastly Republican. It is also a gleaming paragon of the type of raw, uncensored rural Midwestern-ness that after years of being sheltered by the urban ambitions of Chicago and a series of college towns, that I now feel totally alienated by. Now I get what East Coasters say about the Midwest, and I know why they say it. The churches in strip malls, the car insurance places in old Taco Bell buildings, the manager of the Waffle House cheerfully begging us to Have A Nice Day and Live Life To Its Fullest before he ducks out into the rain to go about his business, which maybe will be at the Christian hotel/conference center across the street, but will definitely be somewhere inside Maumee, Ohio, which is a place that offers very little to be cheerful about.
On the expressway heading east we followed a storm front. The clouds were huge, complex, overwrought, even. They made the cornfields and turnpike rest stops greyscale. We followed lighting and rain into DC. Rocked. Got drunk. Rode the front of a cold front up to NYC, dropped Brooklyn down ten degrees and then heated it up from the inside. Danced. Got drunk. Got hit on in the most NYC fashion (on a crowded dance floor, a girl pushed me bodily aside to get to the bar, but left a hand lingering on my hip as if to say, "I know I'm a total bitch, but if you're interested..."), got mistaken for a Stroke. Walked around the LES at 9am Sunday morning, streets and subways all but deserted, everybody sleeping it off.
We stopped for gas and sandwiches in some town in eastern PA. Settling hill folk near a nuclear reactor breeds a rural slowness that makes Deliverence seem more than believable. Added another town to the list of places in America I will never visit again. Maumee's on there too, if you were wondering.
Spent the last hour of 13 driving back from NYC in the front seat with Tim, trading elaborate threats in the voice of Dick Cheney ("...And the last thing you'll see on this godforsaken planet is Dick Cheney pissing in your eye."). Drank some whiskey. Went to bed covered in hand stamps.