Cross Country Again: Jersey to Pittsburgh to Topeka

I have driven out West five times now; once with my buddy John-- we made it all the way to Montana before I blew four of the engine rods of his Jeep Wagoneer-- and once with Catherine, we took the Jeep all the way to the Grand Canyon, and once with Whitney-- we lost our minds in Kansas but finally did make it to Boulder-- and once with the entire family, again to Montana, and now this time-- alone-- and I've made it Topeka (the family is flying in to Denver on Thursday morning) and I'm not doing this again until we have self-driving cars . . . but while it was a long way, I had a great pit stop at John's place in Pittsburgh and watched the NBA finals and I had far more to listen to than on the previous trips; I don't remember what John and I listened to in the Wagoneer, but I had to take the bus home (John and Ryan abandoned me and flew, but I didn't want to spend the money) and all I had were two cassettes -- Dead Letter Office by R.E.M. and The Velvet Underground & Nico-- and a yellow walkman, so I listened to those over and over . . . with Catherine I guess we listened to CD's and talked (this was the mid '90's) and I don't remember what Whitney and I listened to because we mainly played stupid games, including drafting bizarre "Olympic" teams from among our fraternity brothers-- the events were darts and pool and such-- and these teams offended a lot of people once we arrived in Colorado (plus we were very very hungover, so if we listened to anything it was at a low volume) and our family trip two years ago we were stocked digitally and listened to plenty of podcasts, including Professor Blastoff and This American Life . . . for this trip I have a smartphone loaded with stuff, and so here is an incomplete list, for posterity, of how I killed twenty hours alone, driving from Jersey to Topeka:

1) Squarepusher Go Plastic-- yikes, like being inside a broken computer;

2) Slate Money;

3) Paul F Tompkins Impersonal;

4) Norm Macdonald Me Doing Standup;

5) Wilco Summerteeth;

6) Beck Odelay;

7) The Grateful Dead Live/ Dead;

8) Jimmy Smith All the Way;

9) Shut Up You Fucking Baby David Cross;

10) Maria Bamford Ask Me About My New God;

11) The Replacements Tim;

12) Chris Rock Never Scared;

13) Christopher Titus Norman Rockwell is Burning;

14) several episodes of Planet Money;

15) several episodes of Vox's The Weeds;

16) an episode of Invisibilia;

17) some Rush Limbaugh . . . when discussing the Orlando alligator incident, he claimed that "animals don't think" and "alligators don't think" and "your dog doesn't think," which flies in the face of all current research, and then he ranted about how there is no gun show loophole and that the Obama administration is redacting the fact that the Orlando shooting was connected to Islamic terrorism because the administration doesn't want to offend Muslims;

18) Husker Du New Day Rising;

19) a fantastic episode of This American Life: Tell Me I'm Fat;

in other notes, I did NOT stop at "The World's Largest Wind Chime" and I had a delicious burger and two local pints of beer at Henry T's in Topeka.


Whitney said...

Good smattering of music and comedy. Summerteeth is my favorite.

I will always remember the list we compiled on the trip to Colorado... every person who had ever come on any fishing trip. There were 43 dudes. We thought of Cliffy at #29. Oops.

Lecky said...

The Montana trip was great times, driving across the U.S. it is a must - just to see the country change from NJ to the glorious west through your windshield is incredible. That said, my Greyhound trip from Billings to Bismark prompted me to empty my savings account and fly the f*ck home, but that is an indictment of our national bus service and the downtrodden dirt who perpetuate it's existence. Quite the shitshow. You can stay at my house in Pittsburgh on the way back if you need to, we'll be at the Jersey shore. Actually Catherine and the kids can stay in the house, I would prefer if you stayed in the unfinished section of the garage.

Dave said...

pond would be good for me. that bus trip shaped my character for the rest of my days . . . and the pay-off is worth it, though kansas is just brutal for the build up.

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