Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In Search of the American Dream

Or, Manifest Destiny or Something Like It

Or, Rex Phantom and Halloween Jack vs. the American West

It's been done before and I hope it will be done again, by explorers and adventurers braver and of keener eye than we. But we are not the sort of men who build our beliefs on the experiences of others. Therefore on August 11, 2005 we will set out from Chicago, Illinois in a white and black Chevy Cavalier that is yet to be named. We will first travel north to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to settle what needs to be settled. Then we will drive south to Iowa City to rendezvous with partners and friends. From there to Oklahoma City, where we have a refuge. After this the path becomes nebulous, open to changes based on wind and whim.

Amarillo, because it's in Texas and we will need cowboy hats. Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, to see the bats. Roswell, since it's on the way to Albuquerque, where we'll take a left to Flagstaff. From there we'll see the Grand Canyon--because how can we not?--and onward to Las Vegas, where there's another bed waiting and a magic show to see. Between Oklahoma and Las Vegas we will camp, we will build fires, we tell stories for our dinners.

A detour through Death Valley will lead us to San Francisco and the ocean--the ocean! We'll take a few days to explore the city, visit a school, swim in the sea, wrestle the sharks and ourselves.

Next--the journey home! North to Portland, then to Seattle. East over the Cascades, through Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, ripping across the tip of Idaho and following 90 to Montana--onward to Missoula and Butte. Montana! We'll curve south to curse Custer at Little Big Horn, dip into Wyoming and follow our noses to Deadwood, South Dakota, where we'll swear for the ghost of Al Swearengen and clench our teeth for the ghost of Seth Bullock. We'll have mustaches then, by god, or we'll steal them from weaker men!

Northeast, then, to Minneapolis, and a tip of our hats to Prince. Further east to Eau Claire once again, and sweet home Chicago.

Fourteen days and eightteen states and two guys and one car. Countless hearts will be broken, more than one mind will be open to more possibilities than I know now how to count. I'm taking a sleeping bag and a pillowcase full of clothes and a book to read and a book to write and a red baseball bat--not for protection, but to bring a piece of my childhood along for the ride. If you're at any of the stops along the way, or you just want to get to one of them, honk and say hello.

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