Scattered toward every wind …

Day 1: Baltimore, MD to Chicago, IL

Jeff and Me, ready to disembark

Jeff and Me, ready to embark

Day one … the butterflies did well to flutter and keep me up most of the night. okay, not entirely true … last minute packing is what kept me up most of the night before we left. the excitement was palpable and the trip’s reality had finally sunk in. Jeff and his wife, Lynn, showed up between 8:30 and 9:00am. Props to Lynn for taking care of our road food. We had a box full of snacks and meal items packed in the backseat at the ready the minute hunger struck. After loading up Jeff’s things, Lynn took the picture above, prayed for us, said her goodbyes, and watched as Jeff and I started our cross country adventure. After filling up at a local gas station, we made our way to I-70 W, which would take us into Pennsylvania, our first foreign state along the way.

i had many concerns about this trip. initially slated to happen in mid-july, my first concern was that it wouldn’t happen at all. i was getting ready to resort to flying out again and leaving my lonely car with my parents in MD. after a month of waiting, as i explained in my last post, the cards finally fell in such a way that provided me a way back. other concerns with the trip were mainly in regards to my car. i made an appt. at the VW dealership for an 80k mile tune up and looked at it as more of an investment than a financial raping. this work i had done provided me with little comfort, however. i love my car … but too many freakish things have happened while i’ve had it to inspire much confidence in it making the entire 2500-3000 miles across the country without a problem. i figured i’d be lucky to make it to seattle with nothing more than having suffered a flat tire or overheating incident. we had very little room for error as well, as Jeff was due back at work on Wednesday morning … so if anything happened to the car or otherwise that set us back a day or two, or even by a handful of hours, it would effect Jeff’s work schedule … not to mention his wife, Lynn, who wouldn’t be happy. a lot rested on the chassis and tires of my little black 2003 VW GTi.

Ohio is for ... driving through on your way to the west coast

Ohio is for ... driving through on your way to the west coast

we pushed through Pennsylvania and into Ohio without issue. we stopped somewhere midway through Ohio for gas and to switch drivers, with Jeff taking the wheel. First tank of gas provided us with 392.5 highway eating miles. As we were gassing up, a quick downpour came through and a bit of rain dogged us for bit once we started back on the road. we were already half way through our first day on the road and i don’t know if it was the excitement or what, but time was flying by. the first 6 or so hours felt more like 2. it was amazing. and super encouraging with close to 3000 miles and over 30 hours still ahead of us in the car.

I was born in Ohio and lived there the first six years of my life. it is an incredibly boring state to drive through. flat and chock full of farms. i began to appreciate some of the older, more dilapidated farms we passed along the way. there is something that draws me in to old places. the history, the people who built these places, who worked there, who looked after them … there is something sacred about them.


Ohio soon became Indiana … if the sign were not there to let us know, we would have been none the wiser … not much change to speak of, just new towns, new farms, new miles of highway, each indistinguishable from the towns, farms and highways encountered in Ohio. i’m not having a go at these places, it is just that to the unacquainted eye, and the mind set on the Rockies, these flat landscapes and Midwestern scenes are rather uninspiring.



Indiana didn’t last long compared to the hours we spend crossing Ohio. Passed through South Bend … would have loved to stop and see Notre Dame’s campus, but Chicago was so close … she was calling. we passed through the disappointment that is Gary, IN, and before too long, the Sears Tower was in sight on the horizon. Chicago was greeting us with no only its spectacular skyline, but also beautiful sunset.


the Chi

the Chi


Our friend Scotty H. was working until 9pm, and we pulled into town around 7:30ish. i had taken note of a particular pizza place that i figured we needed to try before we left town. having the hour and half or so to kill before Scotty got off work, we plugged in the name, Lou Malnati’s, into the phone and were given several locations to choose from. I chose the first on the list and fired up the nav to direct us to our meal. after jumping on I-290W, we quickly exited the highway and found ourselves in a rather seedy part of town. after driving for a bit, our surroundings didn’t change a whole lot. when we finally pulled up outside our destination, i became rather concerned not for our safety so much as the safety of the car which had thousands of dollars worth of things packed in plain view in the backseat alone. after consulting with Jeff about perhaps trying to find a different location, we agreed to try another. back on I-290, this time headed east, we jumped off and ended up in a neighborhood that reminded me of Seattle. we parked and went in to Lou Malnati’s … carry out/pick up only … feeling foolish and defeated and with still another hour before Scotty got off work, and rumbling stomachs, we decided to order and just eat our pie curbside. while we waited for our pie to come out of the oven, we explored the neighborhood a bit, picked up some cloves at a local smoke shop, and headed back for our dinner.


the only thing missing is a tablecloth and a candle ...

the only thing missing is a tablecloth and a candle ...

Brian likey pizza

Brian likey pizza

after devouring as much as we could of the pie, we heard from Scotty, and started for his apartment, which was only a five minute drive. upon arriving, we did some unpacking, some unwinding, and then we headed out to the continental bar around the corner. drinks and cloves were enjoyed while we caught up with our dear friend. one delicious gin gimlet and one too sweet old fashioned later, we were ready to call it a night after a long day on the road and a longer day starting in the morning …

Me, Scotty, and Jeff

Me, Scotty, and Jeff

Next up: Day Two: Chicago, IL to Badlands National Park, SD


1 Comment so far
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Hi guys….thanks for the link. I look forward to reading more of your travels.

Comment by hereinfranklin

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