we awoke in that podunk town just outside "holy" toledo, oh. actually, it wasn't just a podunk town outside toledo. it was the first worldly part of our world tour. during the course of the trip, we noticed many towns with worldly names, the first of which being the podunk town in which we slept: milan, oh.
we woke up, checked out, and got ourselves on the road again. shortly, we made our first stop of the day for gas and breakfast. toledo gave the three of us a good vibe from the getgo. just a friendly place, I reckon. we brokefast at waffle house. it was the friendliest place ever. when we walked in, about half the employees loudly "good morning"'d us. soon thereafter, we learned that they do that when anybody walks in. it took about two good mornings for me to start good morninging right along with them. I was told that there's all sorts of waffle house music but I couldn't find any of it online. they had a bunch of cool "rules" up on the wall. I meant to write some down to share. but that just wasn't in the cards.
during breakfast, we looked across the street and spotted a bowling alley:
and a miniature golf course. I asked the girls how they felt about bowling after breakfast. there was some positivity, but I wasn't sure they were going for it. so during breakfast, I wrote in my journal "we went bowling in toledo." I explained to them that I had just ensured our bowlingness because my journal couldn't lie. they agreed and after breakfast we went to the southwyck lanes. but they were closed. so I had to explain the clever ruse that was "we went bowling in toledo" to my poor lied to journal.
do you remember when they changed the ohio state motto? well back when that was going on, we decided the new ohio state motto should be we don't like shirts. I even have that written down for use as a fridge magnet somewhere. using the motto as inspiration, we made ohio the state through which we drove topless:
you know how truckers have those cb radios? apparently, when something cool happens, they radio their buddies and tell them to be on the lookout for a white mazda with a topless redhead. so I took pictures of truckers looking down at us.
when I say us, I mean her - even though I was topless too, I definitely got the feeling this was about her. look hard at the picture above - you can see how I caught the trucker on the cb radio at that moment.
we picked up the pieces of our shattered bowling and my shattered journal and split the ohio scene toplessly. we drove through indiana. there were three interesting things in indiana for which we saw road signs:
fort wayne - where the pistons used to play.
south bend - where notre dame finds itself. also where cool rainbow guy brian lives.
gary, indiana - the town from which professor harold hill hailed.
and this sign which served as the welcome sign for illinois.
we didn't actually stop at all in indiana. I think it's the only state in which we didn't even stop for gas or pee or anything.
we pretty much busted through indiana and made it right in to illinois. we had some issues in illinois. namely traffic. although check out the cool buildings in that picture. we drove through chicago at around 5pm. my only advice on that topic is that if you're ever tempted to repeat our folly, don't do it. it's a trap. however, if we didn't drive through chicago at around 5pm, we never would have seen grandma death from donnie darko. I think she was on her way to check her mailbox in downtown chicago. in the tradition of seeing something cool only once and not managing to take a picture, we also saw the dan expressway. it was right before the ry. expressway.
it took us a couple of hours to make it through chicago. once we finally had chicago in our rearview mirror, we ran into a bunch of road work traffic. traffic outside chicago also took a couple of hours. they should be the gridlock state rather than the prairie state. once we were done with traffic, we pulled off the road and found a steak 'n shake. as far as non california restaurant chains are concerned, this one doesn't hold a candle to waffle house. but I had a good shake. when I asked if she could combine the strawberry shake with the lime freeze to make me a strawberry lime freezey shake, she looked at me funny. as if!
you know those signs on freeway offramps that say things like food, lodging, gas and freeway reentrance? believe them. one of us was needing a bathroom in an escalating manor. we passed exit after exit without such signs. after a while, I stopped believing the lack of signage and pulled off. not only was there no food, lodging or gas. there was no freeway onramp. we had to drive around all over the place to get back on the freeway. thankfully, we did that driving around or I would have never seen my hitchins. also thankfully, we eventually found the onramp and were back on our way. were we not successful in that search, we'd still be in illinois.
we hit wisconsin during a beautiful sunset which lent itself to multiple photographic styles:
I feel the impressionist painters flowing through me... can I get an amen, brethren and sistren?
we passed the town named after my mom on our way to madison. as soon as we entered wisconsin, I figured we had to pull over and get some cheese while we were there. I mean, right? wisconsin. cheese! you don't go to hawaii and not eat a pineapple. you don't go to philadelphia and not get a hoagie. you don't go to gstaad and not go skiing. so I pulled over in madison. we start looking around for cheese. again, can't be too tough, right? the first likely candidate is a deli. delis have cheese. especially in wisconsin, right? I'm a frayed knot. but the nice lady in the deli, after telling me I must be from out of town, pointed me at cubs. cubs has cheese she said. knowing that I'm not from around here, she gives me directions which include "you know the intersection, right?" and "turn left at the tree." despite all this, we eventually find the place. we get there and it's smart and finalish. but cheese they have. we get several slices of every variety in their freshly sliced get it while it's hot cheese counter. we also got some bread, mustard, and other niceties. I was going to buy some wine and do to my wandering eyes do appear? a bunch of australian wine. I wonder if I know the labelmaker.
on our way to cubs, we spotted yet another bowling alley. this time, we bowl. there was determination in our eyes. after cubs, we went to the bowling alley. they're not just closed - they're permaclosed. I guess bowling ain't what it used to be. we meander across the street to the local strip joint. actually, we thought we were going to picnic in more of a burlesque show than a strip club. but when we walked in, it was pretty clear in what type of establishment we were about to picnic.
for those of you who don't frequent strip clubs, skip this paragraph. it won't interest you. not that I frequent strip clubs. normally, a strip clubs has a set of rules and all the girls do what's permitted/advertised/expected/omnipresen
they let us picnic. we walked in and asked if we could have a picnic and the bouncer said that as long as we pay our cover, we can do what we like. so we took over a table, set up our assordid cheeses, our bread, our mustard, and we were stone cold munchin. we talked to the dancers, we ate our cheese, I got some wine. it was the best wine I'd ever had in a burlesque establishment. I fared much better than scott and jared at the moulin rouge in paris. we kept offering the dancers, patrons, and other club workers cheese. nobody ever took it. it was very strange... we were in wisconsin, yet everybody was looking at us all weird when we said that we had to try to wisconsin cheese. am I just wrong? is wisconsin not renowned for the cheese? somebody better tell the cheeseheads. when we left the club, thoroughly cheesed out, cassandra and I felt compelled to be a touch burlesque ourselves:
when we finally left madison, we had grandiose delusions of making it to minnesota. twas not to be. we were too cheesed off. we stayed in the bates motel in tomah, wi.