Musings on a winter road trip from WI to CA
WISCONSIN: Drive swiftly by the old sites, the ones that have been ingrained into your mind like etchings. Start at sunset, so the sun can set on your old life and rise in your new one. Forget about Illinois to avoid tolls and head straight through Dubuque Iowa until you have reached Des Moines. Crash into a cheap hotel with a clean bed and a hot shower on your first night.
TIP 1: For free luxurious breaks in driving, casinos make for excellent choices. Not only can you get a hot, free cup of coffee, the bathrooms are usually clean. Also if you are lucky enough to be central within major cities, capitol buildings open to the public promise marble sinks.
TIP 2: Use tape or sticky packaging to pick up crumbs in your small car compartments.
IOWA: After a brief rest, wake the next day to take a brisk walk around a park. Eat lunch recommended by a food host on a cable tv show. Avoid online reviewers of restaurants in the area, they could be anybody and generally don’t know what they are talking about. Find a cool shop and take home an eccentric olive oil infused with basil, after you have tasted all the shop has to offer. Visit the capitol building right before the Iowa caucus takes place and sense the calm before the storm stoically harnessed in Lincoln and Tad’s memorial statue.
KANSAS: Drive no more than three hours to your next destination and stay at a ritzy, boutique hotel and treat yourself to some pampering time…Scratch that, don’t stay anywhere without a working shower, windows that open, and have no coffee maker, no matter what the reviews might say. But of course that’s the risk we take, money can’t buy luxury anymore. Anyway, day three, do a lot of driving and get far as far away from Kansas City as possible. (The Power and Light District is not as exciting as it sounds, at least not on Christmas Eve.)
TIP 3: Pack enough in order to not have to ask strangers for help, but at the same time, pack light. And if you have to ask a stranger, avoid the 711 in the ghetto of Kansas City.
Up next: Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, California…