Over the last six days I successfully traveled 14 states with the boyfriend! Herein please find a summary of some highlights of our trip:
DAY 1 (New York to California): Arrived 8 PM in quaint Los Angeles, CA. Spent two hours moving boyfriend out of his apartment, then adjourned to the home of Mr. Dog and his two human associates. The She God was there too. Talked, ate, drank delicious root-beer- and gingersnap-flavored boozes. Slept for five hours.
DAY 2 (California-Nevada-Arizona-Utah-Colorado): Left LA! Stopped at Donut Time because Tasty Donuts was too far out of the way. Subsisted on three old fashioned donuts and two egg sandwich "bagels" (clearly from a supermarket, came in a plastic bag, definitely NOT bagels) between the two of us from LA to Grand Junction, Colorado, where we ate dinner at the Black Bear Diner. The patrons at the diner did not suit the name: lots of bears; nobody who was black. On the way, saw beautiful deserts, mountains, skies, and ugly casinos, billboards. Spent the night in Rifle, Colorado, at the Rusty Cannon Motel. The pamphlet on the nightstand urged us to find Jesus; despite our best efforts, we could not locate him anywhere in the beds or the bathroom. Nor did we find Waldo, whom I would be more excited to discover.
DAY 3 (Colorado-Utah-Kansas): Up early at the Rusty Cannon, took a brochure for Dinosaur Journey, two apples, and a "cheese danish" from the lobby. After putting air in the mysteriously depressurized tires (elevation, or SECRET CHRISTIAN PLOT!?), we were off to Denver to breakfast with the boyfriend's cousin. Unbelievably gorgeous mountains, with the sun rising behind them as we left. Went through the town of No Name, CO. Breakfasted in Denver, which still had snow on the ground in places, then it was off to the absolutely most boring part of the trip: Kansas. Kansas began in Colorado, where everything east of Denver was flat, gray, and empty. Entered Kansas on I-70 ("The Main Street of Kanasas") and realized that The Wizard of Oz is actually in color all the way through; Kansas is actually entirely sepia-toned. Passed dozens of pro-Jesus and anti-abortion signs, mostly of the homemade variety. Passed Russell, KS, birthplace of Bob Dole and Arlen Specter. Passed the Brown v. Board of Ed monument in Topeka, the most interesting thing in the state clearly being the Supreme Court case they famously lost. Stayed in Leawood, a suburb of Kansas City, with a friend of the boyfriend's from college and his AMAZINGLY ENERGETIC DOG WHO LOVES EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING SO MUCH OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!
DAY 4 (Kansas-Missouri-Iowa-Illinois): Drove up the KS-MO state line (State Line Rd., unimaginatively-yet-informatively-enough) to an abysmal bagel place for breakfast. Then off through Missouri, which looked like a less-flat and therefore more-attractive Kansas, to lovely Iowa. More frequent, more pleasant-looking farms everywhere. World's largest truck stop. Got off the highway to get gas at a station Google found but we couldn't, and discovered we were at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, which the boyfriend has always wanted to see! Sadly, we didn't think we had time to see it, and we guessed (wrongly!) that it was probably closed on Sundays, so we found another gas station, got back on the highway, and headed into Illinois. The town of Mt. Carroll, IL, our next stop, has a population of 1,900 people, according to the sign on the way into town. It was unbelievably charming, especially the Mad Hatter Tea Room in the local antique shop, where a little old lady served us and our friends—the reasons we were in Mt. Carroll, which is shockingly not on a major interstate!—Republic of Tea tea and some cookies while wearing a mad hatter costume. Wouldn't sell the giant stuffed Arthur characters to our friend, because they were for display purposes only. Visited a bit with our friend's grandfather's dog (and our friends and some other humans), then drove off toward Chicago for dinner and bed. Sadly, fatally hit a raccoon on the long, dark, empty road between Mt. Carroll and the interstate. In Chicago, ate dinner at a lovely gay bar in uptown called Big Chicks with another friend, then slept at his place. The bartender tried to steal the boyfriend, but I wouldn't let him.
DAY 5 (Illinois-Indiana-Ohio-Pennsylvania): Left Chicago before the parking meter could start charging us. Drove through a very depressing part of the country: the rust belt during a recession. Lots of empty industrial buildings, warehouses, factories, mills. Lunched in Lakewood, OH, outside of Cleveland. Sadly, Google once again led us astray, as it directed us to a "cafe" that turned out to be a coffee shop that didn't serve food on Mondays. Luckily, we walked a few blocks down the street and discovered a "gastropub" that had (a) delicious food, (b) a vegetarian bartender who could make recommendations on food, (c) single malt scotch for $6.00, and (d) Trivial Pursuit cards on the bar. Best fried-eggplant-wrapped-around-cheese that I have ever eaten. Left Ohio for Pittsburgh, PA, where we stayed with a family friend of mine and dined with two others. Talked about mom more than I had in a while. Slept in an attic, which was perfectly delightful.
DAY 6 (Pennsylvania-New Jersey-New York): Repacked the car so as to make room for the boyfriend's sister, whom we were picking up in Philadelphia. Broke fast with my friend (Müesli with raisins, apples, and mango is the BEST MÜESLI EVER!), then headed out on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Stopped dead a supposed half hour away from our exit thanks to construction, accidents, and rush hour, and didn't get to Philly until an hour after we thought we'd arrive. The restaurant Google found us was—surprise!—a coffee shop! Last time I let Google find vegetarian restaurants; I want something other than coffee for dinner, thank you very much. Drove over to UPenn, where we were picking up the sister, and ate at the second worst diner I have ever experienced. No match for West Hollywood's Silver Spoon, the Philly Diner is nevertheless a perfectly dreadful place to eat anything. I left 80% of my meal on the plate, despite my hunger. Because of traffic and the food snafu, we had no time for the things we were supposed to do in Philly, like visit my parents' old house and look for more of the root-beer- and gingersnap-flavored boozes mentioned above. Grabbed the sister, left, and drove through NJ with the vents closed because of the smell. Got to my place around 10:45 and crashed hard.
All in all, pretty amazing trip! Not much sleep, but many fun sights along the road and lots of time with the boyfriend! Some disastrous food, but mostly amazing and delicious! Fun friends everywhere. LA folks who are miffed I didn't see you in my 10 hours there, I will be back on Monday for a whole week! Let us do fun! Call me!