subconscious bad-ass twanguitar intro.....

I'm gonna drive all night
Take some speed
I'm gonna wait for the sun
To shine down on me...

It was nearly dawn when we crossed the great Mississippi into Minnesota. We sat and smoked and bumped no doz/ritalin powdermelange madness off an aluminum picnic table. The late May air was beautiful and sweet, cool and perfect for amplifying the charging sound of the river. The plan for the first day of our Philly-to-LA-one-way roadtrip had been Philadelphia to Chicago.

They got some money out there
They're giving it away

My old high-school buddy Nick was moving to the weatherless land to a beautiful apartment on Rodeo Drive which he'd never seen- to live with people he'd never met- to work for a man who'd been his film professor at Princeton- to try to Make It. Nick's father hadn't wanted him to take the trip alone, and the man said that if I'd go with him, he'd pay for my ticket home once we got out there and Nick got his shit in order.

I'm gonna do what I want
And I'm gonna get paid...

I'd only had two days to get ready, but I wasn't taking much with me. We had a goal, and we had a plan, and by God we had a big fucking road atlas. We sketched a route out that went something like Philly, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis, Souix Falls, The Badlands and Rapid City, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Sheridan, Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Las Vegas, and into Los Angeles. We had thought Chicago would be a good place to stop for the night.

No fucking go.

When we rolled into the windy city at midnight, nearly thirteen hours after leaving Wilmington, the behemoth of Chicago was terrifying. A giant flaming tentacle of electric light overtowered by a great black horned beast. We stopped long enough to piss and get gas, and give a dollar to the heroinzombie that "washed" our windshield while we got gas with what appeared to be a bucket of urine and a bloody rag. Suddenly we realized that we'd never before understood the concept of "bad vibrations." That night Chicago was full of them. That had been midnight. By the time we hit Madison and got coffee to wash down the adderall, we were deeply in the clutches of a roadbrain second wind. No point in stopping when you're too busy hitting a peak.

Well I'm goin' out west
Where the wind blows tall...

So here it was, dawn, and we'd come nearly 1200 miles. We couldn't stop here for very long. We'd come too far to stop. Nick got out the map. We had that mammoth atlas, but so far we'd only been looking at the two-page map of the whole U.S. We'd stuck to major highways. That was fine for travel in the east, but we knew that by the time we hit Dakota we'd need a little more detail.

"Look," Nick said, "if we can make it to Rapid City, we can fold over the whole first half of the map. We'll have driven halfway across the country at a shot."

I think the man once said "Anything worth doing is worth doing right." 1650 miles. 2661 kilometers. No sleep. If we got pulled over in our state, we'd probably be in trouble- our pupils were approximately small enough for angels to dance on, and neither of us could keep our hands from shaking. We could make it.

...Well my parole officer
Will be proud of me
With my Olds 88

And the devil on a leash

My Olds 88

And the devil on a leash...

italicized lyrics by Tom Waits from the song "Goin' Out West" on the album Bone Machine

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