Blue sign ahead.

< p>Interstate highway travel by automobile reveals a cornucopia of spiritual revelation. The auto is a contained unit, with being inside. Outside is the all of it world becoming and going of time while nothing seems to happen. The rolling low hills of Wisconsin mead my most path. I’ve been behind the wheel of the time, thinking every country song I can safe crack on the radio is about the girl I never got. Every damn lonely country song makes me wean a cry.

The rest areas along the way generally provide motorists and truckers with a restroom, drinking fountain and vending machines. When you enter the parking area, two signs maneuver traffic to where you should park according to the type of vehicle you operate. Trucks and trailers go around the back and the cars park in a narrow isthmus of asphalt between the rest area and highway. Diagonal slots are painted with white lines on the parking area facing the building structure. Walkways lead to the building structure and every intersection is lined with trash and recycling receptacles with print on them to inform interstate motorists where to put their cans and bottles of different color. Pert pet walking areas are designated with brown signs with a yellow terrier shape on a leash, which implore interstate auto travelers with pets to pick up their pet excrement in plastic baggies and to tether the animal with a leash. Picnic benches are strategically placed in the acreage of manicured lawn around the building structure. Late at night, truckers utilize the parking area to sleep in their cabs and cohort with vice. If you dig stigmas.

Minneapolis to Chicago maintains a direct route through the badger cheesehead state. I’ve driven the stretch of I-90/94 more than a hundred times. I’ve driven through a tornado, blinding snowstorms of jackknifed semis, of lonely ruin and slaphappy wonder. My weak bladder has brought me to every rest area along the way.

The large rectangular rest area signs are blue with white letters. Most will indicate when the next rest area will be.

REST AREA break 2 MILES break

small sign under

NEXT REST AREA (figurative mileage) MILES

I’ll check out the odometer and speedometer and time keep device then calculate the minutes it will take me to get to the next rest stop and then decide if I need to take a piss. I err on the side of caution on account of my weak incontinent bladder. I stop at every one.

The rest areas just over the borders of most states are also Tourist Information Centers. During the daytime hours there are staff employed to give you free maps of the state and to answer any questions you might have. I have many questions. Most of these information people never get to tell their story and aren’t utilized by the wayside travelers that meander through their workplace. These folks are a wealth of information for camping, hiking and general off the beaten path digs I dig. Most rest areas and the information centers will have a brochure aisle display that will guide you to interesting side trips and adventures.

I’m not a kick for the kitschy nonsense usually, but I pay attention to the small stuff. Regular folks hit the roadside attractions or work there and are the most wondrous event of the whole experience. I pretend all the way.

Before I had a lover or a dog, I never much paid attention to myself. I just mopped through life and stood in all the puddles of missed opportunity. Sure I had faith and I wished a lot, but I didn’t have an audience. I’d show off to myself, but feel so awful guilty that I never smiled.

Two individuals and a canine significantly alter the roadside experience. Dawn came into my every life about ten months ago, then, she got a puppy. The dog is a good lookin’ contemporary tri colored mixed breed with a passion for digging holes and chasing rabbits. He is sociable with children and other pets but has an aversion for men pushing shopping carts full of aluminum cans. His height is more than a third of a meter, but way less than a half. He has broken hair of a white coat , with black spots on his hind quarters, back and any side. His eyebrows and the lining of his hanging ears are a light tan. He grazes food and eliminates waste on a regular basis. He weighs about ten kilos.

Dawn has brown eyes and blond hair that is curly when she doesn’t straighten it with the electrical device plugged in the bathroom, resting on the back of the toilet.. She is sweet and loving and takes the blue highways home. She likes back roads and the oddities they roll through. The secondary highways don’t have rest areas, so I have to leak on the side of the road or in the fast food McDonaldization joints that have taken over the small towns. The other things deeper in the small towns have spawned our respect and love for won another. She learned to stop driving when I utter,

”That place looks kewl.”

She stops and parks and we let the dog out and we go into some building structure and ask someone what it’s all about and then they tell us and I ask if they’re any ghosts in the structure and they always tell me yes and we joke around then leave. Then Dawn kisses me and tells me how wonderful I am, even though I’m distracted.

I can only think of our first road trip with the other. In South Dakota after a late start in for a Sioux Fall Canaries game at 7:04. Staying in the cheapest hotel and getting seats behind home plate for eighteen bucks. Strikeout to end the inning in the second, fourth and sixth, two for one beers. Batter to end the inning in the top of the second struck out. Dawn and I went out to the concourse to get a beer and pound a heater. Wouldn’t you know it, but foul balls started raining into and a group of kids were trailing the blind flies with eyes and gloves. Dawn and I joked that I needed a bawl. One rang down on me and bounced clear onto an outcrop building.

”Damn that was co-lose” I say, as some kid scales the wall of the building to retrieve the ball.

In the forth and sixth the pitcher struck out the side and by the sixth, the vendor was just giving us beers ‘cuz we tipped him price twice in the previous innings. We pounded our beers in the eighth and strolled outside to a small bench with a red and white sign that said,


”I want a foul ball” I say, holding Dawn close.

”You’ll get one.” Says she, holding me close.

And wouldn’t you know it through the bright lights.