Sunday, August 30, 2020

Little homesick, like always

July 29, 1972





11:20 AM
Writing this in the parking lot at Farmer Jack’s in Mt. Clemens. Just dumped over the ash tray; sweating like a dog, but now heading out (little homesick, like always).

1:30 PM
In a gas station on Capital Ave in Kalamazoo. Went thru Ann Arbor, Battle Creek & here (not that exciting but first time for me). Munching on “Vienna Fingers” (note: liquid in can tastes terrible). They have mile roads out here just like home. (Not exciting either, but it’s freaky to drive by 23 mi road, etc.) Leaving now, forgot to check mileage before, but it’s now 5943.2.

1:45 PM
Stopped in rest area to let car rest and me rest-room. Passed by “Climax, Mich.” (I thought Hickey Road was bad.)

3:10 PM
Crossed into Indiana (writing this while car is moving).

3:45 PM
Gary, Indiana. Some very strange places – “Frank & Steins” and familiar – “McDonalds.” P.S. I think I’m lost! Red clouds all over Gary from iron mills. P.P.S. Know I’m lost! Stopped in one gas station – showed him my map – said he didn’t know how to get anywhere near where I need to be!

4:25 PM
Stopped in Hammond, Ind. at gas station. Got directions. Hope there right. (Note – Both Gary and Hammond have large Black population, it seems. They look like Detroit without the tall buildings.)

4:40 PM
Found my road!

4:50 PM
Toll bridge. I paid 20¢ for the first time in my life.

5:00 PM
Bridge over Des Plaines River. Filled with huge barges – (of course I was scared the bridge would fall!)

5:30 PM
Stopped at rest area. (These are great) Sitting on my butt in the grass writing this. Forgot to mention I tried to get a picture of those factories in Gary that belched out the red smoked but all the streets I saw were one way with no stopping so I couldn’t even get close. Did get a picture of the “West 80” sign out of sheer joy of finding it. I am near Minnoka, Ill. (about 20 miles west of Joilet). I think I’ll have supper now – water & chili (with a toast to Burgess) ate – washed up – read a few chapters in a book – now leaving – I hope just to catch a few hours sleep in another rest area tonite and not camp out.


6:55 PM
Departed rest area. Back on Hwy 80 – miles and miles of corn. Just unbelievable. Never seen anything like it in Michigan. Ground is flat and it seems like you can see for miles. Reminds me of the Kansas setting in The Wizard of Oz.

7:30 PM
Passing Utica, Ill. Now the land is more rolling with more trees. Getting on towards dusk and cars have lights on. I’m getting used to seeing the “Motorist Aid” phones every mile or so (Good idea.) All the ice has melted in my drinking water. Still corn everywhere.

8:00 PM
Passing Peoria, Ill. The sun is a red ball in a grey-blue pond. Really weird. My mind is wandering around. Have to talk to myself to hear a voice – tried it – (lousy voice). Wanted to make it Des Moines but its still approx. 220 miles. May have to sleep some first. (Only had 3 ½ hours last night.) Sun almost gone. Moving at 60 to 70 mph. Listening to WCFC Chicago. Sounds like CKLW (even the disc jockies) Maybe there’s only one DJ in the world and they just tape him over and over? I really like Rick Nelson’s new song. “Please yourself” is the title, I think.

8:15 PM
About 25 miles from Moline. Road signs warn against “Stray Deer.” Sounds silly, I know, but it smells nice out here.

8:35 PM
Stopped for gas.

8:40 PM
Passing Moline. More and more hitchhikers with back-packs. No single girls yet though. Took two No-Doz & feel much more awake. Legs and feet are sore and cramped and tongue hurts from smoking too much.

8:45 PM
Crossed over Rock River which is so wide it’s like a lake. More and more deer signs but haven’t seen any yet.

8:49 PM
Crossed into Iowa and over the Mississippi at the same time. Too dark for pictures, damn it. Bridge was long but not so bad because I was looking at the Mighty Miss. for the first time in my life. Still on Hwy 80. Iowa is hilly with lots of fire flys – its foggy – sign says Des Moines 120 miles. Smelled some “organic fertilizer” (Cow crap).

9:30 PM
Pulled into rest area for some sleep. I’m approx. 139 miles from Des Moines which was my goal today so that ain’t bad guessing.

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