Monday, April 21, 2008

Iowa 08 (1)

4.37 pm, Richmond, Virginia.
Trip: 0.0 Miles.

It had been raining off and on all day, so hard, in fact, that it woke me up at 7.26 - thirty-four minutes before my alarm was set to go off. From under my pillow the text message alert goes off. "Robert Greene", I thought to myself. I pull the phone out from under the pillow, check the time (7.41) and click the SHOW button: " soon as you can would be great". That means most of our core members are already (or will be soon) at Holton, setting up, even though the service doesn't start til ten.

"Why'd I go to Third Street last night? I'd be less tired if I didn't go. Stupid Third Street. I don't even like that place and I always get talked into going....".

Thirty-Eight minutes later, I was out the door and into the driving April rain.

Gas seems to go up about a nickel every other day or so. Remember back in the 90s when a penny every two weeks was a big deal? Remember when gas was eighty-eight cents? Remember when you could fill up for under ten dollars? In college we complained because a dollar-forty-nine was pricey and seventeen dollars was way too much to pay for gas. Three-thirty-nine-and-nine-tenths. That's what gas was on the corner of 17th and East Broad yesterday. That's $33.75 for just about 9.9 gallons. Nine-point-nine gallons won't even get you to Pittsburgh, a scant 352.0 miles away. Good thing I got a fourteen gallon tank.

At 7.45 pm I-270 merges into I-70 West to the tune of Mr. Brightside. On August 24, 2007 I made the opposite merge (and for the very first time) to something Smashing Pumpkins. This was new territory: I-270, I-495. I felt like Magellan.

Interstate 70 is my home. It merges with the Pennsylvania Turn Pike at exit 162 and from there you can go all the way to Cove Fort, Utah. It's 220 miles through Ohio and 156 through Indiana. At exit 90 in Indiana you can catch the Indianapolis Beltway (465) and connect to Indiana Route 37 at Harding Street. Follow 37-South for about forty-five miles and you've just landed in Bloomington - the home of Big Red and John Cougar. On 15th street there is a little white house with the number 312 on it. All Midwestern adventures are locus here.

Seven dollars and just about two hours gets you from Breezewood to Allegheny Valley. The Pittsburgh skyline never ceases to be so stunning, just as I wrote several years ago. Take 28-South along the Allegheny and you'll nestle through the hills of Blawnox, Fox Chapel, Sharpsburg (home of Pittsburgh's Top Chef) and Millvale. To the left, across the 40th Street Bridge, is Lawrenceville and just beyond that, Bloomfield, hipster-haven. Twenty-Eight winds its way into the North Shore; Beautiful PNC Park and Heinz Field (home of everyone's favorite football team) lie to the left. Look for 19/65-North and take the Marshall Street Exit. Here you'll find Marshall-Shadeland: three-hundred-fifty-two miles and thirty-two ounces of coffee from Church Hill.

11.09 pm, Pittsburgh, Pennsyvlvania.
Trip: 352.o Miles.
Tolls: $7.
Coffee: 32oz.

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