At 8:26 AM I took off from Middleburg Heights, OH and there was a light rain, but it dried up pretty quickly. Somewhere near Sandusky County, Ohio the land flattened out. The speed limit in Ohio and Indiana on I-90 is 70, which is nice because it’s always been a struggle for me to obey the posted limits. The rest of Ohio was a pretty smooth ride, it passed while I listened to the NFL Network. I like talk radio in the morning. I was eager to get to Indiana because Guns n Roses and Michael Jackson are on the Indiana playlist. Guns n Roses must really hate each other because I would pay to go see them play their classics every time they came around. The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame needs Axl Rose’s white short short lycra shorts. When I was 10 I watched a lot of videos on MTV and Guns n Roses’ Paradise City was one of my favorites, that song and video defined them for me. The song 14 Years prompted me to think about what I was doing 14 years ago. It was the summer after I graduated high school and I was working as a park instructor. Early in the summer I went to orientation at BC. The guy I roomed with asked me every morning –how do I look, man? I always said –you look great, man. We were only roommates for that weekend and we never became friends but every time I saw him around BC for the next four years I always said – you look great, man.

Today in Indiana, I was nearly killed, or severely damaged. During a four-lane (two lanes on each side) stretch through rolling hills I was cruising along and minding my business when all of a sudden an 18-wheeler butted into the fast lane, which I was occupying, cut me off. There was a car right behind me and it was about to hit me so I swerved off the road and fortunately there was a narrow strip of road between the lane and a ditch. I maintain a firm and precise control over my Malibu, while still driving 65 mph off the highway. As this 18-wheeling madman passed the truck in front of him I remained remarkably composed, or else I would have crashed. Then he pulled back into his lane and I pulled back onto the highway. The ship was righted, and I noticed Michael Jackson’s Keep the Faith was playing. I was alive. It all happened in less than ten seconds but it was very dangerous. What could I do but put the incident out of my mind and carry on. I didn’t need to explain or understand what happened, it just did. A Zen moment of calm.

My drive through Michigan was brief but quite lovely. I found a husband and wife stand on the side of the road. For $5 I got a pulled pork sandwich and an ear of sweet corn. The husband told me it was 12-hours smoked pork butt. It was incredibly tender and delicious. And the corn was the best I’ve ever had. The last song I listened to in Michigan was an underappreciated Madonna song, The Power of Good-Bye. Learn to say good-bye, and I did, to Michigan.

As I reentered Indiana a young lady swerved into my lane but pulled back quickly enough. I stopped shortly after because I saw a rest stop with a Dairy Queen and had a mini M&M brownie blizzard, and it was ahhh-maz-ing. Then right before I exited Indiana another large truck swerved at me and I was like what the fuck is wrong with people in Indiana!

Illinois started with exit 0. It took me about an hour to drive through Chicago because it was stop-and-go through the city. I tuned into 670 The Score, a Chicago sports radio station, to get a feel for the city. Chicagoans are excited that the Bears are back, but the offensive line is in big trouble. I closed the windows completely and turned the ac on for the first time all day, which left me alone with Miles Davis, and that was alright. I like hearing and feeling the wind, it makes me feel less isolated and more connected to my surroundings. Driving through the Chicago metro area made me yearn for the countryside where the driving is easy and breezy. I was kinda feeling like I should go into Chicago, but I’m on the road, and I gotta go. Madonna taught me the power of good-bye.

The guy that checked me in to the Madison North Motel 6 had two tear drop tattoos.

Today was the best day of driving so far, I didn’t see much on the road and I almost got killed, but my mind was right.

Today’s Index:

Miles driven today: 492

Total Miles: 1155

States today: 5

States total: 11

Miles driven before seeing first Walmart: 1118

Tolls paid today: $25.20

Tolls total: $41.20

Price of gas in Chicago: $4.30

State with the ugliest stretch of road: Illinois

Cups of coffee today: 3

Cups of coffee total: 7

Songs that shuffled nicely onto my home stretch into Madison, WI:

O.A.R. – Love and Memories

Airborne Toxic Event – Wishing Well

ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin’

Toby Keith & Willie Nelson – Beer for My Horses

Song that makes me drive too fast: Ellie Goulding – Lights

Near-death experiences: 1

Lunch stop at the Flying Pig

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Chicago

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P.S. Took me like 20 tries to get a shot of the bumper sticker and the city just right. Lol

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