Pushing through West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana on blue highways is both a nice break from the I-70 main vein and a refreshingly weird slice of Los Estados Unidos. We drive past high school football games, yard sales, bingo halls, and a hundred churches. I wonder if people still use those halls. They must, surely. When you consider the differences between online and traditional gambling, it makes sense, though many must prefer the online options these days. In any case, this isn’t all there is. There are front yard forests of local election signs (“Pudge Richardson for Sheriff!”); there are exits for Turkeyfoot Road and the Dixie Highway. There are towns named Rabbit Hash, Gnaw Bone, and Stoney Lonesome.
Finally, we come to rest on State Road 46, outside Columbus, Indiana, at the home of a long-lost Peace Corps amiga. We avoid having to stay in a plastic interstate EconoLodge and at the same time get to experience real midwestern culture – around a bonfire in Michele’s backfield. We drink white wine out of blue cups as our clothes are infused with woodsmoke and dew. We stand, shuffle, and scrunch against the cold. We talk away a starry night, catching up on eventful years apart – and, of course, talking about trucks, guns, and bio-diesel.
The next day, fueled by Michele’s coffee and her mom’s peach cobbler, we continue, unable to resist Bloomington, Indiana when SR-46 takes us up Main Street and its college-town cafe chic (re: fair trade coffee and free WiFi).
Finally our fun off the interstate comes to an end and we rejoin the mainstream.