Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I love Intercourse. (PA)

I'm blogging from my cell phone by sending an MMS message to Blogger Mobile. Seems to work all right after a little finagling.

I stopped off at a gas station a couple days ago ($3.85 a gallon? Sheesh. Well, beats $4.50 the summer of 2008....) and walked into the convenience store to grab some water. What's the first thing I see when I walk inside? T-shirts that read "I <3 Intercourse" in big bold letters; then, in small letters, PA.


Places and town names all just kind of run together when you're zipping through on the interstate (it's still weird to call it the "interstate;" I just grew up out west calling it a "freeway") at 65 mph. But boy, oh, boy, am I glad I stopped in here. I have a half-heartedly cultivated taste for road kitsch. Convenience stores at gasoline stations, travel plazas, and truck stops sell some really great stuff, and if you're lucky (or plan a visit well enough in advance, like I did out in Beaver, UT), you'll get a t-shirt commemorating your 15 minute stop at Intercourse, PA, or some other unfortunately-named city -- just like me.

Anyway. The road is getting longer and the weather's getting hotter and more humid the further I get from New England. The radio blurts out severe weather warnings every so often -- about thunderstorms, mostly -- but the closer I get to Joplin, MO, the more wary I get of hearing a tornado watch warning over the airwaves. On top of the fact that I already watch too many horror movies for my own good, I also unfortunately watch too many disaster movies, just like -- yes, Twister. Last thing I want to have happen is a tornado sucking me up and spitting me out somewhere in the middle of a densely populated cow pasture.

Yes, the road is getting longer and the sacroiliac is not happy. Little Sonny has gotten used to the journey and sits half-asleep in his cage most of the time. Sometimes when I turn around to check on him, he'll open his eyes and let out a scratchy "Hi." before going back to sleep. When he comes out at rest stops, he chirps, takes baths, and draws a crowd of parrot lovers and children. That's when the beak flashes open and the eyes slit and he goes into defense mode momentarily, all before diving for cover underneath my hair to hide from the crowd out of shyness.

I'm in Collinsville, IL now, just a little outside St. Louis. This is my second time in Collinsville, and I realized sometime today (while roasting my limbs and getting that authentic "road warrior" driver's tan) that I was lucky to be able to say I'm driving across the country. I've always wanted to. Next time, though, I'll have to put in more time to get in some of the roadside attractions I would have liked to see (like Jesse James' cave hideout).

Ugh, next time...? By the time I'm done with this time, I'll probably want to fly next time. My poor sacroiliac....