We made it.
I'm blogging from a computer lab on the University of Illinois (I've finally learned how to spell that word) because we can't figure out how to "turn on" the internet at our place. We've got five degrees between us and we still can't figure out some basic technology.
Urbana is very pretty. It reminds me of Iowa City: the corn fields, the mock-Victorian homes, the white white white population. And it's very humid. I'm sweating through my t-shirts. And the good people of Urbana don't want to see my love handles bulging through my wet t-shirt.
This computer lab is gorgeous. Tall wood columns. Latticed oval windows embedded along the ceiling. The corridor leading to the lab is lined with old card catalogs.
Now for more tales from the trip.
DAY ONE: PS
After we'd finished our lunch at CJ's we stepped back into my car, and Rigo began to look for his cell. He couldn't find it. So he asked me to call him on my cell so we could locate his by the ringing. Fine. I call him up. We couldn't hear the ringing. Rigo starts to worry. We should go back inside to look for it, he says. We step out of the car. I turn around and look at my seat. I see his cell. It was UNDER my ass the whole time. Rigo breaks into fits of laughter. I refuse to believe my ass "muffled" the ringing! It can't be! I say the ringer was off. It must've been! Otherwise, my ass is some sort of sound wave black hole. Maybe I should go work for the CIA.
And yes, I called him again to see if his ringer was indeed on or off. Alas, I can't bring myself to report the results.
We spent day two with one of Rigo's best friends: Eric aka Cholojoto. He took us out for dinner, and we visited some fun seedy 'Burque bars. The seedier the bar the prettier I became...
We left 'Burque around 8am. It only took us a couple of hours to leave New Mexico (I prefer the Old) and then we entered Texas. We didn't go through the waist of Texas, just its top hat. The landscape was flat. Once in a while a mesquite would pop up.
The gay music continued to rise like gasoline fumes from the speakers: Juan Gabriel,
Rufus Wainwright. And we came THIS close to listening to my Debbie Gibson "best of" CD.
We stopped at a Stucky's to gas up and to grab a bite to eat. We filled up the tank, but we refused to eat there. Have you ever been in a Stucky's? Yuck. Our first clue should've been the velvet paintings for sale displayed in the front window. The restaurant looked cheap and dirty. I swear I saw oily doilies on a counter. Somebody loves us all.
We left Stucky's (I missed the on-ramp and we drove on historic Route 66 for a while until we found another on-ramp) and stopped to eat at this faux-Mexican chain restaurant called On the Border. The rice was bland, and the rojo sauce was bland. Speedy Gonzalez is more authentic than this place.
We got back on the road, and we zoomed out of Texas by 2pm.
We entered Oklahoma, and the landscape remained the same. Until now, the trip had been pretty simple. Get on interstate and drive. But in Oklahoma City we had to get onto a couple of turnpikes and drive on toll roads. Our Map Quest directions seemed pretty straight forward, but of course, we got lost on the turnpike. We exited the turnpike and we found ourselves in a sparse residential area. We got a little nervous. It was getting dark, and we were lost. (Cue horror film music!) We turned right, and decided to ask for directions at the first place we reached. We drove into a parking lot full of cars. We looked at the building: it was a Southern Baptist Church. We both looked at each other, and decided not to go in. We just didn't feel safe. And that's very sad. Two guys can't enter a house of G-d to ask for directions because of fear. I'm sure they were nice people and such, but the acts and statements of their mother organization makes it clear that they don't like our kind.
We got back on the turnpike, and luckily we found the correct interstate: i-44. And off we sped.