Friday, 26 August 2005

Our last day! We awoke at 9, got the van loaded, & left soon afterward. A few miles down, we pulled off so that we could hit Starbucks, for both coffee & wireless. I managed to upload two days to the trip journal, leaving the rest for when I get back home in St. Louis, which kind of sucks, but hey. One thing I learned on this trip is that wireless access is not yet as ubiquitous as I'd thought, or would have liked. It's a heck of a lot better than 2 years ago, that's for sure, but it's still got a long ways to go.

The day was spent in the car, aside from brief stops for gas, bodily functions, or food. Lunch was Subway for me, & Arby's for Denise & David. More driving by David, more reading by Denise, more sleeping by Libby, more writing by yours truly. Music kept us company. David said I could play country, so I did, which was fun. We reached Terre Haute by 6ish, & pulled into a Golden Corral for dinner.

Denise had never been in one, while both David & I had childhood memories of eating in them with our families. If you've never been in a Golden Corral, it used to be a steak house, but now it's all about the buffet, baby! They have everything, in enormous quantities: steak, sure, but shrimp, salad, potatoes, pasta, vegetables, gravy, cheese, & the desserts! Pies, cakes, pudding, cobblers, cheesecakes, cupcakes, & ice cream.

And you know what we noticed immediately? What struck us in stark contrast to the vast majority of the people we'd seen in New York? That at least half of the people in the Golden Corral in Terre Haute, Indiana, were really obese! Fatty boom ballaty. Man! Once we saw it, it was inescapable! In New York, people have to walk all the time: on the streets, up stairs, to work, to the grocery, to the subway, to the bus … everywhere. And food is expensive, so less of it is eaten. In Terre Haute, you gotta drive everywhere—there ain't no public transportation, & anyway, sprawl makes it absolutely necessary to use a car (or an SUV … jeez)—& food is cheap & outrageously plentiful. Our buffet was $9 each, for as much as you could shove in your face.

David, though, said he now appreciated a lot of things about St. Louis he'd never thought as much about before. How he had a huge, cheap apartment. How he could drive his cool car everywhere, easily, & park most places for free, without fears that his car would be stolen. How drinks cost only $3. How food was cheap. He liked New York, but there was nothing there that would outweigh the problems of living there.

I, on the other hand, would gladly live there for a year or two, to experience it. I think it would be fun, & yes I'm sure I would curse it at times, but I also think it could be glorious.

Now, Toronto, on the other hand, all of us liked. The fact the David could marry who he loved was a strong mark in that city's favor, as well as it's cleanliness, coolness, & affordability. Maybe someday …

It's been a great trip. We've traveled through two countries & four major world cities. We've eaten well, seen awesome nature sights & awe-inspiring structures created by our fellow human beings, & reconnected with friends & family that mean a tremendous amount to us. Libby has been a great traveling companion, & I hope to bring her with us again. The van has served us well, as we've put 3270 miles on it (& every one of those miles driven by David!), & has itself been a nice home away from home. My IBM ThinkPad laptop has helped us record our journey for posterity, with help from my cameraphone & David's camera/movie recorder. And we've been entertained in the car by my iRiver, which has served up tunes in every genre for us to car dance to.

In particular, I want to thank Kelly Martin in Montreal for showing us around the city & putting us up. Thanks, Kelly! And in New York City, Katie for giving us her apartment for a few days. Thanks, Katie! And to Gus for meeting us & allowing us to store my van at his house. Thanks, Gus! And Christina for showing us around the City & having David over. Thanks, Christina! It's friends & family like you that make journeying fun.

So, we're about ten miles outside of St. Louis. It's 8 pm, & we should be home soon. It's been a wonderful journey, but we're all looking forward to being back in our homes. This is Scott Granneman, signing off on another vacation road trip journal. Thanks, everyone, for reading this far, & I'll see you on the road!


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