I set out from Kalamazoo Michigan Wednesday around ten in the morning driving my 2001 Toyota Celica. This car feels like driving a go-cart after driving the 2015 Chevy Malibu i had leased for the past three years. With the new old car I no longer have Satellite Radio but I do have a CD player (and a cassette player tho I haven't owned a cassette in like 25 years). I was given a Lou Reed double CD for my birthday last week which was all I listened to for the entire 10+ hour trip. I hadn't been on the road more then a couple hours when I started to feel sleepy. I pulled over and picked up a four pack of Red Bull at a convenience store. I think this was my first experience with this crazy ass drink. I can't tell you what it tastes like. I wouldn't be able to even begin to describe its flavor except as a kind of non flavor. It did how ever give me the wide eyed awake effect after I had put down two from my four pack.
Driving through Michigan and down through Ohio was pretty uneventful. It's when I hit West Virginia that things got weird. I was amazed at the degree of poverty I was seeing. Busted up trailer homes with all kinds of trash and odds and ends just kind of littered down the mountain side. Skinny dogs chained to posts, barns mostly caved in but still trying to stand like a boxer in his last round, houses that were way past needing a good coat of paint. But more then anything else was a deep and palpable sad feeling. This is the very same feeling I have when drive past Gary Indiana on the way to Chicago, its the same feeling I get driving through the strange new grass lands of downtown Detroit where stubborn half burned house refuse to fall. What I was seeing was up close and personal because my GPS thought it would be a good idea to take me off the larger highways and down into the hills and hollers for long stretches of busted up road. Witnessing this kind of derelict poverty gives a person the idea that, despite the access to Walmart, rural America isn't doing so well. I had to fight the urge to just pull over and walk up to a trailer front porch and introduce myself. I couldn't help but be curious as to how West Virginians live their rough and tumble lives? Do they stare at iPhones like we do? Do they hunt and fish? What kind of drugs do they like best? What do they do to make their money and how much do they make in any given year? I had all kinds of questions but I decided to just keep driving while the Red Bulls kept my eyes open and my reflexes sharp.