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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

Big Country Little Car Tour II, Day 19: Boulder, CO to Lincoln, NE

Submitted by on August 15, 2011 – 9:31 AM4 Comments

I got a perfect country night's sleep and woke up at 6:30 AM, unprompted. I actually swung my feet to the ground, yawned, and stretched. I never do that. I'm out of bed with my fingers making a coffee-filter pincer before I even know what's going on, most days.

After that, though — after a bowl of cereal and aimless breakfast chat, after A1R got the crossword started for her grandparents — the day went more or less the way the first ten minutes of my morning so often goes: I fetched up in Lincoln without remembering exactly how I knew to go there, or much of anything that happened on the way. I had crunchy flakes; I thanked Aunt B and Uncle T for their excellent hospitality; I had a fun coffee with Reader Leigh (after an unfun fight with Annie about how she thought the Starbucks was on an off-ramp) and talked about Tulo and the I-70 traffic proposal; I drove and drove and drove and drove and crossed into Central Time and drove more.

I did have a pleasant chat with a guy from Minnesota at a rest stop. A big traffic slowdown had us all nearly at a standstill for miles on end, and a bunch of people pulled off at the rest stop and walked out into the grass to put their feet up and wait it out; my Minnesota friend, who had a Border Patrol hat on, came over to talk about Campbell and tipped me that "there's a wreck a few miles up, huge tie-up, could be an hour," so I turned the engine off and took my time answering his questions and discussing the weather. When it became clear that the rest stop's vending offerings did not include coffee, I decided I'd rather creep than wait. The slinky cleared itself sooner than I'd expected, but when we all limped past the apparent cause, a mystery was born: a man in a black t-shirt, leaning all woebegone on his arms against the side of his camper-top truck; the truck itself with a banged-in front, but appearing operational; and a trooper in a souped-up charger contemplating the tableau with a "girl, please" face. What exactly went wrong? Why the 1890s-theater blocking? Did we all slow to a crawl for an hour to look at that guy?

I killed off a lot of miles and couldn't wait to hit the hotel, and as soon as I got there, I couldn't wait to leave. The hall smelled bad, for starters, kind of like feet, kind of like something else, and as I walked to my room, two fratty dudes in front of me diagnosed the problem…unfortunately.

Fratball #1: "[sniff sniff]"
Fratball #2: "What is that — chicken?"
Fratball #1, authoritatively: "Pussy."

Um: yes, I'm afraid so.

My room door took forever to close each time. My fellow guests may have had sharp sense of smell, but probably belonged to a wedding, and seem to have assumed that everyone else staying there knows them and wouldn't mind the state-processional strolling in the narrow stairwell, or the chloriney puddles in the elevator, or the door-slamming, or the thickets of 15-year-old smoking menthols and looming around every entrance. "Jeanie" obviously can't hear you from the other end of the hall, honey, so how about you go inside your room, close the door, call her room directly if you want to talk to her, and eat a bee. Quietly!

But then I watched Jersey Shore and it reminded me that things could always be worse.

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  • Leigh in CO says:

    Aaaand the Troy Tulowitzki tag makes me slap my forehead with disbelief that Spilborghs didn't even come up one single time. Also: the I-70 traffic plan is implemented via pace cars that enter the highway at specified intervals. It'll be like one long yellow flag. The more you know!

  • Natalie says:

    I wish I'd been able to catch up with ya'll in Boulder!

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Whenever you wonder what possible purpose Jersey Shore could serve in the scheme of things…

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:


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