Last week we were in Minneapolis, MN. Three weeks before that we were in Minneapolis, MN. ‘Tween times we were in Houston. A lot of driving, that, and The South seems really strange to those like us who grew up in The West. More on that in a later post. Should be a good one. I’ll try to get that done soon since to my knowledge I don’t yet have anyone from The South following this blog and I don’t want them to go all Hatfield on my butt.
A lot of driving. One of the things we do to pass the time besides shift our weight from one cheek to the other trying to get some feeling back is to play music. Not CD’s. No CD player. The car cost as much as a house and there’s no CD player, I guess ‘cuz CD’s are ‘so yesterday’ and the car is ‘so tomorrow’. (So what’s the excuse for no rear cupholders? Never mind, we have a solution for that, we put fanny packs around the front seats. Maybe they make good cup holders and maybe they don’t, but we’d never know since the back seat is taken up with a rolled up mattress, a folding card table, 12 step-in stakes, two folding bicycles and helmets, an inverter, honey bucket, roll of paper towels, 4 duffle bags, loose clothes, loose change, books, magazines, maps of states we aren’t in anymore, empty diet coke bottles, a purse, and not enough room for a passenger, so who’s going to test the cup holders?). It plays mp3’s and a dozen other formats from a USB stick or two you can plug in. It also has Slacker radio with voice recognition and we’ve had great fun with that. We sometimes tell it to play some random song we get from a billboard (“Play Free WiFi” or “Play Toto’s Museum of OZ, Exit 331”. Yes, we’re driving through Kansas right now) and in this way we have discovered that there is some interesting and very creative stuff out there in music land. But our FAVORITE music is not on USB sticks, it is on long play vinyl albums. This is because we were born in the early 60’s and people our age still have their record collections. These were very precious to us in our teen years so we haul them around with us every time we move. The Tesla designers probably agonized over putting in a CD player, but I’d bet a built-in Keurig was higher on the want list than a turntable. So last time we were in Pocatello I transferred a limited number of records to USB stick. Something like 50. I’ll do the rest later.
We were listening to Hank Williams Jr’s Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, an excellent album that has stood up very well over the decades. In fact, it stands out as a historical pillar, though this wasn’t noted at the time of its release in late ’79. FDR’s New Deal, the Contract With America and its subsequent boost by Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights reforms, had held up pretty well for years, but it all started to unravel in the late 70’s and early 80’s. And people were sort of noticing. The whole album is reflective of that. Here’s an excerpt:
“I don’t like instant Iced tea
and I’m not crazy about dollar-a-gallon self-serve gasoline”
Yeah, dollar a gallon gas. Listen to the song ( LINK ), or better yet listen to the full album if you get a chance, or maybe just the 15 seconds of each song from its ‘Buy Me’ page on Amazon. That might be enough to get the historical flavor of it. (Note to the younger crowd – did you know that back in the day women got jobs because they wanted to have a job, not because they had to have a job?) Ahem… If you listen to the song you’ll hear that his little rant on instant iced tea is just playful, but he’s sincerely peeved about the high price of gas. Dollar a gallon gas? That’s was a complaint back in ’79, chillun’! Oh yeah, Hank was all “This shall not stand”. Well, guess what, buddy. It not only did stand, it got a whole lot worse!
Dollar a gallon gas. Got us to thinking. No wonder people are getting crazy. And with modern technology some of them are harder to spot. They can hide on the internet, or even right in front of us. We were at a truck stop in Salina, KS (Where is currently the end of the line of Superchargers on I-70, or in our case the beginning since we were heading west), and we’d left the car barely squeezed into the space between the Holiday Inn’s landscaping and a giant bus that was blocking 5 1/2 of the 6 charge stations. It’s a good thing the car has adjustable suspension so I was able to raise it high enough to bump over the sidewalk to get in there. Now it was ME who was blocking the BUS from leaving, and I got a certain satisfaction fantasizing about the bus’ people coming out and having to wait for me to come back and move the car before they could leave bwahahaha, but a bigger kick when I found out it was Styx’s tour bus! Here’s a visual, and yes, that’s a picture of the band autographed by all of them!)
I’m giving up on that paragraph and starting a new one: We were charging at the Supercharger in Salina, KS and had walked to a truck stop 1/2 block away and there was a man with a bluetooth headset chattering away: “She’s after me for more money! I can’t beliefe her! We been diversed for 6 years and she’s always after me again for more money….” and on and on, walking in a little circle. Back in the day, before bluetooth, we’d give someone like that a pretty wide berth, him being agitated and talking to himself. Today we walked right by him, got a diet coke and walked by again. Back in the car we toyed with the idea that maybe he wasn’t actually talking to anyone on the headset. So does acting normally around the mentally ill count as helping to mainstream them? I like to think we did some good.
Oh, hey! We’ve put 20,000 miles on the Tesla so far, all but about 400 on actual road trip. Here’s a red-line graph. Click to enlarge (I hope).