The Upper Peninsula, MI to Toledo, OH -- August 11, 2007

In the early morning of August 11th, I leaned back against the seats and relaxed, watching the sunrise over the Mackinac bridge, thinking how, after three weeks on the road I finally had things all figured out. I’d sleep all day then arrive in Toledo at 5pm for commute traffic, interviewing readers standing at bus stops, then get back on the bus at midnight and sleep until we hit Louisville, Kentucky the next morning. I have this desire to visit all 48 lower states and this seemed like a good idea to work with my time constraints. Time was running out.

I folded up my coat and leaned my head against the window, feeling slightly guilty about closing my eyes instead of looking at the beautiful country of the upper and lower peninsula, thinking about making a new rule about only sleeping on the bus when it was dark outside so I wouldn’t miss anything, wondering if I should call friends since it was Saturday and that’s when it occurred to me what Saturday meant--I was not going to be arriving in Toledo during commuting hour…because there is no commuting on Saturday.

At 5 p.m. when I arrived at the Toledo bus station, I asked the woman at the ticket counter about dinner and she shook head. “Uh uh. Nothing round here on the weekend. " She went on to explain that the vending machines eat the coins, so not to try them either, and then went on to suggested that the gas station was my best option.

Sitting against a concrete wall, admiring the gas pumps and Rorschach-like gasoline spills, eating my microwave dinner, the tension built up behind my eyes. I tried to make a list of places I could visit to find readers, but I was not in the mood.

I had wanted a big city for rush hour. A silver car drove through with music thudding with its speakers, fueled up and took off. There was something in the spirit of the car that was similar to the spirit that I had seen in people’s eyes when, the day before, at the 8th Street Cafe, when the artists in their tye-died shirts and baseball caps had said wistfully, remarking on my trip, that they've always wanted to do something like that--be as free as a bird, go anywhere at a whim. I’d explained to them that I was strictly regimented by my need to get back by the 8th of September, the greyhound bus schedules and a call of duty to see 48 states and photograph readers in all of them….but now I needed to shake things up and do something on a whim.

I probably could have found readers in Toledo, Ohio. Surely there was a Borders or a Barnes and Nobles or a campus somewhere, but I was feeling impulsive. The tension behind my eyes gave into waterfalls, Niagara falls to be exact. My weekend dilemma was solved. I would get back on the bus and sleep until morning and wake up at the falls.

1 comment:

Anhoni Patel said...

That meal looks...interesting.