Kansas. Really? We’ve spent the last seven hours driving on the same flat godforsaken highway, by far the most boring stretch of land in the entire world. No hills, no trees, eight houses total. Just wind turbines, dry grass, and the occasional cow.
Seriously, though – what the fuck do people do here? I don’t mean to be the pretentious New Yorker, but I just refuse to believe there is a substantial amount of culture here. At the rest stops, I’ve seen very few women, just tons and tons of men with grizzly beards and cigarettes, milling about slowly, probably to keep their blood pressure down. Teeth are scarcer than Democrats. There are motels all over the place, and one stop had a Super 8 Motel, a fireworks store, and a tattoo shop all in the same connected building. It makes sense: If you get a shitty tattoo, you can buy fireworks, rent a room ($39.99), invite the tattoo artist for some brewskies as a thank you, and then blow his arms off.
It’s like being in the twilight zone, the same stretch of road forever and ever, driving down Route Möbius Strip till the cows come home. Peering through the dirty window, it seems like they’re on their way, albeit slowly. I want it to get dark so I can at least look out the window into blackness and pretend the landscape is different. Like, we haven’t made a turn since Missouri.
The bus stops frequently enough, every couple of hours, so I’ve only had to use the bathroom a couple of times. It’s almost as bad as a Port-O-San next to a marathon aid station. (Ugh – those are the worst: Caffeinated power gels tear through runners faster than Meb, ravaging their dreams of a PR and their digestive systems! Next marathon I run is gonna be with a diaper.) I’m very happy to avoid interacting with the hole of a toilet, and am doing a good job, but it’s coming at a cost. I’m totally dehydrated and have a splitting headache as a result. I also haven’t had coffee since New York, because I can’t take a chance that something will occur on my insides and I’ll have natural needs that cannot be dealt with comfortably in a crouch position, grilling the stall’s wall handles for dear life.
Speaking of caffeine, I never realized how much I take tea for granted at home. No matter what neighborhood you’re in, you can pretty much go into any bodega and have the entire Celestial Seasonings collection at your disposal. Even in shittier parts of Harlem and the South Bronx, you can confidently walk into a deli (even one with a bulletproof nighttime Lazy Susan) and get a piping hot cup of Red Zinger. In Marble Hill, they give you lemon!
Unfortunately for my ass, shivering on a highly air conditioned bus, it seems that the concept of tea hasn’t made it to the middle of the country. Sure, they had black tea at McDonald’s, but that’s not what I want. Beggars can’t be choosers, I know, but what’s the deal? They have the internet, and Blue Ray. Tea is way older. I can only assume it’s because tea is from the Orient, and they’re also not down with Orientals.
Tea: The abortion of hot beverages.
Hot damn, Dorothy was right: There’s no place like home.
Historic Downtown Topeka.
Hour two and a half of Kansas driving.
Two hours later.
An hour after that hour, with turbines.
A bit later, closer to the turbines.
Driving towards sunset in Kansas.