2010 Chicago, Day 2

Feasterville has always been to me the Noah’s Ark of fast-food.  Covering more ground has showed me that my region of PA is losing the strip mall arms race as Columbus held both a Little Caesar’s and a Donato’s Pizza, serving as a Land of the Lost of dead chains.

The Bounty

The Bounty

Additionally, I test drove a Steak ‘n’ Shake, which succumbs to the burger counterlogic of proclaiming “100% ground <cut of choice>”.  Good hamburgers come from a combination of meats in much the same way that a good salad includes many vegetables.  “100% pure romaine lettuce” may be nice to some but not I.  Their milkshakes were also questionable, with much larger ice crystals than one should allow:


This was done with the remarkable macro function of the Canon G9.  Anyway, I was comforted that I hadn’t traveled too far from home when I saw this reminder of tawdry spell-hacking:


Ah, a baby hanging station.  That’s something that reminds me of home.  As we continued on something that didn’t remind me of home was this:


Before leaving Chris and Stephen’s I played the gift gnome and hit a jar of baconnaise in their fridge.  The snow effectively ended as we exited Ohio but the damage was done:


I’ve found that the larger the above image gets the harder it is to directly make out the word “stop”.  I’m actually posting this a week after this was taken and my windows are still much like this.  I buy fuel in New Jersey and never go to car washes so it may be some time until the stars align and I remove the salt.  That’s probably dangerous, but I have principles to maintain.

Indiana at night was as magical as I remember it but this may be partly due to hypnogogic hallucinations.  Kyle was smitten by the landscaping and shortly after stopping near Purdue for some wine for our hosts he asked if we could take pictures of the wind turbines at night and I replied with the tact of the angry parent of an 8-year old who’d been awoken at 6 AM on a Saturday.

Kyle: can we try to get a picture of the wind turbines?
Me: No.  It’s too dark.
Kyle: But they’re illuminated at the top.
Me: The reds’ll saturate and you won’t make out anything.
Kyle: Can we try?  I’m willing to pull over.
Me: I’m not, road vibrations can induce lens shake and wind and such *snore*

I probably should have given it a sporting try as a 30 second exposure can help one cheat out a lot of stuff when coupled with the pixel-peeping power of RAW.

Our last stop before Chicago was again to get fuel at a gas station in Indiana.  I have a special place in my heart for truck-stop hot dogs as the fact that they’re on rocket hot rollers for literally hours made them my default snack on cross-country runs.  Much like the last peanut in a container, the last hot dog is slathered in the juices of its forgotten peers and like wines that develop flavors based on their barrels the hot dog can pick up kielbasa, hot sausage, and beef frank notes based on its former co-rollers.  I got the hot dog, but saw no rolls so asked the counter agent who replied with incredulity at the notion that I’d slander her noble gas station with claims of insufficient hot dog rolls.  After two attendants performed a visual inspection of the hot dog setup to confirm that they were indeed sans buns one of the associates disappeared for a period in excess of 10 minutes before returning with rolls.  I think he walked into the store room, opened the exterior door, ran to the next gas station and stole their hot dog buns.  What did I get for my wait?  I was only charged the medium hot dog price of 89 cents instead of the full 1.19!  While waiting, I did get to check out their keen hat display.


Actually driving into Chicago proved difficult.  The GPS recommended route was not open so we had to switch back through the Alcelor-Mittal plant to the south of Chicago.  The powerful juxtaposition of old industrial shanty town next to a the precision flare-offs off a cracking made the scene look like satan playing the organ.  The low clouds and snow obscured the fractal detritus that belies the age of industry and the whole scene was out of something by Charles Sheeler.

Classic Landscape by Charles Sheeler

Classic Landscape by Charles Sheeler

For those of you who play TF2, it was very much similar to many of the more industrial maps like cp_well or cp_freight.  We eventually made it to our hosts’ house and set to the task of consuming 4 dozen cookies (spoiler: we ate them all by the time we left).  Pants and I reviewed his discomfort with the notion of an infinite universe and its implications and I drifted to sleep in existential terror.  Just like I like to.