A Drive Through America’s Heartland
“Thanks to the Highway Interstate System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.” Charles Kuwalt
Here we start, on a seven-hour interstate shot from Mingo Junction, Ohio to Chicago. Interstates are good for just getting there. The fun starts when we get off.
Our hotel in Downtown Chicago sits smack in the “Magnificent Mile” where everything we want to see is only a mile’s walk away. Let’s start the new year with a generous gin martini and juicy steaks at Ditka’s.
We do all the tourist things, with insider suggestions from our dear friends Stacey and Eric. Stroll to the Navy Pier for awesome views of Lake Michigan and the city in the winter.
Ride the elevator to the 96th floor of the John Hancock building for airplane views of the city, worth an overpriced cocktail. The best view comes from the Ladies’ Room window, if you don’t want to wait for a table.
What’s a trip to Chicago without a night of blues at Buddy Guy’s place?
Have breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s, where they greet you with doughnut holes and milk duds to ease your likely wait.
After some pro football at Mother Hubbard’s Sports Bar (Steelers squeak in a wild card spot), devour deep dish pizza from another iconic eatery, Lou Malnati’s. What’s with all these Lous?
Time to hit the road. We agree with Charles Kuwalt and get off the Interstate. Time to see some sites. Listen up, Trekkies, as we visit Captain Kirk’s future birthplace (200 years from now) in Riverside, Iowa.
The bartender at Murphy’s Bar and Grill tells us that Trekkies descend upon this small town the final weekend each June. “They set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for most Trekkies in one place,” she says. “You should see the costumes. One year a woman came in the bar wearing nothing but green body paint. I told the owner, because we had children in the place. He came out and bought her a drink!”
Back onto the Interstate and into a trance with the echo of rolling wheels, until we get off in Nebraska, headed to Alliance. Yes, Marilynn has now visited all 50 US states! (I still need Hawaii) We celebrate the occasion in spiritual, new-age fashion with a drive through the Sand Hills Journey Scenic Byway. Forget Stonehenge, we’re talking about Carhenge!
You can feel the souls of vintage vehicles, their tail fins now preserved under thick grey paint, waiting to inspire future generations of self-driving cars.
Can’t see anything from the Interstate. Ron Mitchell