Monday, July 9th
The morning started out with an argument. Pete and I had apparently never reached an agreement or understanding about how our last day was going to go. It was my thought that we were going to get up at like 6am, drive for 17 hours, and arrive in Melrose at around 11pm. Pete decided to spring on me at the last minute (yesterday) that he wanted to break up the driving into 2 days. This pissed me off not so much because of the time and taking more of it to get home, but because to me it seemed as though Pete had made the decision for us and that once again he was being selfish and we were doing what he wanted to do. We hadn’t come to a decision so while I got showered and dressed, he packed the car.
While I was getting ready I came up with a plan that would satisfy us both. He could take the two days and drive himself, and I would meet up with my friend Joe, hang in the city for a while, then have him give me a ride to Ohare or Midway and I’d fly home. Still not decided, we made our way to the drivers meeting at the Soldier Field (home of The Bears) parking lot.
At the drivers meeting we got some food and said our final goodbye’s. I met a retired Floridian couple and talked to them about their Mini. It was their last day too. We met up with Izzy and Tom who said they were gonna roll out before the rest of the crew to take some time to see Willis (Sears) Tower. We too tried to sneak out before the rest of the crew but were too slow and had to wait for everyone to roll out first. It did however afford us the time to get some b-roll footage of the cars driving out.
After the last cars passed we jumped in line and hopped onto a congested Lake Shore Drive. We eventually got into the city but were yet again fucked by detours. It seems like everywhere we went they were doing construction. Eventually we found a tiny legal parking spot that was just big enough for the Mini (a testament to it’s size and Pete’s parallel parking skills). After paying $7 to park for 2hours we met up with Izzy and Tom at Willis tower.
$17.50 and a minute elevator ride later and we were at the top of the United States tallest building. We took a bunch of pictures out the window and eventually made our way to the glass out-let structures that overhang the edge of the building. It is quite unnerving the first time you step out. You look down and see that the edge of the building is behind you. You’re floating in the middle of the air on glass over a thousand feet up.
Jump to (not literally) the bottom of the tower and me and Pete saying goodbye to Tom and Izzy. Pete and I make our way back to the car and drive to the Rock n’ Roll McDonalds. It is a two level Mickey-Dees with swanky leather booths. While there, the subject of our drive home is brought up. I say that if we have to do the ride home over two days, that I don’t want to do any of the driving (not that I had done much of it up to this point anyway). It was an ultimatum, but I thought it to be a fair one, he gets his way (splitting up the driving) and I get mine (not having to drive).
Still tense, we left the McDonalds and went out into the city in search of a bookstore. We found one close by, but no good parking. I hopped out to get the book I wanted and Pete looked for a spot. Once in the store I was instantly directed to Invisible Monsters, bought it and left. I continued down the street Pete had dropped me off on, and walked to the lot on the corner of the next intersection. I called Pete but there was no answer. I walked back and forth on the street looking for him. I even went back into the bookstore. I sat in the shade across from the lot and called my Mom to vent to her. While on the phone with her, Pete called. I called him back when I was done and he told me where he was. After a bit of a confusion and another phone call I found him.
Jump to insde the car parked in an alley. To tense air and a long, heavy, heated emotional, argument designed to once and for all straighten out what had been in each of our minds and what had led to the confusion and anger. I figured that since we had only booked x amount of hotels that we’d be home by later tonight and not have to pay for another one since we’d be doing all the driving in one day. Pete felt it would be easier on him if we split the driving over two days. Both of us made assumptions and neither properly expressed our ideas to the other. Eventually it led to a conclusion. Pete said that there are two names on the side of his car for a reason, a driver and a co-driver. If I took the easy way out and got on a plane, I’d no longer be his co-driver and he needed one. This half apology didn’t go exactly the way I expected it to. They never do. But, it brought us to a place of being on the same page and after a fist bump, we were on our way out of the windy city.
Jump to the highway and our drive out of the city listening to carefully selected songs that helped express the mood we’re in or the places we’re going, like that AT&T road trip commercial. We listen to “The End” by The Doors, “America” by Simon and Garfunkel, “On the Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads, and Fleet Foxes album. Perhaps it was a combination of the emotions from our fight, being tired from the nonstop traveling, being sad that the trip was over, being emotional about not being with our new friends anymore, being overall mentally and emotionally drained; but while we were listening to Fleet Foxes (mainly “Ragged Wood,” “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” and “He Doesn’t Know Why“) I quietly cried to myself.
Jump to further down the highway and we pass Tire Rack HQ. To even further when we pass a Chrysler factory. We pass Sandusky (ergo Cedar Point), drove by Akron, home of The Black Keys, and passed Cleveland (ergo the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame). Eventualy we stopped for Denny’s where I ironically bought the Midwestern Meat and Potatoes sandwich off the Tour of America menu (limited time only).
We [Pete] did a lot more driving until about 10:30pm when we found a Quality Inn and a room for ~$80 and ended up spending the night there (in Erie, Pennsylvania).
Trip distance: xxx miles