California, you'll hear people refer to a certain class of bad drivers
as "DWA" - which means "Driving While Asian". I suggest Minnesota
adopt "DWYWMWPB" - "Driving While Young White Male With Perfect Butt".
I was once convinced California drivers were some of the worst around.
I was wrong. The award goes to drivers in Minneapolis.
Armed with generic, rust encrusted, American, four-door cars these boys
with perfect butts are frightening to witness.
I left Minneapolis at noon for my two hour drive
north to Duluth. Minneapolis in an attempt to slow down the DWYWMWPBs
has torn up most of the downtown streets, resulting in long
delays and questionable routing. Breaking free of the grid lock the freeway
opens up and I speed to the Iron Range.
I love any city which greets you with lots of
trains and rail yards. Duluth is a beautiful city. The water
of Lake Superior stretches to the horizon, its shore dotted with industry,
rail lines and cargo ships. The city is filled with giant, red-brick
buildings complete with towers, cupolas and arches built from the fortunes
of steel and grain.
booked at the Best Western Edgewater, a name which implies proximity to
the lake. I discover a better moniker would be the Best Western Edgefreeway
Scary Biker Brothel as my anticipated room gives a perfect view of six
lanes of asphalt on one side and six mean-looking biker babes on the other.
I opt for finding a different hotel and select one which advertises "Crazy
Betty's Tuesday Special!" Crazy Betty, however, constructed her hotel
with 6 foot drop-ceilings. If I were to step into the shower, my
head would lift the ceiling tiles. Hotel number three is a converted
factory with ample headroom - about 17 feet of it - an outstanding view
of the waterfront and lift
bridge, and best of all - laundry machines.
take the afternoon to explore Duluth. First stop: The Lake Superior Transportation
(read: railroad) Museum. Duluth is home to a famous railway and the
museum houses great
pieces of rail history, including a 156-foot, 500+ ton steam locomotive
and an afternoon "Domino's Pizza Dinner Train". As tempted as I might
be by the idea of being trapped for two hours in a train with children
and Domino's pizza, I opt to explore the rail yards I saw on my way into
my way through the industrial section of Duluth, I wander through chemical
plants, cereal factories, waste processing and coal yards. The diversity
of industry competes with a diversity of odors - everything from wood chips
to chlorine. I end up in a BNSF
switching yard clearly marked "No Trespassing" but having no idea how
to get back out. With insufficient room to turn even the MINI around,
I end up reversing for half a block before the railroad police have time
to notice my little car.
there are some lessons I've learned in life I sometimes pretend to forget.
Lessons like: If I meet someone and they're drunk, it's probably
only a once-a-year thing. Or, if I wait long enough, they'll finally
open up and be as loving as I could possibly hope for. Or, they probably
only have that ugly painting as a joke and they don't really like sleeping
on that stained futon. Or - Mexican food prepared by white people
in Minnesota will probably be just as good as California.
should have known better than to eat at a place called Little Angie's Cantina
and Grill. I really, really should have. Angie is a name far
too pale for good Mexican food. Further, no one associated with anything
other than an Italian restaurant should be called little and then
only if they are made men. For the record to everyone in Minnesota:
quesadillas are not made using smicrowaves and guacamole is not made with
PEAS! (Oh, you think I'm making this up, don't you!) If I eat
at another Mexican restaurant before passing the eastern border of California,
I ask you to send me nasty email and remind me of this day.
the ships pass under the lift bridge, the sun setting over the city and
the waves slapping the breakwater, I think to myself I could live in this
city. (Of course, I've never been here when it is snowing, so my
thoughts are not entirely grounded in reality.) San Francisco is
a lover who has let himself go. He is looking a bit shabby, run down
and unshaven. He isn't the same lover I met years ago and I wonder
if we'll be together forever or if I'll end up moving somewhere else.
And if so, where will that other place be? That is the problem with
lovers - you can leave in search of something better and maybe you'll find
it, or maybe you just end up longing for the one you left before you realized
what a good thing you had.
is a long day - seven hours across the upper Peninsula of Michigan on my
way to Saint Ignace and Mackinaw Island. Thank goodness I have the
magical fried-egg penis amulet from Erika...