Paul and I are currently in our eighth state driving across country, and it’s been quite a journey.
We began in Los Angeles where it’s laid back man and everyone is just hanging out. I was happy to get out of there even though the weather is nice. Now we’re in Chicago. Fortunately, it’s the beginning of spring so it’s safe to be in the Windy City. It’s beautiful here and in the high 50’s. You’d never know they’d just experienced a terrible winter.
Backtracking a bit, here’s how the trip began. We thought it might be a good idea to visit AAA, since a trip from Los Angeles to Toronto needs careful planning. While a GPS device is nice, my experience is that it can take you pretty far out of your way to your destination. Hey, they only promise they’ll get you there. They never say it will totally make sense how you did it.
So AAA attempted to map out a route for us. It was fine except for a couple of little issues. First, they tried to have us stopping in Thompson, Utah, population thirty-five. While I’m sure all the people in Thompson are very nice (and probably related), we were hoping to take advantage of the bigger cities Utah might have to offer. Another snafu was that Michigan City, Michigan, was also included on our route. The only problem is that it’s Michigan City, Indiana, and any Hoosier knows it ain’t pretty. So I asked them to switch it to Chicago, and I made sure to let them know they got the state wrong. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk about it. I just wanted to save future tourists a trip to Michigan City, Indiana. Trust me, AAA will thank me later.
Our first stop was Las Vegas. We stayed at the Venetian Hotel which is the only non-union hotel in the city and has a nice Italian theme. Vegas is good for a brief stint. It’s kind of like Disney World for adults. We don’t gamble so there’s no allure there, but the people watching is extremely entertaining.
We planned to go next to Denver—the Mile High City. No problem for me. Anything that resembles a rollercoaster ride or any fun ride at all, and I’m in. Unfortunately, my husband is a different story. Like many people, altitude bothers him, so after we go over the mountains through Utah and in the lower altitude of Grand Junction, Colorado, he tells me he doesn’t think he can do the 14,000 feet elevation so we just need to navigate around the Rockies. Okay, sure. No problem.
It actually ended up working out. We drove north on very remote State Road 13 (lucky) to Wyoming and stayed the night in Cheyenne where we played cowpokes for a bit. Then we moved on down the road (and altitude) to Nebraska.
We stayed in Lincoln which was fun because my good friend Pete from my Republican National Committee days is there. Back then, he would ask me to nominate him for various committees which was no problem because he was always the best man for the job. The basic rule of the RNC is that two-thirds of the people really don’t fit in anywhere else in the party while the other one-third are superstars who move on to something bigger and better. Governor Pete Ricketts clearly fits into the latter category and now runs the state of Nebraska.
We also enjoyed lunch with State Senator Bill Kintner who I know from my Young Republican days. We became close friends after pulling a coup with a bunch of fellow rebels against leadership. At the time, that leadership consisted of Monica Samuels, who I now blog with and Kevin McCarthy who is second in command in Congress. The “coup” was over where we would hold our next convention. The site selection committee chose Alabama, but Bill and I maneuvered to overturn the committee (barely) and get the convention in Cincinnati where Bill is from. When you fight the big political battles together, you’re friends for life.
Now we’re in Chicago which is my old stomping grounds. I grew up in Indiana but I’d often come to Chicago to get my hair done and shop. We’re spending two nights here for a brief rest on our way to Toronto for a movie shoot. We’re staying on the Magnificent Mile which is wonderful and has great energy. It’s not New York, but after being in LA, it’s a welcome change and a nice reboot.
I’ll sum up the trip in drinking terms:
Los Angeles—Vanilla soy decaf latte
Las Vegas—A Martini
Colorado—Anything at the oxygen bar
I’m going to continue enjoying the great Midwest until we leave. While here, I hope to be the toast of the town and toast this wonderful city before moving across the border and into Canada.