Barreling across America


The idea of fleeing the heat by going straight north was a mistake, for reasons previously described. We were eaten alive by deer flies and mosquitos. The other problem with Minnesota was that there are few trail systems — nowhere to let Roo run. There are some state parks, but Minnesota charges you seven bucks just to set foot in them and they're few and far between. It's surprising in a state with so much wilderness. There are lots of ATV tracks, but nowhere to walk a dog.

After the truck was repaired we had to leave the area because there was nowhere to camp. Everything was filled to the gills, thousands of campers lined up next to each other in dismal camps featuring Don’t Tread On Me flags. Dangerous weather was headed our way, with gigantic thunderstorms that would eventually drop 12 inches of rain. To avoid the worst of them, we went west. I didn't want to go west, but did it for the Kahoo. As the weather approached, I tried something we’ve never once done and phoned around for a motel, but they were filled, too, and even the cheapest was more than a hundred bucks. We ended up camping behind a city swimming pool somewhere. 

Even then, out of range of the worst of it, when I saw how badly we were going to get clobbered anyway, I tranqued Roo with a trazadone. I've only done that once before. I can't tell how much it helps. It seems to take the edge off a little and she also seems to recover more quickly afterward, but she's still terrified when doped up. I hate to give it to her. You just can’t tell whether they’d tell you they didn’t want it if you could only ask. It’s just another one of those questions I wish I could ask Roo that I can’t. 

We drifted west and into North Dakota. It was even more crowded there than central Minnesota.

I couldn't take it any more. Pulling the trailer in traffic in Fargo, the exact moment when I reached the tipping point came. I couldn't stay in this camper any more, even if there is no choice about staying in it. But at the very least there was no point in moving farther westward. The only point of it would have been to climb into the Rockies to gain altitude and escape the heat of July and August. But the idea of crossing the Dakotas, and then the scrubland of east Montana, was too much. I couldn't do it. The thought of it flattened me like one of the tubes of toothpaste I always try to squeeze one last dab out of before dropping the five bucks on another one. Between that and there being not one place to camp, I told Roo I was sorry, sorry Bearface, and turned around and drove the 140 miles back to a municipal camp on the Mississippi and we stayed there for a few days.

To head east required about 550 miles of going due south first because of Lake Michigan. On the way I thought of trying Madison, Wisconsin on for size, but thought better — or worse, I suppose — of it and we kept going. There was no alternative to having to pull the trailer through Chicago in a lat night rain. Around 1:30 AM we pulled into a Walmart parking lot and crashed for a few hours. 

The next day, we pressed on for another 400 miles to West Virginia. Both of us were on our last legs by then. Long haul driving is as exhausting for Roo as it is for me. To make it up to her I brought her to Tomlinson Run State Park, where we were last year, and where I knew she could run around unmolested and swim in clear creeks. It’s amazing how she not only recognizes any place she hasn’t been in a long time, but the way she remembers every little detail about a trail, the turn-offs, the spots she liked to check for mouses once, the palce where she found the fawn. She caught a mouse for the first time in a long time. That did a it to restore her mood.

We’ll keep going east tomorrow. The more I've seen of the country, the more disconcerted by it I am, and the less I want to see of any more if it. There is no country on Earth more beautiful or more endowed than America, but the depth of the bitterness is hard to take. You don't expect to see so many angry or zombified people against such a lush and spectacular backdrop. The Trumpsters in their wrecked houses, festooned with their old Trump yard signs, the cars in their driveways defaced with dozens of bumper stickers. If you ever need to find a solidly Trump hone, just look for the most dilapidated single-wide in the neighborhood. IF there are too many to choose from, pick the one with the most junk piled up outside.

The thing I've learned about America is something not one story in the media has reported, even though they're constantly printing stories about Trump loyalists. What drives them, what makes them stick with such an obviously and profoundly sociopathic con artist, no matter the damage he does to their own interests. The soybean farmers in Iowa whose farms are losing their value in the face of the new trade wars. The Minnesota dairy farmers saying they're going to have to dump milk in the fields. The defeated flying their Confederate flags and convinced that’s patriotism. There’s no remedying things with them. They want to be angry. They live for it. 

The New York Times just ran yet another front-page story trying to analyze why, and got it all wrong. They blamed it on the usual bullshit. Trump tells it like it is, they say, or Trump puts the working people first. Thins that are so delusional that trying to understand them is like trying to understand the chemical imbalances in the mind of someone who looks up at the sky and sees it shattering like a mirror and letting a rain of sharks fall with the shards. They stick with Trump for one simple reason: No matter what he does, if they hear on Fox that it pisses the libtards off, they're on board. It’s that simple. Cage babies? The libs really hate that, so get more babies and lock ‘em the hell up! Cut Social Security to pay for tax cuts for billionaires? Oh, man, that’s like feeding cyanide to libtards — cut ‘em! Hell, cut ‘em a little more! Tell them you're going to have to cut one of their legs off, they'll put it up on the chopping block as long as Sean Hannity tells them it'll the snowflakes will faint when they see the blood. Those are the mechanics of American politics at the moment. And they seal the deal with racism, the real American conservatism, the yearning for the days when Old Grandad could just sell someone before he had to pay a dental bill, but that’s just a way to make poor white slobs think they’re not at the bottom of the cracker barrel.

So, we're cooked. By we, I mean the all-of-us we. And we — the Kahoo and me — are fried. 

We'll continue to keep heading east, though I have a feeling it won’t be the end of it. Not if we can’t find some place to stop. It hasn’t worked before and I don’t see what’s going to make it work this time.