"St. Pete or Bust!"
The roadtrip had three main objectives: to get the roadtrippers to St. Petersburg, to tour sites along the way, and to sample American foods in their natural habitat.
When the black Grand Am began its 2500-mile journey, it carried only two roadtrippers: Cory and I. The backseat was calling for another rider. We wanted badly to add a hitchhiker.
"You need a ride, buddy!?" I yelled whenever somebody was remotely near the side of the road.
"PICK'EM'UP!!!" Cory said with an orderly fist-pumping.
But, unfortunately, for the first 1200 miles, nobody on the side of the road was actually hitchhiking. There aren't many hitchhikers left in America. So, Cory and I then got a great idea that everybody else thought was a horrible idea: to buy a pet for the roadtrip.
We soon spotted a roadside sign made of cardboard that glistened like the gold from an angel's harp, because it read, "FREE KITTENS!"
"Free kittens!" I yelled happily.
Cory smiled with such excitement I thought his head might explode. "FREE KITTENS!!!" But the mother of Modern Oddyseus tried forbidding her son from getting the kitten. She argued it wouldn't want to be in the hot car while Cory and I saw baseball games. But we figured it would be more than comfortable if we just stuffed it in our pockets and snuck it into the game.
So, we flipped a coin. Tails? - we get the cat...Heads? - we don't. It came up heads. Cory drove slowly away from the "FREE KITTENS" sign - the poor kid's heart was broken...
Later on, we found ourselves in the unwelcome slums of Baltimore. Crooked roadhouses were crammed together. A scary-looking guy with a paper bag stood in front of a liquor store with his thumb out.
"There's a hitchhiker," said Cory.
"...yeah," I said.
And we just kept on driving.
Apparently, we're not the generous, brave men we'd thought we were, but the Baltimore guetto is NOT the place to offer someone a ride.
Cory's roommate at college, Luke Seipp-Williams, became the third roadtripper when we stopped at his home in Baltimore. He has a shaved head and looks a bit like Cory, and he completed our car's band. Luke played his best air-drums to Led Zeppelin's "Been a Long Time", while I air-guitared to Credence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son", and Cory sang a raucous back-up vocals to "Brown-Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison.
Luke showed us Camden Yards, Baltimore, for the American pasttime - baseball. We watched a good baseball game, and the crowd was cheering the nickname of one player, "Moose."
I yelled at the player, "Do the call of the moose!" Well, I've been chased by a moose before, but I had no idea what a moose-call actually sounds like. Who does? So, I guessed and yelled, "Mrrrawww!"
My voice cracked and I sounded like an idiot, so people in the crowd started making fun of me. "Miiiyaaaaw!" somebody mocked. "Mrrrooooh!" somebody else yelled. Luke and Cory laughed at me, and I felt pretty embarrassed.
As for the other touring we did on the roadtrip, we stopped in Washington D.C. At the Smithsonian Museum of Natural Science, we saw six-foot-long bugs that used to live in prehistoric times. I won't be complaining about mosquitoes any time soon. Also, there was some cool-looking dinosaur that was forty feet long and swam through the ocean tearing animals apart with its sharp teeth.
When we played in the waves at a beach in Charleston, South Carolina the next day, I was pretty grateful not to be living in the days of the dinosaurs.
"St. Pete or Bust!" Cory, Luke, and I yelled when we drove into our college.
Cory and I had covered 2500 miles and passed through 13 U.S. states and 1 district during the past 13 days.
"St. Pete or Bust!"
You must be interested in the American foods I tasted, so I'll rate them for you on a scale of 1 to 10 spoons: (a ten-spoon rating means that I could never resist the food, even if I was so full to puke)
CHOCOLATE SHAKE from ESPNZone, Chicago - so rich it'll
give the person sitting NEXT to you pimples. (10
ORANGE-PINEAPPLE ice cream made by Hudsonville, Grand
Rapids - one of my all-time favorites (10)
BLACK CHERRY ice cream made by Hudsonville, Grand
Rapids - so pink it looks radioactive (10)
RASPBERRY SODA from Cheshire's, Grand Rapids - how the
"Good ol' Days" used to taste (10)
COTTON CANDY ice cream made by Toft's, Ohio - like
having a party in your mouth (10)
ROOTBEER SHAKE from Harley's, Pittsburg - if I was
about to puke, I probably wouldn't eat this (9.5)
CHOCOLATE MALT from Johnny Rocker's, Baltimore - so
thick you really feel you've earned your meal (10)
CINNAMON BUN ice cream made in Baltimore - I HATE
BROWNIE SUNDAE from ESPNZone, Baltimore - makes a good
main course with the chocolate shake to drink (10)
TOASTED COCONUT SHAKE from The Harbor, Baltimore - the
employees were shocked that I ordered a drink with
coconut pieces in it (9.5)
BUTTERFINGER SUNDAE from Denny's, North Carolina - lots
of hot fudge (9)
COOKIE SHAKE from Applebee's, Charleston - MMM! (10)
MCFLURRY from McDonald's, Charleston - I like to call
it the "McCrappy" (9)
CHOCOLATE SHAKE from Burger King, Florida - my main
complaint is I accidently ordered a small (9.5)
Here's the funniest thing I saw on the whole trip: in Baltimore, we crossed a five-lane street. The "Do Not Walk" sign flashed, but for some reason this happy black guy started to walk across the street at this time.
The streetlight changed, and five lanes of cars accelerated quickly towards the man. He was smack in the middle of the third lane, with no chance of getting to safety. The look on his face was one of complete shock, as if he'd just then remembered what the phrase "Do Not Walk" means. He stood motionless and let out a terror-filled, little-girl shriek, "Aahhhh!"
I think he actually expected to die at this time, but four lanes of cars stopped for him. Meanwhile, I was laughing so hard at the guy that I just barely missed getting hit by a car in the last lane. I'll never forget that guy, especially his "Aahhhh!"
later, Modern Oddyseus
"Sha-la-la, la-la, la-la, la-la, la-la-ti-da - with you...my brown-eyed girl!" - Cory Anderson ("St. Pete or Bust!")