I know you’d expect that a drive to Tennessee, going through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky would be mostly uninteresting, and you’d mostly be right. However, it’s amazing how shit just kind of happens when you’re staring into nothingness for hours at a time.
As much as I hate to admit it, eastern Colorado is fairly boring. However, it serves a vital purpose on drives like this: preparation for the barren, forgotten wasteland that is the majority of Kansas. Let me preface this by saying that Kansas is a truly, truly terrible piece of America, and that you should probably avoid it at all costs. However, we managed to stave off boredom for a few minutes here and there by pondering the various pieces of rightist propaganda that scatter the highway, featuring such gems as “Pornography Destroys Families” and the ever-classic “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart.” Boredom also lead us to pursue what was billed as the world’s largest prairie dog, among other unsavory bits of perverted nature. The prairie dog turned out to be all-too wooden, but the rattlesnakes, mangy foxes, and six-legged cows turned out to be terrifyingly real. Seriously, the place was surreal; it’s a wonder PETA hasn’t shat on that relic of forgotten Americana.
Interstate 70 eventually brought us headlong into a giant, tornado-spawning thunderstorm that only the Midwest could have produced. The night hours, punctuated by near-continuous lightning, was made infinitely more intense by Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral,” our chosen soundtrack for the evening. I wasn’t driving, but hallucinating a tornado from the passenger seat while listening to “Eraser” (a singularly creepy track, even for NIN) was disturbing enough for me.
An uneventful morning preceded an uneventful afternoon, in which we became lost in the mire of St. Louis highway construction, though we somehow found the correct road eventually. By early evening, we found ourselves in Nashville rush-hour traffic, made worse by the woman ahead of us who repeatedly extended her flabby arm in a vain attempt to solicit passing truck horns. Believe it or not, this waving chunk of flesh was actually amusing for a few minutes, likely due to the hours of nothingness we had endured already.
We found ourselves at the Bonnaroo site not long after 8 PM, though a long wait delayed our entrance to the campground, which was unreasonably far from the main venue area. However, our amazingly well-constructed shelter soon brought repose after the long drive, and the knowledge that we had actually made it halfway across the country comforted us in preparation for what would turn out to be a miserable morning the next day.
Part 2 coming soon.