Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

part two of my glorious adventure finds your heros, neal and his hulking brother in arms steve on the road at 3am after having engorged ourselves both on food and conversation with the various factions of my family that came from far and wide to see me for the first time in 5 years.  a big shout out to the grandmother for flying in from florida at the ripe old age of 95....man she is a tough old bird and it was nice to see her again even though she cant hear worth a tin shit.

we made good time and easily flowed from chicago, into indiana and then into ohio before most people had rolled their asses out of bed.  its always good to avoid the major metropolitan areas during the usual hours of operation or else you will be stuck in traffic jams which is annoying at best but when you are traveling cross country and find yourself halted by some strange cities traffic limitations then you just get down right pissed off.

steve and i avoided all the obstacles that could terrorize our view and cruised our way down the tollways and into a very small stretch of west virginia.  interesting side note on this.  when google earth routed us, we were sent through a 10 mile patch of west virginia that was sandwiched between ohio and pennsylvania.  in this 10 mile stretch was a very small town which seemed to consist solely of strip clubs and xxx stores.  it must be due to some zoning anomoly in the neighboring states but all i know is that every girl in that town must have been called into service to man all of those poles.

i find that expressway driving is mostly boring and gives you such a bland taste of america it shocks you into mental shut down.  the freeway system in america is of course convenient and life would be a bitch without it but with that being said I think the most enjoyable parts of this trip was when we got off the toll roads and started cruising through some old towns in ohio and pennsylvania (the one in west virginia wasnt really scenic but it had a lot to offer).  the towns were a bit run down for the most part but they were unique and not the cookie cutter bullshit that we have been force fed over the years.  the architectual ingenuity expressed in the houses as we rolled down the quiet boulevards was shocking when contrasted with the neighborhoods of my youth.  unfortunately we have become the culture of mcmansions and box stores.  where walmart and home depot are king and any sort of divergance from conformity is cut out and excised and burned.  our culture seems to have purified itself in a very homogenous and sterile way but if you get off the arteries of the highways and mosey through some of the capilaries, you will find what we once were and what we could be again if only we would wake up and give a shit.

not to keep harping on the cookie cutter world in which we live but another example is the ampitheathers in which we used to tour. oh sure the venues are still the same for the most part but the names have changed.  what used to sound like an adventure now sounds more like you are reading a phone book.  star lake ampitheater is now the post gazzette pavilion.  deer creek is now the verizon wireless center.  polaris ampitheater is now cellular one ampitheater etc etc.  thank god there are a few left out there though.....if they ever change the name of alpine valley i think i will hemorrage.....alpine is my home and you sure as shit better not name it the apple computer ampitheater.....corporate bastards.  all this being said, we pulled into STAR LAKE right when the lots opened up at 3pm and proceeded to set up our afternoon camp.  the people in the neighboring cars were nice enough and we had some interesting conversations as we watched the police walk up and down the isles looking for an unsuspecting kid with a pocket full of acid.  the police presence was pretty high but it was none of my concern because for the first time in a LONG time i was perfectly legit.....no drugs on me, no warrants out for my arrest, no parole...i was a law abiding citizen for the moment......at least until i found that kid with the acid in his pocket before the cops did.

i wont bore you with the details of the concert because unless you are a crazy fan like myself you wouldnt really care all that much and i can accept this.  i will say that it was great to be with the "family" again (kinda hippie lingo) and it was absolutely amazing to see the band and hear the music that i had missed so much over the last 5 years.  there were a few times when my body was covered in goosebumps and the hair on the back of my neck would stand up just because of the pure energy that was being passed between audience and band....it really was amazing and i'll leave it at that.

the show ends on a crazy 6 song encore that was sometimes hilarious and sometimes balls out rock and roll but as we quickly escaped the venue and headed down the route that google had assured us was the best bet we soon realized we were in for another adventure because it was now 1am and foggy and we were somewhere in the mountains of west virginia.  not the ideal driving conditions so trusting that steve had the situation under control, i passed out.
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