Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, 1979

12 states, 2,000 miles. First, I took a driveaway service

car, that broke down near Terre Haute, tattooing a red

puddle of transmission fluid on I-70. Spent that night

in a gas station parking lot, curled up freezing in the

back seat. Then I hitched to Ohio, passed the Indianapolis

500, the Goodyear blimp lapping above the red bricks.

A few days later, stuck in a semi inching through the

Windy City. White CB users spewing racist epithets.

Trucker with a sheepish grin, shrugs his broad shoulders,

“Sounds like Chicago.” That night I spent in the Miller

Brewery in Milwaukee, free beer in the breakroom.

12 states, 2,000 miles. A few days later I was driving all

night with three Austrian college students from Minneapolis,

who for some odd reason were just crazy about popcorn.

Then crossed Missouri with four good ol' boy electricians

from Alabama, Jim Beam drunk as skunks, belting out

“Tuesday's Gone.” Just lucky I didn't end up dead or deaf.

12 states, 2,000 miles.Then when no one would pick me

up in Alamogordo, caught a Greyhound through New Mexico.

Then from Albuquerque, I took a 12-seat Cessna that barely

scraped over the Sandias.The woman next to me, her fingernails

digging into my arm, blurted, as lightning flashed and the

plane rocked back and forth, “Sure as shit, we're all gonna die.”

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