BLACKTOP, BLOOD AND BISON: Seven days Nine states 4244 miles
I’m not sure I ever heard of Colorado State University. My son Luke decided he wanted to attend there in the fall of 2016. He got accepted and was 93.1954% sure he wanted to go. At least two, and possibly three of his friends had committed. One of his best friends was uncommitted and touring CSU in two weeks. I decided that maybe we should pay it a visit. My daughter Sophie is a junior and I figured she could use the college tour experience. We decided on a road trip, setting up college tours at CSU and the University of Chicago.
I over-research everything. Toasters, sneakers, dryers, lightning cables, light bulbs … everything. Naturally, I spent hours on TripAdvisor and Yelp searching for where to be a tourist and where to sleep and where to see nature. We could skip the world’s largest stamp ball in Nebraska but maybe not “Carhenge” or the largest truck stop in the USA in Iowa. I rented an SUV for a week for $40/day with unlimited miles. Cheaper than one flight to Denver for one person and more room than my car. The kids have been groomed to be road-friendly and have traveled by car over long distances A LOT.
We set off at night on the 12-hour drive to Chicago. I-80 was the way to go. It was coldest in western PA and slowly got warmer as we headed west. Back in the day, I toured Ohio a lot so I was reminiscing as I drove. Indiana is a random state and if it weren’t there I wouldn’t miss it. Who would?
Arriving too early for our tour of the University of Chicago, we opted for a drive up Lake Shore Drive along Lake Michigan, particularly nice with almost no traffic. Based on amazing reviews, we decided on breakfast at the Over Easy Café http://www.overeasycafechicago.com/ in the Ravenswood section of the city. All I can say is wow! It opened at 7 a.m. and there were six of us waiting for the doors to be unlocked. By 7:10 a.m. there were ten people seated with most everyone having ordered. There was so much goodness on the menu. I wound up with a salmon and egg scramble with red potato hash. It was stellar. I was torn between that and the house specialty Sassy Eggs. I will try them if ever I visit again. Great breakfast, super service. Just go and try to beat the rush. Based on what I’ve read, there are lines out the door waiting to get in on the weekends. It’s that good.
I am a helper. I first gave blood in high school. Like most of my undertakings, it just seemed like it was the right thing to do. My moral compass wasn’t set any straighter or higher than anyone else’s. I was healthy. I could replace the blood easily. With minimal pain and effort and for the possibility of helping others, my curiosity was fulfilled – and I probably got to miss a class. Other than taking place in the high school gym, I don’t remember much about it. There might have been powdered mini-donuts afterward.
I had thoughts of selling my blood in college. Who couldn’t use an extra $10-20? I just gave it away though, sporadically. I kept a pretty regular schedule of donating since late 90s. With the advent of email, the interwebs (thanks Al Gore) and social media, it has made the process easier than ever. If you are one of the appless-types or have unallocated space on phone (I have yet to meet that person), you can get the app.