Miles Traveled: 303; Current City: Chicago, IL

I vividly recall seeing A League of Their Own in the theater.  I was six years old and spent the entire time trying to figure out which character Madonna was playing.  I knew Madonna as a blonde, and at that age, it never occurred to me that a person’s hair color can be changed.  Obviously, I wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box.  This frustrating experience is also memorable for me because I had to go to the bathroom throughout the entire movie, but I was so enthralled in it that I didn’t want to get up and miss anything.  Talk about a predicament.  A League of Their Own is the first movie that had really impressed me, and I remember that when we got back into the car, my family all agreed that it was great and that Madonna had been good in the film.  I nodded along with this proclamation.  After all, everyone had been good, and there was certainly no way that I was going to fess up to not being able to recognize Madonna.

I’m sure that today will be prove to be equally memorable in the long run although it didn’t matter which color Madonna’s hair was or which scene I might miss.  Today, I was on my time.  Today, It was all me at Bosse Field. Built in 1915, Bosse is the third oldest baseball field in the country behind Wrigley and Fenway, so it looks exactly as it did in 1992 for the film.  A sign that says “Support the Racine Belles” even remains in the stands, and the cement dugouts, in which among other things we all learned that “there’s no crying in baseball,” appear identically to the way they did in the movie.  They didn’t let me run the bases, which is unfortunate because I had been practicing my splits for the occasion, but I loved seeing the field, and so far, it’s up there with Dealey Plaza as the top thing I’ve visited.

When I woke up this morning in Evansville, I’m happy to report that despite some outside concerns, my car hadn’t been touched.  Sadly, this also meant that no one had come along to fix the dent that my car incurred when I hit a pole several months ago, but other than this rusting eyesore, everything looked good.  Then I proceeded to visit a local Starbucks and get my car’s oil changed, and I started to feel silly for having had any doubts about the town.  Everyone was exceedingly friendly and polite, and being admitted into Bosse Field turned out to be the icing on the cake.  In general, I became a big fan of Indiana today.  I drove through the state for about four hours, and the skies were so blue that Grover could have used the backdrop as camouflage.

As I drove through Indiana, my path took me through several small towns.  Each of these towns comes equipped with the necessities – shops, restaurants, schools, movies theaters – and for the most part, they all have some very nice, newly built houses.  People seem to really want to live in these places.  The state is beautiful, so I can understand this feeling to an extent, but like with all of the small towns that I’ve seen over the last 3,000 miles, it occurred to me that there is virtually only one way in and one way out of these areas.  They are free of airports and each of these locations is limited to one major thoroughfare.  Essentially, there are few places to go and ever fewer ways to do it. I realized today that the people who live in these places must really love them.  Then I wondered if that explains the abundance of freeways and airports in LA…

As I continued on with my drive, I was glad that I didn’t get the $4.99 lunch that I saw being advertised at a Citgo because shortly after seeing this incredibly tempting offer, I passed a Fazolis.  For those of you who don’t know, Fazolis is a fast food Italian chain, and aside from Chilis which is impossible to compete with, it’s my all-time favorite restaurant.  When I saw that the Fazolis was next to a Burlington Coat Factory, I almost put an end to my journey altogether to set up a permanent camp in Indiana.  Fazolis and Burlington Coat Factory.  What the hell else could anyone need?

Aside from the small snafu with Lubbock, Google maps hasn’t failed me yet, so I was surprised to find that the road it was guiding me onto in order to cross over to Illinois was made of gravel.  In fact, I initially passed it, stupidly assuming that the route to Chicago would have some kind of visible marker.  As I bumped along Indiana’s back roads (and I mean back roads), I started to wonder if there might have been a more efficient path from Evansville to the Windy City.  My suspicions were confirmed when I finally merged onto a paved street and saw a truck carting twelve brand new Toyotas of various models pull up along side me.  I had initially whizzed by this same vehicle hours earlier while feasting on my kill from Fazolis.  C’est La Vie.

The path to Chicago doubled as the path to meet up with my mom who flew here today to join me on the next portion of the trip.  As I was driving along, I was reminded of Chelsea, my favorite girl on 2006’s smash hit, Cheerleader Nation.  One of the producers had asked her if she was excited that her mother was traveling along with the team to Orlando for Nationals, and she cheerfully replied, “Yes!  I’m very excited that my mom is coming with us!  She can, like, pay for things.”  Of course, there are other reasons that I’m glad to have my mother accompanying me, but I will tell you that the hotel we’re staying in tonight is certainly a ladder up from last night’s Econolodge.

My mom also reminded me how wonderful the next part of the trek will be when I told her about the small towns that I saw in Indiana and that I find it interesting that they only have one major road going through them.  She looked at me intently and responded, “Cincinnati isn’t like that.”  Right… neither are New York City or Detroit or about a thousand other places in America.  Not to mention the fact that Cincinnati isn’t even in Indiana, something I assume she knows since we once lived there.

In all seriousness though, it will be nice to have to someone other than The Judds experience the drive with me, so I’m excited for the upcoming weekend.  Tomorrow we head to Sandusky in order to have a full day on Saturday at Cedar Point.  “Dear Ohio, Saturday is not the day that I want rain to befall me on my trip.  Thank you for understanding.”  Tomorrow, I also hope to avoid the Chicago traffic that plagued me today.  Apparently news hasn’t spread to Chicago that LA is supposed to have the worst traffic in the country.

Like always, thanks for following along, and stay tuned for more tales from my mom, America, and me over the next few days!