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Fireworks & Cheese!

2002-08-19 - 1:45 a.m.

This entry cover the first half of 8/18/02. It was written in the car as it happened. It covers our exit from Rockford, Illinois to our adventures in Wisconsin and into Minnesota, where, sadly, the computer died. The conclusion, in the next entry, will ideally go up the night of the 19th (late, late at night - like this one) and will cover all things Minnesota and South Dakota, and venturing into Wyoming. Of which there is many things to cover - so here we go:


9:45 a.m. – Well, we’re outside of Madison, Wisconsin. It reminds me of all the kids that come into the store named Madison. Or Mordeci. Ok, there’s no Mordecis. Anyway. Ben and I are still mad at Tim. Let me tell you why. When we got into Wisconsin this morning we came upon a gigantic Kraft truck. It was decorated with images of thousands of Kraft products. Mostly Mac & Cheese. This would have been cool enough. But, on the back of the truck was this huge image of Cheesasaurus Rex with a word balloon that stated: “We brake for Cheesasaurs Rex!” Understandably, Ben and I fell in love with it on first sight. As we scrambled for our cameras, Tim, being the unfeeling Kraft-hating grinch that he is, sped up and claimed “The fast lane doesn’t allow you to slow down to take pictures of trucks.” Oh, but the fast lane didn’t seem to have a problem with us taking pictures of silos and weird ass Indiana irrigation systems. That’s right folks. Silos & Irrigation Systems. We are THAT crazy. There was a reverse cow which was really fucking cool too. But I didn’t get my camera out in time. It was cool. The cow was all white with a few patches of black. Very cool. I haven't seen Broadhurst anywhere - I bet she likes these reverse cows. She's inhuman if she doesn't. And I'm pretty sure she's not inhuman. So I bet, you know, she likes 'em. The cows. The reverse ones. Whatever.

"Where's the love?"

10:05 a.m. – I was thinking I’d be updating this Wisconsin entry less, but then I remembered I’m stuck in the back seat with no other plans other than count the corn fields and Shell stations of this cheesy, cheesy state. Is it true what they say? Is Wisconsin packed to the gills with badgers? Absolutely. I can’t speak for the live badgers, but the abundance of dead badgers on the sides of Route 90 seem to be a way of life here in Wisconsin. I can’t help but pronounce it like Bill would when he would make fun of Dave on NewsRadio – “WisCAAHNsin”. Good times, good times. It’s also fun to get the waitresses to say Sam Adams. It’s like this: “We have Bud, Bud Lite, Mich Lite, Miller Lite, Syam Eeydums”. They talk different so it’s funny. It makes them dumb. The first sign we encountered when we entered Wisconsin was “Welcome! - Fireworks and Cheese! - Wisconsin!” It made us laugh.

10:25 a.m. – Ben and Tim have been mappy map mapping in the front for over an hour. It makes me glad that I’m not navigating right now. It was much more fun when I was navigating through Ohio/Indiana/Illinois. Don’t get me wrong – those state’s sucked like they invented sucking, but at least they’d change things up every once in a while. Not in DAIRYLAND my friend (not to be confused with DIARYLAND Monique). It’s just drive, drive, drive, corn, drive, cheese, drive, drive, cow. Ugh. So Ben and Tim will look at the map of Wisconsin and then they keep trying to plan/guesstimate the exact minute we will arrive in San Francisco (“So if we stay in Salt Lake City, arrive at the Grand Canyon in the afternoon, and do Las Vegas at 3 in the morning. OR we could . . .” Tim will ramble) - And then they will come to a tentative agreement. And then, 10 minutes later, Ben will unfold the map again and say “Well, I’ve been thinking, how about THIS! If we veer into Saskatchewan . . .” And the only good thing that would come out of that would be the set-up for the joke “Send someone to fetch us, we’re in Saskatchewan!” Thank you to the two of you that got that (yes, Hannah Eldridge, you are one of those two).

10:40 a.m. – Ugh. “This is all I’m saying. We HAVE to make it to Rapid City by tomorrow or we’re fucked.” – Ben. He has been very adamant about this sentiment. Ben looks at a stretch of map and ballparks it to be ¾ of a day of driving. Tim will look at the same stretch and swear that it can be done in slightly less than 3 hours. This is what it’s been like since we left Rockford, Illinois. (He just said the Rapid City thing again). We went to a steak house in Rockford last night and mmmm, mmmm, mmmm was it tasty. I even had Pork Chops! Me! Pork Chops! No applesauce. But spiced, cinnamon apple chunks. Mmmmm. And a Ceaser Salad. Me! A Ceaser Salad! It was ok. Ben keeps calling Cheyenne “Cheney” and now he’s got Tim doing it. Now Tim is saying the Rapid City thing. Tim has just made the executive decision for us to get off at Exit 69 at Mauston, Wisconsin so we can visit the Mauston Cheese Factory. Cheese Factory. That is how I will be spending the remainder of my Sunday morning. This really instills hope in my heart: Just overheard: “Wait, is this rest stop the cheese factory?” wonders Tim. Sigh.

10:55 a.m. –

Zach: “Is this that distilled CD you made from those 3 Best of the 60’s CD’s you had?”

Tim: “Um, ‘Distilled’? I prefer to say ‘condensed’. I say condensed because . . .”

Zach: “I don’t give a fuck what YOU like to call it, I wanted to say distilled so that’s what I said.”

Ben & Tim: “Whoa.”

Ben: “Sounds like someone needs some cheese from the cheese factory to bind him up.”

Zach: “Thanks but no thanks. I’m still carrying an entire Outback Steakhouse around with me.”

Ben: “That’s ok. We’ll just get you full of cheese this morning and then jack you up on Mexican food tonight so . . . ya know, so it’ll just . . . settle itself all out.”

11:15 a.m. – Well, the Cheese Factory was all that and more. Except you couldn’t really get a tour of the factory. But you could kind of see it. And it was such a little Mom & Pop Cheese Factory – if that makes sense. They were nice. They had a really thick accent. They made fun of Ben. That endeared them to Tim and me. They sold something call Chocolate Cheese Fudge. My brain popped trying to understand the possible taste sensations that would result in that mixture.

11:35 – We’re passing the famous Sparta, Wisconsin. Actually – it’s not famous at all. Ben is singing along to “Rock Island Line” by Johnny Cash and I’ve never seen him happier. Tim just asked me to “hand him the bag of cheese curds from the cheese cooler,” only to add, “God I love saying the words ‘cheese cooler’.” I have to admit – it’s pretty cool to have a personal cheese cooler. God, Wisconsin is big. And it smells. Not like Berlin, NH or anything, but it definitely has a distinctive odor. I had such a weird fucking dream last night. I was at a rave party at Monique and Brett’s in Brooklyn, and all of our friends were there. Brett had really long hair in a braid and I remember him pulling me aside and telling me “I’m wearing it like this to fuck with you.” Indeed. We were being filmed too. Which made sense in the long run as later in the dream I realized I was participating in a RW/RR challenge. I was on the RR team (not too hard to see where this all came from). My partner was this huge black kid named Marcellus. He was really cool, but he attacked one of the other team members so we both had to be sent home. (Look how Bunim/Murray has racially stereotyped my dreams) He kept apologizing to me, but I kept telling him it was ok since I got to meet RW:MIAMI Sarah. Whoever was writing my dream last night OBVIOUSLY didn’t do his/her homework, since I totally would have sought out RW: SEATTLE Janet or RW: CHICAGO Keri. I mean, nothing against Sarah (who’s extra cool for working in comics), but I would have even gone for RW: LONDON Kat instead. We’re stopping outside of Sparta for postcards and then it’s like 10 minutes to the Minnesota border. WJM-TV here we come!!! We’re gonna make it after all . . . (Let’s see, there’s only about two of you that will get that too. . .)

11:50 a.m. – I can’t believe we’re still in Sparta. But now we’re leaving. But man was it worth it to stop for postcards. Not only did we find some kick-ass SPAM Museum postcards but we also got to see a train! And it was loud too! But, as cool as the SPAM Museum postcards were, the museum is actually in Minnesota, and we were looking for some Wisconsin ones. Well, let me tell you. I found some sah-weet Wisconsin postcards, and let me just say that some of you will be very happy to find out, via postcard, why Wisconsin rocks the party that . . . well you know. Oh Sparta, we hardly knew you. Doll Museums and Giant Men on Olde Tyme Bicycles can’t be your entire heart and soul. Well . . . yeah, I guess they can.

12:10 p.m. – We are so friggin’ easily amused. We just came up on a big white Mack truck that had the letters J.T.S. printed on its side so we took pictures of it. All because those are Jeff’s initials and we thought he’d think that was cool if he could have a picture of it. And we covered that shit DAWG!! (ha ha ha) Back and sides. Back and sides. I think the natural cheesiness that is in the Wisconsin atmosphere is starting to bind up my brain. Ugh. I’m sure Minnesota, the state governed by Jesse “The Body” will offer us up new and wild adventures by the boatload. The first of which will be the much talked about SPAM Museum. Man, to think, none of us even LIKE SPAM and we are fucking psyched about it. If this was the Canoli Museum I’d be shitting myself behind a post office somewhere. That sounds so gross if you don’t get the reference. Actually, it’s probably grosser if you *do* get the reference.

12:30 p.m. – Winona, MI – It’s nothing like the actress. It pays for everything. But – added bonus, we got to see the Mighty Mississip’! We were unbelievably excited about that. Like I said – easily pleased. Finding out there’s 270 Exits in Minnesota wasn’t quite as cool. Oh well, the SPAM Museum isn't far, so we remain happy.

It's been real,

Farmer's Co-Op

ps - As I post this entry, it is late Sunday night. 2 AM New Hampshire time, but only midnight South Dakota time. I have missed Simpsons and Adult Swim. Ah well - the important thing is, I type this while in Rapid City. So Ben is happy. After all the trials of today (which you'll read about next time) we did indeed make it to Rapid City early enough so not to get "fucked" as Ben kept so eloquently putting it. Ugh. I have to get up at 6.

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