Yang Gang Driving

Chicago is currently an hour behind Michigan due to daylight savings time. This comes in handy when there are traffic backups and other issues that may occur. I don’t remember the last time I went on a road trip like this. I know people who do these trips all the time. Ann Arbor, Detroit, Chicago, hell I know one guy that drove to California and spent time in Big Sur. As for me, I am the Bilbo Baggins of Kalamazoo, I don’t seek adventure and stay home where I am comfortable. Somehow, I was pulled to Chicago and on a whim decided to make the trip.
I had three goals for this trip, go to the Yang Rally, visit the Old Town Ale House, and meet YouTube star Ziggynumnums, also known as Jake. The Yang rally was a given, the closest location Yang was coming to Kalamazoo it was too good to pass up and see if this man was really the no bullshit candidate, I heard him to be. The ale house is one of the last places Bourdain visited for his show Parts Unknown in the United States. A friend of mine had gone there a few months ago and as he put it “you could feel him there.” As for Jake, both of us have YouTube channels and comments on each other’s videos. We have traded things in the past, sent gifts, and he won my contest on my channel where he received a pipe, book, and several tobacco samples. I was hoping to meet the man on the trip.
I filled my gas tank on Westnedge Avenue which cost me $2.95 a gallon and I have yet to figure out why the price jumped by almost a dollar in a day. I cleaned my car the day before and made sure that the fluids were topped off, the tire pressure was correct, and all the lights worked. My vehicle was ready to go.
Driving west, I passed by my old stomping grounds of the vineyards on the south west Michigan wine trail and at some point, past Bridgeman, my car felt like it was off roading. The constant thumping and vibrating in the front end had me thinking a tire was low. Maybe I had run over a nail or something lese was going on. I switched lanes and the road smoothed out. The roads in Michigan are shit.
Indiana sucks too. This has been a point of conversation lately and while I would like to think our neighbors to the south are civil, they did vote in Mike Pence and have really strict laws when it comes to visiting their breweries. Indiana is the eastern version of Christian Sharia Law, to the west we have Utah. In many places people under the age of 21 are not allowed inside the building, even if they serve food. When my wife and I went to a brewery in Goshen a woman flipped out when my daughter crawled under the brass bars separating the restaurant portion of the place from the bar. When a state is run by children, they will treat the adults like children.
If it is your first time driving to Chicago from Michigan there is something you should be prepared for. In Indiana there is a toll road. The price is $1 and while you think to yourself it isn’t much one should wonder what they do with that money. Upon leaving the toll booth one must dodge pot holes, fox holes, fissures, fault lines, and craters. Indiana takes your money and who knows where it goes after that. I guess they are too busy being concerned about gays and people walking into buildings with other adults.
The price goes up from there. $2.40 at the next toll road and once you cross the bridge into Chicago its $5.30. Besides gas it cost almost $10 one way to go to Chicago.
There is one species of driver that should be feared among all others. The Chicago drivers is an aggressive animal that thinks speed limits are a suggestion, turn signals are optional, and knows the four corners of their cars like the back of their hand. I watched minivans, Porsche, diesel pickup tricks drive through traffic coming inches away from causing massive traffic accidents. I kept my car at 70 on cruise control and watched people pass by going anywhere from 90 to 100+ mph and having been here before I didn’t think too much of it. while in the city people tested out their cars ability to go from 0-60 in a few seconds at every intersection. Being stuck at an intersection with traffic flowing nonstop I had to try this level of insanity on my own and successfully pulled out into traffic without a honking horn that I would have heard in Kalamazoo. What is rude in Michigan is normal in Chicago and the people behind me were likely happy I discovered my inner asshole.
On the highway, with the sears tower straight ahead and the skyline wrapped around me traffic came to a halt. There was an accident up ahead and five minutes later I would drive by the semitruck that had exploded, no joke, exploded to the point where the cab was gone, the frame was all that was left with melted tires and the trailer half melted and the back half covered in carbon. I had never seen anything like it.
The rest of the trip was stop and go traffic. The Greenhouse Loft was right off the highway and free parking was available in the basement. When I pulled up to the entrance a security guard came to the door and asked “are you here for the rally?” I pointed to my Yang pin and answered yes. He put a piece of paper on the windshield and I drove inside. I had survived Michigan roads, mad max drivers, exploding trucks, and highway bandits. Hot damn I made it.
To be continued…

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