We woke up in a motel room in Denver, discovering a lottery scratch-off ticket on the bedside table. While it wasn’t a winner, we felt optimistic about the day to come. Colorado is a home base for my Boss and his family, the venerable Johnson Clan. While many of them have found their way out to The Coast, the Made Shop, run by Marke and Kim Johnson, is based in Denver. They live in a beautiful house on a bucolic street, filled with daughters and high-end audio equipment. Marke was reading The Times and listening to N.P.R. when we showed up, making excellent coffee and generally being the man I’d like to be. He showed us around the second floor addition to their house, which includes a floor-to-ceiling window that is legally a fucking garage door, opening up to their tree-lined street. It’s fucking magnificent. They should get into design for a living.
The ticket didn’t win but the Nan Goldin Fairy left us this photo.
Note the radio.
Lame talentless weirdo.
After a breakfast burrito breakfast, The Johnsons pointed us to the two things we absolutely needed before hitting the road: a health food store and an oil change. In the opposite order, The Jeep got re-lubed by a young woman who was the Latina version of Winona Ryder in Night on Earth and we got some sort of “lentil crisp” snack and ginger candies, basically the necessities. Before resting our heads with Grace’s high school best buddy, Miles, in Kansas City, we had to conquer the flat Jesusness of Kansas. We had one major waypoint, The World’s Largest Easel, and nothing could stop us.
The death of Print Media.
We got gas near a town called Deer Trail, Colorado, where we found a burnt-out old block, including the remnants of The Deer Trail Tribune, a weekly paper that ceased production in 1953. Grace bought some novelty sex toys in a convenience store bathroom. She made note that the sex toy machine was obviously in lieu of a tampon dispenser, illustrating that folks in Kansas have their priorities in order. Expect a completely separate post about those forthcoming, likely in the 10,000-word range, FilmCritHulk-style. We also got venison jerky. It wasn’t really that much different than beef jerky, but we’re doing our jerky diligence by getting some every few hundred miles. Midwestern clouds came crashing down, just as we found a local A.M. radio espousing the fire and brimstone we so thoroughly lacked.
Noah was going to pull out his dick out for scale.
James Franco leggings. “Lifetime supply. Contains one.”
What’s the use of a five-legged cow when you can have a six-legged one?
The World’s Largest Easel didn’t let down. It welcomed us on three legs to the Sunflower State, anachronistically tall in The Land of Flatness. Prairie Dog World, another stop claiming to have a multi-ton rodent on display among other animals who likely just want to die, was suspiciously closed. Later on, we managed to fit in The World’s Largest Things in Lucas, right next to the terrifying Garden of Eden, a carved gallery of sculpture on a residential street. The World’s Largest Things is a collection of very small reproductions of the largest versions of normal-sized objects. It was basically a shuttered house with a backyard that looked like Pee Wee had married Ed Gein and they’d compromised. It would be a testament to Civil Rights.
Flat for realsies.
Note the bloody man on the left and the fucking moat.
Noah was going to pull his dick out for scale.
So far, we haven’t killed each other, and continuing to mention it might be beating the Murder Horse to death. Long hours in the car are spent reminiscing about the present between snacking and trying to get Spotify to work. We might actually be getting closer, listening to Rocky Horror and giving me a newfound respect for Oklahoma! The Musical. In fact, “everything is up to date in Kansas City.” It was past one A.M. that we hit it and posted up in a big old house with Miles. He welcomed us with open arms, cereal and the results of a noble-yet-futile B.F.A. in Print Making. Tomorrow we rise early and finally have our homecoming to Cincinnati, where we plan on enjoying laundry and Grace’s dad.
If you’re really a petrified ham, you shouldn’t have to say you’re famous.
Noah’s Christmas Tree.
Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man.