taking a poll

pros of leaving the dog with my parents in st. louis for the rest of the trip:

1. she’ll be happy not to be in the car anymore.
2. my parents will lavish attention on her; my dad’s home a lot so she won’t be alone much.
3. i won’t have to worry about her while i’m driving.
4. i won’t have to worry about where and when to take her to the bathroom, which will be hard in big cities like new york and boston.
5. i think her ears are sunburned from being in the car.

cons of leaving the dog with my parents:

1. i’ll miss her a lot.
2. she’ll miss me a lot.
3. i’ll have to drive back to st. louis (a 14-hour drive from austin) to pick her up after my trip’s over, and i won’t be able to do so for at least three or four weeks after i get back to austin. this means i won’t see her for two months.
4. the people i’m staying with on the rest of the trip won’t get to see her.
5. my mom will feed her too much; she will get fat.
6. she won’t be in any more of the pictures.

i’m leaving you all of my car parts

1. the thing about traveling alone is that nobody else knows what you’ve seen. i can’t say to anyone, “dude, remember when we went to the badlands?” because nobody was with me except maude, and she doesn’t usually respond to my questions. “dude, remember when you sat in the backseat of the car on my coat for three hours?” nothing.

2. my car’s been so good on this trip that i worry it’s deliberately lulling me into a false sense of security. then, when i’m on a small country road with no shoulder and no cell phone reception, BAM! flat tire. busted whatsit. since this occurred to me, i’ve become suspicious of my own car. in gas stations and motel parking lots, i stare at it with narrowed eyes.

3. carhenge!
one last look at carhenge

not from around here

in the more boring moments of my time spent driving through states like montana and wyoming and south dakota, i’m comforted by the fact that any nearby players of the license plate game will get a lot of points if they notice my texas plates. on an unrelated note, my new copilot is totally bitchin’:

my little copilot