Saturday, 5 September 2009

Day 1: Larrington Towers – Madison, WI

At this point, you’re probably thinking “What on earth is Mr Larrington doing in Madison, WI, which, let’s face it, is an awful long way from Battle Mountain, NV.  This latter location being the raison d’etre of the entire trip.”  The answer, my pretties, is that Madison is handily placed between Chicago – which has a major international airport – and Minneapolis – whose international airport did not suit my plans nearly as well.

“Minneapolis!”, I hear you cry.  “Why Minneapolis?”  Here is where I, in spite of my recent military issue haircut – turn back into the silly hippy I resembled up until last Tuesday.  Silly hippies of a Certain Age will no doubt be familiar with Robert M. Pirsig’s magnum opus “Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance”, and the travelogue part of that book commences just outside Minneapolis.  My now almost dead first copy is dated 1979, and almost ever since acquiring it, I’ve felt it would be fun to follow the route.  A chance encounter with Mark Richardson’s record of his own Pirsig Pilgrimage, entitled “Zen And Now”, in a bookshop in San Francisco airport last year finally roused me from my torpor, so here I am.  Unlike Bob & Chris Pirsig, John & Sylvia Sutherland or, indeed, Mark Richardson, I’m not doing the trip on a motorcycle.  This is possibly not unconnected with the fact that I can’t ride one.  Instead the Nice People at Alamo Car Rentals have hired unto me a Ford Mustang convertible with a clock that doesn’t work.  But it represents a considerable step up from the Chrysler Sebring I feared I’d get.  Body clock says it’s now half past three tomorrow morning, so time for bed.

Thought for the day: instead of filling Heathrow’s Terminal 5 building with large and no doubt architecturally-significant empty spaces, Lord Bloody Rogers, why didn’t you provide somewhere for the weary traveller to SIT DOWN?

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