One more day…

…and I’m off to the rational side of the border for my annual October excursion. I didn’t know for sure till the last minute if I’d even be able to go.

I need this trip badly. My stress level is high. I-79 in West Virginia had better watch out.

(Postcard via https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/6325)

While we’re on the subject of maps…

How does this one look as a plan for the two weeks surrounding Christmas?

I’ve never spent any significant time in Texas (except for a little town called Fredericksburg, where I once spent far more time than I ever wanted) and winter is the only time I could probably stand to do it. To be honest, I feel like this might well be the only time I would ever do a major Texas trip, but it seems like something I should do at least once.

I had originally planned a California Christmas but I’m not sure my heart is in a long holiday flight, even though I have been a bit nostalgic since I’ve been reading this book on Highway 99. Longtime readers may remember I used to have something of an obsession with that particular road back in the 1990s.

But I’m really excited to see some territory I’ve never seen before, since it seems I almost never head south anymore. So if not this big trip, I may at least land in Miami. I haven’t been there in about fifty years, so it should at least seem new.

Or I may decide that I need my traditional “calm and restful” holiday vacation in Virginia Beach.

So many destinations. So little time.

I made a sex map

This map displays every spot (or at least every spot I remember) where I’ve had sex. Reds are precise locations while oranges just mark the vicinity. Yes, that means I don’t necessarily remember everyplace I’ve had sex down to the building, address, alley, or bush. The 1990s version of me was a major slut, OK?

Try building your own. It’s fun, if sometimes mildly disturbing…

Sex map

Room with a view

This is much nicer than the Red Roof Inn where I probably stayed the last time I was in the area. I’m spending my first time in Detroit and Windsor since 2006, if I recall correctly. I am very much looking forward to it, despite the fact that I a]may actually not leave this room all weekend.

Surprisingly…

I really liked Fort Wayne as well. From my last drive-through in 1997, I remembered it as being sort of dowdy and unpleasant, but after spending a day or two exploring, my opinion has changed. There are some really dumply and abandoned areas, but Fort Wayne has largely been spared that whole Rust Belt depopulation thing as well, and the city is a treasure trove of older commercial architecture (despite the destruction of much of the older part of its downtown core).

There were just great little surprises every time I turned a corner. I could take pictures there for days.

Because of the amazing public library city directory collection I mentioned before, I’ll probably be back, and it’s nice to know there’s an interesting town to explore. And shawarma.

Furniture City/Beer City

Grand Rapids is known as “Furniture City.” So is High Point, North Carolina.

Grand Rapids is known as “Beer City.” So is Asheville, North Carolina.

Grand Rapids is very different from either place. It sort of fascinates me, because it’s never really seen the depopulation that most other cities in the Upper Midwest have. There have been decades where the population declined a bit, but current estimates show that the city is currently at its highest population ever. And it reads like a much bigger city than it is, in some ways. The downtown area is aided by the presence of a major medical facility and several universities and colleges.

There are a ton of craft breweries and some interesting neighborhoods. The main public library rocks.

This is the first time in quite a while that I’ve spent a significant amount of time in a city I’d never visited before. And best of all, I got to hang out with a friend I hadn’t seen in almost 13 years. Bonus all the way around.