On The Road Still

Boyleing Points

Malvern, Iowa (RT) – September 26, 2021

I’m Cousin Vinny. I blend. I friggin’ blend.

There I was, sitting in a café in Malvern, Iowa, population 1,015, chatting with a guy biking his way through endless cornfields. An old timer gets up from another table to say hello to me because he thinks I’m a farmer.

I bend over backwards not to be a rude New Yorker, but I couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t seem to mind because he asked again, you work a couple of farms? He nodded his head to indicate over yonder.

Now, I’ve been mistaken for a couple hundred firemen but never a farmer. It must’ve been my tan. Because it’s not like I was wearing overalls. My hands are Madge approved, Palmolive smooth. A farmer? How could I not laugh since I was wearing a hot pink Rockaway Times t-shirt and mesh shorts. Anyway, he went back to his table not convinced that I wasn’t riding my John Deere every sunrise.

Before we’d gotten to Iowa, we made stops at Mount Rushmore – wow, look at those nostrils, now get back in the car – and Custer State Park where traffic came to a standstill at a tunnel because a bunch of mountain goats had decided to hang out inside for a while. Everybody on these roads is a tourist so nobody knew how to address goats in the road. If it was a seagull near your blanket, you’d bark and wave at the thing and it’d be gone. But here, no one knew goat etiquette and so we just waited until the goats got hungry and left. What do you yell at a goat?  Scat? Ever see one of those big horn rams? You try telling one of them to scat.

The joy of any road trip is getting off the interstate and opening your eyes. The rest takes care of itself. We saw prairie dogs and buffalo. Flat landscapes that went on forever in every direction. You could stop in the middle of the road, no reason to pull over, no one was coming in either direction. Before long, you’re climbing a mountain with towering trees which are dwarfed by huge granite fingers reaching for the heavens.

The interstate highways rarely offer more than billboards, which I’ll get to in a second.

The interstate in South Dakota has a speed limit of 80 which means you can set the cruise control at 88 or 89 and really cover some miles. I found out my truck has a governor – what a name – that stopped me from doing more than 98. I wanted to hit 100 at least once on this trip like any self-respecting guy on a road trip should do but somebody trying to keep me alive installed the governor. Bastid.

The interstate was generally boring, but a point of interest was the number of billboards advertising Adult Marts, Adult Super Centers, or Adult Emporiums.  Hand on the bible, I’ve never been to one, but I get the idea. But then we passed a huge sign in Michigan, “Adult Trees” next exit.  What the…. Do they shape trees in some pornographic way or, I don’t know….This consumes too much brain matter, so when I stop for the night, I google Adult Trees and expect the worst. But nothing comes up, except “mature” trees. The place was probably selling, you know, already grown-up trees ready for transplant.

I feel a little stupid. But as we pass through the Dakotas and Kansas and Missouri and I keep seeing Adult billboards, I start to rethink Adult Trees. Why didn’t they call it Mature Trees?

I’m mulling this over as I roar past a save-your-soul-repent-now billboard (of which there are many) and boom! I get it. Adult Trees, get it? It’s a pun for Adultery. Or plural Adulterys. 

Man, I’m losing it. I better go back to the farm.

Kevin Boyle 


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