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Lilo’s Westside Café, Seligman, Arizona (west’gt of Flagstaff)
Your regular diner, old time celebrity posters, old kitchen utensils nailed to the walls, photo of old Seligman main street with lights poked through the paper. Good food, the waitress makes fun of their new vegie burgers. Don’t get the crinkle fries, they cost more and they’re frozen from the bag, whereas the unnamed regular fries are robust, thick sliced into the grease skin and all.

Cherokee Diner, Oklahoma, Wednesday night 7/21; late night, we’re cashed, stumble into the large truckstop eatery, lured by the promise of Navajo Tacos and the fact that it’s open. Disappointing Navajo tacos, prepared by white folks who stole the Cherokee name once again for their diner. Then the world’s noisiest vacuum cleaner kicked in, circling our table. Paul L.’s childhood vacuum cleaner trauma kicked in, but he retreated into his inner mind and eventually the vacuuming stopped. We sought shelter for the night, down I-40, us and the big rigs, reading the signs and portents.Thursday morning, July 22, Well, we kept driving and driving, and by Thurday morning we knew we were in a bit of trouble, our ambitious plan to cross the country in three days a bit optimistic. We have to be in Charlotte noon tomorrow, and we’re only still in Oklahoma.

Checked out of the very funky Motel 6 in Shawnee, jumped on I-40, conveniently close to Motel 6. Drove and drove, trying to figure out how to deal with the looming sleep deprivation.

Crossing into Arkansas, and leaving the Cherokee Nation. A mysterious tower climbs from dense hilly woods. It’s probably a cell phone tower. The building of the cell phone tower network is an unheralded giant construction project, the goal being to pick up cell phone signals from the remotest valley in this great land. The Cingular map shows vast stretches of America, mostly the western states, where your cell phone will not work. Red blotches of in service zones cling to the interstates in the still wild west, and the east coast is a solid sea of microwave communication redWAFFLE HOUSE SIGHTING, JUST OVER THE ARKANSAS BORDER!!! How fast it all turns around. If only the Donner Party had stuck to the Interstate. GAS IS $1.36 A GALLON?!! Oops, no, old sign on a shut down station. That’s all right, cause we’re in the Waffle House Parking lot. Paul M. is so excited that he’s circling twice.

Everyone in the Waffle House is looking at us as we circle for the third time. It’s not easy parking this beast. Remind us to tell the tale of the urine bottle.Waffle House was good. Very good. If they ever broke out in California, they’d spread like kudzu. Starbucks and Waffle House. Green and black and red and yellow, the new national colors.

2 hours later: Arkansas is looking good. More variety in the vertical dimension, and green, green, green, trees, fields, medians. Waffle house was very good, very secure in the top spot of the Hawks Corporate Eating chart. Good coffee n breakfast. Rob Waller’s plan for privatizing the War on Terror: oh, never mind.

The radio is cutting in and out:”John Edwards and I
Have the vision
to literally rebuild”
“Kerry and his entourage spent the evening in a suburban hotel outside of
“I believe we have to do more to give young people hope and a . . .
Let me tell you now, ladies and gentlemen, we need now, more than ever
To stand up and listen to every voice that speaks truth to power”

Time to switch to the CD library.