We did our longest drive ever yesterday, nine hours from Nashville to here, which is about 30 minutes from Downtown Chicago.
Doing this trip in the connected world has a lot of advantages, we got a great recommendation via email to take Interstate 24 west until hitting I-57, which is not any of the google maps or Android navigation options. A very smooth and uncongested ride most of the way, although the road changed drastically once we hit the Kentucky state line, and again when we entered Illinois. Funny how that road work just ends at the state borders, a bit like old east and west Germany I guess. No offence Kentucky :-)
It was a lot of fun tweeting a hearty hello to the Human Resources in each new state and watching the tweets flow back in real time waving at the Dutchess as we sped northbound.
Right where the two interstates intersect, in Effingham, which is essential a huge truck stop, we were told to look for the Firefly Grill as a possible lunchstop. Again, bullseye. A culinary delight of homegrown and grass fed everything you'd want from the grill, with great organic iced teas in multiple flavours. And yes, actual espresso and cappucino, a rarity in these parts I can assure you.
I think I mentioned that we've been using the Android maps navigation for the entire trip. It is far superior to anything I've ever used on any platform, partially due to the google search integration, and voice recognition, which makes rerouting to something like the FireFly grill a snap when driving and much safer than the alternatives.
I've also love the time left to destination on these long drives. For me now 3 hours and 59 minutes means 'almost there' and the final hour on the display gets me in a really good mood.
Chuck, Dayna & the kids were hilarious upon our arrival around 8:30pm, they had their car out in the middle of the street with flashing lights on and Chuck waving two flashlights like we were landing an aircraft. After a nice meal of real Chicago pizza, salad from their own garden and a couple coronas, we of course stumbled into the guest room they had lovingly prepared for us with all the amenities, including a bed that felt like we were floating on a cloud.
Prior to all this of course we had Thursday's show and the Nashville producer meet up. The Nashville crowd wins hands down for most creative group we've had the pleasure of meeting so far. By now I have most of the names all mixed up in my scrambled brain, but I'm pretty sure Dave and Deb did all the arrangements with Sir Geoff Smith, who supplied the location and awesome entertainment at the Big Bang Bar.
I lost count at 25, but I think we came close to the Austin group in size, but when the tin foil hats were presented, we knew this meetup would be a special one. Add to the hats a full table of lovingly home made brownies, truffles, banana bread and rice krispie treats all packed with No Agenda trivia question, Geoff Smith's song he wrote specially for the occasion and performed live on stage and the producers who came from as far as Memphis and Paducha (!) Tennessee and you had the perfect gathering.
It was great to meet Lone Squirrel in person, as well as John Seward, who's excellent MailSteward program I've been using daily for over a year now and cannot stop raving about.
And we had a live Knighting of Sir Patrick, who presented an envelop to complete his knighthood as well as 3 large decals for the Dutchess that will be affixed later today. You will love them, keeping 'em a surprise for now.
And here I sit, once again in the Dutchess, nicely parked in the shade, a/c is off, all the windows are open , where I'll be prepping tomorrow's show for the next 6 or 7 hours. I have a lot of work to do now that my prediction of a US downgrade came true, I can't just sit and gloat at JCD, I have to figure out why it actually happened, with this timing and what the broader strategy behind it is. Fucking elite$ keep me busy!
Reminder that tomorrow after the show there will be a Chicago meetup, I believe we might even see some people from as far as Wisconsin joining us...
So for now, as codified in the Urban Dictionary; Adios Mofos!
(ps) Do I have an awesome lady or what???