It all comes down to this: the last leg of our long, long trip. We began with friends; we concluded with family.
Our destination of Rapid City, South Dakota — the city that contains some of our most iconic American monuments — was nearly 1100 miles from our hometown of Indianapolis. We spent Day Four knocking out 350 of those miles all at once, the stretch of I-90 from Sioux Falls to Rapid City. On most road trips we can count on options along the way — scenery, attractions, gas stations, restaurants, and other recurring features of civilization. The interminable stretch between the two South Dakota cities wasn’t quite that accommodating.
It’s that time again! This week I turned 46 without entering true Midlife Crisis mode yet, and managed not to whine about it or to start browsing prices for sports cars. My frequent sleeping issues, my imperfect hearing, my inadequate eyesight, and my everyday aches and pains all seem at about the same level as last year, which means technically I haven’t lose any ground from a health standpoint, as long as I continue ignoring my receding hairline and avoiding weighing myself. Every glance in the mirror is a reminder of the uncoolness slowly overtaking me and threatening to consume me whole by the time I retire, which is why mirrors should be illegal.
For the past several years my wife and I have made a tradition of going somewhere new for each of our birthdays. For me last year, it was Motor City Comic Con up in Novi, MI. For Anne last year, it was the Fanboy Expo Totally Awesome Weekend down in Knoxville, TN. Now it’s my turn. That’ll be Saturday, and it won’t be a convention this time, but as a prologue we did dinner with my mom on Thursday night at a great local establishment that no one ever talks about, that my family and coworkers had never heard of, and I don’t understand why not.
The end is nigh! The miniseries is nearly finished, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t cover some food along the way. On past trips we stuck to smaller meal budgets and didn’t bother to record most of our meals, in this bygone era before the Instagram foodie-photo fad. Every so often, though, a restaurant here and there would stand out to us — sometimes for the food, sometimes for other reasons.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: two weekends ago my wife Anne and I traveled once again to the wondrous wilds of Chicago for another round of conventioning at C2E2, with a Friday night intermission for dinner at Gino’s East, one of the city’s many, generally fine pizzerias. The walk through the brisk, freezing winds wasnt my favorite thing, but the food and my companion were worth it. While I’m trying to juggle an eventful week here in the now and get my head back into the proper writing space, please enjoy this selection of photos from the experience. It wasn’t our first time there, but this meal was a blessedly stratospheric leap in quality over last time.
Fun fact we learned in 2010: Pennsylvania is really, really, really long. Not as long as South Dakota had been in 2009, but long enough to instill déjà vu. We approached from the west; our target Philadelphia was on its east end. The Pennsylvania Turnpike helps the trip go by faster like magic…but magic comes with a price. Fortunately we saved a little money with every digression that lured us away from the Turnpike.