We’ve all thought about it before, I think: just leaving it all behind and taking off to embrace the open road, to follow that dream of youth, and to live free, devoid of the constraints of jobs and responsibilities. To actually do this, for many, is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I can tell you from my own experience, it’s absolutely worth it.
For three days my friend and I followed singer/songwriter Bobby Long and his band as they toured through the Midwest. Three days of no responsibility other than get to the venue on time. There were no kids or husbands or jobs and bosses, no ringing phones or emails that required answering. Our biggest decision of the day was where we were going to eat, or whether we wanted bottle or draft.
We slept very little, we drank lots of beer, ate greasy food to settle uneasy stomachs, and we met some amazing people -forging friendships that will last a lifetime.
Our journey began in Columbus, Ohio, where we said goodbye to our loved ones and hello to adventure. We drove west to Indianapolis, the first stop on our mini-tour. Bobby Long performed at Radio Radio, located in the historic Fountain Square district, an area that’s enjoying a revival of sorts with its many eclectic restaurants, bars, theaters and shops. We perused an old record store where I bought a near-mint-condition Joan Baez album, some Jimmy Smith, and a rare Miles Davis.
After an amazing show, we hit the highway again, energized by the music and passing city lights. We ate at an all-night diner and dozed for a bit in the car at a truck stop before finally giving in to slumber’s call and getting a room a cheap motel off the interstate. With only a few hours of restless sleep, we were anxious to make our next stop: Chicago.
The Indiana landscape passed us by with its expansive plains and impressive wind farms which made way to abandoned factories and skeletal stockyards. Soon the Chicago skyline was on the horizon.