Bob Hill’s America: Day One (The Vital Signs of Pennsylvania)


The first day is a day of reminders. Reminders to disconnect appliances, to lock all windows and doors, to double-check for laptop and adaptor, Paxil, toiletries and phone. The first day is a day of refamiliarizing myself with the mechanisms of a motor vehicle, with an FM dial forever rife with songs by Journey, Fleetwood Mac and the Doobie Brothers (everywhere the goddamn Doobie Brothers). The first day is a day of reorienting myself to a normal daylight schedule, to a life out on the road.

I am off now, free and clear, American flags hanging in tatters from the chain-link overpasses above. Painted buses, chutes and ladders, an abandoned factory, a rotting farmhouse … Kittaninny, Tuscarora, FM stations bearing handles like The River and The Peak; Michael Savage down on 103, denouncing the scourge of anti-white racism in America.

I pass a string of pines beyond the watershed, struck down and left for dead along the roadside. It is dusk now, queer and foggy, and I check into a motel southeast of Pittsburgh. I have driven 500 miles. I have another 6,500 left to go.

Bob Hill’s America: General Index