Notes From a Hired Pen

On the Road with Jen: Indiana!

Hello from day two of my summer trip/mobile office/50 state quest, what have you.

The first day was, well, a lot of driving. I left at 4:30 a.m., crossed through Pennsylvania while being a cliche and belting along (poorly) along with Hamilton, then stopped for a hike at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (the Ledges Trail is an oval and I still made a wrong turn).

Then, much sweatier and smelling of bug spray, I kept going west until I hit to South Bend, Indiana. I’m camping the next three nights, so for my first night I splurged on a Holiday Inn Express. Big spender, I know. Walking around the campus of Notre Dame on a pretty, warm evening wasn’t a bad way to end the first day, though I had a hell of a time finding a restaurant open on the Sunday night of Memorial Day Weekend. Fortunately, a diner that served something called “Philly Beef” was open. I did not get that.

I slept soundly last night, pilfered the free breakfast for breakfast for now + peanut butter packs to take with me, and am hanging out here until check out. I can’t get into the campground until 5pm (it’s a holiday weekend exception they make that let people stay longer), so I’ll enjoy AC, wifi and power while I can, then go on a long hike and set up camp.

If you want to follow me in real time (or as close to it because I won’t sometimes say where I am until I leave because people are weird), the best places to do that are twitter.com/byjenamiller and instagram.com/jenamillerrunner. I’m also trying to use the hashtag #jenin50. I don’t know if I’ll keep on doing that, but I thought of it in the shower, which is where so many good sprout, so I figured I’d give it a go.

I’m sad Pawnee isn’t a real place. Is that weird? Probably. On The Hilarious World of Depression podcast, Peter Sagal said Parks & Rec was one thing that helped him when he was depressed, so I watched it too. He’s right that it helped. So did Hamilton, which is why I shut off the audiobook two minutes into the drive and switched to the soundtrack to take me out of states I know very well into something unknown.

Before I left, I took my CDs out of storage and uploaded them onto my new laptop. I’m so glad I did. I’m writing this while listening to Barenaked Ladies Rock Spectacle, which a friend and I listened to endlessly in college. It’s giving me a warm fuzzy feeling of familiarity while somewhere unfamiliar on an adventure I can’t possibly understand yet. It’ll be something.

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One Response to “On the Road with Jen: Indiana!”

  1. Hilda says:

    Go, Jen! I listen to the Hamilton soundtrack too, when I’m feeling blue. It seems like there’s a lyric for every frame of mind, that jumps out just when you need to hear it.

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