Dateline: Chicago, on America's Birthday

Well, it's official. We proved Ryan's mechanic wrong. We made it to New York City, and after driving through Ohio and Indiana, are now enjoying a quiet evening with Mr. Coleman Hamilton in Chicago.

We have traveled through about 19 states so far, and reckon that by the time we make it home, we'll have seen at least half of the United States.

We started last week in Pittsburgh with Mr. Cleveland Motley IV, where we visited Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house, as well as the Andy Warhol Museum and Trader Jack's flea market. Our final evening in Pittsburgh we went to an awesome tiki bar located on Neville Island on the Ohio River. There were fake neon palm trees and a parking lot full of vintage cars out front. Waterskiiers criss-crossed before us on the beach. It felt like home.

Ryan's birthday was Wednesday, and we spent most of the day driving to New York City. On his request, we blasted Frank Sinatra's song, "New York, New York." We met up with Adam Taylor in Brooklyn, and are happy to say that we are the first successful New York City campers. We set up tent on their back patio after a rousing birthday barbeque. During our three days in New York, we went to MOMA, saw three World Cup soccer games, ate delicious food with the darling Angie McKee and Ryan Schrock, visited the AAA store by the Lincoln Center, and picnicked at Prospect Park for a reggae concert. Ryan also got his haircut by Alberto, an Italian barber at Astor Place.

Our only mistake in visiting New York was trying to depart Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon. It took us well over an hour to get from Dave Peterson's apartment to the Holland Tunnel, but that had the added advantage of making New Jersey look amazing in comparison. We made it as far as Richfield, Ohio, before settling down for the night.

Today we left bright and early for the beautiful Windy City. We had no idea how large Lake Michigan is! In a few short hours, we managed to enjoy some pretty solid deep-dish pizza, walk through Wrigleyville to Wrigley Field, and enjoy the fireworks over Montrose Harbor.

Tomorrow we start the long drive through Iowa, with later stops in Nebraska, Colorado, and Utah. We've got a lot of miles to cover. Luckily, we like to cover them. ;)