I dreamed that I was one of around a dozen bloggers chosen to participate in a corporate-sponsored project, one of the corporations probably being General Motors, because each one of us was put as a passenger into an identical boring new GM car. Starting in a parking lot in downtown Detroit, the cars took off together, following identical GPS routes hundreds of miles east.
My father, my mother, my brother and I were in my car. We were all decades younger than we really are, although it was still 2017. As it was decades ago, my Dad was driving.
The GPS route took us over a variety of roads, from Interstates to rural dirt roads to streets going through the middle of towns.
Only a couple of the bloggers blogged mainly about cars, and only a couple were travel writers. The rest of us represented quite a variety of approaches to writing. We were told that we could blog about the cars, or about the journey, or not, just as we pleased. We could link blog posts by the other bloggers -- current posts about this road trip, or posts years old. We could critique posts by the others. Or we could do none of the above. In fact, we were given no requirements whatsoever about blogging, only suggestions.
All the traveling expenses, gas, meals, hotels, everything, was being covered by the project's sponsors. Whether we bloggers were also actually being paid, or whether this was a blogging contest, with the blogger judged best by some experts or by any randoms readers who expressed an opinion, won a prize, I don't recall.
It was also stressed repeatedly to the drivers of all the cars that this was not a race. On the contrary, we were all encouraged to take our time and enjoy the trip.
It's a good thing we weren't racing, because the driving got hairy enough without us racing. In northwestern Ohio, just a few dozen miles into the trip, on a stretch of Interstate full of construction and detours, three lanes full of high-speed bumper-to-bumper traffic were suddenly required to merge to two lanes. This was impossible to do, of course, and many of us screeched to a stop and a few cars were rear-ended, although thankfully it seemed that there was no major damage done to humans or cars. As we waited to get rolling again, I said, "I just hope whoever's re-designing this stretch of road isn't done yet."
The trip had started late in the afternoon. Just as he had been decades ago, on this trip my Dad was a bit of a leadfoot, and we soon were out of sight of the other cars with bloggers. Shortly after nightfall, on an uncrowded multi-lane stretch of Interstate near Cleveland, we were suddenly zooming up toward a brown Corvette with some body damage motionless and sideways in the right lane. (Although he drove above the speed limit and never used his turn signals, Dad respected some other good-driving habits such as staying to the right except for passing.) Dad calmly reacted, turning to pass the stopped car on the smooth paved berm to the right, then put us back into the right-hand lane, all with no lurching, no screeching of the skinny entry-level tires, no danger of flipping the car. "Good driving, Dad," I said. Then I said, "Should somebody call 911 and report the stopped car in the road?" But none of us did.
Driving through the gentrified-looking downtown of small town in western Pennsylvania, on a narrow old two-lane road, with everything well-lit by streetlamps, traffic was stopped coming the other way. People had gotten out of the cars and were standing around looking angry. I wasn't sure whether this was a traffic jam or a demonstration. The angry people and their cars looked much less prosperous than the surrounding downtown area.
In another town, a stretch of road which was much less well-lit twisted through and under -- overpasses -- some interesting-looking architecture, buildings lit mostly just fleetingly by our headlights. Red-brick and concrete, all curved, very few angles, no right angles, just like the road twisting through it. Here and there a corporate logo was fashioned of the red brick and concrete. Except for the corporate logos it could have been a university or a hospital. I wondered whether an expert on architecture would find it interesting or hideous or neither. While I was honestly trying to think what I thought of these red-brick and concrete buildings -- the corporate logos struck me as rather hideous, but they were far from the whole. They could be removed rather easily -- I woke up.