About an hour into New York, Jenkin sounded an ominous yawp as one of its back tires ceased to be. It didn’t burst so much as decay, flaking off and crumbling into dust like it was aging at terrible speed. With that auspicious event, our journey had truly begun.
[2006 Edit: Yes, yes, thrilling, isn't it? A flat tire between Buffalo and Cleveland, the stuff road movies are made of. Have patience. It all gets funnier once we get further South.]
We set off early on a Friday morning, Brown Jenkin (the car) stuffed to its gills with camping equipment, funky mix tapes, Derek’s guitar, Yes & Know trivia books, decomposing cheese curds that we would not discover and exorcise until Oklahoma, and homemade wine.
It seemed fitting to enter the U.S. at Niagara Falls, a mecca of tourist kitsch in its own right. But there were no side trips to Frankenstein’s Haunted Newlywed Motel for us this time: like Fievel the Mouse, we were hell bent for Amereeka. We got through Customs and Immigration without too much hassle, although Checkpoint Charlie had a way of making driving around the country aimlessly drinking homemade wine sound like a bad thing.