Walls of goddamned noise and sound.

I-35 N. © Ryan Schierling
I looked at the black rubber marks on the Jersey barriers. I looked at them for miles, and wondered how many drivers' days had been ruined by a drift off, a drift over, a hard jolt and the high-pitched squeal of horizontally-moving rubber and metal grinding across stationary-vertical concrete, and then you're on your side with your eyes wide and drifting, searching. It's the over-correction that gets you every time.

You take off, on the road, on your own. There's always a reason for flight. 

Flyovers. © Ryan Schierling

I stopped in West, Texas for a couple kolaches and a Dr. Pepper, and took a vanity photo of my MPG reading on the display. 259,173 miles on the odometer, and the old Saab still gets nearly 40 miles-per-gallon on the highway. It's the only proud moment I've had in a while, and why I scrub my fingernails at the end of most days. Most people don't own cars anymore. Banks own cars, and the people that drive them only know how to put fuel in them and curse at them when they're not doing what they're supposed to do. I believe in taking care of the things that take care of you, and my dad still has that old blue Pontiac Ventura, so I imagine I got a little of that from him.

259,173 miles. 37.9 mpg. © Ryan Schierling

It was 100-degrees when I left. After West, the temperature dropped 20 degrees in 20 miles, and I knew there was some shit blowing in.

I was driving north to visit my parents, to visit my father who was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma and undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy, in the year after he had retired.

You're not supposed to go through this, after working your entire life and doing the right things, making the right decisions.

It's a three hour drive, and I have time to think about all the different kinds of cancer. The random, abnormal cells our body kills off every day without incident or circumstance, and the ones that just happen to stick somewhere, take up residence and open storefronts. I'm going 100 mph. 

Incoming. © Ryan Schierling

It's getting dark. There is lightening on three sides of me, and the rain is beating down on the windshield. I slow the car, and I turn up the stereo to drown everything out.

Everyone has those times when the night’s so long /
The dead-end life just drags you down /
You lean back under the microphone /
and turn your demons into walls of goddamned noise and sound