The aim was simple. Spend some time at the SxSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, before heading north to Montana to interview writer, James Crumley. As we say in England, piece of cake.
Except that it was a 4,000 mile round-trip drive and I needed to be back in San Antonio to catch a flight in 11 days. Still, I do love a challenge.
Donna and I wake up 5am and head out on the road. To be honest the drive north was pretty unremarkable. This part of Texas was flatter than Kate Moss's chest - just lots of car lots, porn stores and fireworks stalls.
We hurtled through Oklahoma on to Wichita, where we pre-booked a room in the Hotel at Oldtown, a nice enough downtown establishment.
I seem to be catching a cold. Uh-oh.
When we woke it was pouring and there were tornado warnings. I quickly realise that Montana might now be unlikely. Still, after a fine breakfast we headed north. The rain was so heavy we overtook Noah's Ark twice.
Donna starting to get grumpy. I really don't blame her - driving in this weather is pretty miserable.
Stopped at Mankato, Kansas, for gas. The town seems to be on its uppers. We're headed to the Geographic Centre of The Contiguous US, a mile or two from Lebanon. We get lost. It's not well signposted. When we find it, it's still raining but we get out and take some cheerless snaps of a fairly joyless monument (there's even an abandoned motel standing next to it). When we find out later that the monument is probably not accurate it kind of sums up our day.
Mid afternoon we reach Red Cloud, Nebraska, another town suffering but nonetheless able to sustain a newspaper, the Red Cloud Chief. Think about offering them a piece about the rain on the plains but figure they probably have that covered.
Finally make it to Kearney, Nebraska. All the decent hotels are booked because of a crane convention (I think they mean birds rather than construction equipment). Finally find a fairly awful place to stay. Won't mention its name but it does rhyme with Americinn. Donna truly fed up and I'm feeling guilty because this is her first roadtrip and I think I've messed up.
Also the wretched cold is getting worse.