My buddy, Jason, rode back up with me on Friday. I picked him up at his apartment in Hyde Park, mere blocks from Barack Obama's home. I informed him (Jason, not Obama) that I was down to about a quarter tank of gas, and we'd stop once we got outside of the Chicago area, where it would be a 30-50 cents per gallon cheaper. No big deal.
But as we always do, Jason and I got into some good conversation, which always makes a drive go faster. I noticed the warning light on my gas gauge around the Indiana/Michigan state line, but once again engrossed in conversation, missed the exit at New Buffalo, where there were multiple gas stations. A few miles down, at the next exit... we had nothing. So we got back on I-94 and once again exited a few miles down. Here there were some signs pointing towards various "resorts", so we followed a country road for about a mile an a half. About half of the homes along the way featured Obama yard signs, which was fairly surprising for this pastoral a setting.
We dead-ended at a small town along a railroad line. While at first glance this was a sleepy town, it featured an espresso shop and an art gallery. Surprisingly urbane, if not urban. Unfortunately, I was not in need of coffee or art. What I needed was gasoline, which I suppose makes me no different from the rest of the country. My own lack of energy independence was more urgent, however, and Jason and I looked at each other, trying to guess which direction looked more civilized and might have a gas pump nearby.
We turned left, and immediately Jason spied an Obama field office.
We couldn't find a gas station, but we could find a field office.
Ground game, indeed!
We parked in one of the two remaining gravel parking spaces in front of the little shack... the spaces remaining because they were pretty much under water from hours of rain. Inside was a campaign center that was much better equipped with Obama chum- t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers- than our typically depleted office in exurban Canton. I identified myself as a fellow campaigner and asked where I could find the nearest gas station. The older gentleman behind the able cocked his head and assumed a bemused expression. This could not be good.
"That would probably be in Sawyer," he said. Go left out the door, and it's two stoplights down."
"About 8 miles," he continued.
I didn't know if we'd make it but, I figured, we at least knew who to call for help if my car sputtered out along the way. As we followed the train tracks we saw pizza places, banks, more art galleries... how on earth did anyone drive to any of these places without gas? We reached the second light (which was only about four miles down, not eight) and turned right. There, clustered around the next exit on 94, were your typical assortment of gas stations and fast food.
Hyperbolic lesson of the day on Obama's ground game: there are more field offices than gas stations in Michigan.