Interstate 80

starts in San Francisco and runs east through California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania before coming to an end in Ridgefield Park NJ, at the intersection of Interstate 95, as it approaches the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge and NYC, nearly 3000 miles of transcontinental highway, America on wheels.

In my twenties, I could hitchhike the full length of Interstate 80 in 4 days, although, to be honest, I preferred the southern route, Interstate 40, warmer weather being a not unimportant consideration for the transcontinental hitchhiker.

My worst encounter with bad weather on Interstate 80 occurred one winter, in my thirties, a decade removed from hitchhiking.  I was snowed in at Boystown in Nebraska (yes, that Boystown, the Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney Boystown) when snow shut Interstate 80 the entire length of the state of Nebraska.  But I had a bag of leftover hushpuppies from Long John Silvers, a bottle of red wine, and a Bic pen (which was quite handy in the absence of a corkscrew).  I spent several days eating hushpuppies, sipping wine and watching high school wrestling on a TV whose reception was so poor, there was nearly as much snow on the TV as there was outside my window.  

The good thing about Interstate 80 is that when you get on the highway, it's a straight run to almost anywhere.  For example, Parsippany.  And there's no snow in the forecast at the end of June.  So, wherever you might live (wherever, that is, in California, Nevada, or Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, or Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania or New Jersey) you can join me at Deadly Ink from June 26 - 28. 

Deadly Ink is a most convivial conference of mystery writers and readers.  The opening session at the conference is dessert.  That's right, dessert.  On Friday evening, the conference opens with an informal opportunity to meet the authors over a table of deadly desserts.  Saturday and Sunday are devoted to presentations and panel discussions, interviews and book signings.  I'll be speaking on three panels.  On Saturday, I'll be discussing mysteries that are set in New Jersey.  On Sunday, I'll be discussing writing as the opposite sex, and also about developing characters. 

I hope you'll join me at Deadly Ink.  All you have to do is find Interstate 80 and point your car east.

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