The midwest tour has been a lot of fun so far, with a very warm reception everywhere I've gone. Apparently, Midwesterners have a good sense of humor, as they laugh at the jokes I tell that get crickets elsewhere. (Every musician wishes he were a comedian, and every comedian wishes he were a musician.)
The big shock of this trip has been seeing the vast expanse of nothingness between cities. In the south and east, there is a small town every couple of miles on the interstate. A few days ago, as I drove from St Joe, MO to Ames, IA, I became terribly afraid that my little rental car would run out of gas and I would die, cold and alone, in the middle of an abandoned cornfield. (Which would be ironic, since gas in Iowa is made out of corn. No joke. The state government subsidizes it.)
A Shell station appeared in the nick of time, rising like a phoenix from the cornfields. I stopped, and as I filled the tank, I noticed that the station was abandoned. It was a self-serve only station. As in, "we are in the middle of nowhere and there are not enough people around to justify manning this gas station."
I'm beginning to think that this country is dangerously underpopulated.