In the Arena

Election Road Trip, Day 13: Victoria’s Playlist

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Joe Klein and his wife Victoria at the Iowa GOP Ronald Reagan dinner headlined by Sarah Palin in Des Moines. Photograph by Peter van Agtmael - Magnum for TIME

Boulder, Colorado

Traveling Companion: Joe Klein

Event: Extremely Long Drive from Des Moines to Boulder

Long road trips are journeys of discovery, wonder, and sheer endurance.  As I listened to the random offerings of our Ipod shuffler and also introduced Joe to some of my favorite recently Shazammed tracks, I considered that a road trip mix might be built up using an undulating arc starting from songs with a stealthy pace through some interesting alt country songs towards a peak of anthems and blood-pumping all out rocking. In the interests of pace and tunefulness  I post these offerings  in order:

Monte A Dentro (Ry Cooder) from the Buena Vista Social Club starts us on a dreamy Cuban beat

Everything is Moving So Fast (Great Lake Swimmers) keeps the pace slow but starts to build

State Trooper (Bruce Springsteen) is building the rhythm and reminds of the lurking possibilities of menace

Drive My Car (The Donnas) totally fun cover of the Beatles Song

It’s Just the Night (Del Mccoury Band) introduces some country soul

Hung up on You (Fountains of Wayne) ironic Alt Country from the Troubadours of Suburban Angst

I Wanna Talk About Me (Toby Keith) hilarious, driving country–the momentum is building

Saints Behind the Glass (Los Lobos)  Rolling lyrical rhythms that seem to echo the hills and dales of Iowa

Tunnel of Love (Dire Straits) a song built on pace and crescendo, a road trip in itself

Naked Eye (Luscious Jackson) Pump it up

Sour Cherry (The Kills) Full Throttle

Friday’s drive through Iowa on a perfect warm and sunny day was transcendent; the undulating fields of grain were green and golden under a perfect blue sky.  Yesterday’s marathon through the western part of Iowa, much of Nebraska, and then towards the mountains of Boulder revealed a very changeable sort of beauty.  My favorite view was in Nebraska where a sparse pattern of black cows stood out against the straw gold of harvested wheat with a lowering background of  deepest green tree foliage.  This land was made for you and me.

Joe’s Response: Victoria and I have been together for 32 years; married for nearly 30. She is a fanatic reader (fiction, almost exclusively), music lover and a terrific interior designer; she is a genius at friendship, the best pal I ever had. I dragooned her for the long drive through the middle of the country because I knew she’d make it fun. She always does. Now I have to take her to the airport in Denver so she can go home to her work. Boo-hoo. But I’ll be back in full political swing starting tomorrow morning, checking out the Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, Ken Buck, and an array of other pols.

This post is part of my Election Road Trip 2010 project. To track my location across the country, and read all my road trip posts, click here.