Westward Homo! The Road to Columbus and St Louis (and Intern Grace!)


Robin and Carly, attractive newlyweds and perfect humans, are growing up and moving out — from busy busy New York City to easy breezy beautiful Los Angeles, California. They’ll be taking all their belongings minus what they were able to foist off on others, their dance superstar dog Arthur, and a lot of pictures. We will be following their emotional and actual literal journey — from packing to moving to settling in to establishing what will surely be the best-decorated apartment since their apartment in New York — as they make the biggest move of their lives and process with a bottle of Maker’s. They will be using the hashtag #arthurgoeswest for all trip-related tweets and Instagram photos.

Intern Grace


Our first stop was Columbus, Ohio. You know who lives in Columbus Ohio and is currently featured as an Autostraddle Calendar Girl? Our friend and yours, Intern Grace.

We kidnapped Intern Grace on our first snowy evening and took her to the Red Roof Inn where we forced her to eat pizza and watch the 30 Rock finale with us. We still aren’t sure if she was just humoring us or if she ever finished that paper that was apparently about Beyonce. When we were in college, we weren’t allowed to write papers on Beyonce, but… things have changed since then. Except maybe that one time that Carly wrote a paper on online shopping, which she titled “Online Shopping: The Wave of the Future.” That was the year 2000.


Things We Did See, Things We Did Not See

On the highway between New York and Columbus, and Columbus and St Louis, there wasn’t much of note. There are farms and some billboards about Jesus funded by some guy whose last name is Raper and some sights at exits we drove past.


Here are some things we did see:

–  A water tower in western Indiana that reads “Welcome to Brazil. Home of the Popcorn Festival” which had no date on it. When is this alleged popcorn festival? Do the people in charge have a twitter presence? This seems like a missed opportunity for everyone.

– Chili’s room service! (Best Western in Kirkwood, MO… great find!)

– A billboard which reads “IF YOU DIED TODAY, WHERE WOULD YOU SPEND ETERNITY? (I hope not here.)


– The same truck two days in a row.

– What seems like the same farm about a hundred times.

– Some terrible drivers.

– Signs for several laser tag arenas.

Here are some things we did not see:

– The world’s largest windchime. I suggested we put up a sign for the world’s smallest windchime which cannot be heard by human ears or seen by human eyes, but cost $10.

“Really low overhead; we would only have to buy the sign.” – Carly

– The world’s largest ball of twine. This is actually in Minnesota, but we did talk quite a bit about this in the car because I feel like its not really that big (google it) and if we set our minds to it, maybe at the next A-Camp, we can make a larger one.

– Elephants on the highway in Indiana. There was some sort of horrible pile-up on the highway the day before we passed through and apparently three elephants had to be unloaded and later reloaded onto a truck. There was a rumor going around that the elephants were “on the loose” which is untrue. Grace imagined this looked like a scene from Jumanji.

– The ocean.

– Any other dogs, much to Arthur’s delight because he dislikes dogs.

Traveling With A Dog


We knew five days in the car would be unsettling for our finicky schnauzer. To that end, we wanted to make conditions on the road as similar to home as we could. We left the backseat completely empty except for filling up the wells, so we could lie a comfortable blanket from home across the seat. He loves things that smell like his mothers, so he has been taking many naps, just like he would during the day at home. Not everyone can travel with their dog out of a carrier or crate, but fortunately for us, Arthur is small and well-behaved enough in the car for him to be loose. We also stocked up on all his brands so he could maintain his normal diet and schedule.


We’ve been stopping every 3-5 hours to walk Arthur and give him some water. In Columbus, with almost 0 degree temperatures at night, Arthur needed his sweater and could only go outside briefly before his little legs would begin to shake. He is ready to live in Los Angeles.

We made sure to book only pet-friendly hotel chains (and one Air BNB apartment) so we didn’t get charged for disobeying the rules. There are actually plenty of affordable chains which allow all pets.

Even when the road is long and boring, having a pet, although stressful at times, makes the drive much more enjoyable.


If anyone has any suggestions of car games, please please let us know.

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Robin specializes in entertainment, lifestyle and portrait photography. She's also a Creative Producer, Director of Photography and co-owner of Scheme Machine Studios LLC, her production company based in Los Angeles. Robin loves shooting for TV and film and has worked with media companies like Legendary Pictures and Viacom. She shot and directed the Pride campaign for Google called #ThisIsFamily. Robin has had the pleasure of working on national campaigns for companies like Dove and Levis, and had the unique opportunity to shoot for non-profits and initiatives such as The Black List, Save the Children, Move to End Violence, Have a Hart Day, and The Clinton Global Initiative. She is most proud of the work she has done with organizations such as The Ad Council and RAINN working on national impact campaigns. Her celebrity roster includes Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, The B-52s, Keri Hilson, JB Smoove, Tegan and Sara, Margaret Cho, The B-52’s, Andreja Pejic, and many more. She was there for Autostraddle’s birth and proudly served as A-Camp co-director for many years.

Robin has written 82 articles for us.


  1. I hate to break it to you, but Wikipedia says the biggest ball of twine is actually in Kansas and is at least 40 feet in diameter. (The Minnesota one is the biggest ball made by a SINGLE PERSON and is 12 feet.) The A-Camp crowd will need a LOT of twine.

    In other news, I like Arthur’s Peanuts pillowcase. Have a good continued trip.

  2. I just want to let you know that in college, I wrote a paper about independent radio promoters that was almost entirely focused on Destiny’s Child’s promotion of Bootylicious. The paper was titled “I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly.” I got an A.

    • Uhm, I also wrote a paper in college involving Bootylicious. It was for a sociology class, and my final paper was about racializing sexuality. Clearly the early to mid ’00s was a good time to be in school.

  3. Arthur is such a cutie. Does he howl? We just discovered that my girlfriend’s miniature schnauzer does that. It’s pretty much the best thing ever.

    • yes, mine does that too. it’s like a talking/howling/shrieking thing all combined. and he always raises one paw when he does it.

  4. My family can sit and play “George Washington” for hours and hours. That’s the game where someone starts with ‘G Washington’, and the next person has to say someone whose first name begins with W. So….GW -> Whitney Mixter -> Mia Kirshner -> Kate Andrews -> Alice Piewhatever, etc etc

    I feel that this game has a name? We just call it George Washington. It’s fun, sometimes infuriating, I give it 4 stars.

    • this is the basic concept of one of my personal favorite drinking games, drink while you think. basically you play george washington but you drink while you think of a name. best played with straws.

  5. Oh, um. No, I didn’t click on this post looking for a Google Map to Intern Grace’s house.

    *moonwalks quietly out of the room*

  6. I really want to go onto a road trip now.
    Also, I have to remember to clear my history because I spend too much time on here and Autostraddle almost outed me to my parents.

  7. I am glad Arthur is doing OK. I regularly make the 12 hour trip from central Florida to New Orleans with my two cats, who meow pitifully for the first few hours (and whenever I slow down or stop) as if they are being painfully tortured. They have to ride in carriers (spacious ones!) though because if I let them out they want to sit on my lap while I’m driving 75 mph and then they get carsick.

    • the pitiful meowing! my 3 kitties should be decent travelers by now (having moved from california to maine and then to illinois in a car) but they’re not. the girls are pretty much okay after about 20 minutes, but you would swear my little boy was DYING for like half the trip.

      you know what’s fun? when the smallest one gets out of the carrier (i just have on huge carrier because they cry less when they’re together)on the highway in new york and you get to drive 7 miles with a cat perched on your head until you get to the next rest stop. uh-huh. AWESOME.

  8. The fact that Intern Grace and I had a very brief twitter conversation about Beyonce-centric papers makes me feel way cooler than it probably should.

  9. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that frighteningly large cross is in Effingham, IL, which is my mom’s hometown. Every time I see it all I can think about is my sister commenting on its obnoxious size by saying it was big enough to crucify Paul Bunyan, and then I can’t stop laughing.

  10. Indiana has a popcorn festival AND road tripping elephants, and I didn’t even know?! We sure do love our food festivals in Indiana. In the southern part of the state, we have an apple festival AND strawberry festival. Also, I wonder if the elephant fiasco happened near Peru, which has an extensive circus history and presence. One time in college I briefly had a roommate who was a trapeze artist from Peru. She thought I was too shy but what was I going to say that was going to top “I’m a trapeze artist,” huh?

    As far as car games go, my family is disgusting so the only car game they ever played was a “Corn Race,” and I never participated and also do not want to talk about what that is.

  11. I did the cross country drive a few years ago, from Illinois to now fairly sunny LA… There are more of those giant white crosses, so be prepared. I remember one in particular being in the Texas panhandle.
    Also, the mountains and Indian reservations in New Mexico are beautiful. Though be prepared to apparently see teenagers tripping on mushrooms/peyote while they man a very new and clean half-deserted 24-hour truck stop in a rocky valley at 2am.
    Roswell is full of ghosts.
    And, if you stop in the Arizona desert, don’t stop around people. All of the desert folk I’ve met aren’t very used to/nice to queers.
    And… that’s about all of the salty dog warnings I can give for now.

    Over the next posts of this tale, I, like an old grisly sailor, will be sitting in a metaphorical corner of a saloon with my hat brim down, chewing my pipe and chuckling about old times….

    • cross country drives have become an annual thing for me (CA to OH in july 2010, then back to california in december 2010, CA to ME march 2011, ME to IL march 2012, IL to CA and back december 2012)and i can totally vouch for this. also driving in west texas is like driving on the moon, and no one seems to remember that the speed limit is dropped at night.
      so. many. crosses.
      and lots more jesus billboards. bonus points if one is within 50 feet of a billboard advertising the nearby adult novelty shop.
      i don’t think this route takes you through the states with the best pro gun or anti abortion signs, though. those are super fun.
      stop. in. new mexico. for real. do it. it’s the last ridiculously pretty landscape you’re gonna get on the way to LA.

  12. Churches and horses. You can only count what’s on your side of the car. 10 points for horses and 20 for churches.

  13. I would enjoy reading online shopping: the wave of the future. i’m a big fan of carly’s early academic work.

  14. Orville Redenbacher is from Brazil, Indiana! I know this because last year my popcorn-obsessed roommates and I googled him and accidentally thought he was from Brazil, INDIA and we were like WOW what an exotic birth place for our beloved popcorn man.

  15. Just what exactly truly stimulated u to post “Autostraddle
    – Westward Homo! The Road to Columbus and St Louis
    (and Intern Grace!)”? Idefinitely liked it!

    Thank you ,Heriberto

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