Asking a simple question should involve both a lengthy story and a ready answer as to why the question is being asked.
First the lengthy story.
I went to the bookstore to buy Anansi Boys as a birthday gift for a friend who had enjoyed American Gods. There on the shelves I found single copies of both the Aziraphale and Crowley versions of Good Omens and had to buy both, of course. Returning home, I decided that I needed to read Good Omens again and, as one of the most depressing things one can do is read an inferior book after a cracker, I decided to read American Gods again. And although I am only now on page 116, a question came to me and, in searching the web for an answer and having no luck, I found this little corner of the world and thought it a good place to ask my question. Which is...
Has anyone ever sat down and traced the route of Shadow's journey?
I ask for two reasons: 1) simply because I believe it would be a fabulous thing to see - a route laid out to show the journey on a map to be printed print out, and perhaps framed with the title "Shadow's Journey" (the visual possibilities are endless - a shadow box with pins connected with string, map 'flags' with page number references, etc. - a project for the true fanatic and not mere fan), and; 2) just as a fun project, to impress yourself, primarily, but also friends, and even the general populi, plot the route and fly it low and slow using Google Earth (and the route may be able to be shared with others - the 'community sharing' feature of Google Earth is not one which I've yet explored).
This is likely my fifth read of American Gods and, from the moment that Shadow first talks of airports I thought about how, during my previous readings, I had visualized his journey. So this time I thought I would record the place names... but even though I've only made it to Chicago, I'm having trouble. I don't, for instance, know where Shadow is incarcerated (but it's someplace that turns cold in winter, we know) and he ends up in St. Louis, Missouri, from where he must catch a plane to Eagle Point... but where is Eagle Point? Maybe a fictitious town? Certainly not Eagle Point, Oregon - the drive to Chicago would have been MUCH further. And we know that Eagle Point is far from the prison (Laura wasn't able to visit often) but it simply cannot be Eagle Point, Oregon! (Can it???) So we can't locate Shadow's prison as the "real" point of departure... that has to be St. Louis. St. Louis to Eagle Point to Chicago... and St. Louis to Chicago is a short drive... so where is Eagle Point (even putting your hypothetical fictitious place name guessing hat on)?
If someone has already plotted the road trip, could someone point me in the right direction? And, if not, as I continue reading and run into problems like 'Eagle Point', are any of you fanatical enough to help me with my guesses and/or suppositions?
I admit to being a fanatical fan of the book... and that's why I think that this could be a fun exercise (although I realize that, too some, it may seem really overly zealous!).
So in closing I'll ask again...
1. Has anyone already traced the route of the journey? And if not...
2. Is anyone interested in helping me to so? Such as, for starters, coming up with a probable 'Eagle Point'?
I'm happy to have found this forum and I'm looking forward to discussing some of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors... it's always so difficult to attempt to answer "what's it about?" to those who have never read Gaiman and I'm looking forward to reading the thoughts and opinions of those who may have the same appreciation of this fine author.
maybe meanwhile you found this site:
What are boys less likely to do?
Speak about their self-harm!
Some studies suggest that SI is equally common in both men and women. Because of past researches on pre-selected groups, it's estimated that over 15% of all people who self-injure are male.
After I finished reading A.G. I cross-read it to make a list of the route Shadow has travelled. So if there's something missing... I'm sorry, just shout at me telling what I missed and where to put it and I'll correct my mistake asap.
The places are given just as in the book, remember that Neil Gaiman warned readers about having taken some liberties...
FIRST IN A STOP-AND-GO MANNER FOR THE IMPATIENT AMONG YOU:
Unknown location (Prison) - local busstation - unnamed airport - St. Louis Airport - unknown location (about 250 miles from Eagle Point) - Nottamun - "Jack's Crocodile Bar" - Eagle Point - Chicago - Madison - Spring Green, Wisconsin (H.o.t.R.) - unknown location - Muscoda - El Paso, Illinois - Middletown - St. Louis - Red Bud - Chester - Cairo, Illinois - Super 8 Motel south of La Crosse - northern central Wisconsin - Pinewood - Lakeside (southwest of Michigan state) - Madison - Las Vegas, Nevada - Lakeside - San Francisco - Lakeside - Wisconsin - Minnesota - North Dakota - South Dakota - Reservation Country - "Backstage" - Reservation - Sioux Falls - gas station 25 miles outside of Lakeside - Lakeside - Rhode Island - Seattle - Dallas - Boulder - Lakeside - Minneapolis - Kentucky - Humansville - Kansas - Cherryvale, Kansas - Lebanon, Kansas (Center Of America) - Princeton, Missouri - the worldtree an hour south of Blacksburgh, Virginia - Rock City on Lookout Mountain, Georgia - Fort Pierce, Florida - Lakeside - Madison - Chicago - Reykjavik, Iceland.
And as that may not be that much of an accessible presentation the next post is the same route but this time in "prose" (-;
So, here's the route again:
The Journey starts in an unknown location in "The Unnamed Prison" (which holds 1500 people) with a busride of undetermined length to the local busstation followed by a 20 minute taxiride to an unnamed airport to take a flight to Eagle Point,Indiana.
But instead, the flight is redirected to St.Louis Airport where Shadow gets on another flight (that would stop three times before reaching Eagle Point, Indiana) and at the first stop (about 250 miles from Eagle Point) he rents a car and drives north for 90 minutes before he stops for gas and directions at "Nottamun" (Population 1301), then drives west on "County Road N" (through the town, over a bridge, on for a couple of miles) to get to "Jack's Crocodile Bar". The next morning sees Shadow and Wednesday on an interstate highway en route to Eagle Point which they finally reach, approaching it from the north.
After the funeral Shadow and Wednesday leave Eagle Point heading for Chicago with things to do and people to meet. The next day, leaving Chicago, they drive west, passing through Madison on their way to "The House On The Rock" in Spring Green, Wisconsin where Shadow is abducted and wakes up in the "unknown location" of the unmarked freight/prison train. Near the end of his escape-run (of undeterminded length and distance), during which he did his best to move south, he comes to an "unnamed place" 10 minutes north from Muscoda (which is just over the river). With the car he buys there he drives through El Paso, Illinois, past Middletown and St.Louis, takes a break in Red Bud before he drives on past Chester ("Home of Popeye") and finally arrives in Cairo, Illinois.
Being sent to a location where he is to lay low and wait for Wednesday to arrive he stops for the night in a "Super 8 Motel south of La Crosse" he also stops somewhere in "northern central Wisconsin" and once more at Pinewood before he arrives in Lakeside (southwest of Michigan state). From where a first trip leads him to the airport in Madison to fly to Las Vegas, Nevada after which he returns to Lakeside and another trip takes him from Lakeside to San Francisco ("the flowers in your hair are optional") and back to Lakeside again.
Later Wednesday and Shadow leave Lakeside driving west across Wisconsin and Minnesota into North Dakota then going south into South Dakota and on towards Reservation Country before abruptly taking a detour right (*nudge nudge*) into the "Backstage" and then the Badlands. Coming down no hill they first return into the Reservation for some minor business, then they head to Sioux Falls before they return right to Lakeside (except for a stop at a gas station 25 miles outside of Lakeside).
The last tour accompanied by the old fraud takes Shadow through Rhode Island and Seattle, Washington as well as Dallas, TX and Boulder, Colorado before he returns to what has become his home on the side of the Lake.
From Lakeside the next ride goes to Minneapolis and then continues south to Kentucky passing through Humansville and on into Kansas where they have a short stop for a refuel in Cherryvale, Kansas and drive on to the "Center Of America" located 2 miles north of Lebanon, Kansas. The next day they drive east passing through Princeton, Missouri on their way to the worldtree (btw. an ASH) an hour south of Blacksburgh, Virginia.
Rested and refreshed the energizing ride takes the guy to Rock City on Lookout Mountain, Georgia and right into the middle of the paradigm shifting battle. As he's bringing things to an end Shadow takes Anansi to his home in Fort Pierce, Florida, returns to Lakeside for some unfinished business, leaves a goodbye present in Madison and heads for Chicago to pay his last debt.
After Shadow had left Chicago, free as a newborn, he was last seen in Reykjavik, Iceland flirtaciously admiring the beauty of native women and doing coin tricks for the locals.
I live in the Blacksburg, VA, area, and just recently re-read AG. I am intrigued about the location of the World Tree, 1 hour south of Blacksburg on back roads. Floyd VA is about an hour south of Blacksburg, and it is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Rock Castle Gorge and Rocky Knob Recreation Area. Since Mr. Gaiman has said he visited lots of the areas he wrote about in the book, I can't help but wonder if he drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and went hiking at Rocky Knob. There's a great old tree in the middle of a field there that could have been the inspiration for the World Tree. Any thoughts?
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