The bad news? He's going the wrong way.
Messages from the field are fast and furious. The producer following Dave (that's Mary Haynes, by the way) not only has to keep up with him, but also has to put up with people like me back in the office sending pestering messages like, "Where are you?" and "Is he going to make it?"
She is working constantly, usually with very little time to talk. When she does call, conversations are usually about a minute long and end with her saying Dave is doing something (he's always doing something) and that she has to go. Since this whole thing started, I don't think we've ever actually finished a conversation.
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Yesterday, we spoke for about a minute when Dave grabbed the phone to tell me about this woman he had just met in Iowa. She has been out-sourced out of her job. He cried during his interview with her. He was so moved. I was, too.
Dave is out there doing three things. First and foremost, he's making television. There's no denying that. "Dave Price: No Way Home" is a project for TV, so there are elements he needs to get to each day. He's also trying to get home within one week -- a prospect that seems less and less likely because, for some reason, when in Des Moines, Iowa, Dave decided to go north instead of east.
But, most importantly, Dave is out there rediscovering America. Sure, we created the context -- the mere $50 to start out with, the one-week time frame, and the cross-country mission. But it's all a means to an end.
While Dave is out on the road trying to find his way home, he's learning the stories of so many different people. He's relying on their kindness to get him home and finding that the spirit of America is still there, in the heartland and on the coasts. He is rediscovering people's humor, their hardships, and their hopes. Their stories are fueling his sleep-deprived trek across the continent.
So, as far as Dave getting back to the studio by 9 o'clock Friday morning, well -- I've got my concerns. But whether he makes it or not, he's taking an interesting path that makes it all worthwhile.
Good luck, Dave.
We're rooting for you.