As Mitt Romney watched Iowa caucus results give him an eight-vote edge Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, his campaign bus was hurtling through the dark of night on Interstate 90 in upstate New York.
Mr. Romney's red, white and blue, American-made bus was on its way from Davenport, Iowa to somewhere in New Hampshire, a roughly 1,140-mile trip, the driver, Tony Boatwright, told me. The trek served as an apt metaphor for where the Republican nomination to take on President Barack Obama in November is headed: east, to the Granite State.
When I caught up with the bus, it was at a rest stop about a half hour outside of Canajoharie shortly after midnight.
"Oh yeah, without a doubt," Mr. Boatwright said when asked whether driving a bus in a presidential campaign made him feel like a part of history. "It's cool."
The bus was empty apart from Mr. Boatwright and a backup driver. Mr. Romney was still in Iowa when it departed earlier Tuesday.
The bus is adorned with a few catchy descriptors that the campaign wants voters to think about when they think Romney: "Conservative. Businessman. Leader." Below that, there's "Believe in America," Mr. Romney's familiar phrase.
Mr. Boatwright said he's spoken a few times with Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and has an autographed copy of Mr. Romney's book, "No Apology."
The "boys on the bus" are a huge part of modern American political folklore. I wondered what it was like to have Mr. Romney as a passenger, as he was just hours before. What's the mood like?
"It's cool, just laid back," Mr. Boatwright said.
Indeed, with a double-digit lead in New Hampshire and a win in a state he could not deliver in 2008, the daily passengers on Mr. Boatwright's bus must be pretty happy right about now.