13 strangers. 6 wheels. John McCain’s bus. A parade of startups among infinite cornfields in America’s heartland. 10 days, 2,000 miles, and a goal to promote open internet policies in the United States. A documentary crew filming every waking moment. Throw out your rules — these are Reddit’s Internet 2012 road rules.

True believers file into St. Louis’ “T-Rex” communal startup space: a gargantuan, brutal looking structure renovated with only the bare essentials like plastic plants and internet access — a place “oriented to the nascent IT startup entrepreneur.” After a late arrival to this campaign pit-stop, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian seizes the podium. He gives his now-perfected stump speech on SOPA and PIPA and internet freedom — the impetus for Reddit’s tour — but the crowd is most riled by his insidery rant on a particularly “boring” part of Northern California. “One of the things I cannot shut up about,” Ohanian says, “is that the myth of Silicon Valley being the only place for tech innovation needs to go away. It really needs to go away.” The audience claps before Ohanian can finish his sentence; one man decides the line deserves a standing ovation. “I think we should completely get rid of software patents,” Ohanian says a few minutes later. The crowd eats it up. It’s the same in every city.