Sunday, November 20, 2005

Burning for PDX

I started to head for the Grand Canyon yesterday, but...

Hanging around the people in Tucson made me miss hanging around with people in general -- significant, considering my sociophobic tendencies -- so I instead grabbed US 93 and headed straight for I-40 and the California border.

This morning after breakfast, I'm just going to burn toward I-5 and keep heading back to the new home, where I'll look for a job and hang out and seedy Portland coffee shops. Living on the continental west coast, I'll be able to come see the Redwoods and Grand Canyon some other time, after I get the Mini Cooper (maybe).

If I'm back in time, I might head to the Seattle area for an orphan artists' Thanksgiving hosted by a director and old friend from Anchorage, but after nearly three months on the road, I want a place to hang my hat for more than one or two nights.

See folks when I get there...

Friday, November 18, 2005

On leaving Tucson

I've received a brainful here in Tucson from a microclique I met through the internet friend, XV.

It would be too difficult to describe any of them without violating their privacy, so I won't try, other than to say they're all very creative and bright and filled my brain in a way that I haven't seen since Portland and, before that, Someplace Else.

It seems like Tucson would be a great place for me if not for the lack of industry. But beyond that, I have the feeling that the places and people I've enjoyed are a minority here. It's like I landed in a tiny illuminated crack in an otherwise dull, mud-covered, insignificant sidewalk.

I haven't finalized my plans for the return, but I'm pretty sure I'll leave tomorrow for the south side of the Grand Canyon. I'm trying to find a good way to get to Portland without actually driving across California, but it's either California or the barrens of Nevada. If I take the Pacific Coast, I'll have to go through LA, which scares the living shit out of me as a driver. But I want to camp in the Redwoods, I think. I'll make up my mind under the stars at the Canyon. I suspect I'll stay there two nights and start my way back to PDX.

I'm a little disappoined that it's coming to an end. Just a couple thousand miles and it's all done. I have to fill in forms, request employment, become diplomatic and self-censoring, wake up and fall asleep on a schedule, fill in more forms, spend money, save money, worry about taxes and people around me. It's been nearly 9 months since I've had to worry about any of that. At least, after this trip, I'll have more to daydream about while going through the day-to-day doldrums of industry.

I doubt the Grand Canyon will have Wi-Fi. I'll be back in a few days.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On to Tucson

Well, I got my kicks on Route 66 (if by "kicks" he meant "a good night's sleep"). Today, I'm going to do something I've never done -- attempt to meet someone from the internet in real life.

If I disappear, blame this guy. XV and I "met" via World of Warcraft, and he says he's an aspiring writer wishing, as I do, to work in film. He says.

He's probably a fat, bald, middle-aged pervert with a large gun collection and industrial-sized cannisters of superglue and various ointments, but we'll see....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

From AR to AZ

What a haul. Left Arkansas this morning, now sitting less than an hour from the Arizona border in Gallup, NM, staying on the historic Route 66.

Before I begin my Eccentric Rant #2, allow me to give credit where it's due -- New Mexico is gorgeous, still. I crossed the border and chased the sunset west for an hour or so. Behind me, a huge full moon rose on a Photoshop-perfect 32-bit gradient from violet to indigo to powder-blue.

Inbetween Arkansas and Arizona was Oklahoma and.... *sigh*.... Texas.

Oklahoma decided to fulfull its stereotype by blowing 60 miles an hour due south while I was trying to drive due west. It screwed my milage horribly, and my arm hurts from correcting the steering against the vacuum created on the left side of The Truck. I soon realized that it wasn't the wind blowing -- it was Texas sucking.

I was successful in my dream of not exiting the vehicle once in all of.... *sigh*.... Texas. I filled up both me and The Truck before entering that place and drove clear across without stopping. I was only successful in holding my breath for the first 3 miles or so.

But now that I've made it, there are a few things I need to get off my mind.

Here's what everyone needs to know about Texas. The entire trip across Texas on Route 40 has zero rest stops -- only picnic areas. This is due to the fact that Texans eat their own shit as food. Although restrooms can be found in Texas, their primary function is for homosexual meetings between cowpokes, as all Texans are homosexuals.

Their women have no sex drive, of course. It's hard to maintain after the first few years of prostitution. Once they turn 14 or so, they usually start the procreation process by picking up truckers from their jobs at Hooters or Denny's, as all the Texan men are homosexuals. Their drive for children is spurred by their own laziness and desire to make money by selling the kids into Kiddie Porn studios for fun and profit.

I thought about my previous encounters with Texas law enforcement officers, and considered what I might say to one of them if I were to be stopped, but I realized nothing I could think of would be of any value. Law enforcement is a tough job -- meaning no Texans would be capable, and that it would be relegated to Mexican immigrants, few of whom speak English.

While driving across, I saw many Texans out in the fields, doing what they do best -- standing in cow shit and becoming aroused by cow vulvae. Of course, Texas men's dicks are so small they can't actually fulfill their bovine lust, and so must turn to each other for cocksucking sessions. With the looks of their women, I can almost understand their constant fascination with each other's penises. Of course, the fascination doesn't end with cows -- you might remember our Desperate Housewife (desperate for some hot Trucker flesh) first lady telling us that the Former Governor, Dubya, enjoys jacking off horses.

Within a hundred yards of the TX border in New Mexico, a sign touting a restroom and literature appeared. Literature is another thing not found in Texas, of course.

Even though I didn't stop, I did help out the poor Texans by saving my urine and bowel movements for the last week and flinging them at the picnic areas as I passed, bringing beaming smiles from all who were there. "Manna from heaven," I heard one little girl screech through laughter.

Were it not so late, I'd tell you all more about the wonderful Culture of the Lone Star state. Perhaps I'll eccentrically rant some more once I hit Tucson tomorrow afternoon/evening.

I feel better now.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Goodlettsville, TN

By the way, I travelled back across Ohio and West Virginia yesterday, stopping to have lunch with my uncle in Milton before continuing across Kentucky as far as Goodlettsville, TN, just north of Nashville.

Funny, when you think of National Historic Landmarks, you rarely think of distilleries, but all along the Bluegrass Parkway there were just that. I couldn't find the place where they make that Kentucky Jelly.

I'll be hitting I-40 and heading west today, hoping to get as far as Arkansas or even Oklahoma. I will NOT be stopping in Texsux. I'll be crossing it, but I'm going to fill up and eat at the OK border and hold my breath for that 150 miles or so through the panhandle.

I really, really do still hate Texas.

(Hi Rainy!)

Milton, WV

I visited Milton, WV, for several days.

I was welcomed into my uncle's house after not seeing him for at least ten years. There on the wall, still, are pictures of my brothers, sister, me, my dad and mom, grandparents, cousins, uncles, second cousins....

This was home. The hills and ridges surrounding Milton were home to my family for generations. People made their hard, simple living by hunting, fishing, and farming their own land, often earned as bounty land for military service.

My grandfather (b. 1887) and grandmother (1902) lived this life, just as their parents did, and their parents did. I'm the first generation in hundreds of years that wasn't raised on a subsistance farm.

Those farms are mostly gone, now. The one-lane dirt roads have been paved, and the homes being built on these picturesque mountainsides are for the upper-middle class and wealthy. Where my grandmother's farmhouse was, with woodstove heat, hand-pumped water in the kitchen, and outhouse "plumbing" is now a mansion with an equestrian center.

Still, life in Milton is entertaining.

My uncle had been driving me around to visit with the cousins I used to play with when I was a kid. We pulled up to Mike's trailer and knocked on the door, and he welcomed me in with a smile.

"I know'd you was in town," he said.
"Oh, you must've talked to your sister this morning!"
"Naw, they ran your plates over the scanner last night."

Around town, farming and gardening is still the key to conversation. At a local restaurant, my uncle walked in to hear nearly every patron ask him by name how he'd been doing, and how his garden had worked out this year.

"Well, I tell ya what. Them turnips did okay. I was gonna give my friend a bushel of em, but it seeemed a shame to cut one of em in half."

A friend responded with similar complaints about his radishes. "Yeah, I know whatcha mean. I let one o' my radishes stay down too long, and when I pulled it up a rabbit had set up a den in it."

"Well, you can have some o' mine. Just bring the backhoe."

A good deal of the time spent in Milton was spent with a collection of geneological information compiled by the family over the years. Pictures of my great granddad and his clan from the 1800s. 300+ years of names of simple farmers living simple lives.

With this generation, though, it all ended. My uncles all served in the wars, then sought degrees, and worked as teachers and administrators for most of their careers. Their sisters left the state with their husbands.

We're no longer hillbillies, as my brother (who was also raised on that farm) said when I saw him for the first time in over twenty years. "We're Appalachian-Americans, thank you."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pause; Rewind

I made it as far as the genetic stomping grounds of Milton, WV, where I spent several days with my favorite uncle, Wayne, whom I hadn't seen in around ten years.

Wayne, however, was in possession of my brother Steve's number and address. I hadn't seen Steve in well over 20 years, and had to backtrack to Northeast Ohio for a few days, and it's been a blast.

Anyway, I'll be having breakfast with Sister again tomorrow morning before hitting the road to the West. I'm looking at Tucson, after which I'll likely follow the Pacific Coast Hwy. north through CA and eventually wind up in Portland.

I'm still too busy with family to tell much about the trip. First hotel stop, I promise....

(Hi Rainy!)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Under way

I'm packing up The Truck and hitting the road today, beginning the trip back to the West Coast. First stop will be Milton, WV, to visit with family for a day or two. After that, no plans except to continue in a generally westward direction until I finally reach Portand and begin re-entry into "society."

More as it happens....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The scary word for Halloween is.....


I had the second interview at Carnegie Mellon, and it was much more helpful than the first. It looks like I'm a good match for the Information Systems program, but I'll need to beef up on calculus and learn Java at a different university before I can apply as a transfer student. We'll see how that goes once I hit Portland, OR.

By the way, I'm going back to Portland, OR, leaving this weekend.

I spent some time travelling in PA and Ohio, and have a couple of stories to tell once I feel like writing them down. Until then, I'll just be trying to figure out which direction I'm headed when I leave PA this week.