[something clever and obscure here]The chronicles of Amelia's post road trip adventures
Wednesday, March 31
I'm in Richmond with Amanda.
Here are some pictures I took today.
I've got heartburn now, and I'm tired, so I don't want to write anymore. Later.
(if you're wondering, this is Monticello, Emily, Owen, and Tuppence. I'm sure you can figure out which is which.)
yes, I know that genital mutilation is a bad thing, and I've gotten comments about how I might not have been so "fair and balanced" with my piercing post, so I feel I must respond. It was legislation for a decent cause, and I wasn't really trying to make a weighty political statement, just a "hey, look at these clueless guys who are responsible for making laws". It was an interesting Monday morning read, which, fortunately, got you all talking.
Tuesday, March 30
Am I so old and experienced that I have heard everything before? Does it just get worse from this point? I feel as if so much (all, actually) of what I want to think about, write about, and say is overdone and recycled. Even that thought right there. I certainly didn't come up with the concept that there are no original ideas. Even if I had come up with it "on my own", it still existed before me.
Let's postulate that I had a semi-original thought. We'll define that as one that is not terribly overdone, maybe just conceived of by 100,000 people in human history. Once it is in and out of my head, I quickly grow tired of it, and whether or not it still deserves to be dissected, examined, and espoused doesn't matter. It is old moments after birth.
Franny and Zooey is over. Several passages in the book made me wish I could share them without delay. Reading and losing oneself in what's being read, is a understated joy. There is a similar loss of self in music, and it's this misplacing of ego that is important here, not the medium through which it happens.
Music leads to a wonderful detachment for me. The iPod (and similar MP3 players) craze has led to an increase in music-equipped pedestrians. Motorists already had the opportunity to fill their space with melodies, and now even more people can detach themselves from the world around them by plugging in. In many ways it is a fantastic gift: a unique form of meditation.
Volume is important. I hope I still realize this when I have teenagers. Maybe I'll soundproof their rooms, rather than yell at them for their inevitably obnoxious tunes. Music's drug-like qualities are proportional to it's loudness (to an extent). Loud music demands your attention, and takes it away from the ordinary world that's inside and outside of your head.
Monday, March 29
A Monday morning news article: they are trying to ban genital piercings for women in Georgia. One representative said, "I don't think that's an appropriate thing to be doing." Another wonderful example of gender equality and freedom in our great nation. Can we ban some more stuff, please?
I've had some more time to live in my head lately. I brought lots of books along with me, and bought a few while on my trip, but I haven't had so much time to read. Books-on-tape would have been a good idea for a road trip, I guess. When I find the time, I'm reading Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger, and Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Sunryu Suzuki.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few.
My poetry has never been so esoteric, like Brent's. I like to explain myself, possibly overexplain myself, because I don't want to be misunderstood. Yet, you don't understand me, do you? We all want to be understood. Even Zach [imagine a picture here], who prides himself (if you can call it pride) on being the misunderstoodopaqueobfuscated artist type, even he wants to be understood.
Saturday, I had brunch with JohnOx. I saw him the other night for dinner, but before that, it's been 5 months since we've been in sight of one another. We had a lot to talk about, and we only scratched the surface. Maybe in 5 more months we'll dig a little deeper. I told him that he was a guidepost in my life, a yardstick that I measured myself by. He told me that attention deficit disorder was a made-up disease.
Saturday, March 27
I met up with Jamie Argento Rodriquez on Friday after my conference. She's very pregnant. And beautiful. She's definitely glowing.
Being a morning person isn't so easy when you stay up until 3AM dancing. Shana, Kelly, Heidi, and I went out dancing last night, and when we left (at 2:30AM), somebody cried, "There go all of the hot girls!" They were right, poor things, but we had to go home. It was a f---ing blast. We were so money. ;)
I wish I could wriite more this morning, but I'm going out to the Tastee Diner for breakfast. I'm going to be having some free time on my hands later, and I'll have a chance to finally get some more photos up. Yes, I haven't posted photos since Colorado, but there are tons, and I'll try to get my act together. This is the last call for postcards, too. If you don't send me your address, how are you going to get one?!
Thursday, March 25
Here are some photos from the conference...this is what I've been doing all day.
This is Ellie. She is 6. She's reading the Washington Post. She's a smartie. Jeff drives a carpool a couple of times a week, so I got to hang out with these guys this morning.
The Canuck who is giving a talk now, just said, "hell" and then joked, "Can I say 'hell' in the United States?"
Of course, you can. It's a free country. Or is it?
... or uninterested by my conference. I can tell, I've had half the number of visitors to my site today.
yes, there has been a dearth of photos up in the last few posts. I will try to remedy that for you visual folks (or those who don't like to read).
Right now, I'm listening to the last few minutes of Guido van Rossum's keynote speech. He's the creator of Python, which is the programming language that is the subject of this entire conference. I feel much more comfortable here today, not so overwhelmed by the people and the powerpoint.
It's interesting to be back in DC. One of the things I took note of yesterday was the smell of the METRO. It's not a bad smell, just distinct. I used to ride it to work quite a bit, and didn't really notice that it had it's own distinct odor, but it does.
There are so many people here on the east coast. I drove through towns in the Midwest where I didn't see a person for hours (besides one or two in the occasional car), and it's such a change of pace. I feel like an outsider, even though I lived here and know how to use public transportation and know where the streets are. I'm not sure if you begin to feel as if you belong when you live here or if some people always do and some people never do.
I have been an outsider everywhere I've been lately. It's not the most comfortable feeling, because humans historically don't move, and they stay around the people they know. It's a safety thing. Stay with what you know and you don't get killed. That's my evolutionary biology explanation for the day. If the trend continues that there is less stability in one's job, and people move more, I predict more mental unrest within the population as a whole. We're creatures of habit, and yes, we're amazingly adaptable, but we're just happier, more at peace with ourselves and the world, when we're in a stable environment, for example, one without divorce.
Wednesday, March 24
Going from driving alone for the past 5 weeks, to being in a room full of 300+ people and watching powerpoint presentations all day was a tough transition and has really worn out my brain. It aches.
I found my way here this morning, having only to ask three people for help.
There are around 320-ish people here, and at most 10 women. Though I haven't frequented computer oriented conferences in the past, I am assuming that this may be the norm.
It's a special breed of people here. 'nuff said.
Mitch Kapor spoke this morning, and I can boil some of what he said down to: "and this one time at astronomy camp..."
I checked out the Web Programming talks this morning, and I'm going to the Math and Science talks after lunch. It's taken me a bit of time to get used to thinking again. I feel like I'm in slightly over my head...but that's only because I haven't thought much about computer programming in the last 6 months. I've only written a couple of scripts since then, but hopefully it will all come back to me, and I can fake it until it does.
Tuesday, March 23
[I'll add some pictures to this post soon, but I wanted to get the words up first...]
Today has been a good day. I had a great lunch with Mary Jane (JohnOx's Mom) at La Tolteca, in Wilmington, DE. We chatted about my road trip, about her life, and about mine. She gave me advice and I listened. I visited Momma Bare (her mom) for a while, too. She's 92, and she gave me advice. I listened. I'm absorbing it all, and hope to be able to put it to use soon.
I've done this drive before. I'm in charted territory, but I still took a few pictures. Even though I know what I 95 looks like, and it's not interesting or surprising to me at all. I thought I needed to capture it, in order to make my road trip documentation more complete.
I called Jeff, who I used to work for, this afternoon. I was 2 hours away from DC and still hadn't contacted anyone about where I would stay tonight. Jeff was happy to let me stay with him and his family in Takoma Park. Traffic was a pain and I wished I was in New Mexico for a moment.
I arrived, ate a lot of salad and a little pasta, and then Jeff and his two kids and I went out for ice cream. I got a combo: brownie ice cream and mint chip. Ice cream makes me happy.
Jeff protests against the countries who have invaded Iraq by not buying their wine. Jeff is going to Jordan next month, and possibly to Tel Aviv. I told him that if he lives through it, it will be a great story.
Finally, I'm here for a conference. I've checked out my schedule online, determined that I'm a big geek for going to it, taken note that there is "free" breakfast and lunch, and tried to pick out the talks that I will be attending for the next 3 days. There is a wireless network set up, so I'll be internet-enabled all day [send me mail]. I'll see if I can post a couple of times tomorrow, and I might even try to make the computer stuff interesting to you laymen. And you geeks who read my blog [and you know who you are] feel free to take a look at the schedule and let me know what you would enjoy going to this week.
I'm getting on the road again. Today's journey will find me in Delaware for lunch with Mary Jane, and then DC, for a conference which starts tomorrow, but I know not when or where. It has been wonderful and relaxing to be in a familiar place at last. I didn't realize how much it would mean to me.
Ean says he'd stick his finger down my throat if I needed to throw up. That is the mark of true friendship.
Monday, March 22
My emails came back after I called Earthlink to ask what was going on. I'm sure "Daniel" thought I was an idiot, because when I called, everything seemed to be in order, but I have proof, my emails really were gone.
Ean and Bobby (Robert, to some) and I met Stevi (Mom, to one) for an Indian lunch, and then we went to Radio Shack to find a TV antenna. After some deliberation over whether a UHF antenna was important or VHF would suffice, we went to the counter with one of each. The man found us a combo antenna, and the world was saved. I bought a flat, retractable ethernet cord (with RJ11 adapters) because I've wanted one, and it was 40% off. It is cool, man.
Now, we're back. I thought I was going to fall asleep (food-coma), but that feeling has passed, I think. Bobby is taking a nap, and Ean and I are pretending [pretending?] to be nerds.
I really like being here.
all of my email seems to be deleted...this can't be good.
I'm relaxing in my pajamas [did that make it to "Amelia's favorite things"? yes. good.] at my aunt and uncle's house in New Jersey. This house has the most beautiful view.
I'm starting to get near the end of this road trip. It was one thing to start to head back east, but now I'm heading south, too. Closer to home. I could drive home in a day if I wanted to, but I'm going to take at least a week. The question "what are you going to do when you're finished?" is being asked with great regularity, and I usually respond with one or all of: "nothing," "I don't know," or "I don't think about it." I guess the latter really isn't true, because I have to think about it everytime someone asks me this question. The more accurate response would be, "I'm not worried about it," implying "and you shouldn't be, either," sometimes implying "leave me alone." The cat is out of the bag, though, and now that I am thinking about it, I've composed the following list of what I WON'T be doing, for those who have been concerned.
I won't be:
working at McDonald's, CVS, or Pizza Inn
waxing people's legs
going back to school this year
getting anything pierced
drinking a lot of caffeine
a golf caddy
a bank teller
joining the police force (or the military)
a zamboni driver [well, actually...]
taking up smoking
moving to the Florida Keys
shoveling horse manure
a bike courier
getting collagen injections
writing for my town's newspaper
reading nearly enough
wasting my time
This probably doesn't answer many questions for you, but it's all I got right now.
Sunday, March 21
Ean and I are hanging out in a parking lot listening to Mr. Roboto. Ean is my cousin. We spent the night in Brooklyn last night. Partied. Recruited some new readers to the website. Nick and Paul are still unsure as to my age. Nice to meet you, Tod.
We've got to get on the road. More later.
Saturday, March 20
I did a Google search to find songs about me (well, not really about me, but...) and here are the lyrics from two I found.
I also bought a book called the Girl by Meridel Le Sueur, mostly because there is a character named Amelia, and partially because it's fun to read leftist, feminist sh*t.
There is a band called Amelia Street.
I usually change the name to Amelia, when I sing Simon and Garfunkel's song, Cecilia. As a side note, that song was banned in Malawi in the 80s.
I'm going to be visiting Amelia, which is a town in Amelia County, Virginia on my way home to North Carolina.
Friday, March 19
no, there aren't any cliff's notes for this blog
The bombing and invasion of Iraq started this day, one year ago, despite the vocal opposition of most of the rest of the world. It has placed the US at odds with our allies. No weapons of mass destruction have been found. Almost no days go by without a US soldier dying, but Bush and Cheney have not attended any funerals of the soldiers who have been killed in the conflict. However, they have found the time to go to campaign fundraisers. In fact, Cheney and I were both having dinner in Sioux Falls, but mine was $4 a plate and his $4,000.
There are so many issues to work yourself up over, and as much as I'd like to know everything about the war and be able to compose an informed opinion, I can't. It's not only that the volume of information to digest is vast, but that the information available to me is limited, filtered, and misleading. I listen with a very skeptical ear. I feel helpless and apathetic.
the radio show that prompted this post.
I had the cheapest, most delicious Indian food last night. It was just like being back in England. Except I ordered kheer (rice pudding) for dessert, and I could never find that in the English restaurants I frequented. I love kheer. When it is good, it is like eating spoonfuls of cherub wings. except with rice and not feathers.
I needed to find a tv and watch the UNC game. March Madness, I love it. My mom called me with score updates, but ideally I'd be able to watch my boys play. Herlley (Hirrlee?,"ear-lay", sorry, brazillian chick, I don't know how to spell your name), Jason, David, and I went to Bukowski's, a bar down the street with tv's and pint glasses of gin and tonics. None of that 25 mL stuff that you have to contend with in the UK. Bukowski's refers to Charles Bukowski, the beat poet, and I've just spent the last hour reading his poetry.
I don't think it snowed more last night, and as much as I like to hang out with my friends, in a warm house, with predictable slackness, and a fridge full of food, and an espresso machine which I haven't posted about, but that I adore, I get to a point where I'm a bit restless to leave. I don't know exactly where I'm going next. Somewhere south.
I'm enjoying the emails that you've sent, even if I haven't always had a chance to respond. Links to the self-made man and the Littlest Hobo were appreciated, and all the books that will remain unread...
Is this a political statement?
Thursday, March 18
Yes, this has happened before, but I'm still unprepared. I have too much to write about and no clue where to start. I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that I must transmit. Let's make a list:
1) I'm in Boston, still. It's cold, and may snow more tonight.
2) Last night, Jen, Dave and I walked 2 miles in the snow to Sean's house. We hung out there some, and then proceeded to a taco joint for some sustenance. After a brief discussion, we decided we would all (there were 6 of us, now) pay 10 bucks each to get into an Irish pub with live music. A round or three of Guiness and whiskey ensued. It was fun, but pretty low key.
3) I sat in on a couple of classes today. David is studying ethics at Harvard Divinity School. We went to a Bioethics class and then a lecture about Roman Catholic Fundamentalism. Academia really is a different world, and it's nice to visit once in a while. I really love to learn, and now that I am not formally a student, I have the world as my classroom. I try to see every person that I meet as one who has something to teach me, or more precisely, someone from whom I can learn.
4) It's really hard to catch you up on all of the things I want to convey to you. During the day, I think of a billion things I'd like to write about, everything actually. I want you to know about all the little things that makes my neurons fire. However, that is an impossible task. Even if I could write about everything that I do, think, and experience, you still wouldn't understand me completely. It's sad, really, but such is human life. We'll never know what it is like to be inside someone else's head.
Wednesday, March 17
I've been edgy all day. Everything has seemed to grate against me and I've had trouble concentrating. Maybe it is due to being trapped inside all day because of the storm. One thing that I've noticed since being on my trip, is that my ADD (undiagnosed, of course) seems to be worse. I think it must be the lack of routine and structure.
I'm chillin', listening to Irish songs to get into the mood to go out and drink dinner (I mean, Guinness). David, who I am staying with here in Boston, is fasting for Lent, so I guess its good that Guinness is the beer that drinks like a meal*.
*you realize that is a reference to Campbell's Chunky soup
I'm enjoying a latte.
I talked to my friend, Cameron Kelly, yesterday. He's got a new baby (who will have doubled in size by the time I get back to see her). I told him that one of the benefits of being on this trip and having to do it all by myself is that it gives me the knowledge that I *can*. It's still a work-in-progress, but hopefully by the end of it all, I'll know that I don't have to be trapped by anything (i.e. bad job, bad relationship) that there is no situation that I can't handle (even if I handle it by driving away from it).
Aiden Grace Kelly
I've finally made it to Boston for St. Patrick's Day, and what do we have here? 8 inches of snow. I drove for 9 hours yesterday and it was snowing the whole time. Misery. It didn't really make me hate the world or anything, but I was completely exhausted and fed up with driving at the end of it all. "Knackered" would be the British term for it. Completely and utterly exhausted and worthless.
Tuesday, March 16
Rochester is sweet, kind of, except, not really.
Monday, March 15
I've never seen the Falls before, so I don't know what it would be like in the spring or summer, or the dead of winter, but there is something special about what I've just witnessed. The Falls during the transition between winter and spring are mesmerizing. The air is pregnant with potential energy. The whole scene is just that: pregnant. Let me see if I can clarify a bit. It's late enough in the year that some of the frozen things have started to melt. From what I've seen during this transition period, I can imagine that the Falls become completely frozen over and covered in snow during the winter. The remnants of the winter still abound. "Remnants" is really too small of a word for the enormous sheets of snow and ice that seem to hover right above the falling water. The snow there makes me think of whales. It's smooth and large and curved and I can imagine it being whale skin, especially when the melting icicles on the edges look like the mouth of a great whale.
I have seen a lot on my trip so far. I've seen and been amazed by towering skyscrapers, vast tracts of land, imposing mountains, familiar and unfamiliar landmarks, water in all shapes and sizes, and the majesty of everything around me. As I explore new places and see things I've always had to just imagine, I realize that it shouldn't take a special occasion to appreciate the beauty around you, and we often live like it does.
I've spent most of my time here sitting on a bench and watching some little waterfalls that were several hundred yards away from the main Niagara Falls. Only in the shadow of the big waterfall, can these seem disappointing. I saw the big one, too, and it was definitely impressive, but the smaller ones had just as much to offer to the moment. There was something magical about how the water curved around this one rock, seeming to defy the laws of physics. I was hypnotized by the flow, the energy, and the activeness amidst everything frozen.
You aren't going to have a chance to experience everything. You won't be able to see it all or do it all, no matter how hard you try. Don't overlook what you've got right in front of you, the duck pond that you drive by everyday, the suspension bridge that you cross on your way to your parents' house, your girlfriend's favorite worn-out t-shirt, the view from your office window, that pesky insect, the way the sky looks right now, your own hands, your own feet, your mind, and your heart. Take just a second to enjoy what you've got, before doing what we all do in this consumer culture: thinking too much about what we don't have, about what the next big thing will be. We miss so much.
If you haven't noticed, I take the weekends off and don't update my site so much. Although, I've been quite a few miles since Friday, I stayed put in Chicago for most of the weekend. I've been 550 miles in the last 12 hours, which means that I have done much more driving than sleeping. I'll remedy that as soon as I can. My next stop is Niagara Falls. Wicked cool, man.
I'm driving through Ontario, and had to get the third degree at the border. Besides the usual "where are you going?", "how long are you staying?", I got the "what do you do at home?" to which I really have no answer. I didn't think "I'm a wanderer" would really go over well. The customs agent also asked me what I carried to protect myself, at which point she told me I'd have to abandon my pepper spray at the border. Damn Canada. Oh well, I'll buy some more when I get back to my heathen nation. America, I miss you already.
Thursday, March 11
Laura and I were going to hit a whiskey tasting tonight, but it was too far to walk, and we weren't going to "taste" whiskey for an hour and then drive home. We made rice krispie treats instead. Daniel helped.
It's cold here in Madison, today. I'm not a fan of cold, and if I could find a nice tropical island somewhere (without hurricanes) then I would move there as soon as I could. I just don't feel like leaving the house, but it's not terribly warm in the house, either. argh.
Read about intellectual property rights at Illegal Art. I wish I could wax poetic about how great the Grey Album is, but words are failing me now. It's good stuff, if you're a Beatles or JayZ fan, or if you're just open to new experiences.
I made this purchase in Wall, South Dakota. It's now one of my prized possesions. It can make anyone a western temptress, though Genya was already one, and I've been working on it myself.
Tonight, we went dancing at a fundraising event. There were a couple of bands playing at a club in order to raise money and send some cows to Sri Lanka. We weren't too impressed with the bands, but there was free cheese and chocolate. We'd already danced enough at the house before going out, so the night wasn't disappointing.
Laura baked an upside-down banana cake which was divine. Laura is also divine. A fantastically cool chick.
Tomorrow, I'm getting up at 4AM to co-drive a friend to the airport. Then I'm hopefully going back to sleep, buying running shoes, knee-high boots, and a mini-skirt, maybe. I might pretend to be a student again, too. That was kind of cool.
Wednesday, March 10
I'm hanging out at the University of Wisconsin where Genya studies sustainable agriculture. I'm pretending to be a college student again. G said we'd be learning about asters, but it appears we're learning about nightshades and milkweeds and pitcher plants.
American Pitcher Plants are closely related to blueberries.
Ok, we are learning about asters, I think. I'm glad that I don't have to learn this for the exam. Peltate? what's that mean? Boy, my handwriting has really gone downhill.
It must be really tough to be a taxonomist. Everytime this guy mentions a plant, he talks about how it is similar to some other family of plants. Bringing order to all of this madness that life is, it is such a human thing and it is evident in everything that we do. As a species, we're such control freaks -- always looking for order, truth, and meaning in life. It's why we're such a productive (or from other perspectives: destructive) species. We are controlling our environment and searching for meaning.
Try not to confuse Cornaceae (dogwood family) with Viburnums
It must take a special person to be a botanist.
Cameron Kelly, the prof just talked about your gourd drink. He says it comes from a member of the holly family.
I wish I knew what time it was. My classroom attention span (at least in high school trigonometry class) used to be 35 minutes. Fortunately, this class is only 50 minutes long, so I'll only be distracted for a short time.
He's speaking in a completely different language. Botany jargon. Oh no, my brain is going off on a Chomsky-esque language kick. It's fairly cool to be able to multitask: listen to botany class, write about stuff for my website, think about humans and the importance of language, all at the same time. Ooh, he said periwinkle. That used to be my favorite eye shadow: Periwinkle Blue. I miss the 80s.
This morning I'm in Madison, Wisconsin, and I'll be here for a few days. I'm staying with Genya who has made me a delicious oatmeal breakfast which will probably fill me up all day. I got in around 7:30 last night, talked a lot to G, Laura, and Finn, and listened to good music. This morning Genya and I talked about God and spirituality and other light chat.
My favorite quotes from the walk to class were:
"Your wife better be in f*cking labor, you a**hole." --G says to a driver who wants to ignore that we are crossing the street.
"Boyfriends are like underwear, you've gotta change 'em every once in a while." --I'm paraphrasing a bit
We spent lots of time laughing.
Tuesday, March 9
driving through Iowa,
listening to music and getting chills from it,
I wouldn't trade that feeling.
the point where your body has a physical reaction to something mental
is what makes me happy to be alive
I've just come out of a bookstore in Albert Lea, Minnesota. I love bookstores, but I often start to [dissolve, self-destruct, implode] in them. The problem is being surrounded by so many possibilities. I'm not a decision maker, but it's not the choosing of which books to buy that makes me go a little mad, even though that's a difficult task. I want to do it all, and it's the fact that I am faced with seemingly limitless things to read and know, and only limited time to do it.
I headed towards Mount Rushmore the other night and looked for a town to stay in that was nearby. On my way, I came across the Crazy Horse Monument which was well lit and caught my attention. This monument is a sculpture-in-progress and it's huge. It is a statue of Crazy Horse being built out of a mountain. I tried to take a picture, but it came out kind of blurry. The Crazy Horse Memorial website has better pictures.
I found a free cabin to stay in at Beaver Lake Campground. The cabin was half-finished and the owner said I was welcome to crash there if I wanted. yay, free! It was a nice little cabin and I made myself at home in the loft. There was a space heater, so I wouldn't freeze and electricity, so I could listen to CDs on my computer. I slept well and woke up at 5 so I could get to Mt Rushmore by sunrise.
two mount rushmore pictures, more to follow
I'm hanging out in Jackson, Minnesota and it's checkout time at the motel I'm in so I've got to get out of here. I'm going to send out some postcards, so email me your address and I'll send you one.
I've decided to add Iowa to my trip, because I'm so close to it right now. I should be in Madison, Wisconsin, tonight, if I don't get distracted by the Mall of America or any of the other wonderful things Minnesota has to offer.
Monday, March 8
I'm sitting in a cafe in Rapid City, South Dakota. I wrote some over the weekend, but my computer crashed and ate what I wrote, so I'll have to see what I can remember and regurgitate.
Last you heard, I was in Denver on my way to Keystone, which is a ski resort about 2 hours west of Denver. I had just had blood drawn at a blood center there. If you remember, I have come up as a possible match for a bone marrow transplant patient (see this post), but I needed to be tested again to confirm if I was a perfect match or not. The testing will take 2-12 weeks, and I think that there is only a 25% chance that I'll be a perfect match with this patient. There is not a question in my mind about giving bone marrow to a complete stranger, and I encourage everyone who feels the same way to put themselves on the national donor registry. You never know whose life you'll have the chance to save.
While driving around the south of Denver I came across a very strange neighborhood and thought that I'd crossed into the Twilight Zone. I turned off of the main highway onto Burgundy St. Then, I made my first right and after driving around another minute or two, I noticed something very strange. All of the streets in this neighborhood were named "Burgundy". There was Burgundy Place, Burgundy Street, Burgundy Circle, Burgundy Way, Burgundy Lane... it was ridiculous. A nightmare for the pizza delivery girl, I'm sure. [she sees red]
In the morning, on the way to Denver, I drove through snow showers in Colorado Springs. I had plenty of gas and was planning on driving straight through. The interstate was fairly clear, but the side roads and exits had a little more snow. Then, I saw an exit sign I couldn't resist.
The world is always a better place with Krispy Kreme.
the rockies rock
The drive west from Denver into the Rockies was breathtaking as you might imagine. I hadn't read the directions to the ski resort, but I'd seen it on the map and figured I'd be able to get there. I turned onto a highway that took me higher and higher into the moutains. The snow was getting worse and I was petrified that I was going to hit a slick spot and slide off of the mountain, never to be found again. There was no railing in most places to keep me from driving into the snowy, rocky abyss that lay to my right. As the snow fell harder and the road conditions got worse, I decided that I wasn't supposed to die this way, I had a road trip to finish, so I turned around and made it safely down the mountain. Even though I've got four new tires, my Honda is no 4-wheel drive, like nearly every other vehicle on that road. My Civic has the power of 10 little mice that run around under the hood. At 12,000 feet, they start to run out of oxygen.
I made it to the ski resort and hung out with about 15 people, most of whom I'd never met before. The first night we stayed up playing Trivial Pursuit and everyone's favorite drinking game (you know which one, except we played it with wine--bad idea). The next day after Dan made us all breakfast, I spent some quality time in the hot tub, while everyone else was skiing. There was an injury and Mike and Val came back early, because some [expletive] crashed into him on the slopes. He had a bruised rotator cuff, which would become problematic at 5AM.
I watched the Carolina game. hmmm. I don't need to say anymore about that.
Went to bed early, so I'd be able to have a full day of driving, but awoke to screaming at 5, because Mike's shoulder dislocated while he was sleeping. Val was calling 911, but it popped back in while the paramedics were still on the phone, and Mike decided he didn't need to go to the emergency room. I've been in lots of pain before, but this sounded horrendous. The house settled down, and I got a couple more hours of sleep.
I drove through these 4 states yesterday.
[Welcome to colorful Colorado]
I've got a slew of scenery pictures (there's not much else besides gorgeous scenery where I've been lately) which I'll put up in the photos section soon. I spent more time on gravel roads, than I have in a while, and took my time rambling from Colorado to South Dakota. I washed my car which it needed desperately after Colorado snow and gravel roads, and watched the sunset as I drove towards Mount Rushmore and looked for a place to stay for the night.
to be continued...
Friday, March 5
I finally found some internet, and want to post properly about some twilight zone stuff I've just seen, but I've got to head on to Keystone, so I'll post when I get there and you can bask in the anticipation.
I've given blood, too, but more on that later, as well.
It snowed last night!
I'm in Walsenburg, Colorado staying at a super cheap motel that has no phone and is skimpy on the heat. But it's cheap, and I've got my own phone and warm clothes, so I'm ok. Only I can't dial up to the internet :(
The towns that I've driven through here in Colorado and the one I'm staying in are one-street ski towns built along the highway. Lots of neon to attract tourists to various motels and saloons. It's the wild, wild west.
Last night I heard a song on the radio that I thought was eerily appropriate for my trip.
I'm sitting in traffic
For the 5th year in a row
Wasting my time
Just to get
Where I don't even wanna go
I started jotting things down
On a krispy kreme sack
Everything I'd do
If I could leave this place
And never look back
I wanna do it all
Visit paris in the fall
Watch the Yankees play ball
I wanna take it all in
Catch a few beads
Down at Mardi Gras
Start a tradition
Lay down the law
I wanna do it all
I want to drink tequila
Down in Tijuana
Say why not
When somebody says
Hey do you wanna
I wanna get my heart broke
Once or twice
Settle down with the love of my life
Rock little babies to sleep at night
I wanna spend a day
Every now and then
Just doin what I want to do
When I wanna do it
Anytime I wanna do it
I wanna do it all
See Niagara falls
Fight city hall
Feel good in my skin
Beating the odds
With my back to the wall
Try to rob Peter
Without paying Paul
I wanna do it all
Ok, no more dillydallying, it's started to snow harder and I've got to get on the road.
Thursday, March 4
After leaving the motel this morning, I drove into downtown Roswell and visited the UFO museum. The town itself wasn't as kitsch as I expected, but there were plenty of alien-themed stores and gift shops preying on believers.
My advice to anyone driving through this part of the country: buy gas, early and often. I didn't run out of gas or anything, but that's because someone else had already given me the wise advice, and I'm passing it on to you. Lucky you. Getting all my wisdom for free. You just wait, one day, it's not going to be so cheap, my advice. [Let's hope it's not cheap.]
The reason you want to buy gas whenever you can, is that there is a whole lot of nothing out here. I drove a hundred miles and didn't see a thing. Just a lot of land and some more land. No gas stations. No rest stops. Not a drive for the unprepared. or the incontinent.
Some other advice that I came to on my own accord, is not to buy gas at the first gas station in town. Inevitably, the gas station in the middle of town will be cheaper, as much as 10 cents per gallon cheaper. Yes, that makes sense, because only the travelers stop eagerly at the first gas station they've seen in 90 miles, and they can gouge out your pockets. Alright, that's all of my advice for the day. Maybe you'll never use it, but don't say I never gave you anything.
Mornings are great. Waking up early really makes me feel like I've got the day by the balls [or something].
I'm in Roswell, and I've been up for a couple of hours. Waking up was completely disconcerting, because I've moved into a different time zone and had no idea what time it was. My phone is supposed to automagically reset itself for the timezone it's in so I didn't bother messing with it, but it didn't reset. So, my phone is still set for Central time, my car clock is set properly for Mountain time, and my computer is set for Eastern time. That was hard to work out while I still had the morning fuzzies.
I can't believe how much "nothing" I drove through, yesterday. There were hardly any cars or people anywhere. It reminded me of the last time I drove across the country. John and I decided that there was plenty of space for people. Yeah, the east coast seems crowded at times, and housing prices are getting outrageous in places, but there is all of this space out here in the middle of America. It sucks, though. I wouldn't recommend moving anytime soon.
Yesterday also came equipped with a monstrous mood swing. I was thrilled to be in Roswell early enough to spend some downtime (read: not sleeping or driving). I drove around a bit and found a great motel which was half the price of the chains and just as good. I moved my stuff in and looked up a restaurant. I tried El Toro Bravo, because I'd heard a radio advert for them. I was going to get my food to go, because I haven't really mastered the eating-in-restaurants-alone thing. That takes a special person.
I got there and ordered my food, and some Sangria to drink while I waited. An older guy (55-ish) came in a sat by himself. I thought, maybe I'll go sit with him while my food comes out, it will be nice to chat with someone for a minute. It always takes guts to approach a stranger, but I walked over there and said, "do you mind if I sit with you while I wait for my food?" He said, "no" which I thought was "no, I don't mind", but then he clarified it with "no, I don't want you to sit with me."
Well, then, be that way.
So that put me in a bad mood, because I don't think I handle rejection very well. I understand what his motivations might have been, and I wanted to respect him for saying no, because maybe he's been a doormat all of his life and his therapist told him to start taking charge and not letting people walk on him. Or maybe he's just divorced his cheating wife, and the sight of women makes him sick. Anyway, whatever the reason, I was still alone, and feeling shitty. I was starting to catch a cold and I was tired, and it was not much fun to be me for a while.
Fortunately, my bad moods don't last long, because here I am, back on top of the world. In love with myself and everyone around me [well, no one is around me, but you get the picture].
I don't really know what I'm going to do today. I'll check out Roswell a bit and drive north. I'm visiting Marianne (John's (Ox's) sister) next in Colorado. She's normally in Boulder, but this weekend she's taking a ski weekend with friends in Keystone. Lucky me. I'm going to hang out at a ski resort.
Wednesday, March 3
I've just finished walking through Carlsbad Caverns and I've spent the last 2 hours being awestruck. It was unbelievable and amazing. I'm at a loss for better words to describe it, but I took a lot of pictures. There weren't many people there and there were points on the trail where I couldn't hear a single thing, which is a rare experience these days. It's funny, with all of our sensory overstimulation, how uncomfortable people are with silence. Meditation takes sooo much practice, because quietly doing nothing is just not something that we do regularly.
My brain is all weird from the caverns, the songs on the radio sound slow, I'm hungry.
I left Odessa, but didn't make it far down the highway before seeing an exit for a meteor crater. As it was only two miles away, I decided to go check it out. On the way there, I had to stop at a railroad crossing and wait for a train to pass. Usually, I'm rushing from place to place and having to wait on anything is at best unpleasant, but with nowhere to be but where I was, I didn't mind waiting at all.
I pulled in to the Odessa Meteor Crater Museum parking lot and I was the only car there. The fog was still thick and not much of the landscape was to be seen through it. It was eerie to walk alone through the cold fog and hear only the noise of the wind and the ropes of the flagpole clanging against it. I like the solitude, it's part of the adventure, but it's still creepy. I've got a vivid imagination reinforced by years of television and movies, so I can easily imagine the boogeymen that prey on lone girls in meteor craters.
I walked into the crater as some other car was pulling into the lot. I read about how they found the remains of a prehistoric elephant, and how there was a big hole drilled into the middle for research purposes. I ran through the rest crater and checked out the museum which I had just noticed was open.
On the way back to the interstate, I had to wait for another long train at that same intersection. I wasn't as thrilled about it the second time.
No freaking complimentary coffee! I missed it by 8 minutes. Don't they realize that people need coffee after 9AM, too? I suppose it's ok, because I didn't really need to be caffeinated and they probably wouldn't have decaf. I'm drinking bottled water and eating a cereal bar instead. I have at least 36 bottles of water in my car trunk, and that's the best idea my mom has had lately.
Yesterday was another long driving day: 10+ hours. It makes me want to be a truck driver when I grow up. When I would make the drive home from Washington, I thought that 4 hours in the car was all I could handle, but I'm not having much trouble driving twice that now. I wonder if I ever make that trip again, if it will seem as long as it used to.
Driving down I-10 across Texas was beautiful mostly. Not too many cars once I got past San Antonio. There was a thick fog for several hours, just like there had been when I first drove into Texas. It made everything seem even more empty than it really was.
I stopped in Junction, Texas for dinner. It's a small town, but bigger than most of the towns I'd driven by. I stopped at the Subway there and got a veggie sub. It amazes me the appetite I can work up by driving. And how I sleep! When I get to a hotel after a day's worth of driving, I picture myself reading a book, uploading photos to the web, even watching TV, but I'm completely wiped out, and it's all I can do to brush my teeth and take off my boots.
There was a bum at a rest stop who said he was doing ok, considering he was the poorest man in the world. I told him he probably wasn't the poorest man in the world, because he had a bag of pork rinds and some people don't even have that. He smiled at me with very few teeth and said, "you're right, I do have pork rinds."
I've got to get back to driving. I'm going to Carlsbad Caverns today and Roswell, NM, too, to see the aliens.
I made it to Odessa, TX [dammit, I didn't leave the state after all] last night and this morning I've just driven around to find an open wireless network which I could borrow for a minute of internet access. Last night I chose to stay in the Motel 6 over the Best Western, even though BW's high speed internet access in all rooms beckoned me. It wasn't worth the extra 30 bucks that they wanted to charge me for a room. I think that highspeed internet is a much needed amenity and I've often said, "who needs heat when you've got broadband?". However, I've never said "who needs to eat when you've got broadband?" [though I've thought it] and I'm not flush with cash, so wasn't going to shell out anymore. I envision a day when I can pull into any reststop and surf or check my email with my pda wirelessly. Free internet everywhere!
I'm going to go get some complimentary coffee and then tell you more in an hour. Enjoy your morning.
Tuesday, March 2
Texas and I are through. I can't wait to get out of this state, and I'm going to drive all day to do it. It's nothing personal, Texas, it's just time that I get back on the road.
Monday, March 1
Part of the reason for this roadtrip is to spend lots of time on the road in "thought mode." Contrary to the belief of some of my readers, I'm not taking this trip so you have something to read every morning (or every couple of days) though it might seem like it sometimes. :) It is time for forced reflection. What else am I supposed to do when I'm on the road all day?
We grow up, and if we are lucky, we have parents that teach us about the world. They teach us what is right and wrong and true and false. We have no reason to argue and little information about the world that isn't filtered by them. We become teenagers and we hate our parents and they are stupid and they don't have a clue about the way the world works. And we grow up a little more and then maybe they aren't so dumb after all, but we make our own decisions now. We make our decisions through this complex value system that evolves from everything we've ever experienced. If you are the kind of person that holds doors for old ladies or donates your money to the local Boys and Girls Club, or if you call your friends on their birthdays or make an effort to make the people around you happy, then you do these things because you learned somehow that it was the right thing for you to do. The reasons are myriad, and you probably can't explain why you do most of the things you do.
I would like to be able to explain why I do the things that I do. It's so easy to spend your time thinking about what's on tv tonight and what deadline you have coming up at work and what other bullshit, but so much harder to think deeper than that. I would like to know what drives me to be who I've turned out to be.
It's part of the "wanting to know everything about everything" desire I have.
This is crap, anyway. I've got so much more I'd really like to write about, but I'll get back on the road instead. I don't really expect to have an ephiphany on this trip and suddenly be one with the universe, but I think that if I really try... It's all about being aimless and anchorless. Having no boyfriend (having lost the person that was my anchor) and having no father to tell me what to do (having lost another anchor), having just finished a degree and having seemingly limitless opportunities (hard to aim at all of those targets), I just needed to run away on a big road trip. It really is running away, and if you think otherwise, well, I fooled you.
I've got most of this week to myself. Lots of driving, few friends along the way for at least a week. It should be pretty interesting, I think.
PS. This guy said that my site was nice, but didn't capture my spirit...I think a captured spirit sounds like torture. ;)
so if there is one joke that you should learn this year:
What is the opposite of Christopher Reeve?
Have you run out of stuff to read? Check the archives!