in oakland now, staying
at aunt's place.
waiting for pictures to
download to computer...
went to the jelly belly
factory. it was shut down for the only week of the year...what lucky timing.
so we didn't get to see it up and running, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
will have pictures up shortly.
probably going into the
bay area to check things out tonight.
didn't have much time tonight
so we went to berkeley and hung out.
on my hitchhiking trip
i remember feeling really free to do whatever i wanted...whether it was
lay down on the sidewalk or look like a bum...i knew i look like a transient
so i allowed myself certain freedoms that come with looking like that.
if you see a guy in a suit laying down at a bus stop you'll think twice
about it, if you see someone who is obviously living out of their backpack
then you won't...
at the jelly belly factory
there were these "bertie botts" (from the harry potter books) jelly bean
flavors...they had horseradish, grass, black pepper, buttered toast, booger
and (my least favorite) sardine. all of them tasted like crap. funny, but
i wouldn't suggest tasting them. i did it just because i was on the trip
and figured i may as well go for it.
jelly belly has an affinity
for ronald reagan because while he was governor he gave them a lot of popularity...it's
a sad story.
they had these murals made
from jelly beans - the first one they ever made was of ronny himself.
some of the pics aren't
going to be the best quality because of size constraints...
tomorrow we'll likely hop
the bart into the city and check out some museums and the like...we have
plenty of guest passes and such from my aunt and family.
not certain how great the
quality of these pics is since i'm using the notebook...lemme know if they're
A tribute to the man
who made jelly belly beans popular...
Ronny writes to Rowland
(founder of Jelly Belly)
went through oakland and
ended up in SF. saw fisherman's wharf and sites along the way. lombard
street was among the sites. went through chinatown. saw alcatraz from a
distance. transamerica building. coit tower. a wwII submarine. golden gate
bridge....the usual SF stuff.
ended up going to SF museum
of modern art and that was really cool. saw chelsea clinton there. not
walked up and down many
many hills. we're pretty sore. did miles and miles of walking.
there was this really funny
street guy who would scare people walking by...he'd hide behind a few bush
branches and when people would walk by he'd jump out at them and scare
them. luckily he didn't get us. got a pretty decent picture of him scaring
this one couple though...
downtown oakland is pretty
saw more homeless people
than i've seen in a long time...about the same concentration as santa monica
seeing chelsea clinton
with her boyfriend was pretty funny. there were two bodyguard chicks who
were following them the whole time, but they kept their distance.
downloading images to the
computer right now...taking a while. i've got a 32mb media card so i can
fit like 140 pictures on it, convenient it is.
ate clam chowder for the
first time. also had fish n' chips. both were good. the fish n' chips were
plenty more sites to see...the
exploratorium, the zoo, and the oakland museum of CA are among them.
didn't drive the car at
all today because public transit is good, though expensive.
amores perros is playing
in berkeley for 5.75 at 5pm...might check that out tomorrow. we shall see.
while we were in SF moma
we weren't allowed to take any pictures so that kinda sucked...tried to
snap some of chelsea and her boy toy, but didn't do such a great job.
also saw a row of chess
games going on...some were on the clock, others were not. pretty fun to
cover of the next national
enquirer..."daddy's little girl picks up some tricks of her own..."
crazy bush guy scares
tourist while the rest of us look on and laugh...
went into oakland today
and checked out the oakland museum of california. it was smallish, but
still nice. had lots and lots of artifacts documenting CA's history. also
had lots of art by CA artists, most of that was good. had a photography
exhibit which was also very nice.
watched amores perros while we were in berkeley. also ate burritos at the
place which was voted best burrito in berkeley in 1997. they were good,
not great. melanie had the pesto burrito with a spinach tortilla...it was
tomorrow we will probably
check out the zoo or the planetarium.
"science expresses in human
terms our dynamic relation to surrounding reality." santayana
"nature knows no pause
in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction." -
two very modern statements
which make me made. faith in science and constant evolution hasn't really
helped us as a society.
can't wait to get onto
the next leg of our trip. we'll probably pass through sonoma or something,
but the real fun comes in sequoia national park...
after all the other activities
were finished we watched tv. andy was back on conan last night and that
from the oakland museum
of art...an awkward superman.
watched a couple movies
today and nothing else.
tomorrow we'll go to the
zoo or some such activity.
went to the oakland zoo.
pretty cool animals. i
especially liked the squirrel monkeys and the chimps. there was one warthog
which was a real mean bastard. the tigers were cute, the lions were boring,
the elephants were entertaining.
melanie made some really
we also had a great breakfast
of potatoes, toast, and eggs.
tomorrow we plan on going
to the botanical gardens and the planetarium. probably our last day in
the bay area.
if pictures don't load
at first try clicking the reload button or right clicking on the broken
link and choosing "show picture."
need more batteries for
after tomorrow phone access
will be non-existent. won't be able to upload page until we get to melanie's
downloading photos right
now...going to take a while.
watched south park last
on comedy central and they said "shit" 162 times. they also said asshole.
i don't know how they are getting away with it since it's not a cable station
like HBO...it's part of basic cable like MTV. it was pretty cool and mostly
because it's so forbidden. hmmm...
saw a church called "the
church of perfect freedom." we all have different notions of what comprises
freedom and certainly of what comprises "perfect" freedom, but church wouldn't
be anywhere in my definition of perfect freedom. being beholden to a a
set of "ethics," rules, and constraints other than those imposed purely
by yourself (is that possible?) to me doesn't allow for freedom. that's
oh, melanie was on ben
stein's money the other day and my aunt was able to tape most of it so
that was pretty cool.
watching daily show right
now but some guy who is in AI is a guest so i left the room. i don't want
to know anything about the movie before i watch it.
listened the zombies today
and the guess who yesterday.
it rained quite a bit and
that was lame. we were going to go to the planetarium, but it would have
been a six mile walk and that wasn't an option in the rain. buses are expensive.
think we'll do it tomorrow - assuming it's not raining.
BART is better than most
public transportation i've seen, although it's just like most of the stuff
they have back east i suppose. i'll know for certain in a couple months.
the car has a weird smell
about it...is it just oil burning from when i had to destroy the oil filter
to get it off? who knows.
i hope that SF isn't the
best U.S. city like i've heard from johnny and vern. it's got character
and it certainly has its advantages, but it didn't "wow" me. i'm not much
of a big city type of guy. that's weird since i live in LA, but it makes
sense since LA isn't really a big city like SF or NYC - all crammed together
with tall buildings and the like. LA is more spread out. i also don't spend
much time in downtown when i'm there.
melanie is the best.
year of the guru is a good
animals song. eric burdon - the first white rapper?
depending upon our mood
and the weather we may leave tomorrow. i'm guessing not, but we could...that's
freedom - relatively speaking.
can't listen to much music
because we take a lot of public transit and i don't have a cd player that
i can just pop a cd into (unless you count the laptop). want to listen
to some autechre. listening to mp3s off a cd right now. it'll do.
when i sign online my mp3s
will start on a half second loop...makes listening to them impossible.
interesting. don't know how to fix it.
i'm really glad i was able
to get the notebook to work. it took a lot of doing, but i finally got
bought some boots for melanie
today. bought a camera case for the digital camera. bought some postcards.
if you want one email me here.
after wednesday we won't
have phone/email access for a few days...until we get to melanie's grandmother's
place. after we leave here we're probably going to sonoma, then the redwood
national forest, then some places in OR then finally the seattle area.
it's getting late.
went into the city today.
went to the california
academy of sciences.
saw all sorts of great
exhibits there...from geology to biology to astronomy.
walked a whole lot.
ate at california pizza
kitchen, it was very good.
probably leaving tomorrow.
leaving pretty soon. going
to hit up the santa rosa area and try to find some camping in healdsburg.
doing laundry and getting
things ready for the next leg of the trip...the harder, less sheltered
leg of the trip.
it might rain on us. it's
definitely raining all over WA, but we won't be up there for a while.
ended up going to cotati
and having cheap pizza for lunch, it was good.
went to oliver's market
and stocked up on bread, cheese, and gourmet olives.
skipped santa rosa and
went straight to lake sonoma where there is a free camp ground run by the
army corps of engineers.
had to hike a good distance
(with lots of elevation changes...carrying a buttload of stuff) to the
camp grounds. there was a deer when we first arrived and, other than the
occasional boater, that was all the life we saw for a while.
it was a really nice spot
because we were completely isolated. the scenery was beautiful.
it was pretty wet though
since it had rained off and on all day.
oh, the trip through napa
valley type scenery was really really nice also.
tempted to get drunk on
all the free wine tasting opportunities, but thought better of it.
set up camp and went to
sleep after a dinner of bread and cheese.
woke up pretty early (10am)
and had some coffee and granola bars.
took down camp and got
ready for the big trip up the hill back to the car. the hike almost killed
melanie, but she's a survivor so it was all good.
drove to hwy 1...saw mendecino
and the coast...it was nice, but i liked it inland where the sun was up
and it was a bit warmer.
stopped in mendecino and
was going to check out the botanical gardens, but they charge six bucks
a pop for entrance so we opted to hit the road for fort bragg...hometown
fort bragg is kind of a
hole....maybe some would classify it as "quaint," but it seemed like more
of a hole to me.
ate dinner in fort bragg
and headed off to jackson state forest.
eventually found the free
campgrounds and we're settled there now.
most of the time we've
been here we've been gathering fire wood which is hard to come by since
it's wet up here.
nice grounds keeper guy
hooked us up with a bunch of oak.
saw a fox about 10 feet
from us and a large banana slug while we were walking. also found a small
snake and plenty of termites in the wood i was cutting from a stump.
listening to santana right
we plan on going to redwood
national park tomorrow. will be a long drive, but it should be nice. will
finally get to use my national parks pass.
left jackson state forest
and headed toward redwood national park...
took a while to find a
campground because the free campground book i have gives bad directions.
we ended up finding a place
in the national park right off the ocean...there was forest in between
us and the ocean, but there was less than 1/4 mile of a walk to get to
there were lots of tidal
pools and such along the beach and we plan on hitting them tomorrow.
the hike from the car to
the campground is only about half a mile so it's much better than our spot
at lake sonoma.
saw a grey whale, seals,
seagulls, ducks, a couple deer, rabbits, a snake, a pelican, starfish,
sea anemone, some anchovies which were getting washed up on the beach as
the tide came in...lots and lots of wildlife here, it's pretty great.
battery runs out quickly
on the notebook, kinda lame.
out campground has only
5 sites and at least two of them are occupied by a boy scout troop. kids
are loud, but neat overall.
i updated some of the stuff
below so look for new pictures.
just before sunset we were
watching the grey whale feed on the anchovies or sardines or whatever they
were and i decided to run up to the car and get my other camera and some
batteries for the digital since they were dead. as i was running back down
the path to the beach i saw a fawn just feet ahead of me on the path. it
was really small and since its back was to the ocean (or at least that's
the way the path led) it wanted to go past me, but it couldn't. it looked
really scared and i tried to move aside while grabbing for my camera to
take a picture of it. since i didn't want to scare it off i didn't use
the flash so most of the pictures didn't come out so well. it was really
cool though because it was just 5 or so yards away from me...after that
i ran down to the rocks on the beach and told melanie about it...she had
been watching the seals the whole time.
nature is pretty cool and
national parks are really cool. i think i've decided that teddy roosevelt
would have to be in my top ten presidents ever, if i were to make such
went to cresent city for
lunch and ate at carl's jr. cresent city is lame. half of the city was
once destroyed in a tidal wave...looks like it hasn't recovered since.
packed up and headed south
to the inner part of redwood national park.
went on a scenic drive
and a little hike with some points of interest.
redwoods are freaking huge.
hopefully in the last leg of the trip we can check out sequoia national
park because it's even better.
headed off to oregon and
that's where we are now.
not sure of our exact location....there's
supposed to be a campground on this dirt road we took, but we can't find
we've just settled in a
secluded turnout off the road and we're going to camp here for the night.
long drive behind us, can't wait to cook up the hot dogs.
been satisfied with the
cooler's ability to keep things cool. ice can last for days and that's
one less thing to worry about.
i guess i turn 22 in a
few days. whoop whoop.
left from the middle of
nowhere kinda early today and headed toward crater lake.
got to crater lake and
finally got to take advantage of the national parks pass - saved $10 there.
oregon has some interesting
laws...more on that later.
noticed that the speed
limit signs have a different font than those of california.
crater lake is really really
nice. some of the nicest hues of blue i've ever seen. definitely worth
went to the info center
and learned about the geological history behind crater lake - basically
a huge eruption caused a six mile wide and 2,000 foot deep hole in the
ground. now it's the home of the deepest lake in the u.s. and the coolest
blues i've seen. definitely recommendable.
found a place in the park
to camp out for free...only a small hike to get there as well.
tomorrow we have to wake
up early to get melanie registered for classes.
probably going to try and
start making some time by getting through oregon quickly.
first a discussion on the
pecularities of oregon...
you can't pump your own
gas in oregon. an interesting decision by the legislature...possible safety
concerns on this one, but i've found that the biggest impact this has is
on the economy. from my limited experience it seems that gas pumping is
an easy job and as such seems to attract people with limited marketable
skills. so what we have is a law which limits personal freedom very slightly
in order to employ thousands and thousands of people who either wouldn't
have work or would have worse paying work (gas pumpers are often tipped).
overall i'm in support of this law and see it as a pretty good use of government
there isn't a sales tax
in oregon. this is really really nice. i'm not sure how their budget works
since so many economies depend on this rather large portion of income,
but they seem to get by just fine. an added bonus of this is that if you
are an oregon resident and flash your id in washington you don't have to
pay sales tax. very cool.
in portland you must show
a copy of your lease agreement and apartment key (or equivilants) in order
to buy alcohol. the obvious impact of this is that you can't be homeless
and purchase alcohol in portland. i'm not so sure about this one...it serves
to rehabilitate (by making it harder to obtain alcohol) the homeless alcoholic
and it also probably keeps the homeless population in portland pretty low.
an interesting method.
went to eugene, salem,
and portland today. portland was nice and so was eugene - went to the REI
there. salem wasn't so great from what i saw. portland was nice overall.
had a good feel to it. some nice brick architechture as well as the first
US postmodern building. didn't seem that postmodern to me, but it was a
cool building nonetheless. would have liked to spend more time in portland,
but olympia called...
ended up in olympia which
is where melanie's grandmother lives and we're there now.
tomorrow there is a fourth
of july bbq with her uncle's family so we'll be doing that, but i don't
know what we'll do the rest of the day.
saw mt. saint helens.
so out of the two states
we been through so far i'd say CA is definitely better. portland has these
guides who wear green jackets and will help you find your way around the
city - a plus. portland and eugene combined may match up to the bay area
in some ways, but definitely not in others. there wasn't much diversity
in oregon and it lost big points for that. la and the bay area have more
diversity than you can shake a stick at and thus they have the major edge
there. eugene and portland were cleaner and pretty well laid out, but it's
hard to compare such different cities. i'd rather live in portland than
the bay area, but CA, as a state, easily blows OR away. i don't know that
any state can compare to the diversity that CA offers. what i'm saying
is that CA has the second biggest city, the highest and lowest points in
the continental us, it's got open spaces and metropolitan areas, deserts
and redwood forests, ethnic diversity, etc. so it juts seems pretty tough
to beat that. OR is still pretty sweet in my book, just different.
one of the first signs
i saw in WA was on the side of I-5 which read "support the boy scouts'
decision for decency"... i'll let you be the judge.
oh, saw powell's book store
in portland and it was absolutely huge, they say it's the biggest in the
US. i think it's four floors high and had everything from philosophy and
travel to cooking and self help.
the odometer is past 99000
nothing else of interest
i can think of now.
truth in advertising...
i've got poison ivy and
it's no fun.
woke up later than expected
and my poison ivy wounds were bugging the hell out of me.
drove 130 miles to olympic
national park and then drove even further to see the rainforests. rainforests
only because they get about 150 inches of rain a year. look a lot different
than south american rainforests.
olympic national park is
a huge circle which is encompassed by hwy 101.
identified a few trees
and went for a small hike, but mostly drove a lot...almost 400 miles in
the day. went to the national park and then back to melanie's grandmother's
house. taking her to the farmer's market tomorrow at 10am.
went through port angeles,
but didn't go to the island because of a lack of time.
got back home at around
went to the farmer's market
and it was about 50% bigger than the one they have in davis twice a week.
had some good looking bacon and stuffed pork and a band playing some decent
music. stayed there about 45 minutes.
back at grandma's house
and there is another bbq planned. WA has lots of bbqs and trees, that's
what i've learned so far.
oh, and lots of fireworks.
there were ridiculous amounts of explosives being used a couple days ago.
of course there were 420 (fire) alarms in six hours that night as well.
even the local news was able to catch onto the correlation there.
alexander hamilton was
right. jefferson was a dreamer.
had another bbq and it
was more eventful than the first...all sorts of rugrats running around
- made for a fun time.
probably leaving tomorrow...
going to seattle most likely
and might have a place to stay there. if not then the webpage won't be
up for a while...
took about 1.5 hours to
get to seattle.
went and saw scary movie
2 because we had some time to kill and it was the only movie playing at
the local theater.
after the movie we wandered
the mall and stumbled across an RV sale in the parking lot. we went and
checked out all the different sorts of RVs they had (including some vans
which were renovated to include toilets and beds=pretty nifty). it was
pretty awesome overall. i never realized how much shit they could pack
into those things. impressive. asked one of the sales people about prices
and found a really nice/new one for 50K. pricey, but not if it's my home
afterwards we went to melanie's
friend's (jeremy) apartment. it was actually funny because we knocked on
the wrong door at first and some irate woman was a bit peeved about it.
hung out with jeremy that
night and went into downtown seattle.
had some really good ice
cream for a reasonable price.
jeremy had work the next
day so we had to go home (and wake up the next morning to get out of his
place) on the early side.
before we did we checked
out this one video store which had an awesome selection of videos and sorted
them very creatively (films about artists, car chase movies, by director,
movies based on plays, etc.). they even had fear and desire and seafarers
- two extremely rare pre-killer's kiss kubrick films. pretty great stuff.
got up really early and
hung out at the university plaza near U of W. got a crappy smoothie and
bought a manual for the car.
went to the theater and
paid for one movie, but ended up watching two - multiplexes are good. updated
went to a nice little hamburger
stand type place. very good milkshakes. afterwards we went to the mall
and hung out there to soak up seattle consumer culture.
then we went to another
friend of melanie's (brandon). a couple other people, including jeremy,
came over and we ate pizza and played scruples. a pretty fun game if everyone
is set in their moral beliefs...it's a game where you try to guess what
person A would do if they were in a certain moral dilemma...it's more involved
than that, but you get the idea - it's supposed to spark heated, but fun,
discussion about what people would do in certain situations.
they left and brandon,
melanie, and i watched another movie.
had to wake up early since
brandon had work.
went out to breakfast and
had some pancakes.
went into downtown seattle
and saw the famous pike place market where they throw the fish. it was
kinda slow so we didn't see much of it, but we have good imaginations.
headed south to pioneer
square where the historic buildings are...reminded me of old sac and downtown
portland...i like that look.
saw the klondike gold rush
national park (free) which had all sorts of information on the gold rush
of 1896 to alaska...a lot of prospectors went through seattle so that's
why it was located there. the ranger guy really knew his stuff so it was
neat talking with him.
went to an underground
(literally) jazz shop...bud's jazz music...and bud was actually there.
he was playing some really good jazz kinda ala davis' doo-bop. he had a
really good selection and i wished i could have gotten something to support
the business, but nothing really called out and i don't have much money.
also went to this really
really nice map store...all it had were maps, travel books, and globes.
i love maps and so does melanie so we spent more than a while there. i
wanted to get the world political and topograhpical maps, but they're costly
and big. the topographical maps used for hiking and such were really neat
to look at as well.
went to hot dog on a stick
at the downtown seattle mall and witnessed a sorry display of customer
service gone horribly wrong. it was neither fast, fresh, nor friendly.
after this display we decided
it would be best to skip town.
headed north and we're
in anacortes and getting ready to sleep.
tomorrow we have vancouver
island on the agenda...it'll be a truly all day trip. have to wake up very
had basmati rice for dinner,
it would have been better with butter.
staying in our first pay
camp site of the trip. we'll stay here tomorrow night as well since we
won't get back from the island until about 9pm. so on the 11th we plan
on going through spokane and onto idaho or thereabouts.
tomorrow i'll be in a different
country for the first time in my life.
Seattle Art Museum.
walked to the san
juan ferry station and took the 8am departure for sidney.
the ferry took about 2
hours to get there which was less than we had expected.
once we were on vancouver
island we started towards victoria on foot....later we discovered that
it was 14 miles away (we didn't come to the island very prepared). so we
found a bus and took it to victoria.
saw a gas station selling
gas for 73 cents a gallon...comes to about 45 cents a gallon in american
dollars...i shit you not.
that was pretty much the
case for the whole time we were there...everything was really really inexpensive...even
though they were giving 1.45 to every 1 american dollar most stores were
taking american money at 50% which means that the cds i bought for 14 bucks
actually cost me 7 bucks. that was the highlight of going to canada.
saw the parliament building
and some other really nice building while we were in victoria...some really
nice architechture in downtown victoria. most of the buildings looked really
went to the cheesecake
cafe which is this canadian restaurant chain which is really really good.
so far the best shake of the trip was the chocolate chip shake i had there.
it had bittersweet chips blended in with vanilla ice cream and was really
amazing. my mom would have loved it.
bought some postcards,
cds (mostly beatles), bakery items, and dried fruit. it was all very cheap
and that is good.
took the bus back to sidney
and walked around there...it's much smaller and not as nice as victoria
for shopping and touristy stuff, but it was a nice little town.
got on the ferry back to
anacortes and walked back to the campsite to eat dinner and sleep.
a note about anacortes
- very pretty place. yesterday when we first got into town we went to A&W
for a root beer float and the people there were so amazingly nice it made
me think that utopia might be possible.
while eating dinner at
campfire our neighbor came over with a lantern (we were eating in relative
darkness) and talked to us. he was from canada and worked for an oil company.
he said he wanted to take a couple months off with his family and just
travel...apparently he does this fairly often...at any rate he was a nice
canadian family man.
some hotel near the
parliament building in Victoria
Melanie meets a fisherman
packed up our camp and
left anacortes around 11am.
mostly just driving today...we're
on the 90 east heading towards spokane.
after we stop in spokane
we'll head to the panhandle and camp out in idaho.
the speedometer passed
100,000 miles today.
melanie is driving right
now for the first time.
we've driven about 2,450
miles so far.
been getting at least 32
mpg thus far.
listening to some really
bad spokane radio station. "bad radio" borders on being redundant.
if you're selfish enough
then i think it could help you be a good person. some people need to love
themselves first and then they'll be better equipped to love/get along
with/be nice to others. how many corny success stories have you heard that
start when someone hits rock bottom and is forced to either love themself
a little or live in misery? many of them turn to jesus because they think
it's the ultimate, unending love and that helps them believe in themselves.
others find the strength within themselves and love themselves enough to
be a better person. from personal experience i know that i'm more sociable
and confident when i feel good about who i am...sometimes that can come
from doing well in school or helping old lady jones across the street or
because melanie tells me i'm swell....the result is the same. if you can
find this power yourself, rather than having your self-image and worth
come from what others think of you, then you've got a good grasp on life
and you're well ahead of me.
breezed through spokane
and made it into idaho.
ended up finding a pretty
good lake in the panhandle near killarney lake.
it was a nice secluded
place and had a dock so i did a few test casts with the fishing rod. melanie
says she can't cast a fishing rod and proves herself wrong.
there was a water pump
at the campsite and we eventually got some instructions in that area...takes
more power and more pumping than one would have thought.
woke up early and an old
couple in an rv gave us some cinnamon rolls, mmm good.
another long day of driving...ended
up getting to glacier national park.
had lunch somewhere in
montana and we were the only non-cowboys there.
the idaho panhandle and
montana are really really nice looking parts of the country. montana has
a great mixture of forests, mountains, and plains.
had huckleberry shakes
outside of glacier.
ended up getting to glacier
about 5 minutes late so we missed our opportunity to get free backcountry
camping permits, that part sucked.
ended up having to pay
$10 at flathead national forest for that night's worth of camping. it was
there that we got a taste of some bad weather...started to rain. at times
it was really bad, but it was mostly just a soft down pour. set up a tarp
over the tent and it worked out really well.
flushed the cooling system
on the car so i won't have to worry about that again.
keeping the fire going
was a pain with the rain, but we were able to cook some turkey dogs so
all was not lost.
a stiched photo of
glacier national park...
spent the whole day driving
through glacier and checking that place out.
very very nice area...i'm
sure none of the pictures will do it justice, but i'll post them nonetheless.
came out of glacier on
the east end and ended up in choteau.
ate at the circle n family
restaurant...very good stuff.
there was a small free
campground four miles outside of town and we went there to set up camp.
very very nice place to
stay and it was completely secluded and people free (until one rv came
later). there was a lake and some mountains in the distance, very beautiful.
it got really windy and
there were some ominous clouds in the distance so we set up the tarp again...this
time we didn't have any trees to act as anchors so we had to use the car
and the table which was part of the campsite.
ended up not raining.
the sunset was really awesome.
listened to abbey road
and that was pretty great.
led zeppelin I came out
the same year (1969...i think) and has a medley on its b-side as well,
but it doesn't get nearly the same acclaim. big difference is that it was
zeppelin's debut and the beatles' last.....
melanie thinks she can't
skip rocks and today she proved herself wrong, again.
cut my finger while skipping
a sharp rock. ouch.
drove through great falls
and helena...unimpressive places.
when i was 11 or 12 i chose
great falls as my future home...it was one of those uninformed 11 year
old things. today i got a chance to see it and see what i'm not missing.
downtown had potential, but the outskirts were whored out by target, mcdonalds,
and the like. its too bad.
montana ain't so bad as
long as you stay away from people. the people are nice, but that's about
on our way to yellowstone
we stopped at the lewis and clark caverns.
impressive, but not so
much as those in new mexico. less accessible makes for fewer people and
that was good. the guides were funny and it was a good tour. caverns are
freaking crazy, see some before you die.
had dinner in bozeman and
it was good.
it was getting late so
we drove to belgrade and parked near the city park. that marked our first
night having to sleep in the car.
lewis and clark caverns
woke up a few times last
night thanks to the train not far from the park where we were sleeping.
other than that the sleep was surprisingly good.
100+ miles to yellowstone
went by pretty quickly.
saw only one black person
in montana and he had new york plates.
had breakfast outside the
west entrance. we both had the all you can eat pancakes.
just a few miles into yellowstone
we encounter some really awful traffic. i knew yellowstone was crowded,
but this is ridiculous.
as we move along we discover
that there is a bison in the middle of the highway just walking along.
it was really crazy to see such a huge animal so close and without any
wire fence or the like in between us. got some great pictures of it while
we were passing it. indescribable.
went to the old faithful
saw old faithful do its
thing, that was pretty crazy.
got a backcountry permit
for camping tonight.
saw old faithful do its
thing again. it goes every 80 minutes or so.
learned about the geology
behind yellowstone and old faithful and how amazing and rare the geysers
are. yellowstone is truly unique.
the tour guides here are
really really great.
saw lost of geysers and
really nicely colored hot springs and the like.
saw old faithful do its
thing, again...that made three.
ate dinner and saw some
more geysers, read some info about the fires of 1988 - crazy stuff.
yellowstone is the second
largest national park...death valley is number one (not including those
off to hike into our campsite
it's a bit rainy, but we'll
this bison is is huge
woke up this morning and
noticed that the tree we hung our food from had a lot of its bark ripped
off. figured it was a bear, but found out later, by asking a park ranger,
that it must have been a bison. they scratch themselves by rubbing against
the trees. should have figured it since there were piles of bison dung
every few feet the whole way to the campsite.
saw the traverstine terraces
which are created by carbonic acid in the hot springs.
also saw tower falls which
wasn't impressive because of the waterfall part so much as it was impressive
because of the erosion that formed as a result of the running water...apparently
there's some pretty soft rock which erodes more quickly than the harder
rock around it. it looked cool, didn't get a picture - sorry.
went to the post office
saw a bison exhibit and
it was really good. had a picture of a pile of bison skulls...it was really
got a backcountry camping
hiked a couple miles to
our campsite. i hung up the food while melanie was setting up camp. as
i was returning i saw a huge male moose about 100 feet from our site. we
stood still and watched it pass by. it would take a few steps and stop
as if contemplating its life. it was quite majestic. moose are cool.
yellowstone had a huge
fire in 1988 and its landscape has changed dramatically because of it.
it's actually very pretty in a unique way.
woke up in the middle of
the night because it started to rain...turned out okay since it wasn't
very heavy and the rainfly was on.
saw the grand canyon of
yellowstone and the waterfalls there.
heard a talk on osprey
and other birds of prey in yellowstone. got to see an osprey nest...it
was about 5 feet wide and had two chicks and one parent guarding it from
ravens while the other parent gathered fish. the canyon was really pretty
and the waterfall on the north side was about 300 feet tall.
saw an exhibit on more
birds. it started to rain. weather here is crazy.
drove a lot and made it
to somewhere in WY. we'll sleep in the car at a pretty nice rest area.
left from the rest stop
and hit the road.
made it to mount rushmore
and got to see that. it was pretty impressive.
notched up my first road
kill today - a snake.
we're going to sleep in
badlands national park. it's nice and open here.
saw the northern lights
last night...they were quite impressive.
woke up pretty early today
because the sun was unfettered by the usual trees and clouds. the badlands
national park is relatively flat...
checked out the national
park and took some pictures...the usual. saw some prarie dogs and more
we're on our way to humboldt
where we'll stay tonight. melanie is driving. it's very hot right now.
...humboldt turned out
to be a dud...there were small town teenagers there and camping wasn't
really allowed anyway.
went to a 50s diner in
madison and it was really good. they had a deck of cards at every table
so people could play while waiting to get their dinner.
drove to a rest stop and
woke up on the early side
and the sun was covered by the clouds.
hit the road towards north
along the way we ran into
some really really exceptionally nasty weather. the worst storm either
of us had ever seen. visibility was probably around 10 feet and we were
on the highway. lots of lightning and thunder. had to pull over until visibility
improved. it was craziness.
made it to fargo and ate
lunch there. it looks like a nice town to live in. people talk just like
they do in the movie and it was hard not to laugh.
checked out an old time
theater there and saw a popeye cartoon and the last part of a three stooges
episode. it was free and worth every penny.
drove until we got to monticello.
discovered that our campsite was going to end up costing 11 bucks so melanie
decided to spring for a hotel room. that's where we are now.
changed the oil on the
car last night. going to replace the air filter soon.
shaved, showered, and cut
my hair tonight.
approaching the second
part of the storm...
left the hotel on the early
side and started towards the twin cities.
ended up just seeing minneapolis
- skipped st. paul.
saw the museum of questionable
medical devices...that was pretty insane. some people came up with the
lamest inventions to cure everything from impotence to cancer and people
bought the stuff. really funny, but sad.
wandered around downtown
minneapolis for hours.
saw the weisman museum
of art and it was really really nice. had a good collection of local artists
and i really liked the work there.
there was a twins game
so we got to see the traffic for that, yay.
the other day we saw about
75 corvettes (mostly new ones) on the highway and around badlands national
park. must have been some kind of corvette owners outing or something.
also saw a sculpture garden
next to the walker art center.
drove to iowa and spent
the night at nora springs boulder city park.
left boulder city park
and drove to madison.
madison looks like a really
nice town overall. it's the capital city, but it's not too big and doesn't
seem to have a problem with homeless people. looked mostly clean. not very
diverse. there's a university there so we saw plenty of football/frat boy
types wandering around in their camaros and firebirds.
watched the score with
deniro and ed norton. it was good.
did some laundry and i
started making a dashboard organizer for the car.
drove to some place between
madison and milwaukee. going to spend the night here tonight...it's an
official campground, but no one is here and that is nice. lots of bugs
and that's not so nice. melanie has been getting bitten a lot
ate a perkins this morning
and found our way to new berlin where the lobergs live. we'll be staying
with them tonight.
went to the post office,
best buy, and barnes and noble. got "on the road" on tape so we can listen
to it while driving. a good purchase i think.
watched two movies for
the price of one. it's a good way to see two middle of the road movies
which you wouldn't be willing to pay full price for...or just a good way
to spend a few hours.
came back to the lobergs'
place and slept.
going to check out milwaukee
bounced around milwaukee
pretty quickly. didn't really give it its due, but such is the nature of
a two month trip like this.
went to the museum of art
and it was the biggest museum we've been to so far. very big and varied
a lot in its scope...from renaissance to postmodern stuff. a lot of german
art because of the city's history.
didn't get to check out
the other part of german ingenuity - the beer industry - but then again
i don't care about alcohol or how it's made or anything like that so no
checked my credit card
balance today, that was a mistake.
camping in a pay site 45
miles outside of chicago.
we've planned the next
few days out to make sure that we make it to nyc in time for the yankee
game (august 5th - sunday).
had some really good ice
cream while in milwaukee. made me want to become an ice cream maker...seriously.
i love nothing in life like i love good ice cream, if you know me then
you know it's true.
ate at this quasi fancy
italian restaurant in milwaukee for lunch. there was a bald chef who reminded
me of the chef at the peninsula (the only five star five diamond hotel
in southern california)...at any rate my dad would always tell me how annoying
he chef at the peninsula could get...very demanding and such. this chef
was the exact same way. he was in the front briefing all the women who
worked there as bus girls and waitresses on what he needed to be done differently,
etc. then a bread salesman came in to close a prior deal with the chef.
the salesman had his associate bring in a large tray of breads and the
chef looked down upon it and scoffed. "that's not enough...do you know
how big this place is? i've got 40 seats outside and 70 inside, plus a
2 hour wait list." the salesman nodded. "this is going to be a huge account
for you. you guys are going to be superstars." i shit you not, that was
what he said - verbatim. it was pretty hilarious.
woke up in the middle of
the night thanks to a rain storm which had moved in over our heads. had
to put on the rainfly in the middle of the night - that sucked.
it rained for a good 5
hours or so, but the rainfly did a decent job. since it rained so much,
though, there were some puddles on the ground which got the bottom of the
tent a little wet. didn't roll up the tent as usual. instead i just folded
it and put it in the back so it would dry out in the car.
took a little over an hour
to get to chicago.
the drivers here are very
finding a parking spot
at a reasonable rate proved to be the most trying part of our chicago experience.
ended up having to pay almost 20 bucks for all day parking. lame.
went to navy pier and checked
that out. nothing too special...mostly just shops and boat tour offers.
touristy. they did have a neat exhibit on the history of stained glass
in chicago. as a result of the fires they had back in the early 1870s.
walked to downtown and
saw the museum of broadcast communications. it was in a really nice looking
a lot of the architechture
in chicago is either of the 1870s style or the more modern style (sears
tower, etc.). it makes for an attractive contrast. i like it. we both did.
ate lunch and walked around
downtown some more.
chicago is the most noisy
city i've ever been in...between the EL, the buses, the honking taxis,
and other street noise (one guy was driving around with a bullhorn on his
car denouncing gore and bush) it gets to be quite loud.
went to the art institute
of chicago and saw all sorts of classic pieces...from van gogh and picasso
to manet and monet. saw "american gothic" and "nighthawks." those were
really neat in person. i like van gogh. the museum is huge and has a great
variety, it's well worth it. in fact, to go to chicago and not to go to
the museum would border on sacrilege.
saw the sears tower and
it was impressive.
didn't end up going to
any plays or improv shows on account of the money situation.
paid for my parking and
drove out of the city.
we're going to spend the
night in the car in some small town outside of chicago.
ended up sleeping in a
school parking lot and that worked out pretty well.
got on the road towards
got to st. louis and parked
at laclede's landing. ate at a pretty good place there and played some
video golf afterwards - melanie whooped me.
determined that st. louis
was smelly and not very interesting so we left for ohio.
listened to 'on the road.'
got to dayton really late
- around 11pm (after the time change).
this was probably the longest
driving day of the trip. covered a time zone and four states.
stayed in dayton with melanie's
uncle jim. they were nice and accomdating.
we went to his nephew's
house and saw pictures of melanie's side of the family and all that jazz.
he has a pre-civil war
house and that was interesting to take a gander at. you could tell that
he had spent a lot of time renovating it because it was in real good condition.
left dayton and went to
watched two movies and
that is always fun.
drove to bellefontaine
ate there and slept at a rest stop not far from there.
left the rest stop and
headed out towards detroit.
got to detroit in a couple
hours and found parking in the cultural district.
detroit is 80% black so
technically it's not very diverse, but i think i'll make an exception in
i like detroit. i thought
i'd hate it. i thought that it would be all industry, but for as long as
we were there (which admittedly wasn't very long) i didn't see any industry.
i was disappointed to find
that there wasn't anything in the way of automobile museums. at least there
weren't any which were listed in my guide books. there is a henry ford
museum, but all he did was make people replaceable cogs...i give no props
the detroit institute of
arts is a darkhorse museum. i've never heard anyone speak of it in the
same sentence as the guggenheim or the art institute of chicago or the
j. paul getty...i think that it should be. it is a fantastic museum featuring
a wide variety of work, some really nice interior architechture (including
an indoor dining area with a glass roof above, with all brick walls and
old style arched windows) - it's really nice. then there's the diego rivera
mural which is really really great and made even greater by the fact that
it survived the stupidity of people who wanted it white-washed because
it had marxist themes...they did succeed in white-washing the one he was
working on in NYC because it had a picture of lenin. when will people learn?
didn't get to see the rembrandt because that portion was under construction,
but they had a really good section on modern art with some educational
placards along the way. they also had a nice exhibit on african-american
photography. had a great picture of ali and X together. also had the last
picture taken of X alive. great stuff.
left detroit feeling good
about the city and sad that i didn't get to see more of it.
got into canada without
drove to london and got
a hotel there.
london is nice, but i haven't
seen big ben or the queen yet.
going to niagara falls
and buffalo tomorrow. will be my first time in NY.
checked out of the hotel
and got on the road towards niagara falls.
drove through london and
got a quick idea of what it was like. nothing really appealed to us so
we kept on towards niagara.
listened to ontario radio
and they were talking about a "fat tax" - taxing fatty foods because canadians
are getting too fat. the government up here is much more liberal and powerful.
there was also a story
on the radio about a road rage incident in toronto. some toronto resident
attacked a u.s. visitor. shame on him.
finally got there and the
falls were really nice. i think it's true what they say - that it's better
to view them from the canadian side than the u.s. side. they were different
than i expected, in a good way.
crossed over the border
once more and made it to NY for the first time in my life.
went to rochester and cooked
played some frisbee at
this really huge park.
went to a movie theater
and watched 'what's the worst that could happen' for $1.50. great deal.
very funny movie.
found a good place on the
outskirts of town to sleep.
woke up at the usual time
and got some breakfast for the long day ahead.
went to seneca falls and
learned about the women's suffrage movement. got into the national park
for free. yay.
hit the road again and
pretty much didn't stop unil we got to maine.
we had planned to hit five
states and eat a lobster dinner in maine, but we got there around 10:30
and everything was closed by then.
ended up having to go to
bickford's in new hampshire. never heard of the place, but it's like a
denny's style 24 hour diner.
the seat melanie sat in
had a pool of water on it, the waitress was a troll who had no concept
of service, and the food sucked. the menu apparently wasn't up to date,
the milkshake was litterally the worst i'd ever had, and when it came time
to clearing our plates and giving us our bill....well we didn't wait long
enough for them to do that - we just left.
drove into MA and slept
in a parking lot.
long long day.
drove to boston and checked
the place out.
they're working on a really
cool bridge somewhere near fenway park. didn't get a good picture of it,
boston is a brick city.
it's the kind of architechture you'd never see on the west coast because
of earthquakes and such.
i think we got to see a
good amount of the place despite only spending a day there.
we did part of the freedom
trail. we went to harvard and BU and MIT. saw boston commons and the public
gardens. went into cambridge. nice place to visit, but i wouldn't want
to live in the city. we missed the museum, and that sucked, but we hit
a lot of other things.
drove to concord late that
night and slept there.
this was taken
in boston...near harvard. the text on the statue reads "never again should
a people starve in a world of plenty."
MA/RI/CT day 43
went to walden pond and
saw it. thoreau must be turning over in his grave...the place is really
trashy and they charge $5 for parking. it's not isolated, it's got fences
everywhere, it's not what thoreau stood for at all.
new england is almost devoid
of national parks and forests and good milkshakes.
went to rhode island and
ended up getting a cheap
motel in branford.
8-2-01 CT/NT day 44
checked out of the hotel
and ate at friendly's.
drove to new haven and
checked out the town real quick.
from there we went to stamford
which is really close to the NY border.
watched a movie and tried
to get into a second for free, but the usher came in and found us.....asked
for our ticktes and we said we lost them. he left and returned later telling
us that the computer only had jurassic park 3 for three people and we were
numbers 4 and 5, so we had to leave. 3 people in the whole theater and
he kicked us out. just seemed a bit dumb to me. if the movie was anywhere
near sold out then i can understand them being picky, but he was just be
we did laundry after the
tried finding the uconn
campus, but couldn't. accidently drove into NY - never accidently
driven into a state, so that was new. found a park in CT and made dinner.
played some frisbee and decided that since it was so secluded we should
sleep there. later that night a maintenance person came by and cleaned
up the bathrooms and the pool area, but he left...w wer all alone so we
put down our sleeping bags and called it a nihgt. woke up to a car pulling
up to the pool area (which is also a sort of childcare area) and they took
their time doing their business, and then left without saying anything.
woke up a couple hours
later to another set of lights - this time it was a cop. he told us we
needed to leave and that we could get arrested. CT authority figures are
lame....first the movie theater guy, then the cop. at this point it was
around 1am so we go in the car and i drove around until i found a parking
lot. slept there for the night.
this trip has made
me realize even more how great and screwed up the world is...it's got all
sorts of great people and both natural and manmade sites and at the same
time it's got some real morons and makes you pay to sleep on the ground...there
are litterally zero free campsites on the east coast. you have to pay a
minimum of 12 bucks to sleep on the ground.
8-3-01 CT/NY day 45
started towards NYC. had
breakfast and then drove to laguardia airport. found a decently priced
($13) long term parking lot near the airport....it was actually part of
the plaza hotel's parking lot. it'll be our home for the next few days.
went into times square
and the midtown area. we're based near queens so we were able to see a
bit of it along the way. we took the seven train (the same that jennifer
lopez took as a little runt) into times square. yay. times square is the
epitome of big city craziness...for better or worse. i personally don't
like having my senses overwrought by advertisements, noise pollution, and
filth. despite all that, there are some good things about nyc.
we checked out rockefeller
center and all the sites in that area - empire state building, the south
end of central park, fifth avenue, etc. after that we went back to the
8-4-01 NY day 46
the plan was to hit the
met, guggenheim, the american museum of natural history (which houses the
hayden planetarium), strawberry fields in central park, the museum of the
city of new york, and possibly malcolm x's mosque in harlem. a word of
wisdom for those planning on ever visiting NYC...set aside 5 days for the
city. 2 days for the american museum of natural history and 3 days for
the rest of the city. i'm not kidding. it's huge to the power of ten and
it's really dense. it had the most comprehensive exhibit in the world regarding
genomics. we were both really really impressed by the variety of interactive
exhibits, the depth and range of information, and the way everything was
laid out. we spent pretty much the whole day there and still had to skip
through a bunch of stuff and skim through more than we would have liked.
we checked out the stuff
about the solar system and despite taking a class on the subject and reading
up on it myself there was still a lot of stuff they addressed which i didn't
really know about...dark matter, origin of time, shape of the universe,
the big bang, etc. they didn't dumb any of it down, yet if you hadn't ever
taken a course on the stuff you'd be able to take some information away
from that section of the museum; and this held true for all the sections
- from dinosaurs to genomics to geology of the earth.
they also had a tribute
to TR because of all the steps in conservation he took.
after overloading our brains
with info we headed off to the guggenheim...the buidling was designed by
frank lloyd wright and had a relatively small collection of some great
stuff...lots of picasso and a moderate amount of pollock and some other
greats who i can't remember now. it had a special gehry architecture exhibit
which was different and good.
after the guggenheim we
headed off to the met, but could only stay there about 30 minutes before
it closed so we went straight towards the van gogh, rodin, gaugin, seurat,
monet, manet, degas, cezanne, pissaro, and renoir. it had one wing which
was really great with pretty much all of the above. van gogh is like kubrick
to me...there isn't anything he's done which i don't like.
after the met we went "home"
8-5-01 NY day 47
had donuts for breakfast,
washed up at the airport and headed off to yankee stadium.
we actually had to go to
shea stadium in order to get to yankee stadium, just because they were
doing some work on the subway system. at shea they had some huge ecuador
festival and every ecuadorian denizen in the world was there.
took the subway to yankee
stadium and it turned out to be more difficult than we had thought just
because there were some awkwardly worded signs. made it there about an
hour early anyway.
the seats were closer than
i thought bleacher seats would be. i've never sat in the bleachers, but
given the price ($8) i'd have to say they're they best in the house.
the fans in that section
were classic yankee fans...rowdy, loud, knowledgeable, and affectionately
grumpy. it was interesting to see them hassle each other more than the
angels players. one guy hated knoblauch - i guess because he's a bad fielder
and is having a bad year at bat. another couple guys talked about how jeter
was gay and a pretty boy. others would hassle the box seats holders - "box
seat suck, box seats suck!" was the cheer they used at the very beginning
of the game.
it was a really good game
overall. the angels won 4-3. jeter had a really good game, the angels played
well and the yankees tried to make a come back in the last inning but could
only get one run.
the food wasn't as good
as dodger stadium, there weren't any beach balls, and the seventh inning
stretch song lasted only one verse and was followed by "cotton eye joe"
(a cheesy country/dance song). yankee stadium has more history than any
other stadium i can think of (26 championships - babe ruth, lou gehrig,
mickey mantle, yogi berra, mattingly, torre, etc.) and for that reason
alone it was worth going. the fans were great and didn't disappoint at
all...in fact now i want to go to a knicks game.
the stadium wasn't anything
special - as one fan put it "we were voted fifth ugliest park, or some
shit. but do you really want a carnival in a baseball stadium? X (i forget
which one) stadium has a video game machine behind home plate...i mean,
why would you want to play video games during the baseball game? yankee
stadium is about baseball and that's what the fans want." she was very
right...yankee stadium isn't like the giants stadium or like safeco field
or any of the others with palm trees, ponds, etc., but it's not about that
- it's a park where the fans are there for the game and for fans who know
after the game we went
back into times square and walked to the library. it's big and looks impressive.
built in 1895 i believe.
we're at the airport now.
nyc kind grows on you.
the people have pride and despite what samuel johnson would say about patriotism
("it's the last refuge of the scoundrel), i think it can be attractive
on the micro level. the place is dirty, but it's got lots of culture and
diversity and i value those. i wouldn't live here, but it's a nice place
to visit. central park is really nice and fitting of the city. the stuff
on fifth avenue is just gross - the super rich make me mad.
melanie eats beef.
is this not funny?
8-6-01 NY/NJ day 48
went into manhattan.
saw ellis island and the
statue of liberty from the coast.
from battery park we walked
to the museum of the american indian. saw a lengthy video on the importance
of buffalo to the dakota people. it was a really good video and got me
the biggest differences
in culture seem to be caused by two things...the first is one that jared
diamond always talks about - the culture's land sets the limits on how
far a culture can reasonably go. the second is refers to the story a culture
tells about their history - where they came from - their religion. europeans
believe they were made in the same image as god and that (as genesis states)
they should go forth and conquer the land. native americans believe they
are all made of the same mother earth and are thus brothers with all living
things. so even though they kill buffalo they do so with respect, they
pray before slaughtering it, and they don't kill it unless they need to
do so to survive.
from the museum we went
the world trade center area. those buildings are really really big.
saw the j & r superstore...it
was pretty impressive.
walked to the brooklyn
bridge and walked on that. it was also impressive.
took the subway to grenwich
village and ate some pizza there.
walked around the area
and worked our way over to ludlow st. which is featured on the cover of
the beastie boys album paul's boutique. walked up and down the whole street,
but didn't find paul's boutique, it is most likely out of business since
it is 12 years later.
got a milkshake and headed
back to the car.
it was insanely hot both
outside and in the subway.
drove to new jersey and
got a hotel. sleeping in the car everyday is starting to get annoying.
changed the oil not too
8-7-01 NJ/PA day 49
i'm feeling sick...i definitely
have a cold and that's no good.
drove through princeton
and went to a mall. we took it easy because i'm tired and sick.
drove to PA and slept in
a park and ride parking lot.
it was extremely hot even
8-8-01 PA day 50
hit the road toward philly.
went to the third largest
museum in the country - philly museum of art. the building is really impressive.
it's a lot like the met in terms of size and architecture. had a lot of
the same stuff...a bit of van gogh, picasso, cezanne, gaugin, etc.
lef the museum and got
a bus pass for this special tourist bus line which goes to all the big
attractions in philly. it proved to be a convient substitute to the buses.
the first guy who was driving the bus was basically a tour guide - he called
all sorts of interesting sites to our attention. he was funny. the other
bus drivers pretty much just drove.
saw the liberty bell, independence
hall, and that area. wasn't that impressive. the liberty bell was just
a bell with an interesting history. the ranger who gave a talk about it
was a real cornball "the liberty bell is cracked, but it isn't broken.
just as it called james madison, thomas jefferson and the rest of the founding
fathers, it has called you here today." ner.
saw the us mint and got
to see some coins being made. apparently they make like 18 million pennies
a day or something crazy like that. i don't see the purpose in that, but
i suppose they know what they're doing.
had a philly steak sandwich,
only it was with chicken not steak.
i don't have much of an
appetite since i'm sick.
at the end of the day we
went back to the museum and they had some ukrainian fair inside...folk
arts and crafts, ballet, and the like. it was interesting, but not entirely
my thing and my cold was making things less enjoyable.
we drove to lancaster which
is amish country.
went to a mall and watched
a late movie and then slept in the parking lot.
8-9-01 PA day 51
went to an amish culture
museum. learned a lot about mennonites and amish people.
there was an exhibit for
children called plain pig's alphabet which had pictures of things for each
letter of the alphabet...a cow for C or buggy for B. the picture for X
was of a pig covered in some brown muddy looking substance. for the longest
time melanie and i were trying to figure out what it could have stood for.
at the end of the exhibit it had all the answers...the picture corresponding
to X was supposed to represent eXtra mud. hmmm.
melanie wanted to look
at the crafts and quilts and all that stuff so i sat inside and waited
for her to finish that business. i guess i should be used to that kind
of stuff since my mom would always drag me to antique stores and the like.
got hotel, again.
took a long nap and now
i feel better.
watched two movies on tnt
and went to sleep.
8-10-01 PA day 52
woke up feeling more sick
today than yesterday. this sucks.
it's really hot outside.
didn't do much of anything
went to eat breakfast,
went to a couple crafts stores and then got another hotel.
i hope that tomorrow my
cold is significantly better. maybe i got the west nile virus from a mosquito
rained really hard
while we were in the hotel...turns out that getting a hotel was probably
going to be the only way we would have been able to go tonight so that
justifies the money spent. the rain hasn't made it much cooler and that
checked out of the hotel
and it was raining really hard again. got soaked just from loading the
drove to DE and had brunch.
drove to DC area and watched
a couple movies.
driving took longer than
it should have so that made for a long day.
sleeping in a market parking
8-12-01 day 54
woke up in the middle of
the night to some guy bumping his 2pac at 4am. i could think of worse ways
to wake up.
didn't sleep so well. my
cold is now in the coughing stage and that's always an annoyance.
started off the day by
going to the smithsonian museum of natural history. a lot like the one
in NYC, but not as up to date, interactive and well laid out. still a world
class place which everyone visiting DC should make a point of seeing.
from there we went to the
smithsonian museum of american history which had a really good exhibit
on the presidency. jon sent me an article by howard zinn (the author of
"a people's history of the united states") which laments the fact that
we admire presidents so much when there are so many other worthy people
to make into heroes (fredrick douglass, helen keller (not because she was
blind but because she was a socialist), and a bunch of un-heard-ofs make
zinn's list). i agree with zinn that none of the presidents should be worshipped
and that none of them were flawless. i also think that the presidency makes
it pretty much impossible to be a perfect person. firstly i doubt that
optimists of the highest order would even get elected, they'd be deemed
dreamers and unrealistic and thus unsuitable as leaders. assuming anyone
as optimistic or liberal as a douglass or keller would get elected they
be hard pressed to be uncompromising of their values in a political system
that relies on compromise. add to that the fact that the united states
it the most powerful and richest nation in the world and you have a situation
in which a president would almost certainly have to compromise their values
in some way at some time. obviously this doesn't let wilson (who was a
racist) off the hook. it doesn't justify abuses of power and it doesn't
imply that bombing the shit out of a country for not kissing our ass is
okay. i'm merely recognizing the inherent drawbacks of being a president.
the exhibit does a decent job highlighting the duties of the presidency.
i didn't know that 8 presidents
had died while in office...i knew of the 4 (lincoln, garfield, kennedy,
mckinley) who were assasinated and 2 who died while serving (FDR and harrison),
but i don't know who the other two were.
walked to the washington
monument, the FDR memorial, the lincoln memorial, the korean war memorial,
the vietnam memorial, and the einstein statue in front of the national
academy of science building. the fdr memorial was new since i had been
there last and was really good.
then we went back to the
car and watched two movies.
8-13-01 DC day 55
woke up on the late side...both
had a good night's rest in the quiet park and ride parking lot.
took the metro into town
and stopped by the fbi building to see what the deal was with the tours
they offer...we would have had to wait for two hours so we decided to skip
it and visit mulder and scully another time. har har.
visited the national art
gallery. for the first time we got the audio tour wands. they turned out
to be pretty nice additions to the art. saw some van gogh, cezanne, gauguin,
degas, rembrandt, five by raphael, the only davinci in america ("ginevra
de' benci), and plenty of other great works. it was a really good collection
and was well laid out. the courtyard areas were really pleasant and overall
the place was very good.
melanie is officially sick.
from the museum we went
past the capitol building to the botanical gardens.
from there we went to the
most visited museum in the nation - the national museum of air and space.
it was pretty sweet overall. learned about the space race and airplanes
in general. melanie got a good explanation on how planes fly and then we
walked to the metro and
got on toward union station.
ate dinner there and checked
the place out a bit.
caught the metro back to
the car and here we sit.
while we were in pa we
went to a museum in Intercourse. intercourse, PA. funny.
in front of the capitol
building with many japanese tourists
8-14-01 DC/MD/VA day
went to the white house
and got the scoop on the tours...had we shown up at 5am then we could have
gotten tickets to the daily tours. needless to say we didn't get to tour
the white house.
ended up spending the day
at the holocaust museum. from what i remember the holocaust museum in la
wasn't as big, but it did a good job of addressing what we should learn
from the holocaust. both of them are great.
after the holocaust museum
we hit the road for georgia.
planned a route via the
blueridge parkway, west virginia, kentucky, tennessee, north carolina,
and south carolina...that way we can be sure to hit all 48 states on the
ended up in front royal
where we stayed in a cheapo motel.
8-15-01 VA day 57
hit the road planning on
putting some mileage between us and DC...ended up driving to shenandoah
national park and spending the day there.
got backcountry camping
permits and headed off for the heart of the park.
as we were packing up the
backpacks for the hike into the backcountry we saw a deer near our car.
it came really close to us and just hung out for a while looking at us...there's
a picture below. we think it had been fed before since it wasn't skittish
after it left we got our
stuff together and hit the path.
shenandoah is nice and
filled with overlooks. that's basically what the park consists of - overlooks
took longer than we expected
to get to anywhere which would be suitable for camping. once there we set
up camp and ate dinner. before we knew it a deer passed by us. then after
it had left another deer, this time a young buck, passed within a few yards
of us. then another, smaller, deer, came by for a visit. a few minutes
later they all came by and ate some grass within 20 feet of us. they just
stood there eating and occasionally stopping to look at us. it was very
8-16-01 VA day 58
drove toward west virginia,
but melanie was feeling really crappy from the long uphill hike after camping...as
well as the lingering cold.
got another cheap motel
and just watched tv all day.
woke up and got some breakfast
while the laundry was in the washer at the laundromat across the street.
drove many miles and found
a nice mall with a post office and a dollar store. got oil change supplies,
sent a bunch of things which needed to be sent and bought food stuffs.
ended up in tn after a
long day of driving. slept in a mall parking lot.
in the middle of the night
a cop drove up and asked us what we were up to...i explained and he said
he'd leave us alone.
ate at ihop for breakfast
and it was good.
drove to greenville, SC
and watched two movies for the price of one there.
after the movies we headed
stayed at the visitors
in the middle of the night
a storm came by...good thing we were in the car and not in the tent. rain
isn't so good when you're in a tent.
8-19-01 GA day 61
gap and pepsi commercials
are exceedingly lame.
the anti-drug commercials
have really good music...looper, aphex twin, etc.
headed towards atlanta
and athens georgia.
an hour later we were in
the birthplace of REM and the b-52s (athens, GA). it's a nice little town
which has a double barrel cannon which ended up being a failed experiment
and a tree which owns the land it's on. the tree was officially granted
ownership of the land that its roots occupy and as a result the streets
weave around it. interesting. the cannon was supposed to fire both barrels
at the same time with a chain connecting the two balls...it was intended
to mow down an enemy as well as blow them to pieces. yay.
from athens we went onto
atlanta has the MLK national
park...it includes the church he and his father preached at, his home until
he was 12, and his grave. we watched two videos, did a tour of his house
and looked at the exhibit they had on his role in the civil rights movement.
the picture below is of gandhi and me hanging out in front of the visitor
drove around downtown atlanta
for a bit and then headed out of town.
atlanta was a nice city
overall. i liked the buildings.
the other day while in
athens we went to a botanical garden and saw all sorts of wildlife, but
the most interesting were the really tiny frogs which were all over the
ground, they were cool. it was tough to not step on them while walking
on the walkway.
did a whole lot of driving
today, close to 500 miles.
drove to FL and skirted
from there we drove to
biloxi and spent the night there.
biloxi is a gambling town
and that's about all i can say about that.
tomorrow we'll head to
8-21-01 MS/LA day 63
woke up and hit the road
towards new orleans.
drove into the french quarter
and got some parking. walked around the french quarter area quite a bit
checking out all the buildings, the sordid bar scene, and the like. saw
a statue of louis armstrong and an above ground cemetary. ate at some creole/cajun
food place and i had a shrimp po boy sandwich, it was good. melanie had
i really liked the look
of new orleans, but not the smell so much.
8-22-01 LA/AR/TX day
another long day of driving
today...drove from alexandria LA to texarkana to about 50 miles outside
of dallas. lots of driving...in fact i believe we passed the 11,000 mile
mark for the trip today. going to need to change the oil again in a couple
while we were in athens
we saw sorority row and it proved to me what i already suspected - davis
has a relatively small greek program. there were hundreds of sorority girls
along this one street we were driving down. the funny thing is that it
was about 9am and they were all dressed as if they were going to a dinner
formal or something. sorority girls are funny.
it has been really really
lots of driving on this
part of the trip...the southwest is really spread out. we've got austin,
dallas, carlsbad caverns and denver coming up, but over 1600 miles of driving
along the way. so there's a lot of nothing in between sites.
after denver we plan on
hitting bryce canyon, zion, and the grand canyon national parks.
we're watching pee-wee's
big adventure right now. pretty great movie.
speaking of good movies...a
couple good ones are coming out in a few days.
8-23-01 TX day 65
(update by mel)
drove into Dallas.
highlight was the museum on the sixth floor of the Texas schoolbook depository,
where Lee Harvey Oswald reputedly shot JFK. the exhibit thoroughly
covered all the events leading up to and following the assassination. didn't
endorse any one conspiracy theory outright, but did mention a few of them
and made it very clear that the Warren commission did a fairly poor job
of the investigation.
also saw the dallas art
museum. pretty standard, there was one cool short film called "middletown"
which showed a neighborhood with all kinds of activity going on in it while
this soothing, danny elfman-esque music played.
still too hot.
Wells Fargo building
8-24-01 TX/NM day
66 (update by mel)
lots more driving.
made it all the way to Carlsbad, NM. will see the caverns tomorrow.
8-25-01 NM/TX day
67 (update by mel)
enjoyed the carlsbad caverns.
national parks pass didn't do us any good, since today and today only is
founder's day and everyone gets in free. the caverns are vast, though
... far more impressive than the Lewis & Clark caverns in montana.
seeing the smaller caverns made it that much easier to appreciate the greatness
sonic drive in has awesome
milkshakes. they need to open up some locations in california.
saw roswell. they
sure love their status as UFO capital of the world, and play it up plenty.
drove up to Amarillo, TX
on the panhandle so that we can hit OK and KS tomorrow, then CO.
day 68 (update by mel)
did over 500 miles of driving
today. that was pretty much it.
in liberal, ks they have
an OZ-themed roadside attraction, complete with yellow brick road and all.
kansas highlight: the enormous
field of sunflowers.
oklahoma highlight: a town
there called texahoma (there's also a texico, on the NM border, and of
denver feels a lot closer
to california. not just in distance, but in attitude.
8-27-01 CO day 69
(update by mel)
had two factory tours on
the itinerary but only made it to one: the Celestial Seasonings tea plant
in Boulder, CO. it began with free tea tasting (as much as we wanted, of
any of their 50+ flavors), then a video depicting the company's 1970s hippie
origins, then hairnet distribution, then a walk of the factory floor in
which we got to see the actual tea creation and packaging processes firsthand.
when we first entered the
factory we saw the employee breakroom board, which mentioned that it has
been 13 days since the last workman's compensation incident, and that the
record is 48 days. for a factory making something so innocuous as
tea, that doesn't seem like a very good rate of 'incidents'.
cruised downtown Denver,
toured the US Mint (virtually identical to the one in Philly, but with
a much more knowledgeable tour guide), walked the little outdoor mall and
saw the capitol building.
drove to Golden to do the
coors brewery tour, but got there an hour and a half late.
now we're going to see
a movie or two.
8-28-01 CO day 70
drove from somewhere outside
of denver to grand junction, pretty close to utah.
visited the colorado national
monument and it was really beautiful.
watching high school
(by wiseman) right now...masterfully directed. very very good.
8-29-01 CO/UT day 71
drove to arches national
park and saw the sites there.
spent a while at the park
and then headed towards bryce and zion.
stopped in a town called
junction and found some really good free camping at fishcreek national
along the way we encountered
some road construction delays which were completely unwarranted. kinda
while at arches we met
a lady who was from chicago and returning from the la area. she had just
dropped off her daughter at occidental college. it is a small world. i
told her that i almost went to occidental and that we had recently gone
to chicago. she drove a subaru.
the campsite was really
really nice....secluded, maintained well, had good firewood, and was easy
to find. it was extremely windy and that was my only complaint since we
had a tarp up to keep potential rain from getting us drenched. as it turned
out the tarp turned out to be quite the noise maker when the wind was at
full blast. annoying.
some great formations
created by erosion
8-30-01 UT day 72
drove straight to bryce
and spent a few hours there. went to a ranger talk and found out about
the colorado plateau and some of the interesting geological events specific
to the area. the canyons there are really extraordinary...from the colors
to the amount of hoodoos (see picture below).
after bryce canyon we bounced
over to nearby zion national park. it is also beautiful, but in a different
it's amazing how bad my
memory is...i went to both of these parks but 8 or so years ago and i didn't
really remember them.
zion is less of a desert
type terrain and much more the kind of scenery you might find in forested
areas. the valley created by the virgin river creates a deep, but not very
wide, canyon which provides consistent waterflow (from melting snow and
occasional summer rains) thus making a remarkably green and forested area
pretty much in the middle of the desert.
the zion tunnel is cut
out of the sandstone in the mountain and extends for over a mile...pretty
impressive. so in one place you have a marvel of man and a marvel of nature,
without the former being too much of a nusaince. good place.
tommorow we'll goto grand
bryce canyon national
park...all the rock formations created by various weathering are called
me standing in the
virgin river at zion...flowing at 34 cubic inches per second...summer flash
floods can turn that into 9,000 cubic inches per second in a matter of
8-31-01 UT/AZ/NV day
woke up in kanab utah (near
the az border) and bounded over to the grand canyon. saved yet another
20 bucks because of the parks pass.
as a side note...saw rahman
and lewis get into their little tango the other night on tv. boxing hasn't
seen that much excitement in a long time.
the grand canyon was impressive.
been there before and actually went to the north rim last time as well
as this time. according to what we've read the north rim gets only 10%
of the visitors.
yesterday temp at the north
rim (about 1200 feet higher than the south rim and 6000 feet above the
canyon bottom) was 76 degrees, the south rim was 81, and the bottom of
the canyon was 101. gives you a good idea of the temperature differentials.
i can only imagine the view in winter when the north rim has snow, the
south rim has less, and the bottom is still basically just the desert.
the anasazi (native puebloans)
would live in the canyon in the winter and migrate to the top in the summer.
can't wait to goto mars
and see the biggest canyon in the solar system...10 times longer than the
grand canyon and i believe it's also twice as deep.
met a couple from holland
who were touring around the us. that was pretty neat. most of the people
we've talked to on the trip have been from another country.
after the grand canyon
we drove to indian springs, nv. farted in las vegas on the way over here.
i played a dollar's worth
of video poker in the general store next to our motel and lost. melanie
played a dollar's worth as well and won 75 cents.
going to death valley,
kings canyon, and yosemite. also going to stop in davis to do some business...then
grand canyon picture
NV/CA day 74
left nevada and headed
out towards death valley.
took about 90 minutes to
get there. drove to dante's view first and that was quite a climb...about
7,000 feet above sea level looking down on the lowest point in the western
hemisphere. on a clear day you can see that point and mt. whitney at the
same time. as it was we couldn't see whitney, but we did see some nearby
peaks which were around 11,000 feet high. pretty impressive.
drove through death valley
and as we got closer to sea level it grew hotter and hotter. by the time
we got to the visitor center it was around 107 in the shade. the visitor
center is -190 feet below sea level.
drove through the rest
of the park .... saw some sand dunes which were really pretty.
drove the rest of the way
through the park over the pass until we got to somewhere outside of yosemite.
planned on getting a campsite
somewhere in the bishop vicinity, but couldn't find the two which were
in the free campgrounds book. kept driving towards yosemite until we passed
mammoth lakes, and then got to a town right outside of the tioga pass.
ended up having to sleep in the car because every campground along the
way was full...it's labor day weekend and we're in prime getaway country
- mammoth lakes and yosemite...just bad timing.
from dante's view...
9-2-01 CA day 75
woke up at the base of
the tioga pass ready to visit yosemite.
drove through a very crowded
yosemite...came in on the east side so it was less crowded there, but as
we drove into the valley it started to grow more crowded.
went to bridal veil falls
and half dome...the falls were pretty much completely dried out - just
dripping a bit.
we decided to drive through
the rest of the park and then head out to davis. since i've got the parks
pass and we're so close to yosemite we can make a visit on a less crowded
day if we decide to do so....preferably in the late spring when the falls
are going stronger.
made it to davis and picked
up the key to our apartment. went to visit vern, but he wasn't there. went
inside and got my mail and other such items he had for me. him and johnny
have a pretty nice place.
went to our new place and
made sure everything there was kosher...we had electricity, but no phone
so things seem to be working out so far. plenty of furniture, and probably
enough room for everything i've got in storage.
walked to the theater and
watched two movies. updated movieslist.
9-3-01 CA day 76
took care of some business
in davis - moved a few things from storage to the apartment and went shopping.
then headed out to fresno.
got to fresno and saw
my dad's aunt (tete evie). hung out at her house for a bit and then went
to my dad's cousin's (chris) house. he used to have a glass eye, a beard,
and dredlocks down to his waist, but when i saw him this time he didn't
have the glass eye, the beard, or the dredlocks so he looked a lot different.
he and his family have a really cool backyard. it's full of random things
gathered from junkyards and flea markets. they have a pond with koi in
it and all sorts of interesting things lining the border. definitely a
unique backyard. chris's wife does sculpting and we saw her artwork and
that was good too. after seeing his place we went back to tete evie's.
a bunch more of the family came over and we had dinner and such. wish i
had gotten pictures.9-4-01 CA day 77
left fresno and went to
kings canyon/sequoia national parks. seriously impressive. saw general
from there we went to melanie's
house and the trip ended. total mileage 15,553. 48 states. many national
parks. many museums. many cities. many memories.
from here on out i'll update
my main webpage instead of this one.
general sherman himself...i
didn't hold the camera perfectly inline so there are some white spots,
but you get the idea.
some stats on the largest
living thing on earth...general sherman.
this marks the end...