Saturday, June 17, 2017

Plan Less. Live More.

Along with an infamous "Hostility Toward Wealth" Facebook post that destroyed some deep friendships, this has probably become my favorite thing I've written. It's from March or April 2015 and was written in a tent in Salento, Colombia. I have to admit, and with only a slight, forced degree of humility: its nice to be able to inspire yourself! Thanks for the organic reminder, Mr. Campbell.

Monday, May 1, 2017

11/10/16: The Nebraska Exodus

Particularly after Phoenix, I was smart enough to let things marinate until the wide angle view of perspective arrived. Before Fort Morgan, this was useful, but the forthcoming hitchhiking stretch could/should have been written in the moment. If you’re one who enjoys the light “then this happened” fare, you’ll enjoy it. Don’t worry: I'll have plenty coming for the rest of you.

Thursday, November 10th

After struggling for 36-hours, I finally snapped back to Raton-normal. The new body clock woke me up at 4:45am thrilled that, despite Colorado's November chill, there was neither condensation nor frost. With the exit ramp’s lights, breakdown was effortless and by 5:30 I paid coffee-homage to 2008's Conoco Shrine—unaware that I’d stealth camped for the last time on this trip. In fact, that morning I planned (ha!) to camp across Nebraska and Iowa for the foreseeable future!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Synapse Pruning & The Signal:Noise Ratio

First of all, I know I never finished the hitchhiking updates from November. I made it home safely and felt bad about not finishing until I remembered: no one's reading them anyhow! So...who cares? Literally! If you happen to be an anomaly, I apologize. I'll finish them , eventually. Then you'll be able to hear all about the Russian trucker watching porn as he DROVE, or more accurately swerved, down I-80 in Iowa. True story. Good times. But, not why I'm here this early morning...

This link is about how motherhood changes women's brains.

Interesting read, sure, but pay attention to the part about "synapse pruning". It's the brain's way of, as I like to put it, "getting rid of that which does not fucking matter to make room for that which does." And make whatever remains more efficient.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

11/9/16: Colorado Springs to Ft. Morgan - Building Antibodies

November 9th began drowning in reactionary cynicism. It ended honoring a dead friend and the effect he never knew he had; a humble 1st person tribute to the resonating ghost of my first ‘real” ride from a tortured man who'd become infamous and dismissed in death simply as a cop-killing monster. The man I met was much more.November 9th began drowning in reactionary cynicism. It ended honoring a dead friend and the effect he never knew he had; a humble 1st person tribute to the resonating ghost of my first ‘real” ride from a tortured man who'd become infamous and dismissed in death simply as a cop-killing monster. The man I met was much more.

HAPPY TANGENT: Good news! For this trip, the last post is mostly it for naked political commentary. Congratulations! You survived! Have a Tootsie Roll. Or a big bag of Freedom Cheetos. No, that wasn't a political statement. It was me having some fun with your triggers.

11/9/16: The Electoral Post-Mortem

With Trump’s election, Wednesday morning stood in hilariously stark contrast to Tuesday’s. Whatever “connection” I’d felt just 24-hours earlier was dead and replaced by a generalized sense of annoyed cynicism. The early hours of November 9th felt like a complete personal political post-mortem. In fact, they were only the initial incisions.

Graced with hindsight, the aforementioned warning bells were now deafening. I thought back to 2008 & 2009 and the dozens of conversations with people so disgusted with "the system" that they’d rather blow it up than have it maim them any further. I remembered the conversations in Peru: warning people, to their semi-arrogant “progressive’ amusement, that Trump was a threat. And that one should never underestimate or bet against willful 'merican ignorance.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

11/8/16: Raton to Colorado Springs - The Orange Interloper Ascends


Until the very end, election day 2016 was refreshingly non-political. For at least 2-years, if not longer, almost everyone had been ready for November 8, 2016 to end. Rather than a righteous expression of democracy, to most Americans the electoral process has become a tortuous, brutal endurance test. Be reasonably assured: anyone preaching recycled, long-winded, election-based “patriotic” American ideals are full of shit and simply wanting to hear themselves cackle. The senses-battering saturation with all conceivable means of spin is exhausting. By the start of any election year, people are just trying to survive the carpet bombing style propaganda campaigns disguised as “discourse” and non-stop political advertisements. In an odd way, I’d escaped the final onslaught by being on the road! I’d figured out my cellphone predicament the night before but as election day dawned I was without data which mercifully left me disconnected.

The night was cold but the Bellyache Mountain again performed admirably. The bag/bivy tandem combined with the plush grass to create a perfectly comfortable, restful nest. Until I got out and started shivering! As in Flagstaff, the bivy had a coat of thick frost and my water bottle had frozen. Unlike Flagstaff and Albuquerque: no condensation. Anywhere. At all! Bazinga! This time, I was (finally) wise enough to cover the backpack with its rain fly, so the Palisade avoided the frost and its accompanying melt.

Monday, November 7, 2016

11/7/16: Election Eve On The Santa Fe Trail

Albuquerque-Raton, NM

It wasn’t a restful night, but I slept well enough in my creepy dirt nest. The first thing I noticed when waking up at 6:30: everything was soaked. Again. This time, rather than condensation: desert dew. Since I’d slept outside of the bivy, the sleeping bag bore the brunt. As did the uncovered backpack. But, moisture aside, the sleeping bag rocked again and the shell kept its insides dry. Still, I again needed to dry it before stowing it for very long. At least I was still at a Flying J. Easy fix.

The second thing: a car parked nearby in the nothingness! It was just 40-50 yards away and sitting directly beneath the massive sign luring I-40’s traffic to the Flying J. I don’t know which creeped me out more: a car so close to my nest or that I hadn’t heard it pull in!

“Whatever, Adventureman. The sun is up. You’re visible. Everything about this nest is creepy and generally uncomfortable. Quit gawking. Get moving. Dumbass.”

Sunday, November 6, 2016

11/6/16: "Bus, Bus, Foreigner's Tour Bus"

Flagstaff-Albuquerque

After my creepy 4am awakening, the frost coating the bivy convinced me to stay snugly in my sleeping bag for an hour struggling to get more sleep. It was still dark, I had no idea how to deal with the frost layer before re-packing the bivy, and the condensation inside the bivy sack had collected onto the sleeping bag. All new complications needing to be dealt with. And the sun wasn’t even beginning to rise.

I purchased this particular bag in Phoenix because Big Agnes marketed the Bellyache Mountain as having a water resistant outer shell as well as containing “water repellant down”. I’d hesitated switching to a much lighter weight down-bag before because they’re traditionally known to be useless once they get wet.; the down would clump in older bags and they’d lose their ability to retain heat. But, over the last few years, technology has developed to combat that significant problem. If Big Agnes’s “Downtek” worked, the weight/packability would make one worth the investment. Despite the considerable condensation, one thing was certain this Sunday morning: the moisture hadn’t penetrated its outer shell and gotten at me. And it still felt like a furnace! So far, so good. I just didn’t want to extract myself! But, I wanted to spend another night in Flagstaff far less.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

11/5/16: "Remember, Remember the 5th of November"

After almost two weeks, on Flux Capacitor/Guy Fawkes Day, it was time to get moving. With Standing Rock as a tentative “plan” (ha!), we decided north from Phoenix was the best option and around 11am we packed Dexter The Dog into Jefe’s truck and took I-17 toward Flagstaff.

Compared to Nevada, I-17 has an abundance of suitable hitchhiker drop zones once Phoenix’s sprawl is left behind. Jeff generously decided on Camp Verde, 90-miles away; only an hour south of Flagstaff and my new target: I-40 east. Meet the new goal. Same as the old goal.

Friday, November 4, 2016

10/24-11/4/16: Phoenix, AZ - El Jefe Revisited

Some backstory is in order for those who have joined the party since 2010. Jefe and I grew up in the same town and have a history running back to the first Bush administration. He moved west in the late 1990’s, and we managed to stay connected by phone and me paying infrequent visits before and after I myself moved west in 2004. When Chris and I decided in January, 2010 that we’d meet up at Slab City , in the California desert near the Salton Sea, I Dirty Dogged from Santa Fe to Phoenix so Jeff could join us for a night or two. He was there when we encountered Leonard Knight and Kevin Eubank and I believe he even met the infamous Ray. We then occasionally got together in 2013 while we lived in Tucson. For whatever reason, La Casa de Jefe is frequently on the way! We hadn’t seen each other since my move to Chicago in late-2013, so a visit seemed likely from the moment I landed in Las Vegas.

We quickly got re-acquainted, which is never hard, and things quieted down significantly over the next several days. He worked while I spent the mornings with his dog and cat updating my blog, editing video, and contemplating Mexico.