30 November 2009

Boomtown or Bust

We've just left Reno. This is the view from the Boomtown Casino. I like that it's so close to the mountains. It's a pretty nice place actually. We were in Reno just to get gas, and to drive down the strip. We'll likely stop for some food & coffee before we get home.

We still like each other and I've thought of plenty of other road trips for us to take. So this is far from being the end.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

I Heart Montana

Jesse's on his second driving rotation and we're still just in Montana. We took a different way back - staying on the main interstates and not going through the mountains. It's still mountainous terrain, but there are more cell towers along I-90.

So far I can tell you the car is less comfortable on the way back. Jesse & Joel have both caught colds, and are therefore having trouble sleeping. (We just crossed into Idaho!) they've both been tossing & turning. I think they were both muttering too. I drank a large coffee at the start of my first shift (5 hours ago) and not only can I not sleep, I need a restroom in the worst way. Our gas mileage seems to be worse on the way back too, as if we're constantly heading against the wind.

Otherwise, I love(d) Montana. I loved the snow on the mountains. I loved being high enough to see the "big sky." I told Jesse we could homestead there. He didn't say no. Of course it helps that it's a full moon and everything already grand looks even better. It's a clear night and I am again reminded of how rare it is for me to see the stars.

I love road trips.

- desperately seeking a potty.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

29 November 2009

Postcard From Williston

We're heading back to California. We've loaded up little Henry with our fatter butts, better food, and some extra stuff from a storage shed. We left promptly at 1PM Central / 11AM Pacific. We timed out the route to get to a main highway (and away from deer) by dark. We're still driving in four hour shifts. Since I ended the first trip, Jesse started the second. That means I get to ride (and snack) for 8 hours before having to do anything. Smooth.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

28 November 2009

The Epitome of "Holiday"

I'm on vacation! I'm having a great time doing as little as possible. This is me during a cutthroat afternoon of bingo at the Knights of Columbus. My only success was winning $10 in pull tabs. We let that ride and came out with nothing. Joel on the other hand won $49 in bingo. It almost makes up for a hold 'em tournament incident last night.

I spent today doing what I've been doing since I left San Francisco: eating. Today (just today) I (only I) had lemon cake (2 pieces), french toast, pancakes, toast, more lemon cake, popcorn, an ice cream bar and lumpia. The lumpia was just an appetizer for the steak / salmon / macaroni & cheese dinner. I can't count the cocktails, but they're plentiful. If I didn't eat again until 2010, my body might not notice.

More that food though, I've been able to relax. That matters a lot. It's rare and it was much needed after the 3 months I've had at work. I'm really happy right now. And I just wanted to share that.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

25 November 2009

We've Arrived!

After 28.5 hours in the car, we've made it. Jesse's dad handed out shots as we walked in "just to get you get in the door." I've already had 2, and Lucy handed me a glass of Polka Dot wine, which I love.

So we're here. We're safe. We still love each other. We dealt with fog, deer, and dissent in the last leg. It's nothing worth discussing now. I'm on vacation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

Miles City, MT

One of my favorite things about living in the Midwest was Taco Johns. I'm not sure how I came to love it, but I do. When we lived in Vegas, I could only have it when cousin Mikey came to visit and we had an insider on the air force base. I hadn't had a potato ole since Thanksgiving 2007, until today. Joel spotted Taco Johns from wherever it was that we got gas. Both the drive through and the interior were packed. It's good stuff.

I've also been stuffing my face all day with treats we brought with us. Good thing I'm running another half marathon last week. I'd be disappointed if I couldn't say I was carbo-loading.

Also, it should be noted I was right: this leg offers nothing for the scenery-lover. I'm not tired, but I may try for another nap. We have seven hours left and maybe an hour's worth of scenery.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

Montana Brings Slippery Slopes

Jesse & Joel slept for my driving shift. Despite not getting caffeine, I wasn't tired - since the driving shift was at the same time I get up for work. I was pleased with the timing. I was pleased with my 8 hours of sleep. I was pleased that we were starting the second 12 hour rotation. I faded the music to my position and we hit the road.

Sometime along the way, the GPS guided me off the interstate and onto a state road. The state road in question runs parallel to the interstate but is (apparently) more treacherous with it's elevation / ice / seclusion. None of the above registered in my brain as I happily turned off the main road. I wasn't even concerned when I noticed the snow on the trees, or the small piles on the side of the road. It didn't alarm me that there were no street lights, no exits, no other cars. I didn't even care that there was a little snow & ice on the road. I really was enjoying the forest for the trees. It was beautiful. We were really high, and as the fog rolled in, it looked as if I could have touched it. The sun was starting to come up and things were more blue, less black. I could see more snow and I could feel it was getting colder as we went. Jesse moved and I took his semi-consciousness to show him the beauty around us.


He was angry that we weren't on the interstate. Once he explained about the treachery - and reminded me I don't have chains for my tires - I fully understood why. But I told him there was nothing to be done about it, and to relax. He sat & he sulked. And then he said "are you sure the GPS told you to turn?"


I told him I was not lying, that I didn't just decide to turn onto a road I didn't know for fun. He told me not to get offended. It seemed pretty offensive to me. Either he was suggesting I lied about what the GPS said, or that I was too stupid to follow instructions. Offensive? Indeed.

I stayed quiet. I got myself all worked up, and then just about calmed down. But then Joel woke up. And Jesse said "Danie says the GPS told her to turn off the highway."

Calm shattered.

I use the word "says" just about every day at work. It removes responsibility. It implies "I don't take this as fact, but it's what I've been told."

I reminded Jesse that he was responsible for programming the route into the GPS. I told him it insulted my intelligence to ask if I was sure I heard what the GPS told me. I mean really. What would I have been thinking to turn onto a road I don't know? And then I promised myself I wouldn't talk to him for the rest of the trip.

He sincerely insisted he was not insulting my intelligence. He assured me he didn't think I was lying. I forgave him. And I was happy again.

Although he did say the GPS could have rerouted us after *I turned it off during a pit stop.

We made it back onto the interstate at Bozeman. My drive was certainly the most scenic. Now that the mountains are behind us, it's flat and not nearly as exciting. I'll be having a par fait and napping.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

Pocatello II

I started driving as we left Pocatello, so there are things I couldn't update.

First of all, it's in Idaho, not Nevada. I'm not sure why a 24 - hour Wal Mart is necessary, since there were at least 10 times as many workers as there were customers. The restroom was nice. I brushed my teeth, put in my contacts and felt comfortable otherwise freshening. I asked the woman who greeted us as we came in if they had Starbucks Double Shots. And that's when it got to be time to get out of Pocatello.

She didn't know what I was saying. They sold Starbucks energy drinks. They even had Frappuccinos. So (in my mind) I was not out of line in asking for another product. I sent "Kevi" into a frenzy. I described it as a small coffee drink made my Starbucks and caffeinated.

"Well we don't have samples." "That's fine."
"Well go down to grocery and it's aisle 4. You'll see coffee, and coffee mugs, and pickles."

I knew she wasn't describing what I needed, but she was trying. She was scratching her head and maybe even felt really helpful. So I went. I saw coffee. I saw mugs. I saw pickles. No Double Shots. It was time to go. She saw me leaving empty handed and I think she was a little sad. But I thanked her for trying to help me. I want no hostility left for me in Idaho.

And there was something worth photographing - the golden arches from the McDonald's next door were down. They were propped up against a pole. But we had dawdled too long. And it was really cold.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry


We're about to switch drivers in Pocatello, and then we're getting on the 15. I'm not sure, but I think we're still in Nevada. I've seen snow, which I find pleasing. My feet are cold and my tailbone hurts. But I've been asleep or off duty for 8 hours. So I really can't complain.

There is absolutely nothing worth a picture. There is a Wal Mart though. And I hope it has both an available restroom and a coffee machine.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

24 November 2009

Elko Is Cold.

Howdy. We switched drivers in Elko. We used the restroom at the Red Lion Casino. It was my kind of rest stop. I prefer casino restrooms. I mean when was the last time you went in a gas station that was as nice as a casino?

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

Yeah. We're Doing This.

We're driving to North Dakota for Thanksgiving. We've already left. In fact, we're currently somewhere in Nevada. The Internet told me it would be a 31 hour trip. Knowing that, Jesse, Joel & I still decided to go. Yes, it sounds a little (or a lot) crazy. We understand that. But honestly, at no point in our planning did we consider *not doing it. We do know how to do things properly you know.

The oil has been changed. The car has been checked by a professional (who found 2 screws in one of my tires). Snacks have been purchased, sorted and bagged. Parents have been notified. Tracking systems have been activated. Jesse's mom even sent us a GPS (w/ durable case). We are what I would call "outfitted." We are what most would call prepared. More than that, we are excited. We like adventure and if that's insane, then I'm glad we're insane together.

We're five hours into the trip and the most exciting site we've seen was at a truck stop in Sparks. There was a wall of guns. I'm told John Wayne's spurs were there too, but I didn't see them. After that, there was a moment of panic when I dropped a contact lens. It was recovered. All is well.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry

21 November 2009

Pinata Party

Friday, 20 November 2009

We're not exactly art aficionados. I don't have time for the abstract. I want my trees to look like trees and my landscapes to be colorful. Still, we found ourselves heading to a gallery for a showing. There were several reasons we couldn't not go.
  • It was really close to our place.
  • We were pretty sure there would be a featured (free) alcohol.
  • The showing was of a pinata living room, destined to be smashed.
And maybe I would have still chosen to stay home and sleep, had Joel & I not come across some of the prep work while doing laundry. We saw the couch - a whole pinata love seat - being brought into the gallery. It looked really cool, and imagining the treats that could fill a love seat was great motivation. So off we went Friday to a small art gallery made tiny by a paper mache living room. Not wanting to miss the smashing, we got there just a few minutes after the showing started. Let's call that "mistake #1."

The smashing (according to the artist) was not to start until the gallery was at capacity. And while it was crowded, it was not at capacity. We had drinks. We ate snacks. We listened to the chatter. We watched the hipsters mingle. We did not participate, as we are not fans of the hispters. We all have our reasons.

For me, it's the pretending to be poor. No one who actually is poor wants the world to know. It's only "cool" to wear tattered, dirty clothes when you have a Macbook in your backpack, an iPhone in your back pocket, and a fancy camera hanging underneath your scraggly beard. Poverty is not an accessory. You have every right to trim your hair with a razor but don't take a real problem like poverty and use it to make friends. If you live in a city as expensive as San Francisco, you don't need to look like you sleep under a bridge. We all know you don't. I mean how would you charge your smartphone?

So Jesse, Joel & I huddled close. We dared not speak, because we had little positive to say. Unfortunately, staying quiet meant we heard all of the conversations around us. It was painful. "But those glasses are such an integral part of your style." We were ready to witness some smashing and get out.

We had managed to get right up against the paper mache living room carpet. We had a really good view, but no drinks. Did we (Jesse) risk our spot to stand in line for a drink? Would drinks be enough consolation for our suffering, or justification for missing the moment? Worst case scenario, he was in line with his back to the show and missed the climax. We deemed it not a risk worth taking. That can be "mistake #2."

We stood, grumbling quietly and being smashed from all sides. And then - finally - capacity. But it was too much. There were to many people. We were right up against the edge of the display. We were going to get hit. We had to move back. That's right. We waited until the gallery was full so we could push people back out the doors. And then it was time. The artist thanked us for coming, then started destroying her creation. First reaction: disappointment.

She smashed and smashed and I didn't see any candy. Not a peanut butter cup or a Tootsie Roll. She wielded her bat and all I saw were Styrofoam peanuts. I was frozen with despondency. She moved from piece to piece and just before the crowd mutterings became grumblings, candies appeared. They appeared first as little spots of color, then as heavy "plops" that sounded like hail. There was less than I had hoped, but more than I had feared. The artist gave the bat to some guy. And then things got weird.

There's a reason kids hit pinatas and grown men don't. It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. It was a gross and sad display of machismo. They were just beating things because they thought the beating was cool. It was like they were all peacocks and that the bat was the tool through which they could display their colors. Here you can see at least one responsible adult shielding a kid the thoughtless swinging:

And it continued. Dude after dude showed that paper mache who was boss. Meanwhile, over in my corner, a few of us brave and greedy soul started picking up the candy. Realizing there wasn't going to be enough for everyone, the greediest among us had to act fast. And then it was just messy and weird. We stood outside -- where we had front row seats to a girl-vs-girl attack. Something about a (smaller) girl who contacted a (larger) girl's man via Myspace. The larger girl started with a ponytail yank / twist that got the smaller girl literally into the gutter. There were some unnecessary kicks to the head and I think more hair pulling. The smaller girl never even tried to defend herself. She was dominated by at least 30 pounds anyway. The boyfriend at the heart of the drama was embarrassed - not enough to break it up, but enough to stay away from the brouhaha and yell at his girlfriend from up against a wall.

They left and so did we. I don't think I have the stomach for art.