Friday, January 31, 2003

Road Trip Day 12

Los Feliz, CA:
The long--500 mile--trip home.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Road Trip Day 11

Clear Lake, CA:
Another dull day, except for a side trip to Crater Lake, OR. While the lake itself was obscured by fog, the tight, twisty road to it was awesome. Six foot walls of snow made the narrow blacktop like a canyon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Road Trip Day 10

Redmond, OR:
I drove 12 hours of the worst rain I've ever driven in. I could hardly see the road. Later after finally escaped the downpour I turned off the road to turn around. The dirt shoulder, which had looked quite smooth, bounced my front end up and pulled my exhaust apart.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Road Trip Day 9

Whistler, BC, Canada:
Another day of excruciating beauty began with crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a wooden foot bridge that hangs 280 feet of the Capilano River in Northern Vancouver. From there I took the Skyride up Grouse Mountain. After hiking around the top for a while I asked if there was a trail to the bottom. The workers told me about "The Grind," a 1.8 mile hike that climbs 2800 feet. In my case descends.

I took many pictures of the trail as I descended through the clouds. Viability was only about 100 feet at times. It felt like something out of MYST or Riven. The sound of falling water was constant to my left, lost off in the fog. Everything was wet, and the moisture in the air quickly soaked my goatee and hair.

The trip was slightly soured by the loss of my lens cap and a slight hyper extension of my left knee. But this could not take the child-like awe at the scenery.

After making it down I headed up to Whistler. The road, hugging the rocks along the glacier carved bays, was lined with steep creeks and waterfalls. I had been going to ride a Zip Line across a river in Whistler but I got there too late.

On the trip back I enjoyed a USA forbidden Monte Cristo cigar, as smooth a dear hyde, it lasted the whole way.

A note or two on Vancouver. First: I have never been pestered by panhandlers anywhere as much as here. From very able bodied backpackers to the legless in a wheelchair (so much for the wonder of socialized medicine), I walked around for hours to listen too all their shite stories. One dame told me she needed just a few more dollars for the ferry back to Victoria. The next day she nearly sprang the same story on me. The look on her face was quite like "oh shit, he's heard this one."

The ort her thing is, how many fucking Starbucks does one square mile of city need? Certainly not the 15 - 20 there are. The are intersections with two of them on opposite corners.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Road Trip Day 8

Vancouver, BC, Canada:
I wormed my way into Canada without a passport. I was detained by Canadian Immigration for about 20 minutes but they caved under my heart-warming tale of wanderlust.

Of course everyone warned me that the trouble is getting back into the US. We'll see.

I like the money up here, its cute.

I bought a real live Cuban cigar to smoke tomorrow. I wont dare to bring any back as my car will probably be searched since I didn't bring a passport. Well I don't even have one.

I'm absolutely the only person in shorts.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Road Trip Day 7

Birch Bay, Washington:
Twenty minutes into Washington I got a speeding ticket in Spokane. Damn it! The interior of Washington is a bit dull until you get to the mountains. Rivers and lakes in Southern California are pathetic puddles and trickles compared to here.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Road Trip Day 6

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho:
I got stuck in Coeur d'Alene. This gave me the chance to snap a few photos.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Road Trip Day 5

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho:
Dull drive today. I resorted to playing my harmonica while trying to pass slow cars in the rain. I made up silly bluegrass songs about the situation. There was a song about logging trucks too. There might have to be a Dead Roach Band EP: "Pacific Northwest Travel Diddies."

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Road Trip Day 4 - High Plains Drifter

McCall, Idaho:
I awoke a 8:30 to take a few pictures of partially frozen Bear Lake before descending the icy road towards Montpelier, where the puffy jacket vest is alive and well. A detour on the 89 sent me east into Wyoming. Light snow flecked my windshield and the slush of an earlier snow made a patchwork of white on the blacktop road.

Crowded down under low clouds and driving at a most likely unsafe speed I saw some amazing views. The few times I found a safe place to stop beside the road I noticed the my camera's lens never captured the feeling of being there. So I took few pictures.

Heading north again, I saw a sign for Yellowstone, so I ploughed through the deepening snow in that direction. At times the road vanished completely, merging with the sinking cloud layer and blanketed fields.

Big blobs of wet snow fell at the final turnoff for Yellowstone. The park ranger told me that the park is closed in winter. She said I could drive the 23 miles up to the park but they don't plough the roads at this time of year. Still with hundreds of miles to go today I figured it was better to turn back.

The clouds peeled apart, opening to blue skies. By the time I passed through Idaho Falls they had become a distant back drop colored like a Maxfield Parish painting by the setting sun.

Leaving Idaho Falls was like sitting on top of the world. The land slopped away for a few hundred miles. The effect was stupefying. Distant mountains were below me looking like islands in a vast cloud-covered sea. A line of clouds above a patch of clear blue formed the horizon of this imaginary ocean. As the sun passed this line it appeared to be swallowed into the water.

Two hours later, still driving downhill, I witnessed the most beautiful sight in my travels. Clouds, navy blue, were darkening silhouettes against the still light sky. Surrounding them was a maze of crisscrossing wisps, also darkening. The sun had long since slipped below the horizon but its light still held on. So as the clouds blackened they looked like holes in the sky. It took One Hundred and Fifty miles at 80 mph for this show to evolve. It was so fucking majestic I nearly wept. (well . . . )

Eventually the frozen lakes gave way to wheat fields, featureless in the gather darkness.

After 13.5 hours of driving I found snow again at my destination, McCall, Idaho.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Road Trip Day 3

Bear Lake, Utah:
Gliding along Interstate 15--at times going 110mph--I escaped St George. I was briefly sidetracked by a mile-high column of steam 20 miles to the west. It turned out to be a power plant.

A light snow fall greeted me along the snaking icy road leading down to Bear Lake. I'm still in shorts though.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Road Trip Day 2

ST George, Utah:
Today I blasted the dirty heck out of several paper people with an Tommy Gun!! Yes, a real Tommy Gun, and an HK MP5, and a JMB 76/.45. The Gun Store in Vegas rents these absolutely worth every cent guns. Also I drove to St. George Utah.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Road Trip Day 1

Las Vegas, NV:
Without fanfare I slipped away at dawn. Heading North East, sliding easily in and out of light traffic, Soilwork's Black Star Deceiver filled the gaps in my thoughts. My destination is Vegas.

It should be noted that I wrote this a few days before leaving. So in order to maintain accuracy I nearly caused an accident trying to get Soilwork in the CD player. Also it was more like 10:30am.