Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Waiting and stuff

I've been having trouble acquiring computer access here at my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Larry's house outside Sacramento. They came down to Castro Valley Friday evening and picked me up at Pyzano's. I expected to be gone by about now, but I'll be staying at least through tomorrow. I will probably be able to get a new prescription from their doctor tomorrow, which will be sweet because it means I won't have to go back to Ohio for a couple months. That erases perhaps 3 weeks of travel time that it would take to get to Ohio and back out west. It also will make it possible for me to continue my journey up into Oregon and Washington during summer, which was my goal when I left home over a month ago. I have so much to say right now; waiting for computer time has been killing me. I think the pizza Tony made me (at Pyzano's) may be the best pizza I've ever eaten. (I ate the entire 16" pizza in one
sitting.) Oh yeah, Tony recently won a World's Best Pizza competition in Italy.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Some stuff

Hey, I'm at a computer finally. I have a lot to say, so hopefully I'll have a chance to say it all.

Check out this IMDB page about Jackie (the girl who gave me a ride to Big Sur). By the way, Jackie, I didn't see an e-mail from you. I hope you weren't bullshitting me.

Lew, I do get offered weed a lot. Usually I turn it down, though.

--
Aimless
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Short 24-hour summary

A few minutes after my post last night, the clouds and wind came east over the bay, turning a beautiful day cold and nasty. Freezing, I eventually put on my jeans over my shorts and pulled a long sleeve shirt and a jacket over my t-shirt. Even with the cloudy darkness, I waited until nightfall to leave the on-ramp. Walking north on Industrial Pkwy, I soon was sweating, so I went through the trouble of taking off the extra clothing and putting it away. Passing by a Domino's Pizza, I asked if they had any mistake pies. They did, so I ate a Med pepperoni pizza for dinner. Sleeping on a sidewalk later in South Hayward, a cop woke me up and told me to leave. When I asked if there was anywhere I could go, he said there was a park right around the corner, so I spent the rest of the night on a tennis court. I woke up and walked to Pyzano's Pizzeria in Castro Valley, where I got a little footage of
World Champion pizza tosser Tony Gemignani and ate a delicious pizza he made for me... More later.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What a day

I'll tell the story about Raul later. Today has mega-sucked so far. Yesterday I merely wanted a new tent; today I need a new tent because one of the poles broke when I was tearing down this morning. Also, having only 4-6 oz of water when I woke up today, I figured (and hoped) there would be somewhere to refill shortly after crossing the Dumbarton Bridge. Nope. I walked 8.6 miles before finding a place to get some water. A little further down the road I followed a bike path because it looked like it went north. To my dismay it ended up curving all the way around and going south. I'd been on the trail for at least a mile and a half before I realized it wasn't gonna go where I wanted it to go. My only choice was to walk all the way back to where I'd gotten on the trail, meaning I walked at least 3 miles for absolutely nothing. Right now I'm beside the I-880 northbound on-ramp in or near
Union City, trying to get a ride to Sacramento. Less than 3 hours of daylight remaining.

I CAN'T SLEEP!!! You'd think

I CAN'T SLEEP!!! You'd think after 2 weeks of walking 15 miles a day, carrying 50+ lbs on my back, I'd have no trouble sleeping. Whatever.
Right now I'm camped out near CA Rte 84 & University Ave, I believe, near the south end of the SF Bay. I ran out of smokes after my first one yesterday. There was nowhere to buy more. Today began shittily, with me walking 6 miles up the cold, windy Rte 1, to about 8 miles south of Pescadero. Then, finally, someone stopped for me. It was 3 young English lads, age 17, 19, and 20. Those blokes took me to Half Moon Bay, where it was nice to be back in civilization. They gave me a banana and were cool to talk to. I spent every last penny on food and smokes before beginning the trek up Rte 92 toward the Bay Area. That road was not fun. First there was a couple miles of walking with almost no shoulder through constant traffic. Then, without warning, it was time to climb a mountain. No bullshit. When I reached the top of the incline, I was in the clouds and it was damn cold. I'll write about
Raul tomorrow... Mom, I hope you still have that other belt around because this one is too big now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Davenport Roadhouse

I am at a restaurant/inn called the Davenport Roadhouse, charging my phone because it was completely wiped out. I have no idea what town I'm in and frankly I'm sick of walking this road. (I'm probably 15 miles out of Santa Cruz.) It's cold and windy outside, and I really don't expect to get a ride anytime soon. Right now I just want to get to Sacramento ASAP. Leg 2 has gone very smoothly so far, but it's time for a break. I put on my last clean pair of socks today and I don't want to have to wear them beyond tomorrow. My still camera isn't working right, which sucks because I took a bunch of pictures yesterday that should have been awesome at Wilder Ranch State Park. For some reason, though, all the pictures I've taken since arriving at the park look like bad reception on a TV, even though the LCD looked fine when I took the pictures. I guess San Francisco is the next city I'll see
because I don't think this road goes anywhere else. Hopefully I'll be there sometime today.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cause & effect

Oh my, I don't feel very well today. I didn't feel too bad when I woke up, but it's been a struggle getting up the road today. It turns out that Brandy is not such a fine girl. Yeah, I got pretty wasted last night with Allen, J, Maria, Joseph, and "The Butchers" (Denise & Henry). I'm surprised I was able to put up the tent in a timely manner. Maria and J are tweakers. J was pretty tweaked up last night, but I didn't feel threatened in any way. I guess everyone in the pack has their own vices and/or addictions, but they are all harmless, down-to-earth people. They spend most of their time hidden within the woods inside the on-ramp cloverleaf, hanging out and sipping beer. Because they keep the place clean and don't bother anyone, the cops seem to leave them alone. Giovanni gave me $5 before I left this morning. Now that I've walked through downtown Santa Cruz, I know I was never there
Saturday. It's pretty nice, although touristy. I'm now a few miles west of downtown, northbound on 1.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Oh my god, just wait

Oh my god, just wait for my next post. I'm getting drunk on brandy with a bunch of tramps.

Another near-disaster

Last night, about 200 feet before reaching my final destination, I took a bad step on a curb, placing my whole body's weight on my left foot while my left foot rolled off the edge of the curb. It was just like what happened to me in Arizona last December, with one important difference: This time I was wearing hiking boots with adequate ankle support. Had I been wearing the same shoes I wore last December, my ankle would've snapped, crackled, and popped all over again. I think it would have happened with these shoes, as well, had I not laced them so tight. Same ankle, too. Fortunately I came out of it without any injuries... After waiting at various spots on the on-ramp for 2 hours, with no shade available, I decided to wait right beside the freeway under the Soquel Dr overpass because the freeway traffic is barely moving, which means I could possibly get a ride from someone already on
the freeway, as well as someone coming down the on-ramp... CHP ruined it; I'll be back. Shift change?

Leaving Santa Cruz?

Thinking I was only about 5 miles from the heart of Santa Cruz when I woke up yesterday, I figured I'd only walk maybe 10 miles for the day. Boy was I wrong; I ended up walking 19.5 miles. On the way into town I noticed what I thought might be a good place to camp out, at 2200 Soquel Dr. The place looked empty yesterday, so I expected it to be the same today, seeing how it's Sunday and everything. Good call, Ryan. I put up the tent behind the building and slept until 10:00, I think. Shortly after I woke, 2 guys showed up to blow the leaves and debris, but they didn't care that I was there. Walking toward the freeway, I stopped at a gas station to wash my hands; I ended up charging my phone and talking to the attendant, Ron, for a couple hours. Very cool guy. I got out here on the on-ramp from Soquel to Rte 1 North at 2:00, and now I'm just trying to get to San Francisco, San Jose,
Oakland, or Sacramento. Don't care which city; any one of them is perfectly fine with me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Santa Cruz

A couple miles up the road this morning I spotted a donut shop across from where I was walking on Soquel Drive. Like usual I felt compelled to take a peek at their selection and check their prices. Having only $7, I decided not to buy anything. When I left, I took a break on the step out front to write the previous blog post. While composing it with my phone, one of the women working at the donut shop brought me out a few donuts. Then a guy came up and began talking to me, having seen my gear. He ended up slipping me a ten dollar bill. Now I have $17, and those donuts seem to have given me a lot of energy I didn't have before I ate them. 5.5 miles up the road from where I began this morning, I am still not in Santa Cruz. I am in what appears to be downtown Soquel. I assume I must be two miles or less from Santa Cruz... After 9 miles, I think I'm finally in or near downtown Santa Cruz...
10.3 miles to the boardwalk and beach. The boardwalk is not too terribly exciting. Very hot today.

I did not exhale

The CHP officer dropped me off last night in Aptos on a road he said goes straight into Santa Cruz after 5 miles. Knowing I wouldn't be able to make it to the coast in time for sunset, I found a spot to sit and eat some tortilla chips. When my break was up, I walked down the road looking for an electrical outlet. Couldn't find one, so I turned around and headed back toward Roadhouse Pizza, where I planned to ask if I could charge my phone. They said it was OK, so I hung around and chatted with the people working there. The manager was Troy and another dude's name, I believe, was Alex. When they closed, at 9:00, Troy gave me 2 ice cream bars and 2 Gatorades and said I was welcome to hang around. Post-closing time is when the fun begins at Roadhouse. Four of their friends showed up and someone passed around a bong. When it got to me, I inhaled. Yeah, I sucked it in, and soon I was baked.
I don't like getting high because it generally makes me paranoid, but once in a while I do it anyway.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Nowhereland

At about 7:00 tonight I found myself exactly where I was 5 or 6 miles earlier. These roads out of Watsonville all go nowhere, but there are no signs telling you they're gonna end until you're at the fucking end of them. So after walking up and down huge, steep hills for 2 hours, only to end up where I'd began, I decided to walk up onto the freeway. That way at least I knew I'd get somegoddamnwhere. So I start walking up the freeway and there's another huge hill. Didn't matter; I ascended the hill at a pace about 1.5 times my normal pace. Someone even yelled 'All right' out the window at me. Close to a mile up the road, through a PA from behind I heard, "Turn around and walk this way." It was CHP. He was cool. I ended up getting a ride at least 5 miles up the road. Shit, man, I'm gonna go hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim when I'm done with this, but I'm not gonna carry all this
extra weight. After everything I'm putting myself through with Aimless, the Grand Canyon will be nothing.

Around the bay

I found a nice place to sleep last night, 2-3 miles north of Marina, in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately I put the tent on uneven ground and it was really cold from midnight to sunrise, so I didn't sleep well. About 31 miles from Santa Cruz, I started walking that way ASAP. About a mile up the road I passed a Dole plant, where some trucks were parked out front. I walked up to 2 truckers and asked if they thought anyone might need a lumper. They said no, but I talked to them for a while. Mike M. gave me $3 for some food, then I was on my way. Aunt Carolyn (of Sacramento) called me a couple miles up the road. I mistakenly told her I was near Watsonville; I was actually near Castroville. Then Rafael gave me a ride 10+ miles to downtown Watsonville. He speaks almost no English, but he gave me $5 and said I could ride a bus to Santa Cruz for $3. Instead I bought 1 lb of tortilla chips &
2 8-pks of Hershey Special Dark chocolate bars (buy 1 get 1 free) for $3.78. About 14 miles to SC.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ooh Child

I guess I just can't stand standing beside on-ramps anymore because I walked away from the latest one after about half an hour. It began when I was distracted by a freakin' huge sand dune towering above the other side of the elevated highway. When I went to check it out, I noticed a bike path, so I said 'fuck it' and started walking along the bike path. A road sign said it's 38 miles to Santa Cruz, so I decided I'll walk there. Four miles later I was in the town of Marina. As I entered Marina, I saw a KFC and immediately knew I would hit them up for some food. I walked in and spoke to a manager. I asked her if they had anything they needed to throw out that they could instead give to a hungry traveler. She ended up giving me a big bowl of mashed potatoes, with some gravy and two biscuits. Just as I sat down, the song 'Ooh Child' began playing on the stereo. 'Ooh, child, things are gonna
get easier. Ooh, child, things'll be brighter...' Have I ever told you how much I love that song?

New territory

Well, I bought two tapes for a ridiculous price ($14.00), so now I'm not in dire straits in that department. Additionally, my phone is 75% charged. The problem is: I also bought a couple donuts and a pack of smokes, so now I only have $3. Until I acquire some more money, the camcorder only comes out if I see something extra special happening. Right now I'm in Sand City trying to get a ride beside the on-ramp to Route 1. I don't even know where I'm trying to go right now; either Santa Cruz or Castro Valley, I guess.

Jackie

Jackie is an interesting person; beautiful with a free spirit. A resident of Topanga Canyon in LA, she is out on her own adventure right now, trying to sort out some things in her head, I think mostly pertaining to whether or not she wants a particular person to remain a big part of her life. She is after some major alone time right now, and I think she plans to spend time in San Francisco and Oregon before going back to LA. She expressed some disappointment about not being able to camp out in the middle of nowhere like I often do. It's not that she can't do it; it's that she always has to worry about being able to park her car legally. She doesn't really like going to campgrounds, but she knows she has somewhere to park if she's at a campground. I told her she should do what I'm doing, but she said she wouldn't feel very safe doing it alone, being a woman and all. So Jackie, if you
ever want to hit the road like I'm doing it, you're always welcome to join me. I enjoyed your company.

Monterey

I walked up a big hill yesterday from the bay to the highway. Arriving at the on-ramp at 4:00, I immediately tried to get a ride north. After 50 minutes, though, I said to myself, "Screw it. I'm gonna take a nap and camp out here tonight." I intended to wake up really early and try to get a ride, but my body decided it was time for a thorough night's sleep. Once I got up and at it, I decided to help clean up my world a little, so I started picking up trash and putting it all in a single pile. One of the pieces of trash I found was an unused trash bag. Super! I ended up placing all the trash in the trash bag, tying it up, and writing: 7/19/07; Pay it forward; www.aimlessmovie.com (as shown in the picture). I think I picked up trash for about an hour, then I waited around for maybe an hour and a half before choosing to walk north. Right now I need electricity, tapes, food, and money more
than I need a ride. I meant to say more about Jackie here, but I'm almost out of space. Coming soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Up the coast

Uh oh. Lots of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc... I was in the middle of saying I expect to be sitting/standing at the Santa Barbara on-ramp for quite a while, but Neil Smith stopped to give me a ride to [I don't know the name of the town]. I think this place is called Buelle or something (near Solvang). After maybe 45 minutes someone else stopped and took me to Big Sur. Her name... What!?! HER name? Yeah, her name is Jackie and she's gorgeous. I accompanied Jackie to a campground in a state park near Big Sur, but I found my own spot to camp away from the campground. As I walked toward Monterey this morning, Jackie passed me and picked me up again. We said goodbye again at Fisherman's Wharf, which is where I currently stand. Jackie is a part-time actor; she was on the TV shows "Windfall" and "Louie" (sp?). The 30-50 miles leading up to Big Sur is unfuckingbelievable. It is so amazingly
beautiful. If you've never been there, you need to start making plans. I have to charge my phone now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jay, if you have 'Shout

Jay, if you have 'Shout at the Devil,' please make me a copy. I have that Danger/Hollywood song stuck in my head and it's rocking my ass off.

Morning in Santa Barbara

"Pleasure meeting you, sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar." I actually heard someone say that this morning at the Santa Barbara bus/train station (where I slept on a bench last night). I think it was a man arriving in a taxi, saying it to his driver. I can't help it, but that just seems so fake to me... I stuck a knife blade into that once-huge blister residing between my big toe and the ball of my foot. The goop oozed out like when you puncture one of those stretchy-man toys you probably had when you were a kid. I then cleaned both of my feet with Wet Ones and slipped on some clean socks. After cleaning up I walked a mile and a half up State St. It didn't do much for me... I found a Ralph's, signed up for a Ralph's Club card, bought a couple 8-packs of donuts, then bought a pack of smokes at a gas station across the street. Now I'm down to $22. Although I don't smoke much, it might
be time to quit smoking... As noon approaches, I'm looking for an on-ramp... Found one at 11:47.

I'll just spend the night here

OK, I lied. Instead of waiting until dark to leave the on-ramp, I left right after I sent the last blog post. I became determined to fill my belly at some point tonight, and I had a mega-jones for a KFC bowl. If I had received a ride, there would be no full belly guarantee. So I went to KFC about an hour before closing and asked if they'd have stuff to throw out at closing time. The girl said no--bullshit--so I went ahead and bought a bowl. Now I'm down to $29, 2 cigarettes, and about 45 minutes of tape. That means I have nothing, at least if I want to be able to do my job. I think it's finally come to the point at which I'll need to proactively acquire funds. I've thought about standing at the day labor pick-up spot tomorrow, but I probably won't. Maybe some other time... I'm having a ball, Luke. You toured the coast the boring way. You should do it again how I'm doing it. There are
just so many opportunities for adventure this way. After a while, you start forgetting where you are.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pardon me, I believe his

Pardon me, I believe his name is actually Nick Gambino, not Nick Gambini. Just wasn't thinking when I wrote that.

Santa Barbara

Nick Gambini gave me a ride from Ventura to Santa Barbara this afternoon. In Santa Barbara he also bought me a sandwich at the gas station. Again, it was very nice to put in the belly, but there's still room for more. I walked around town for close to an hour but never made it to State Street, as Nick suggested. I found another on-ramp before I found State St, so I decided to hang around here while there's still nearly a couple hours of daylight left. Santa Barbara seems like a very cool town, too. It kind of feels like a park, but there's a bunch of houses in the park. If I don't get a ride before night falls, I might spend some more time checking out the town, particularly KFC at closing time because KFC is the kind of place that has to throw out all the food they don't sell. But I can't spend much time checking it out because I didn't get much sleep last night; I need to try to get
plenty of sleep tonight. I can treat this like a scouting session and come back in another season.

California isms

It seems that southern Californians universally mind their own business, which is both good and bad. It's bad because they drive right past you by the hundreds of thousands, but it's good because they don't freak out and call the cops whenever they see a traveler like myself, nor do they seem to mind if you sleep in visible places. (I've slept on the beach twice, 2 sidewalks, and on the steps outside a mobile office trailer.) At 10:30 CHiPs told me I need to scram, so I walked a few miles with a badly blistered foot (which has since popped, I suspect) to another on-ramp (Victoria Av). Along the way (now in Ventura), I went into a 7-11, mostly just to find a plastic fork or 2. After talking to the attendant, Amit, for several minutes, he set me up with a hot dog. It was nice to eat something, but I'm still hungry. The cop wasn't a dick or anything; he was cool. Just doing his job. It
kinda surprised me, though, because I walked more than 5 miles along a freeway yesterday without a peep.

Sleep & whatnot

It's kinda strange how my sleep/overnight patterns have changed on Aimless Leg 2. During Leg 1 I almost always slept in the tent. I can only think of 11 nights spent outside the tent before arriving at Allan and Ann's house. I think I stayed 4 nights there, so it looks like I stayed in the tent 41 of 55 nights during Leg 1 (75%). So far during Leg 2 I've only slept in the tent 5 of 23 nights (22%). Aside from those 5 nights, I've spent 7 nights in trucks, 4 in residences, and 7 in the open air... Oxnard seems pretty cool; I'll be back someday to check it out... I have a lot more to say about my short mountain retreat whenever I can... I have walked at least 85 miles the last 6 days; 22.5 yesterday. I also have eaten very little over that span; maybe 1 moderate-sized meal per day. I think my weight is down to 157 or less; I weighed 165 when I began Leg 2. Right now I'm waiting on the
on-ramp from CA Route 1 to US 101. Need someone to pick me up and feed me. Very hungry.

Encinal Canyon Road

At about 4:00 Saturday, as I crossed a road, I had a "No, you go first" moment with a driver turning onto that road. After I crossed, he called me over to his Mercedes and said if I was looking for a safe place to camp out, hop on in. I declined at first, saying there is still a lot of walking time left in the day. But he persisted, so I got in the car. He drove a few miles up the canyon road until we were close to 1,000 ft above the ocean, where there is only one other house in sight. This place was incredible. The 73-year-old Louis Winter had built a house in the side of the mountain. He and his wife are nearly self-sufficient, with solar/wind power, a high-tech outhouse, and all kinds of things you've never seen before. I got a shower and a meal, then from out of nowhere "Father Winter" says, "I think I'll take you back down to the beach; it'll be too hot to sleep up here." Clearly
he didn't like something about me and he was trying to get rid of me. He's a dick for being dishonest.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Northbound

At 12:10 I saw a homeless woman do something rather private on a very public sidewalk: She reached way down inside the front of her pants, I believe to position a new maxi pad. She apparently didn't care who may have been watching. At 12:50 I began walking northbound on the Pacific Coast Highway, about two miles up from the pier. At 1:15 I may have walked by Kyle McLachlan at Will Rogers State Beach. Whoever it was, he had just finished running. At 3:20 I reached Topanga Canyon State Beach (Malibu city limits). About an hour later I sat on a shaded bench in the parking area of an oceanfront house or apartment. Soon a Range Rover pulled in beside me and a pretty woman got out. I asked her if I could sit here for a little bit; she said it's OK. If my pedometer is working correctly (and I think it is), I walked 38.5 miles the previous three days and I've walked 9.4 miles today, with
several hours of walk time remaining. I really hope to find a cheap food joint, but I don't think I will.

Showering & heading north

Well, I thought I was gonna get a nice complete shower this morning at the beach shower beside the pier. I prepared last night by changing my clothes in a bathroom stall, substituting swimming trunks for underwear and wearing jeans over the trunks to be ready for the cold air coming off the Pacific while sleeping on the beach for a second consecutive nite. Before heading to the shower I took off my jeans and gathered my shower stuff, putting the shower stuff in a reachable spot inside my pack. When I got to the shower, I set the camera atop the camera bag near the shower. I then removed my shower stuff and took my soap, shampoo, and conditioner to the shower. Ready to clean myself thoroughly, I pushed the shower button. Nothing happened. Same thing with the other three buttons. Fortunately the foot showers worked. I ended up being unable to wash my hair, but I was able to wash my torso
and armpits nicely. Now that my trunks are dry, I'm about to change clothes and walk NW on PCH.

What're you worth?

At 5:40 yesterday I decided I'm going to use whatever footage I want to use for the final cut of Aimless, even if I have not received permission from the people who may be plainly visible in the footage. At the same moment, I also decided I'm going to use whatever music I feel like using, even without permission from the owner(s) of the recording(s). That'll probably mean I'll be unable to get the movie distributed, but I don't care. I'll make copies and sell them myself if I have to. If record companies want to sue me, let them try. It's not their songs that will sell Aimless; Aimless will sell Aimless. I don't have enough space here to fully explain my rationale, but it makes sense. I'll try to elaborate whenever I get to a computer. Here's how I see it: Why should I pay record companies when I'm promoting their product for free? I won't do it. But I'll still ask for permission from
everyone, just to figure out who the good guys are, and I'll gladly give the good guys some good PR.
I began sleeping at 1:00 last night (Wed), right beside the Santa Monica Pier, and I woke up at 6:00. I don't think I actually slept much, though, because I was cold and the camera bag was my pillow. I hung around the pier for a few hours (mostly to recharge my phone) before going back to the beach to rest and get some sun on my torso. (Now I'm a crispy critter.) After a couple hours of that, I walked as far as the Venice pier, rolling tape the all the way through the heart of Venice, holding the camera next to my head to create a perspective of walking through the crowd. Did that on the way back, too. I think I got some interesting stuff. At about 8:00, after unsuccessfully looking around Santa Monica for some cheap eats, I came back to the base of the pier to eat a can of ravioli. A girl arrived shortly after I did, sitting nearby while waiting for a friend. Seeing her over there, I
couldn't help feeling like I should know her. I think she had the same thought. She's still around...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hollywood and beyond

There are shitloads of Thai restaurants in Hollywood and they all smell so good. (You may remember, I ate Thai food for the first time when I was out here last December.) But oh my god, the little Asian-owned, no-name donut shops totally freakin' rule. They make beautiful and delicious donuts. (One of the donut shops I visited actually delivers.) I'm starting to think Asians really know what's up with food. I bought four cans of Chef Boyardee and four packs of Ramen noodles at Ralph's for $4.52 last night. The question is: Will I be able to find the right tools and utensils to prepare and eat the noodles? (At 13 cents a pack, who cares!) After watching some of the Espy attendees leave in their limos, I took the subway to Vermont & Santa Monica Blvd, where I got onto a bus bound for Santa Monica. I got off the bus near Ocean Ave, then took a pedestrian bridge over the Pacific Coast
Highway to the beach. Slept on the beach until about 6:00 AM. It has been very cold each night.

Getting around

When I returned to the train station after they filmed me boarding the train, they did another take of me boarding, except that time I got right back off the train and talked for a few more minutes. Later, on the Green Line, a woman boarded the train at LAX. Near Redondo Beach she asked me if I knew how to get to Venice Beach from there. I didn't know, and she realized she didn't have enough time to try, so we talked as we headed downtown together. Her name is Belinda Babbage and she was on her way to Fallbrook from Vancouver for yoga training. She's a sweetheart. I accompanied her to Union Station and we continued to talk until a few minutes before her train left. Then I went back to Hollywood. Just before I arrived at Hollywood & Highland, ESPN taped the Espy Awards at the Kodak Theater near Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. As I walked up, the "stars" were leaving the show
Just after my arrival, Troy Smith got in a limo and left. Appropriately I was wearing an OSU shirt.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

LA subway

Wow, this subway system is nice. The ride is incredibly smooth and fast. It only took about 22 minutes to get from Hollywood/Highland to Union Station. Union Station is really cool. The Gold Line to Pasadena is mostly above ground, making it much easier to see things. Interestingly there are no turnstiles in the whole system; they use an honor code or something. But you have to have your ticket on you at all times, in case they come looking. Looks like there is some kind of filming going on at Wardlow station (Blue Line). Aimless officially reached its second ocean today at 1:15 PM PDT, in Long Beach. Heading back north, I got off the train to watch the filming. It's a short film called "Stitches." After talking to the director and camera operator for a few minutes, they actually filmed me getting on the train, as an extra. When I arrived at the next station, I crossed the platform and
went right back to talk to them some more. The director, Pamela Johnson, gave me $5. Thanks Pamela.

LA Day 2

I bought a couple slices yesterday at a place called Johnnie's New York Pizzeria in a little mall below a skyscraper. I think it's funny that they have the balls to call it "New York Pizzeria" because they use a conveyor oven. Pizza baked in a conveyor oven is the antithesis of New York pizza. I only ate there because the price was reasonable. The pizza wasn't bad. There was a bunch of people setting up for some kind of movie shoot at Hope & 2nd in the afternoon. From there I began walking toward Hollywood. The best view of downtown LA is at 1st St & Beaudry. I walked 16 miles yesterday, ending up just north of Hollywood Blvd near Highland, getting a little bit of sleep on some portable steps outside a portable office trailer. There are homeless people everywhere in LA. In the daytime you see them sleeping on benches and sidewalks. I think I'm going to buy a $5 day pass today and
explore metro LA via train and bus. Time to get going.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back to LA

After some preliminary calculations, it looks like I've already traveled about 3,700 miles since Aimless Leg 2 began on June 23. I've only walked about 50 miles thus far, so there's a lot of work still ahead of me if I want to match the 340 miles I walked during Leg 1. At about 10:00 AM, after Travis dropped me off, I walked about 2.5 miles out of City of Industry before catching an LA-bound 484 Express bus on Valley Blvd at 11:20. I rode it all the way through downtown, arriving at Broadway & I-10 at 12:30. From there I walked down Venice Blvd west to Figueroa St north, by the LA Convention Center & Staples Center. East on 7th St from Figueroa. (Missing Persons was wrong when they said "Nobody walks in LA." It's not like New York, but there are plenty of people walking here in LA.) At 7th & Hope I stood for several minutes, wondering if I should pay $1.25 to ride the Red Line of the
subway to Hollywood; I'd like to, but I don't think so. That's today up to 1:47 PM.

Lot lizards

The ho show was indeed interesting last night. Travis and I sat outside the truck with a few other people on Party Row for most of the night until midnight or 1:00, watching the prostitutes strut around. Every once in a while the Ontario Police would show up and try to round 'em up, but the ladies had plenty of cracks and crevices in which to hide. It was an interesting game of cat and mouse. The cops may have nabbed some of them, but if they did, I didn't see it happen.

Travis and a couple of our neighbors, particularly Joe Durocher from Tully, New York, provided commentary for some of the things I taped last night, like the ho business in action and the horrible parking skills of some of the truckers, most notably a Stevens Transport truck that took at least seven minutes to back his truck into a spot. The guys had plenty of insider acronyms for the Swift drivers, who apparently are not very respected among the industry for a couple reasons: 1) Their trucks are governed at a maximum of like 60 MPH, maybe 65; and 2) They ain't exactly the best drivers around.

A couple of those acronyms: S.W.I.F.T. - Stop Whining I'm Fucking Trying; Swing Wide It's a Fucking Trailer. I don't think the second one is all that funny or interesting, myself. The guys had some better ones when they were brainstorming last night. Some of them were made for dyslexic folks (TFIWS), but I can't remember any of them. In fact, I didn't remember the two examples I just wrote; I asked Travis for his two favorites.

Although it was interesting to sit around outside and watch the prostitutes do their thing, I actually found it more interesting to listen to the CB while it was going on. All kinds of commentary there. Some of it was very funny. I think I'll have to make it back to the Ontario West TA sometime in the future to get some more footage, especially of the CB chatter.

We are currently at Heartland Farms in City of Industry, where Travis is picking up his final load to take back to Iowa, so we'll be splitting up here in an hour or two. I hope I can find a bus that will take me straight into LA or Hollywood, but if I can't, I don't mind walking all the way. If I do walk the whole way, I won't be in LA tonight; it's like 25 miles from here. I could stay with Travis and make it to Vegas (or anywhere between here and Iowa), but I think I'm going to use discretion and stay in California. Vegas isn't going anywhere, and October will be a much better time to show up there, although my pal Gomez (a Vegas native who lives in Seattle) will be there I think until tomorrow. It's OK if I don't see Gomez in Vegas, though, because I'll probably make it to Seattle on this leg.

Well, it's about time to go. I'll probably be back in LA before you hear from me again.

--
Aimless
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ontario West

Hey William, I think you've been reading the blog. If so, I barely missed your call this morning. I was sleeping across the driver's seat and passenger seat of Travis's Kenworth, and my phone was in a compartment above the dashboard, so I couldn't get to it in time. I intend to call you back whenever I get a good opportunity (like when I'm alone or there is no truck noise making it difficult), but I'll answer if you call again.

Madtown Badger said something to me earlier in a PM that made me think about something. I realized that these blog entries are kind of boring when I am either stationary or riding with someone. No good stories usually. The good stories happen when I'm out walking and being around people. That should resume tomorrow probably. Thanks for making me think about that, Stonerman.

Actually I'll probably have some good stories tonight, now that we're at one of two HUGE truck stops right next to each other in Ontario. We're parked on "Party Row" at the TA West. I'm looking forward to watching and taping the lot lizards as they come out tonight to "service" some of the truckers. Also, Travis said there is all kinds of interesting chatter on the CB at places like this. Sounds like we're at a big-time pharmacy or something.

--
Aimless
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.

New plans

OK, so it looks like I'll be doing something different. Instead of splitting, I'm going to hang with Travis until tomorrow. We're going to stay at the Ontario TA tonight and then pick up a load in City of Industry tomorrow. He said there are a bunch of "lot lizards" at the TA; might be good footage of trucker life. (No, I'm not going to buy any pussy.)

He only paid me $30 today, rather than $40. No big deal; I mean, I made $70 for about an hour of work.

Driving down La Cienega (near Beverly Hills and Century City), I spotted a Circuit City, so Travis stopped in the right lane of the road and waited for me to buy some tapes...

"Yeah, you fucking made me pull over. You grabbed the wheel and jumped the curb," according to Travis.

... I bought five tapes for $27, including tax. Not the deal I'd hoped for, but it's not as bad as the bullshit prices in Naples. Speaking of Florida, I'm not the only traveler who doesn't like Florida. Everyone I've talked to who has traveled this way in Florida hated the place just as much as I did. So it's not me; it's Florida. And if anyone from Florida doesn't like what I've said about Florida, maybe it's time to do something nice for someone.

--
Aimless
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.

US Growers

I'm about to make another $40 from the 15 or 20 minutes of work I did this morning. That'll put me at $104, but I'll have to give up $25 or $30 as soon as I find a Best Buy because I only have 25 minutes of tape left. (I doubt that I'll be able to find South Carolina prices in LA.) Oh my god, the boxes of bacon from his reefer were so cold--they were like -10 degrees; I couldn't feel my hands halfway through the job. Travis has to pick up a load here in Vernon and another 3 loads in downtown LA before heading back north and east, so I'm just gonna hang with him for a while. I suspect I might split from him when he's ready to leave downtown for good. From LA I think I'll walk to Hollywood and Beverly Hills. (How many cop encounters do you think I'll have in BH?) From Hollywood I'll probably start walking toward Santa Monica and then try to take the Pacific Coast Highway north. But who
knows if that's actually how it will all go down. You should see all the lumpers hustling for work.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

California

We entered California at about 9:20 AM today. At 11:10 we reached the Palm Springs Pilot station where Rudy Montez picked me up on December 15, 2006. (Should have been leaving Phoenix right about then.) Both of us took a shower there, and we intended to do laundry, but Pilot had no facilities. (That's where I took the picture.) I don't think I had showered on consecutive days since at least April 22. It was 102 degrees in Palm Springs. We left at 12:30. After passing a lot of familiar sights (like Jeff's old house), we made it to the Ontario TA at 1:50, where we were able to do laundry and eat Chester Fried chicken. Left Ontario at 4:15, with Los Angeles almost on the horizon; should be near downtown LA within an hour if traffic isn't bad. (Hey Luke: Don't you have a tournament coming up in Beaumont? Jeff used to live right next to that golf course.) ... We got down into LA at about
5:00. We're not in downtown; it looks like we're about 5 miles away: 3269 East 44th Street. Map it.

Phoenix Arizona

When we arrived in Phoenix last night, it was 105 degrees. Right now it's 90 (6:30 AM). Travis's appointment to drop the load was at 10:00, but because we were already here we were able to drop it first thing this morning. We were up at about 5:00 and we were finished unloading by 6:15. Now, as soon as Travis finishes the paperwork and stuff, we're ready to take off toward Los Angeles (Vernon). We'll be going through all the places I went last December, like Quartzsite and Palm Springs. (Quartzsite is where I dislocated my ankle.) Also, we're only 5 or 10 miles from the Pilot station where I met Earl, who took me to Memphis. (I think my ride with Travis will be longer than the ride with Earl.) Travis paid me $40 for the 30-45 minutes of work I did; I call that a good deal for me. He'll be reimbursed... It's interesting that I have now done work for two people, and both are named Travis:
Travis Beechler and Travis Brewster. I haven't met any other Travises.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Arizona

We hit Flagstaff at about 6:30 and we are currently heading down Interstate 17 toward Phoenix. Should be there within a couple hours. It's crazy how, near Flagstaff, it changes from total desert to dense pine forest in about five minutes... Travis stopped at a scenic overlook about 30 or 40 miles south of Flagstaff. That's where he took this picture of me. That place is beautiful; I took at least ten pictures with my still camera... Shortly after I finish writing this, we should be very close to Phoenix. Travis may be able to use me as a lumper tomorrow, which he said could earn me a quick $40 with the loads he's leaving in Phoenix. He doesn't think I'll be able to do it in LA, though. That may be a good way for me to make money whenever I get low on cash, especially if I meet up with Travis again, which is very likely... I have less than a tape and a half left, so it'll be really cool
if I can do that work tomorrow.
We left the Pueblo rest area at 9:00 and entered New Mexico at 10:30... Las Vegas, NM at 11:50... Shower break in Albuquerque at 1:30. Left the Albuquerque truck stop at 3:10, heading toward Flagstaff and Phoenix... Arizona state line at 5:23. I think that means we are now in Mountain Standard Time, which is the same as Pacific Daylight Time. So I think it is 4:32 right now.

Getting down the road

We entered Nebraska (Omaha) at 3:20... Grand Island at 5:30. Temperature is in the upper 90s in Nebraska; gonna be much hotter beginning tomorrow (New Mexico, Arizona)... Driving across Nebraska is nothing like driving across Kansas. Kansas totally sucks, whereas Nebraska really isn't bad... Mountain Time Zone at 7:57/6:57... Enter Colorado at 7:35 MDT. I'm down to $24 and 2.75 tapes. Looks like Travis is taking me all the way to LA. Someone please find out the westernmost point in the lower 48 states and tell me where it is because I may be there within a few days... Downtown Denver at 10:35... Pulling into rest area near Pueblo, Colorado at 12:20... I've gone about 1,100 miles today. Time to try to sleep on the passenger seat. Good night.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Big ride west

I finally got out of Madison this morning at about 8:00. Currently (11:33) I'm riding with Miles back to Des Moines. He actually offered the ride at about midnight last night, but we were both looking to get some sleep, so I put up my tent near his truck and met up with him again this morning. Although I had some cool experiences at the Madison TA, I am really glad to be gone... We pulled into Des Moines (Altoona) at about 1:00. Miles is letting me off here and then taking I-35 South to Ft. Worth... Hopefully this ride got me back into the groove that will make the next ride happen pretty quickly. If anything I'm now in a better position to find westbound drivers... Miles gave a shout-out for me when we got to Altoona. For the first time ever it worked. I was on the road by 1:20, riding with Travis Brewster. I think he might get me all the way to southern California, but I'm not
positive yet. I know he is going there; just don't know if he'll take me there. Probably will.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Madison, Wisconsin TA truck

The Madison, Wisconsin TA truck stop manager failed to take advantage of his opportunity to not be an asshole for once. Everyone else was cool.

Random thoughts

Lately I've been thinking about how long I might stay out on the road before finally heading home to turn my raw footage into a documentary. At first I guess I thought I'd stay out here perhaps until I can no longer stand the cold of the next winter, but I'm starting to think I'll be doing this for at least another year. It's this simple: If I don't do it for at least a year, Aimless won't be an epic adventure; it'll just be a half-assed stab at a great idea... I slept in the tent last night, on the periphery of the truck stop's property. Good thing I did because the tent was still very wet from the rainy night in Dayton almost a week ago. Thankfully it was dry here last night; now the tent is dry as well. (It rained like a mofo here two days ago; like 3 inches in the first half-hour, and it went on and on.) ... Boy I'm sick of being here now. It's time for someone to give me a ride...
Apparently Fox "News" wants us to believe Rudy Giuliani prevented 9/11.

Truck stop diners

I'm starting to appreciate truck stop diner conversation; I need to remind myself to participate in such conversations more frequently (and/or tape them). I've been talking to truckers and truck stop workers all day, so it doesn't really feel like I've been at this truck stop for over 30 hours. (I spent about 14 of those hours in Jason's truck, too, so that's a little misleading.) Nevertheless, I'm tired and ready to get a ride about a thousand miles down the road. In these talks, I've found that there are some really cool truckers but there are some wacked-out assholes, too. Normally I don't find myself in position to talk to the assholes because they walk on by whenever I stand alone by the fuel islands. In here they join the conversations in which I'm already participating... Lynn Weatherford hooked me up with some dinner (breakfast) tonight. However, I spent $5.26 at Taco Bell for
lunch, so I'm down to $32... It's really slow right now, so I don't see myself getting a ride soon.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Jason Stanish

No ride out of Madison yet. I was talking to some truckers in the truck stop restaurant last night when one of them (Jason Stanish) said I was welcome to crash in his double sleeper for the night. We headed out to the truck a little after midnight and shot the shit until after 2:00. We've been hanging out shooting more shit all morning. It seems like I should be out there trying to get a ride, but Jason's really cool, so I don't mind neglecting my duties. Besides, I think he has said he might give me a ride if he can get something going west after he drops this load in Indiana. It sure is taking me a long time to get out west, but maybe it's not such a bad thing. I mean, everything I've done so far seems to have led me to the right places and the right people at the right times, so I don't force anything (except when I become infatuated with some chick). Regarding Lidia: I've just about
put her out of my mind. I'd still like to get to know her, but I'm almost past the point of caring.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Onward west?

Don (right) dropped me off at the TnA truck stop north of Madison at about 5:30. It always feels a little tougher hitting the road after staying with someone for a couple days. I felt like I was in a groove when I arrived in Madison, but now I feel distant from my objective because I've been too comfortable. I also want to thank Dave Jones, Jeff's other good friend and roommate, for making some tasty pasta & chicken last night. (Jeff is on left.)... I'm down to $37 and 3+ tapes, so I might need to find some kind of revenue source soon. In addition to that, I'm really hungry, so I'll probably end up spending a few bucks in the next hour or two... OK, maybe not. A few minutes after I wrote that, Jake "Bubba" Holze at the Taco Bell inside the truck stop offered me a meal. I had the steak quesadilla & 1 taco combo, plus he threw in a second taco... The skies are dark and it looks like
there's a serious storm coming. This is a pretty small truck stop, so it might be a while before I'm gone.

Time to go

Well, it looks like Don is ready to get me out of here, so I guess it's time to leave Madison. Someone remind me to get some anti-perspirant on the way to the truck stop. And Jay, I found my soap box, so don't look for it at your place. Lew, I doubt I'll make it to the brewery, but I'll think about it if I end up stopped in Eau Claire.

... OK, now it looks like it might still be a couple hours. Don has stuff to do, so I might be here until Jeff gets home, probably at about 6:00.

... Or not. Looks like we're about ready to leave (at 4:08).

--
Aimless
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.

U of A Marching Radioheadcats

Every morning I wake up with my right ankle in serious pain. It's the top/front of my ankle, above the foot. Once I get up and walk around, I'm fine, but it hurts like a bitch when I wake up. I really don't know what's causing the pain. It seems to be a relatively recent thing. I still have pretty constant numbness in my hands, too. Not severe or anything; just numb enough to know it's going on. Feet, too, I guess.

Because I've spent so much time carrying around my backpack for over two months, I now have a really horrible sense of balance whenever I walk without the backpack. When I walk without the backpack, I'm a total klutz. I spend so much time both with the backpack on and off, my body just can't figure out which is the normal state.

I should be getting out of here (Jeff's place) within a couple hours. Don is going to take me to a truck stop north of Madison whenever he gets back and I get ready. (Jeff is at work; Don doesn't have a job right now because he is studying for the Wisconsin Bar Exam.) But even though I am trying to get out west ASAP, don't be surprised if I end up hanging around through tomorrow. Jeff has tomorrow off, which might justify hanging around a little longer.



I stumbled upon this video earlier today. It is Part 1 of the University of Arizona marching band playing a Radiohead show. Nearly the entire repertoire is taken from the album OK Computer, but there is also a song from Kid A. It's a good show, but it's pretty sloppy and it's obvious they had some drum corps nuts writing, designing, and interpreting the show (particularly the drill). Ten years ago I would have thought that was a good thing, but drum corps has become mostly boring and predictable, with drill that hasn't evolved much since the early or mid 90s.

Radiohead could be a spectacular marching show, but it would require a lot more thought, better arrangements, more rehearsal time, and more innovative design (like Radiohead's videos).

--
Aimless
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Madison, Wisconsin

William (Fluitt) dropped me off on the south side of Madison (Verona Road & Beltline Highway) yesterday at about 4:30. I then called my friend Jeff, who was driving back to Madison from Minnesota, to see where he was; he was approaching Madison. I told Jeff I would start walking toward his apartment if he would tell me where to go, so he said to head up Midvale Boulevard northbound. He said if I reach University Avenue before he finds me, take a left. I ended up three miles up the road, at University Avenue, when Jeff finally caught up with me. We then headed to his apartment in Middleton.

I took a shower shortly after arriving at Jeff's place. That was a welcome experience.

Before long Jeff and his friend/roommate Don MacKay were talking about going to see a movie. Jeff also did some coordinating with his friend Kevin Hagel so the three of us could meet him, get something to eat, and watch Live Free or Die Hard. We ate dinner at a place called Noodles & Company. (Thanks, Jeff and Don.) My pasta entree was very tasty; unfortunately we had to eat very quickly to make it to the movie on time.

There were some things I thought were annoying about the movie, but it was good. (Thanks, Kevin, for buying my ticket.) The great thing is that the writer(s) clearly had a statement to make about the incompetency of the Bush administration. It wasn't blatant Bush bashing; it actually required the viewer to think a little bit and to have an understanding of what's going on in the world.

The plan for today was to meet back up with William late this morning and ride with him to Texas. However, when William called to let me know what time he would be coming back through Madison, he said there was a change of plans. Instead of taking a load to Texas, he is now going to Michigan. Although I'd like to go to Michigan, I've already backtracked quite a bit on my journey out west, so I let him know I'd have to make new plans. That kind of sucks because I was looking forward to riding a little while longer with William. But it kind of doesn't suck, too, because it gives me another day to hang out with Jeff and it keeps me on the northern route I had been hoping to follow west.

Madison is very pretty. In fact, all of southwest Wisconsin is very pretty. I hadn't been in Wisconsin in many years, and I never realized how hilly and pretty it is up here. Iowa is actually pretty nice, too. The weather was gorgeous here yesterday.

It's been several nights since I've had anywhere near enough sleep. Even last night I was unable to get even close to enough sleep because I thought I needed to prepare for the next ride with William. Last time I had a full night's sleep was at Jay's place about a week ago. Since then I have averaged maybe 3.5 hours of sleep per night (over six nights). That adds up. (Jay, did I leave my soap container at your place? I don't seem to have it anymore, but I thought I had everything when I packed up.)

The Mississippi is not very wide where it passes by Dubuque. That felt kind of weird because it is very wide in St. Louis, where I crossed it the other day. Near Dubuque it is even narrower than the Ohio River. I guess it's because Dubuque is reasonably close to where the Mississippi begins, so there is simply not as much water.

I intend to obey my two night rule and leave Jeff's place tomorrow, probably heading toward Minnesota from here and continuing west across the northern states. San Francisco is probably the place I most want to reach on this leg, but I also think I'll spend a lot of time in Oregon and Washington and possibly the mountain states, too. I don't know; we'll see.

I wonder where Ronnie and John are now.

--
Aimless
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Iowa and Wisconsin

William and I just stopped at a rest area near Des Moines to brush our teeth. Inside the small building that houses the restrooms I talked to a woman named Stacy Ginsburg for a few minutes. She happily reported to me that she just got published for the first time. On her laptop she showed me the web site on which she is published, but there was not time for me to look at it closely and I don't think she told me the name or URL of the web site. (Stacy, if you read this, I'd like you to elaborate on what I've said here and link to the web site you showed me. And correct me if I got anything wrong.) Stacy is driving from New Mexico to the upper peninsula of Michigan. She said I really ought to check out the area; lots of interesting people there... William decided to take a different route to Neenah, WI, so we won't be hitting Minnesota. We will be going through Madison, though, so I'll
probably stop and see Jeff. Need to call him now to let him know.

I'm in MO between KC

I'm in MO between KC and Des Moines, I think. Riding with William to MN or WI. Very cool guy. Time to sleep if I can remember how.