Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gameday (retro) Part 3

PART 3: At Husky Stadium I learned from Buckeyeman that my Portland buckeye is actually a chestnut. He then gave me a real buckeye. --> Most of the UDub fans were very friendly and hospitable, although there were a few minor a-holes. Overall I give Husky fans an A-. I'm happy to report that I did not see any bad behavior from OSU fans. --> The Husky Stadium experience is totally unlike going to a game at Ohio Stadium, beginning with the free distribution and consumption of adult beverages in the parking lot. You won't see that at the 'Shoe because the Alcohol Nazis don't allow fun. Also, UDub allows re-entry, which means half of the crowd hits the parking lot at halftime to get re-drunk. Not at OSU. --> For whoever may be wondering: Yes, I did get into the game, but not until the 4th quarter. I also ended up accepting 3 beers and one gulp of whiskey, courtesy of UDub fans. --> A couple
hours ago, I decided I may accept a ride to Minneapolis, if offered. OSU plays there tomorrow night.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ping-ponging the west?

You may wonder why Travis is still in Iowa. You thought he was going to Texas a couple days ago, right? Well, his truck broke down right after he left for Texas, so someone else ended up taking that load while Travis waited for his truck to be fixed. That's the last I heard from him (yesterday morning). I left him a message this morning, letting him know I'm in eastern Nebraska; I'm guessing his truck is still in the shop because he hasn't called me back. He's probably pretty pissed off about the delay; it's costing him a lot of money. I hope Travis will be back on the road tomorrow, stopping here and taking me right back through Utah before heading to California and back to Des Moines. --> I've been here since 3:00 this morning and I'll be staying again tonight because I'm not even trying to get a ride. There's a great spot to camp in the back corner of this Flying J. The grass is so
soft there, I didn't even use my Therm-A-Rest last night. --> If no word tomorrow, I'll find a ride.

Free again

I drew up a sign yesterday morning that read: "HE NEEDS TO BE IN RENO ASAP," with an arrow pointing to my right. I planned to fly the sign near Flying J's truck exit, with Chuck standing beside me, but I was offered a ride east before I finished writing it. Neither accepting nor declining the offer, I asked the driver to let me defer my decision until he passed me at the truck exit. I had a tough time deciding whether or not I'd accept the ride if I was unable to get Chuck on the road, but I ended up deciding I would take it. --> 15 or 30 minutes later, my driver approached the exit. I told Chuck I hate to leave him alone but I really wanted to get out of there. Before I left with Josh Lake, I gave Chuck 3 smokes and $5. I hope he found a ride, but I suspect he's still waiting. --> Also before I hit the road, Travis returned my earlier call, telling me he was still in Iowa, so I rode
1,000 miles with Josh to Gretna, NE, instead of Cheyenne. I accidentally left my hat in Josh's truck.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gameday (retro) Part 2

PART 2: As I bobbed and weaved through the maze of cars, RVs, and football fans, a small group of Buckeye supporters planted an OSU window flag on the side of my backpack. Some game-goers stopped to ask me if I walked all the way from Ohio; others asked if I hitchhiked all the way. Lots of each team's fans were intrigued by my story. --> Near the stadium I saw a woman wearing a Todd Denlinger OSU jersey, so I asked her if she is a Denlinger. She said yes. I then told her my mom is a Denlinger. I'd like to have spoken to her longer, but an ESPN cameraman showed up and took her (and her group) away from me for some cutaway footage. I suspect she is Todd Denlinger's mom; we're probably distant relatives. --> Later a Husky fan placed a couple necklaces on me. Each necklace was made up of a bunch of tiny UDub-colored footballs. One had purple (or blue) balls; the other gold. (Due to my
ambiguous display of each team's colors, a drunk guy later said to me, "You confuse people.")

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We hit SLC y-day. If

We hit SLC y-day. If I'd stayed w/Jo, I'd already be where Travis is heading (Texas). He just found out today, tho. Trying to coordinate w/him.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gameday (retro) Part 1

I woke up outside Husky Stadium pretty early on 9/15. There were already a handful of UDub fans setting up their tailgating operations in and around the parking lot. I chatted with the group setting up beside me as I tore down my tent; they were friendly. When I finished packing up, I walked around the parking lot to experience gameday in Seattle. As I encountered folks clad in scarlet & gray Buckeye gear, some would exchange "Go Bucks" greetings with me. Soon a group of tailgating Husky fans invited me to have a seat and hang out. They offered me a beer, too, but I wasn't ready to accept beer from anyone yet. A sign of things to come, these Husky fans were very friendly and hospitable to me. They treated me to some oysters and other tailgating snacks, but eventually it was time for me to move on. I thanked them and began exploring other areas of the hopping parking lot. Carrying my
gear everywhere I walked, I was a bit of an attraction myself, to Husky fans and Buckeye fans alike...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Begin Washington recap

After getting off the train in Seattle on September 14, Dave Treadwell invited me to join him in a cab to his hotel. He probably would have invited me to stay in his room as well, but his reservation was for the floor of a packed room, so that just wasn't an option. When I split from Dave outside his downtown hotel, I began walking toward the University of Washington, even though I had no idea where it is. I started out walking the right direction, but I ended up going the wrong way. Very hungry, I looked for some cheap eats, but I found myself climbing a very large hill in a neverending residential area, ultimately entering commercial civilization somewhere on Queen Anne Ave N. With no cheap eats in sight, I stepped into Pizza Hut to ask if they had any mistake pies that were destined to find a new home in the garbage. They did, and I had 75% of a large lukewarm pepperoni pizza for
dinner. I ended up finding my camp site (Husky Stadium) without too much trouble at 1:00 or 2:00 AM.

Ogden Utah Part 2

PART 2: Early yesterday afternoon I received my first ride offer from a lady trucker, Jo. I immediately told her I was trying to help another guy get a ride, and I asked her if she would consider one of two alternatives: 1) Giving Chuck a ride instead of me, or 2) Letting both of us ride with her. As you probably figured out already, she took both of us to Ogden. Upon reflection, Chuck and I would probably be in a better position if she'd dropped us off east of Salt Lake on I-80. Jo was cool. --> I've been very stressed out the last few days because my primary objective has been to help Chuck get to Reno. He has no money, so I've been sharing my smokes, money, and food with him. He has smoked more of my fags than I have, and I've barely had any money myself. I've put about $11 into him so far, but I only have $7 left, so I can't give him anything else. Additionally, it's tough for me to
find funds when I'm not alone. I expect to meet up with Travis in 2 or 3 days; should make some $$.

Ogden Utah Part 1

We're in Ogden, Utah. We? Yeah, WE are in Ogden. I've been hanging with a guy named Chuck since Friday night. Friday evening I was waiting by an on-ramp when a guy named James called me over across the street. At first I thought he was a trucker from the Boise TA walking his dog, but he turned out to be a tramp drinking a beer. Moments later someone else assumed my post on the on-ramp and quickly got my ride. Sporting a huge wad of cash, James invited me to join him at the Motel 6 down the road. First he called a cab from the TA, where we met Chuck, a clean-cut guy who'd already been trying to get a ride to Reno for a couple days. Before we took the cab, James also invited Chuck to the motel, where he showed up a few hours later. Chuck has never hitchhiked before, and he doesn't look like someone who's trying to get a ride. Long story short: I've been trying to help Chuck get to Reno
because he'd never make it on his own. When I was offered a ride yesterday, I got Chuck aboard, too...

Familiar faces Part 2

PART 2: After I responded, "Insomnia?," my fellow Amtrak passenger countered, "That's it!" He then said he used to frequent Insomnia in the mid-90s with his friend Eric, who dated a girl named Jackie. --> Bingo!!! --> As soon as he said 'Jackie,' it all started coming together for me. Y'see, Jackie Walton was my closest friend in the early/mid-90s, when we were both Insomnia regulars. In fact, Jackie introduced me to Insomnia, so she and I had a lot of common friends and acquaintances at the coffeehouse. --> By this point in our conversation, there was no doubt: Dave Treadwell (pictured) and I definitely knew each other 12-14 years ago. Dave continued to occupy the seat beside me for the remainder of the ride to Seattle. We talked about the old days at Insomnia and the people we'd both known during our time spent at Insomnia. We talked about Buckeye football and a lot of other things,
too. Dave had a ticket to the Ohio State/Washington game the following day at Husky Stadium. I didn't.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Familiar faces

My face looks familiar to a lot of people. I can't tell you how many people have approached me over the years and asked, "Don't I know you?" Or sometimes they say, "Aren't you So-and-so?" Usually I am merely a look-alike, but occasionally I actually am the person they think I may be. --> Halfway between Portland and Seattle, during my ungrateful train ride, it happened again. A gentleman walked by my seat and asked me, "Do I know you?" My immediate thought was that he had probably never seen me before, considering I was about 3,000 miles from home, but I gave it a chance. I said, "Well, I live in Columbus, Ohio." Interestingly, he said he is from Columbus, too, so I started thinking maybe he's onto something. Looking at his face and thinking, 'This guy does seem kinda familiar,' I asked him if he was ever involved in drum corps. He said no, so I examined his face a little more and said,
"Insomnia?" (Insomnia is a long-gone coffeehouse that was located on High St at 13th, near OSU.)...

Conclusion

Now that I've finished my rant, I'll share some related thoughts. First, the broken tent pole was not the reason I almost called it quits. Rather, I nearly quit because I am human, thus I am sensitive to ass-brained criticism. Sometimes I just care too much what people think of me, even when I shouldn't care at all. Some people DON'T think, but I guess my nature is to expect everyone to think. --> I have self-censored this blog a lot over the last couple months because I don't like sounding negative. Well, negative shit happens, and some people are assholes. If you only knew how it feels to do what I'm doing, you'd be amazed by how positive I keep things here. --> Considering I'll probably never make a dime from this project, I have nothing to lose by calling it how I see it, regardless of how negative or profane I may sound sometimes. So no more self-censorship. I'm not out here to
tell the ROSY story; I'm out here to tell the REAL story. If you don't like it, don't read it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Washington stories coming soon

I got a new tent Thursday--the REI Half Dome 2 HC--and it's nice. At 90 inches long, I can actually fit in it. Plus it's like 52 inches wide, so there is also plenty of room for all my stuff. It's heavy, though, at almost 6 lbs. My first night with the tent, I slept at a park near BSU. Shortly after setting up, the sprinkler system started. No big deal, I thought, because the tent has a monster rainfly. Wrong! Y'see, these sprinklers were more like firehoses, at a 30-degree angle from the ground, and one of them just happened to shoot directly at the rainfly's vent, so I got all wet the first time it sprayed in my direction. Even after I closed the vent, the perfect angle and force of the water pried it back open, soaking me yet again. Oh what fun. --> As I charged my phone and wrote blog posts at Starbuck's Friday, I met a very intelligent, pretty girl named Melanie (sp?) after she sat
near me so she could plug in her laptop. She's from Salt Lake but lives in Dallas. Smart is sexy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm so ungrateful Part 6

PART 6: Now that I've suggested that one or two of this blog's readers may be ungrateful for what I've given them, let me make something very clear: I DO NOT consider them ungrateful, nor do I believe there is any reason for them to be grateful to me. They DID NOT ASK for the entertainment I provide, nor do they need it. --> As I've said before, no one owes me anything. (Well, those assholes that ripped me off last year each owe me $350 plus interest, but I wasn't talking about them.) And realistically I don't owe anyone, either, because everything I've received on this journey has been a GIFT, excluding the money I've received as payment for my labor. That doesn't mean I feel no obligation within my own heart to repay the people who have done things for me; it simply means I have not made a deal with anyone that REQUIRES me to pay them back in any way. And when you feel, in your own
heart, that you owe someone, even though their favor was a gift, THAT is gratitude...

I'm so ungrateful Part 5

PART 5: And how about you, "Mugen" (or whatever you call yourself)? A couple months ago you commented about how ungrateful I was after meeting Father Winter. You also said my negativity keeps you from telling friends about Aimless. But you keep reading this blog anyway, presumably because it entertains you. Maybe you don't realize this, but in the real world of supply & demand, this Aimless program would have been canceled a long time ago due to lack of interest and unprofitability. The only reason it's still around is because I'm paying the dues to keep it around. So where's the gratitude? --> When something entertains you, do you not realize why it is in your best interest to promote such entertainment? If no one else gives a shit about it, it goes away. Just think of all the ways you could have strengthened the foundation of Aimless if only you were grateful for what you receive from
Aimless. --> Before anyone else starts yapping about how ungrateful I am, take a look in the mirror.

Football spying

I just read an article in the newspaper about college football coaches being paranoid that people are spying on their practices. An excerpt: "In Miami earlier this season, new Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon dispatched security officers to a parking garage next to the practice fields after allegedly seeing someone with a video camera. People in the program suspected it was a case of spying, since detailed stories about what went on in practice kept showing up on web sites and message boards." --> I think that's kind of funny because I walked by an Oregon Ducks practice when I was in Eugene. They have fences and hedges around the practice field to limit visibility, but you can still see what's going on if you really want to. Near the practice fields, I got out my camcorder to get a shot of Autzen Stadium, but I never pointed it at their practice, specifically because I didn't want them to
suspect me of spying. --> I'm gonna try to get a look at the "smurf turf" at BSU's stadium today.

I'm so ungrateful Part 4

PART 4: The person accusing me of being ungrateful needs to take a look in the mirror. How grateful are you for the entertainment I provide? My life currently consists of living outside, busting my ass, freezing, getting drenched, being hungry, dealing with cops, making a movie, writing blog entries, taking pictures, trying hard to be a good guest, eating foods I dislike, and a million other things, all to entertain you. It might be a small daily dose of entertainment, but it entertains you nonetheless. And how do you thank me? You thank me by telling me I'm ungrateful. Oh, but you didn't ask me to put myself through all that to entertain you, did ya? It doesn't matter because we're using YOUR criteria here, and according to your criteria, I'm ungrateful. Your criteria must also apply to you, right? But you can't say you don't want what I offer. You CHOOSE to read this blog every day,
which shows that you want or need what I offer on this blog, so you must be even more ungrateful...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm at REI in Boise.

I'm at REI in Boise. Parts 4 & 5 should be up later today. So much 2 say about the last week. (Hint: Don't expect any more Aimless visits to WA.)

I'm so ungrateful Part 3

PART 3: Yes, there are a few people who have assisted me during this journey to whom I don't feel grateful: Father Winter, Jan Gee, Mark in Portland, and the asshole who damn near molested me. Although I appreciate what they did "for" me, I am not grateful to any of them; I have no reason to be grateful to them. Their objective was not to help me; they each did whatever they did because they believed it entitled them something FROM me. Well, it entitled them nothing from me, which is exactly what they'll get from me. I have no apologies for feeling this way about them. Conversely, I am extremely grateful for what everyone else has done for me, and I intend to give something back someday because they didn't EXPECT anything from me when they CHOSE to help me. The short list of people to whom I am especially grateful includes Jay, Jeff, Don, Dave, Lew, "Tuna," Galen, Vernon & Jane, Mom &
Dad, Tim, Allan & Ann, Larry & Carolyn, Travis, Jack & Phyl, Luke, Stefan, Betty, Brad, and others...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm so ungrateful Part 2

PART 2: When Kristin offered me a ride to Seattle, I told her right away that someone else had already offered to put me on a train that afternoon. Because I was about 70% sure I'd successfully catch the train that day, I told her I would gladly accept her offer IF I MISSED THE TRAIN. And you know what? She was not upset by my decision to take the train. She didn't feel like I was obligated to accept her offer. She just wanted me to call her before 3:30 to let her know whether I needed the ride or not. She made the offer out of the kindness of her heart, without expecting anything in return, which is a concept some people apparently can't comprehend. --> You (whoever you are) judged me to be ungrateful precisely because I expressed the extent of my gratitude in the original post on this topic. If I hadn't expressed the fact that I felt like I should ride with her, you never would have
thought twice about how grateful I am. Do you have any analytical or critical thinking skills?...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A change of plans

When I said the other day that I'm quitting, I wasn't kidding. I had every intention to go home and stay home, regardless of the supportive comments I've surely received from the true friends of Aimless, urging me to keep going. However, I received a ride and a phone call today that made me rethink my plans, and I've decided to stick with it. As I rode with Ronald Weber, I received a call from a German fellow named Stefan (sp?), who I met last week at the Portland REI. He offered to buy me an REI gift card so I can replace my tent. He just didn't want to see me quit, and he wanted to give me a good reason not to quit. The material offer certainly helped, but his words made the difference. I'm not sure exactly what Stefan said, but he said several things that made me start reconsidering. Once I started reconsidering, though, the friendly chit-chat with Ronald also helped me change my
mind. --> I have A LOT to say about the last few days, but I'll finish the 'Ungrateful' rant first.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My tent just broke. I

My tent just broke. I quit; I'm going home. To the people who think I've been ungrateful, screw you. You have no idea what gratitude is.

I'm so ungrateful Part 1

I haven't been able to read this blog's comments in a while because I've been too busy walking 1,000 miles and generally trying to stay alive, but I've been told someone thinks I'm ungrateful because I accepted one person's transportation offer instead of another person's offer. Well, let me ask you this: If I'd accepted Kristin's ride offer instead of the train offer I received 4 days before I even met Kristin, wouldn't that make me ungrateful to the person who offered me the train ride? Aha! Didn't think about that, did ya? So please tell me how I could've possibly come out of that situation looking grateful. Maybe I'm just incredibly stupid, but I still can't figure out how I could have been in both a car and a train to Seattle at the same time. However, I do know that I could've written that post in a way that would've conveyed the same message without causing anyone to question how
grateful I am. All I had to say was I would've ridden with her if I'd missed the train again...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Onward to Seattle

I debated for a couple hours about what I should do regarding my mode of travel, but I successfully met my contact at Union Station today, and I am now on a train bound for Seattle. I also called Kristin to let her know I won't be needing the ride. I wish I could have taken the train AND ridden with Kristin, but unfortunately I am human, so I could only do one or the other. --> For a few minutes at the train station I spoke with a Buckeye fan who'll be attending the game tomorrow. I probably won't get into the game, but it should be fun anyway. I'll definitely be at the stadium and I think I'll keep an eye out for the Buckeye football coverage teams from the Columbus television stations. It'll be really cool if I run into Dimitrios Stanley, a former OSU wide receiver and current member of WSYX's Buckeye football coverage team, because I went to elementary and middle school with him.
Even though I haven't seen him in 15+ years, he'd probably remember me; he's just that kind of guy.

Train or car?

It looks like I'm in good shape, in terms of making it to Seattle today. I now have a solid backup plan that'll get me there if I somehow miss the train again, thanks to Kristin Van Huysen, who will be leaving Portland for Seattle at about 3:30. She gave me some food and also offered me a ride, which my conscience is telling me I should accept even if I am able to take the train. Even though I don't think she would hold it against me if I take the train, I just feel like accepting her offer is the right thing to do. But I love trains and I rarely have the chance to ride them, so I don't know what I'll do. --> I never met Brian Spangler yesterday at Apizza Scholls, but I did leave him a poorly written note with the Aimless URL and my phone number. He hasn't contacted me, so it looks like I walked 7 or 8 miles--from downtown to 4741 Hawthorne Blvd and back--for nothing. --> I have seen as
many buckeye trees in Portland the last couple days as I have seen in Ohio my entire life.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Report card

I like Portland; it felt like home from the moment I arrived. In saying 'home,' I don't mean the place where my bed is; I mean being here just feels right. In fact, I've met at least three people who came to Oregon just to visit but never left. However, Portland is a little stinky in some places because there are a zillion breweries. (At Laurelwood I smelled hops for the first time; what a wonderful aroma!) The people of Oregon have been very kind to me. Oregon has definitely been a close 2nd on the kindness scale of states (behind South Carolina). It's really hard to compare the two states, though, because I have evolved so much as a traveler since I was in South Carolina. --> It may be a good thing that I didn't catch my train to Seattle yesterday because today I remembered a place I wanted to check out called Apizza Scholls. When I went to Memphis to see the pizza movie, Michael
Dorian told me I'd probably get along well with the owner. I got here at 3:20, but they open at 5:00.

Stuck

I expected to be on a train to Seattle this afternoon, but I'm still in Portland. In order to have gotten on the train, I was supposed to have met someone at a specific time and place earlier today. I was there, but I didn't see him, probably because I was a little confused about where to go and what to do. The offer was good for either today or Friday; I think I now know what to do when Friday comes around. I am a little worried that it could happen again Friday, but I'm going to hang around and try again anyway. If it doesn't work out Friday, it may keep me from getting to Seattle in time for the OSU game vs. Washington. That would really suck. Even if I can't get into the game, I really want to be at the stadium during the game. --> Oh my god, I just walked past a freakin' HUGE buckeye tree near the Willamette River; very close the HUGE Greg Oden jersey that just about drapes the
basketball arena. Buckeyes in Oregon? Sweet. I kept a buckeye as a souvenir.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chance

Yesterday at 4:00 or 5:00 PM, near the downtown Portland library, I turned my head and saw a pretty twentysomething girl walking toward me, looking at me. Making eye contact with her as she approached, I smiled; she smiled back. A moment later she was gone. At 6:00, in about the same place, as I picked up my backpack, she walked past me again in the opposite direction. (I didn't see her this time until she'd already passed.) After securing all the straps and belts on my backpack, I headed the same direction she'd gone. Only 50 feet down the street, as she waited at the light rail station, we made eye contact once again. I smiled; she smiled back. With each of these encounters, it was clear that there was some kind of two-way attraction (or something like that). Naturally, I did nothing about it, partly because I'm a wuss but also because her train showed up. Maybe someday she'll stumble
onto the Aimless web site. Even if she does, though, she'll probably never see this post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm a doofus

I don't like how I behave when I drink, even though I don't get drunk. I now wish I hadn't consumed those 3 beers in the hours before I met Luke yesterday, but at the time I didn't want to waste the additional value of the gift card beyond the cost of my meal. I probably should have just given the bartender/server a ridiculously huge tip instead of having the beers. Luke is a really nice guy. It was a pleasure meeting him. I definitely consider myself a Luke Swilor fan, and I hope y'all will throw a little support his way. He deserves it more than I do. Thanks Luke! --> After spending a couple days in the Hollywood District, I slept under the stars in a park just north of downtown Portland last night. Fortunately it was pretty warm. --> I already have something set up that will get me to Seattle via Amtrak Wednesday afternoon/evening. --> To the couple I spoke to during the Bengals game
(Craig & Suzie?): I'd like you to contact me so I can at least find out your names.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Road to the tour

Luke Swilor is on his way here from Eugene right now (3:45) and should be here within the next half-hour or so, having unfortunately missed the cut earlier today in the Nationwide Tour event (golf). I've been looking forward to meeting Luke, a regular reader of this blog, for several months. Before I left home in April I expected to meet him right away because I originally planned to head toward Louisiana and he was scheduled to play in Baton Rouge (US Professional Golf Tour). That was before the USPGT folded. When the tour was 86ed, Luke set off on the Canadian Tour and I ended up in Florida... I'm a little goofy from this beer now, so please pardon me if I make no sense. Luke got caught in some traffic but made it here. It was really cool meeting him. Visit Luke's blog at http://blog.lukeswilor.com.

Not continued

I don't think I will continue the previous post because it's just too negative-sounding. For the record, I consider myself in debt to everyone who has given to me without expecting anything in return. Conversely, I owe nothing to the few people who have expected something from me, because there is a HUGE difference between a favor and a trade... I had a cool day yesterday; met several really awesome people and had a place to stay. Allison & Bill Wildman gave me a $20 gift certificate to the Laurelwood Public House, which I intended to use last night. But as I sat at the bar, I got into a conversation with Deborah LeBer, who gave me $5 to buy myself a beer. Before I had a chance to purchase that beer, Tim Sheridan bought me a beer. He ended up inviting me to stay at his place, so I ended up not using my gift certificate last night. However, I am at the pub right now, enjoying my second
beer, having finished my calzone already. Two of these beers will damn near get you wasted.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ducks Agree: Wolverine Tastes Like Chicken

I think yesterday was my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad. --> I left Mark's house yesterday because he is one of those people who EXPECTS immediate payback when he does someone a "favor" for which they didn't ask, need, or necessarily want. Yes, I sincerely appreciate what Mark shared with me--food and shelter--but he did it for the wrong reasons and it apparently wasn't out of the kindness of his heart. I planned to stay around another day or two to help him with some household chores until it became clear that he expected me to have read his mind and to have already done things I couldn't possibly have known he wanted me to do. And let's not forget the things I actually did for him that he apparently didn't notice or appreciate: I helped him clean up the mess from the party he hosted before we met; I helped him carry a bunch of artwork from his van to his basement; I provided
companionship that he clearly wanted or needed; I revolved around HIM for two days... To be continued.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Beer & Christ

This just occurred to me (several hours ago): Lew, you would love the Pacific Northwest; there are a million different beers here, many of them local. (Not like South Florida.)... I was walking around at about noon today, going somewhere maybe, when a guy stopped and told me to hop into his car for a tour of Portland. (I wasn't even sure I was in Portland yet.) Mark immediately took me to The Grotto, which I had passed less than an hour earlier. My OH-SHIT!ometer went nuts because The Grotto is some kind of huge religious complex. I thought, "This guy doesn't screw around when it comes to saving the souls of those whose souls don't need saved. How am I gonna get out of this one?" Fortunately Mark was not trying to save my soul; he just thought The Grotto was a cool place--landscape and whatnot--and he wanted me to see it. I admit it was pretty cool, but its coolness has nothing to do
with the organization that occupies the land. I'm staying at Mark's house at least tonight.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Out of danger

I think I'm now in a suburb of Portland; I'm on the edge of Troutdale and Wood Village, OR, a mile or less from Washington. Mom, this phone will not answer for you again until you stop calling me all the time. By the time I sent the previous post, I was already riding in a car toward civilization. If I'd still been where there was no access to water, do you really think I would have had phone coverage? A nice young woman named Rachel (sp?) Dionne stopped for me after I'd left the desert and entered the forest, still on the reservation. Like LJ, who took me to Bend, Rachel was on her way (from Bend) to meet her boyfriend, who, unlike LJ's boyfriend, is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, eh. I still had about a cup of water when she picked me up, but I was out of food and I was very hungry. When we got here, I immediately walked to Safeway and bought literally about 10
lbs of food (boneless wings, chowdah, Boyardee, PB, Pay Day, tortilla chips, apples, donut, yogurt).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 - Got any weed? OK, that's probably not actually the question people ask me most frequently, but it's close. I've been walking through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation since yesterday afternoon. Last evening I was in the middle of a large, flat expanse of desert when all of a sudden there was a bridge across a creek (Mill Creek). The scene was not what you'd expect from my description; the creek was at the bottom of a narrow canyon, which I'd say was about 500 feet deep. It was very pretty. Late in the day there was a huge cloud of smoke in the sky from the wild fires burning near Sisters, Oregon (pictured). There was rain this morning where I camped, but I don't know if Sisters got any rain. I have no food or water, and there ain't none around here, so it would be real if someone stops to offer me a ride pretty soon.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I was just thinking: If

I was just thinking: If the US Constitution doesn't mean anything anymore, then neither do any of our laws. So go break some laws while you can.

Oregon Lottery

(Pictured: Kathy & Frank at The Meet Market.) Upon finishing my salmon & shrimp, I dumped a little cash into one of the 6 Oregon Lottery video slots near the bar, hoping to either make a few bucks or take only a small loss. (I guess there are a handful of these machines in about every bar in Oregon.) Yeah, I know, that was not necessarily a bright move on my part, but gaming machines possess some kind of mysterious attraction. Although I told myself I wouldn't allow myself to lose a bunch of money, I soon found myself with considerably less money than when I entered the bar. Starting to feel like a total idiot, the machine hit a small jackpot and I had all my money back. Of course, I moved to another machine and lost another big chunk of cash. Then it hit and I got most of it back. The next machine did the same thing, except when it hit, it hit again... and again. Soon I was up $55,
which made me happy. I cashed out with $40 more than I'd started with, and I gave the barkeep Josh $10.

The mete market

It's now clear why my backpack has become so burdensome lately: The thing weighs 66 lbs! Well, it did yesterday morning, anyway. Fortunately I was able to unload 4 lbs of stuff at Kathy's house, which she is going to send home for me. My gear ended up about 63 lbs when I left her house because I left out the stove and sternos when I weighed everything. That included 2 18-oz cans of clam chowder, a can of tuna, a can of salmon, 2 apples, and a full supply of water. Unfortunately I was unable to take the sleeping bag because it was just too big to store either on or in my backpack. When I left, Kathy and Frank took me to the north end of Madras, outside a bar/restaurant called The Meet Market. (It used to be a real meat market.) They invited me in for a beer, which became 2 beers. They left before I did. I ended up with a free meal because the cook was bored and experimented with a new
dish. She made salmon and shrimp with an alfredo/garlic sauce, then offered it to me. It was very good.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Madras Oregon

While watching football at The Stag, I began talking to a nice 61-year-old woman named Kathy. She told me about her son Michael, who has traveled all over the world in a manner similar to my travels. Kathy gave me $10 to buy myself dinner and she eventually bought me a beer. Later she bought me another beer and I called my mom so Kathy could talk to her. After talking to my mom, Kathy decided she would adopt me for the night. We left the bar at about 5:30. Upon arriving at Kathy's house, I met her husband Frank. Surprise! The adult beverages kept flowing until Kathy and Frank were both pretty goofy. Sometime before they went to bed, Kathy dug up an unused sleeping bag for me, which she acquired with Marlboro Miles, as well as a small butane camping stove. I don't know the temperature rating of the sleeping bag, but I'm sure it will perform much better than my fleece sleeping bag. My
backpack just keeps getting heavier; it is surely over 60 lbs now. I need to send some things home ASAP.

Hail to the victors!

After several miles of walking Friday, a guy named Geneo ("Gino") pulled up behind me and offered me a ride to Redmond. In Redmond, while resting at a coffee house, I conversed with a man named Jerry. He asked me if I know some dude named Jesus. I said no, so he offered to buy me a bible. I told him it wasn't necessary because I have good reasons for choosing not to subscribe to that way of thinking and because it would just be more weight in an already-very-heavy backpack. Not a pushy man, Jerry seemed to accept my answer. Shortly after we both left, Jerry pulled up beside me and handed me a brand new bible. Yesterday, several miles north of Redmond, three "Rainbow kids" in an old minivan stopped and gave me a ride to Madras. I bought some food at Safeway then realized I'd like to watch some college football, so I found a bar and asked the bartender if it was OK if I hung out and
watched some football. Having spoken to my mom, I already knew Michigan lost to Appalachian State. (Haha.)