Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's over

The last several days (or weeks) have been miserable. I didn't eat much for the 2 weeks I was in Vegas, plus the weather was pretty crappy most of the time. Then I was stuck in Primm for several days, where I also didn't eat much. However, I did have sort of a short vacation in Primm because hotel rooms are really cheap there. From Primm I came back down to SoCal (Ontario) so I could try to get a ride with a trucker east along I-10 to make it home for X-mas. I stood outside two of the biggest truck stops in the country for over 3 days in the very cold, rainy, windy weather, not getting a ride. Finally yesterday, cold and wet and sick of all the shit, I decided to take my mom up on her offer to fly me home. So now I'm sitting at Gate 208 of the Ontario airport, about to board a flight to Atlanta. After a three-hour wait in Atlanta, I'll fly to Columbus, where all this Aimless crap will
officially be over forever. The airlines are a joke, yet they wonder why people don't fly anymore.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

At 10:22 am PST, on

At 10:22 am PST, on Las Vegas Boulevard South (a couple miles south of the strip), I officially topped 1,000 miles walking since July 31.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I personify aimless

Having just Googled 'aimless' for the first time in a long time, I was surprised to see that the Aimless web site is now near the top of the list of search results, second only to the definition of 'aimless.' I guess that means there is no one on this planet more aimless than myself. Shouldn't that make me famous or something? Well, I guess I picked the right title for this dying project.

It's too bad Aimless never reached the consciousness of anyone important (like a network or cable bigwig) because I've met some of the most interesting characters on this planet. I haven't been able to tell even a fraction of my story or the Aimless story here, but I can assure y'all that it would have been a fascinating series or movie if only I'd had some people (like a crew) to help me capture the story. Y'see, no one can do it all by themself. You may not realize this, but simply keeping myself alive is the equivalent of working three full-time jobs.

I'm tired now. Unless you've done this tramping thing before, you will never have any idea how tired I am. I've literally had a nearly constant headache for at least a few weeks. I have a hard time interacting with people--even the coolest, most down-to-earth people--because I can't cram any more information into my head. I don't trust my senses anymore because nothing seems real. I can't seem to feel happiness or sadness or any emotions anymore. I'm not even rattled by extreme hunger.

So why do I feel like crying just about all the time?

Something inside me knows this is all wrong, but something else inside me is trying to hide the truth from my consciousness.

It doesn't matter where I am, but I'm not in California anymore.

I'm nearing 1,000 ped-miles since July 31.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a messed up day, Part 2

Continued from What a messed up day, Part 1.

After a time-consuming struggle with the strong and constant wind (which, by the way, is what fueled the nearby fires last weekend), I made it back to my campsite, totally beat. Fortunately none of my other gear had blown away while I was off chasing the tent. But it wasn't nearly over yet.

My next objective was to figure out how to get my stuff into my tent. Y'see, it's not easy to keep a tent-kite in place when you have to use your hands to grab the stuff you want to put in it, partly because you need to hold on to the tent at the end but throw your stuff in through the side. Even if you manage to get all your stuff inside the tent, the wind still wants to blow all of it to freaking Mexico, and it can almost do that, even with the weight of all the gear inside.

Seeing how there was no point in staking out the tent (due to the loose sand and hard rock), I had to try to put the heavier pieces of my gear on the windward side of the tent. But when almost everything is out of the backpack, there is only one remotely heavy piece of gear: the backpack and the few pieces of gear that I don't take out of it at night. So I threw the backpack onto the area where my head would be if I was sleeping. The backpack alone is not enough to cover that whole side, so the tent was blowing like crazy, the poles bending to an uncomfortable extent, while I tried to get everything else inside the tent canopy, including myself.

Eventually I worked out that part. Me and all my stuff were inside the tent, sans rainfly, and I was relaxing, with the tent blowing like crazy beside me and in my face. Then came a huge gust of wind, and along with the wind came sand. With the sand particles being smaller than the holes in the tent canopy's mesh, I was now in the middle of a sandstorm, being pelted by the little pieces of earth-rock, which only blow into the tent, not out.

Now remember, I'm in the midst of a migraine right now.

Immediately I grabbed the rainfly, unzipped a door, and slipped my bare feet into my boots, not tying them. As I exited the tent, there was no longer 150 pounds keeping one side of the tent relatively in place, so the tent began flapping everywhere once again. But somehow I managed to attach the rainfly and get back inside the tent without it breaking or going on tour of Mexico.

Now that I'm safely inside the tent, this episode may seem over, but it's not even close because the wind kept up all night. So as I spent the night with my body keeping the tent from blowing away, I couldn't keep the wind from blowing the tent violently back and forth and in my face. I also spent much of the night worrying that the poles would break. Fortunately the aluminum poles did not break, but one of the poles ended up bent about 15 degrees in one spot.

I'm sick of typing, so I'll say one more thing: With the strong wind continuing the next morning, it was a bitch tearing down the tent and packing everything up. Also, all my stuff had tons of sand in it, which also is not very pleasant. I hesitantly slept in almost the same spot the next night, but there was barely any wind that time.

I think that's about it for the time being. I've felt lingering effects from the migraine for the last week. Actually, my life has been one constant headache for quite a while now.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Eloy report

Now that I have some space, here's what happened yesterday, regarding the arraignment: As soon as I finished packing up in the morning, I called my mom and asked her to look up the Eloy District Attorney's phone number, then call the DA. I gave my mom all the important details as I walked a mile back to the Ontario TA truck stop.

Important details for the DA to know: 1) I'd been trying to get a ride from Ontario to Eloy for the previous three days, but I can't make it on time; 2) Greyhound doesn't stop in Eloy; 3)Even though I can't make it on time, I'm still trying to get there. Maybe some other stuff, too.

We were still on the phone as I arrived at my perch across street from TA's truck exit with a sign reading 'Phoenix.' Five or ten minutes after our call, my mom called me back and told me the charge was already dropped.

So that bullshit is over, thankfully.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Happy birthday, Jay

Happy birthday, Jay. I know I'm five days late, but I actually thought about it four days ago, if that's any consolation. I've had a lot of shit on my mind, y'know. I hope things are going well.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You'll never believe this: The

You'll never believe this: The trainhop-related charge was dropped... before my mom even called the prosecutor on my behalf. More later maybe.

An eternal headache

Oh Jesus Christ, where to begin? First, I'm not gonna make it to Eloy and I really don't care. So I'll be in contempt of court, eh? Yeah, well Eloy is in contempt of Ryan. They've already taken a month from my life and they've probably cut some time off the end of it, too. I've been punished enough; they're not gonna get a cent from me. I might have gotten a ride if I'd been quicker to realize that some guy at the truck stop is way beyond a compulsive liar. I can't even begin to tell that story here. --> Today I watched a big truck push a BMW sideways about 300 feet, with the front of the truck against the BMW's driver's-side door. Got some of it on tape, too. The lady in the BMW was seriously freaked out and crying when the truck finally stopped, right in front of me. I really felt for her; I can't imagine the terror of what she went through. The trucker had no idea she'd even hit the
car, and if I hadn't been there, she probably wouldn't have stopped as soon as she did. Very surreal.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The one time I absolutely

The one time I absolutely HAVE TO get a ride, it's beginning to look like I'm fucked. If I don't get a ride in the next 8 hours, I'm in contempt.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Family man

This dude is Family Guy. Not only does he look like him, but he also kinda talks like him and has a very similar personality and sense of humor. When I told him he reminds me of Peter from Family Guy, he said other people have said that to him, but also that he has never even seen Family Guy. Kinda like me and Into the Wild, I guess. He's a trucker/firefighter named Tom.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What a messed up day, Part 1

You have no idea what kind of shit I go through out here on the road sometimes. Let’s recap yesterday:

I already mentioned the citation for soliciting or whatever. That was early in the morning, and I really don’t think there will be any serious consequences when I don’t show up for court next year. The only reason the cop cited me is to keep some worthless bum out of Montclair forever. Y’see, he profiled me because I carried a large backpack, first writing a citation and asking questions later. When he figured out that I was actually a traveler, not a bum, he became a little less of a dick (but he was still a dick). After taking some time to think about signing the citation, I told him there’s no way I’ll be here in January 2009. That’s when he told me there will only be serious consequences if I show up in Montclair again.

Totally unnecessary bullshit.

Shortly after that, I took a bus to Rancho Cucamonga to put myself in position to see some football on Saturday before heading to a nearby truck stop to get a ride to Stupid Arizona.

In Rancho I ate at In-N-Out Burger. (I’ve been meaning to write a very detailed post about In-N-Out Burger for a while because In-N-Out is by far the best model of how to operate a business in this country. Maybe I’ll get to that sometime.) After eating, at about 5:30 pm, I became very tired and light-headed. It wasn’t lack of sleep or In-N-Out Burger that did this to me; I think it was a few short glimpses of direct sunlight that caused the strange feeling. So, as it was almost completely dark by this time, I began looking for a spot to set up camp for the night, or at least a place where I could lay down and rest a while.

Quickly finding an undeveloped desert area where I would not be seen at such an early hour, I began looking for a flat spot to put up my tent. As I walked around on the dirt and sand, I became more disoriented. I had tunnel vision and I felt very clumsy by now, but I knew I was close to finding a good spot. Feeling like I was in the early stages of a migraine, all I wanted to do was set up my tent and try to turn myself off.

I found a nice spot right away and began setting up. With my tent canopy unfolded on the ground, I assembled my tent poles, which only takes about 30 seconds. While putting together my poles, though, a light wind began blowing. The wind made it difficult for me to pitch the tent canopy, so I grabbed a couple stakes and stuck them through two corners of the tent and into the loose sand.

A couple minutes later, with my poles fully assembled in conjunction with the canopy and just a couple more clips to attach, a strong gust of wind came along and instantly I was running as fast as I could, chasing my tent south through the desert alongside I-15, toward a reasonably busy east-west road. As my tent blew across the road, about a quarter of a mile from my camp site, I was thankful that there was a gap in traffic, but I still didn’t know if I would ever catch up to the tent, especially because there was not a gap in traffic when I reached the road.

By the time I had crossed the road (with my head still not working properly), my tent had come to a stop, thanks to a chainlink fence. So I grabbed the tent and began carrying it back north, into the now constant wind. It was like I was flying 50 kites without a string. I worried that my tent poles would snap with the strength of the wind, and I also worried that I would lose my grip on the poles, possibly resulting in another chase.

TO BE CONTINUED…

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stuff

Yeah, right. Like that girl will ever call me. --> I just received a citation from a dickhead Montclair cop for "Solicit from freeway offramp." Interestingly, I was walking down a surface street when he saw me and 'pulled me over.' Guess who is not going to appear in a Montclair courtroom on January 14, 2009. It wasn't me on the off-ramp and I really don't care if they put a warrant out for my arrest; I'm not going to be here. I may write a letter to the court or something, but I won't be here. And right now I really don't care if I make it to Eloy by next Wednesday. Fact is, I'm not a criminal, which is why I've NEVER been arrested for ANYTHING. And when I'm not on the road like this, I don't deal with cops, so I really have no reason to fear any prospective arrest warrants. I'm sick of this shit.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We're all Jekyll and Hyde

Walking east on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena this morning, looking for a bus stop, I passed a very immobile man in a wheelchair--the kind of wheelchair with a control stick. The man had a sign that said something to the effect of "Please donate to stem cell research." Even though I am very comfortable with money right now, I walked right on by the guy without giving him anything. I felt like a dick before I even passed him because I knew I should've slipped him at least a dollar. I mean, how do you think I got the money that's currently in my pocket?

As I bought a cup of coffee a few minutes ago at The Coffee Bean in Upland, I found some money on the floor. For a moment I thought about keeping it without saying anything to anyone, but I couldn't just hold on to it without asking everyone if they were missing any money. So I asked the two girls behind the counter if they were missing anything. Nope. Then I asked the one other customer inside. He said he didn't think he was missing any money, but he looked inside his wallet and asked me, "Was it a 20?" His question was an adequate answer, so I handed him the $20 bill I'd found.

How many of you anonymous critics would've given up that 20? Better yet: How many of you anonymous critics, while living functionally homeless, would've given up that 20? (I don't expect you to answer. You already know the answer.)

JJ the crazy Cajun guy from Des Allemands called me this afternoon for the first time in quite a while, but I couldn't answer right then. I called him back about half an hour later, but I got his voice mail. I had been wondering lately if I would ever hear from JJ again, so his timing was interesting.

One of the girls working at this Coffee Bean is absolutely beautiful. She has the kind of beauty most guys probably can't recognize (because most guys are stupid). I want to tell her how beautiful she is, just so she knows at least one person sees it, but I probably won't because I'll end up saying the stupidest, most ass-brained thing possible. And it won't be adorably ass-brained, like a Ben Stiller character; it will be stalker ass-brained because I seem to have some kind of selective Tourette Syndrome whenever I dare talk to girls that attract me. She hasn't even given me "a look" or anything like that, though, so it really doesn't matter anyway. (But if you see this and I'm wrong, I'd love to hear from you: 614-738-3867.)

Oh yeah, and I returned my backpack to REI yesterday because it just kept falling apart. I couldn't exchange it for the same model because it's impossible to find the Palisade 80 in Medium right now. Luckily they had one Whitney 95 in stock. It's a little bigger than the Palisade 80, and it also costs $30 more, but I found an unplanned way around that. Y'see, I also returned my fifth(?) Therm-A-Rest Prolite 4 "self-inflating" sleeping pad yesterday because it lasted about 4 nights before getting a small puncture. This time, though, I exchanged it for a heavier, bulkier, more durable, and cheaper model. So even though I had to pay an extra $30 for the new backpack, I gained an extra $38 or so from the sleeping pad exchange.

Interestingly, I met a homeless guy/tramp last night that has a Palisade 80. He said he also has had problems with the hipbelt breaking, which was my major issue. (It's gonna happen with my new one, too, because the design is flawed big-time.)

I'm thinking about making a sign that says something like: "I'll use your donation more responsibly than God does." I need to figure out how to say the same thing in fewer words, though.

Also, I topped 1,400 walking-miles for 2008 yesterday morning, shortly after departing my temporary home near the Rose Bowl.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Film crews

I talked to quite a few people from the NCIS crew yesterday. Actually they initiated the conversations. One thing I've learned while watching film shoots around LA is that the people on the crews tend to be very cool and personable.

I'm seriously starting to consider moving to LA to try to get a job in the film industry. I don't even care what kind of job; I just think I'd like working in that environment, and I actually like LA a lot. If I happen upon any more sets while I'm around here, I may ask some of the crew members how to get a foot in the door for some kind of entry-level position.

At the NCIS shoot, unlike the other TV shoot I watched (Ghost Whisperer), all the main actors were on the set. The only name I know is Mark Harmon, but I recognized a very pretty actress and a young male actor, each of whom plays an NCIS agent.

I had never seen NCIS until recently, when I was stuck at a truck stop in Hell; I mean Arizona. If you didn't already know this, the TVs in truck stop driver lounges are almost always on either USA or TNT, which means Law & Order is almost always on. Lately, though, USA has been showing a lot of NCIS in the daytime. From what I've seen, anyway.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NCIS

They're filming a scene from NCIS today in downtown Pasadena. After I watch a little of this, I'm going to treat myself to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. A good meal like that is long overdue.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

No more Aimless

For anyone who hasn't figured this out yet: Um, I'm almost certainly done blogging and this Aimless thing is effectively over, even though I'll be on the road for at least a little while longer. I'm just tired, lonely, mega stressed out, a little cuckoo, and I don't care anymore. --> To Amanda from Flying J, if you're out there: I'd really like to hear from you ASAP (like as soon as you read this). Your smile makes me feel good and your eyes seem to have spoken nice things to me, which I'm probably all wrong about, only because I feel like I want it to be true. Anyway, I'd just like to talk to you. I walked five unnecessary miles tonight, just hoping you'd be around so I might be able to talk to you a little bit. Obviously things didn't go as I'd hoped. (For everyone else: This Flying J has a rent-a-cop who thinks he makes a difference by kicking out very good customers simply because
they carry large backpacks.) Call me, Amanda. A few people think I'm a really nice guy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The judge said I won't

The judge said I won't have a public defender because there's no chance I'll go to jail. Also because the charge is a misdemeanor.

Testing the system

I met with the judge just before noon today. Without first having the chance to speak to an attorney, I was given the choice to plead either guilty or not guilty. The judge told me a guilty plea means I'll have to pay a $450 fine, which is not gonna happen without a fight. I wanted some time to think, though, before deciding on a plea. So when the judge gets back from lunch, I'll be officially pleading not guilty, which means I'll have to be back in Eloy on November 19th to meet with a prosecutor for some kind of preliminary hearing. I do intend to take advantage of my right to state-appointed legal counsel. However, if there is an attorney out there somewhere who would like to represent me pro bono, or at least give me some good advice, I'd like to hear from you. Or if anyone out there knows someone who could give me a hand, I'd really appreciate your help. You can call me at
614-738-3867.

Delayed again

So now they're putting off my court appearance until at least noon because the railroad cop apparently can't be here until then. However, I've been informed that the judge will be taking lunch at noon, so I'll possibly have to wait another two hours beyond that. It seems to me that the police officer, who himself set my court appearance for 9:00, should be held responsible for showing up on time, just like I was. I've had to figure out how to survive the last 11 days in a state I wanted to leave long ago, then find my way back to this nothing town for a court appearance, which I did. But he's allowed to show up whenever he wants, while I sit around for several hours? This is total bullshit! They asked me if I wanted to put it off until Wednesday, instead of waiting all these hours. No, I just want the court to have some integritah, and I want the cop to be held responsible and
accountable for his actions. Let's get this show on the road.

Eloy, Arizona

I had all kinds of weird dreams and thoughts last night. In one dream, OJ Simpson committed suicide by jumping off a building; presumably a prison. It's weird that my unconscious brain would dig up something like OJ Simpson because I have not had any significant conscious thoughts about him in years and I almost never have a chance to follow the news. All I know about current Juice events is that he was recently on trial for something in Las Vegas and I'm pretty sure he was convicted. --> I showed up at Eloy Municipal Court before 9:00 this morning, as directed, but I soon found out there is no court on Mondays. The clerk or cashier looked at my citation and couldn't find anything about my case in their computers or files. Eventually she told me that the judge is in a meeting and will see me at about 10:30. So I'm just waiting right now, bored as hell. Since the railroad cop apparently
is not going to show up, I have the feeling my punishment will be a wag of the finger.

Friday, October 24, 2008

At McDonald's, for some reason

At McDonald's, for some reason I thought about the song Superstar by the Carpenters. A minute later it was the next song to play on their Muzak.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I just wrote a long

I just wrote a long post, but fucking Blogger won't publish it. Maybe I can work it out within a few weeks, whenever I find some more free wifi.

Nevermind. I guess it published. I'm still really pissed off and sick of this Blogger shit.

Catching up

I found some free wifi for the first time in three or four weeks. Since no one gave me any shit for my last post, I'll try to catch up on the last week or so. Thanks to fucking Blogger, I lost a whole bunch of stuff I'd written here and now have to rewrite it. I really wish people would stop commenting anonymously, just so I can tell who's writing what.

All right. Here goes...

First, I sat around at a Flying J in Eloy, Arizona for about two days after getting busted on the freight train that I didn't even want to ride. The only reason I rode it is because about 20 people in Tucson told me the Flying J was only about 5 or 10 miles out of town. However, after walking about six miles out of civilization, I saw a billboard for the Flying J, telling me it was still another 32 miles up the road. So I stopped for the night and slept near what seemed to be a busy exit from I-10.

In the morning I went straight to the northbound on-ramp, hoping to get a short ride to the Flying J, but no luck. Nearly out of water but thirsty as hell because I was saving the few remaining ounces, a northbound train soon stopped at the nearby siding. I didn't plan to ride the train at first, but I might have been fucked if I'd kept trying to get a ride, so I walked down the frontage road and found a spot on the front of an empty shipping container car.

About 30 miles up the road, the train stopped. I was going to get off there anyway, but a Union Pacific police officer pulled up just as I stood up to dismount. You already know the rest of that story.

So after two days at the Flying J, some guy offered me a ride. I thought he was a truck driver at first, but he was actually a tramp with a car and a female companion. They were going to California, so they didn't mind taking me to Quartzsite, where I wanted to visit my buddy Otis, who operates a pizza trailer in the swap meet town. Making a pitstop in Phoenix to buy a bag of weed, they were offered a place to stay for the night, so they took me to the nearby Flying J and said they'd stop by to pick me up at about noon the next day. If they did stop by, I never saw them. So I spent two days at the Phoenix Flying J until getting kicked out.

From the Flying J, I walked about five miles to a Pilot station. Intending to eat and immediately find a place to sleep, I bought a couple hot dogs. Before I even finished my hot dogs, though, I had a ride to Quartzsite with a trucker.

Arriving at the Love's truck stop in Quartzsite at about 12:30 Monday night, I quickly recognized an employee in the dining area. It was Jessica Payne, who I'd met almost two years ago while trying to make it home from California for Christmas. (There is a picture of Jessica on the Photos page.) I said hi to Jessica and asked if she remembered me. She didn't remember me, but we began a conversation. I told her I was in town to see a buddy of mine--the guy who operates the pizza trailer. She asked if I meant Otis, and I said yes. So she asked me, "You haven't heard?" Then she told me Otis died of a heart attack a couple weeks earlier.

I was shocked. At age 58, Otis was in very good shape, both physically and mentally. I think he exercised quite a bit, too. So only a few minutes after arriving in Quartzsite, I found out that I had no reason to be there.

I needed to sleep, so I headed out of the truck stop and looked for somewhere to sleep, which is not very difficult in the middle-of-nowhere swap meet town. Still, I didn't get to sleep until about 2:00 am, which means I didn't get much sleep that night.

I spent the next two days sitting around the truck stop, hoping to get a ride to either Phoenix or Tucson. I finally got a ride to Tucson yesterday afternoon. I wanted to get out of the truck a couple miles before reaching the outer edge of Tucson, but my driver wouldn't stop for me. So I ended up having to ride with him all the way through Tucson and a little beyond, where there is a truck stop, leaving me about 25 miles from where I wanted to be.

I have almost no money right now, but I should be able to round some up. I hope I can find somewhere to watch the Penn State/Ohio State game Saturday. But even if I do, I have to start trying to get back to Eloy immediately after the game because I have an appointment with a judge early Monday morning to determine my punishment for Criminal Trespass, 3rd Degree. After that, I should be free to go wherever I want, although I might have to figure out a way to make a quick $175.

I guess that's about it for now. I get so sick of Blogger causing me to lose shit I've already drafted and redrafted.

Rest in peace, Otis Gunn.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I don't like Arizona and

I don't like Arizona and I absolutely don't enjoy doing this anymore. I've given up on humanity. Most Americans are stupid & miserable. The End.

Shower yesterday. First one in

Shower yesterday. First one in 46 days. A ridiculous record that will not be broken.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The train stopped right about

The train stopped right about where I wanted it to stop, but there was a railroad cop waiting for me. Now I have to go to court in 11 days.

Two trainhops in three days.

Two trainhops in three days. I just want this one to stop after 30 miles.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My suspicions have just been

My suspicions have just been confirmed: I am in downtown Tucson. Now to find a good on-ramp or truck stop (or whatever I end up doing).

Off the train at 2:30.

Off the train at 2:30. Have no idea where I am. Looks like some kind of city.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hobo soundtrack

I've been on this train for almost nine hours now. When the train starts going really fast, like 50 or 60 miles an hour, the shifting of weight and the wheel imperfections start playing a song. On this spot of this train, the song is something like Dick Dale meets African drumming. It's kinda like on Space Mountain, how they have speakers right in your ears, blasting, coincidentally, Dick Dale. At least that's what they played last time I rode it, which was eleven years ago. This is better, though, because this whole monster is the speakers. It's a rush that, unlike Space Mountain, doesn't end after a minute or two. This is the American Dream and you can thank people like me for keeping it alive. You're welcome.

What a ride! I took that pic a few minutes ago, somewhere east of Yuma, Arizona. I don't know where this train is going, but it won't be going where I meant to go. Looks like Tucson probably; perhaps Phoenix first. Beautiful day for a train ride. And the only reason I'm riding it is because it stopped beside me when I had almost finished walking to the truck stop in Palm Springs.

Does this work?

videoThere should be a short video of me, a freight train, a mouthful of sunflower seeds, and a big desert in this post. Did it work?

I'm riding the rails again,

I'm riding the rails again, baby. Eastbound Union Pacific out of Palm Springs at 10:00 sharp.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

No death in the desert

I spent all day yesterday in Indio, mostly in the bowling alley of a casino, where I was able to catch some football on TV. Later I had a phone conversation with someone very special to me; someone I really haven't mentioned since seeing her in San Francisco a couple months ago. Even though I haven't written about her, I think about her all the time. I'm not going to tell the whole story here. Anyway, she called me mostly because I pretty much begged her to talk to me. Y'see, there's a lot I don't tell you here. One thing I think I've hidden well is the fact that I've been pretty messed up in the head for a while, for all kinds of reasons. Well, speaking with her for 20 minutes really helped me in that department, even though our conversation was very far from what I'd hoped for. Sometimes the mind just needs proper closure, ya know, and I received something like that. So I'm not gonna
walk off into the desert now. Instead, I think I'll try to get a ride to Quartzsite, Arizona.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here in La Quinta, had

Here in La Quinta, had I not just been paying attention as I crossed a street legally, I absolutely would have been killed by a FedEx truck.

Please continue wasting water, California.

Please continue wasting water, California. We'll make more for you, just so you can have lots of green grass where there should be none.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

If I can smell your

If I can smell your cologne or perfume when you drive by, you need to use less of it. I don't think I've ever gotten a ride with an Asian person.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Aimlesser

It's a good thing I hung around Rancho/Ontario yesterday because I realized I should get new shoestrings before wandering into the desert to die. I slept across the street from REI last night and bought those laces today, along with several energy bars to add to the 15 or 20 I bought yesterday. A really cool dude helped me today at REI; can't remember his name right now, though. Leaving REI, I bought a day pass and spent most of the day riding various buses toward Yucaipa. I got off in Colton after seeing a laundromat, but the water was shut off, so I couldn't exactly do my laundry there. I found another laundromat in Redlands, did my laundry, then ate at Shakey's Pizza, since I'm good on cash right now. Nonetheless, when I ordered, a lady named Anita offered to buy my pizza for me. Rock! At Shakey's I talked a few minutes with a very cool (and gorgeous) girl who was pouring the drinks.
I've actually been to this Shakey's twice before, with my good friend Jeff, when he lived out here.

More aimless than aimless

After a lot of walking and a couple bus rides Saturday, I made it to Rancho a little before 4:00. Low on cash, my first objective was to work the off-ramp just long enough to get comfortable. When I arrived, though, a car had just broken down in my sign-flying spot. Looking like it wouldn't be there long, I made a pit stop at the In-N-Out Burger next door. As I finished eating and neared the ramp, a tow truck was hauling away the kaput auto, so I was clear. (Omitting the details of this session, I made over $50 in 15 minutes because I rule.) I then walked to REI but shortly left for BW3 so I could watch the Buckeyes. (I found a $20 bill on the way there.) --> Early yesterday I went back to REI to see if there was any solution to my backpack problem. Speaking immediately to the manager (Adam, I think), he presented a solution that could fix my most immediate problem without exchanging
the pack. After I agreed to his solution, he replaced the hipbelt for me. Really cool guy. Thanks, man.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Very aimless

First I want to congratulate my cousin Jeff and his new wife Sunshine. Welcome to the family, Sunshine. --> I'd walked as far as Palm Springs by yesterday morning, with a lot of doubling back, covering at least 50 miles twice by foot, before I had to come back to Rancho yet again because my backpack is falling apart. These problems are structural, not cosmetic. I was planning to keep walking east into the vast, unsettled desert, but none of the SoCal REI stores have my backpack in stock. As a result, I'm gonna try to get a ride to wherever I can find a store that has what I need. Or I might just head toward the Gregory factory, which is somewhere in the Bay Area. This is frustrating. Maybe if I can find a store with my backpack in stock somewhere in the west, I'll head back to Palm Springs and resume my hike where I left off. I really feel like I need to challenge myself and disappear
into the brutal desert. --> Those Badgers just can't finish anyone off lately, can they, Badger?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jeff, I'm happy to report

Jeff, I'm happy to report that the Pizza Chalet is alive and kicking. (For everyone else, that's a pizzeria in Yucaipa, where Jeff used to live.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Back in Redlands

When I wrote the previous post, I incorrectly said I'd walked 22.5 miles. I actually had walked 23.5 miles at that point and ended up walking 26.17 miles for the day. Having already walked through Loma Linda less than a week ago, I knew there was an orange grove that would make a good place to sleep, so I walked almost another 3 miles instead of just finding the first decent place to sleep. After another 3.45 miles this morning, I'm back in Redlands, where I caught the ride back to Rancho Cucamonga the other day with a cool young chap named Austin McCleod.

So yesterday was my third longest walking day, having previously done a 30-mile day and a 28-mile day. The difference with this one, as I stated last night, is that I started pretty late in the morning and I didn't really intend to walk so many miles; it just happened. After the long walk, I felt pretty good. (Considering I hurt pretty much all the time, "felt pretty good" means I could move.)

That's all I really have to say right now because you don't really have a lot of interesting experiences when you spend every day walking. That is, of course, unless the cops beat you up.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

That other thing

Here's what I couldn't remember to say earlier today: I broke down and bought some shaving cream and razors yesterday. I just got sick of dealing with excess facial hair. It sure was fun trying to shave over half an inch of beard with a disposable razor in a Starbuck's bathroom. --> I've walked 22.5 miles today, and I'm not finished yet; probably still another couple miles to go. I didn't even start walking until 9:00 am, after waking up at 6:30, which strangely has been my normal wake-up time for a while now. The reason I didn't start until 9:00 is that I hung around at Starbuck's for a while, mostly writing the previous blog post. Also, with today's mileage, I've walked about 500 miles since mid-August. --> On days when I walk at least 15 miles, I drink about two gallons of water, but I only pee about a quart because I sweat and sweat and sweat. Nowadays it's harder to keep track of
how much I drink because I have a wide-mouth water bottle that I add ice to whenever possible.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend

I actually had kind of a weekend this past weekend. It was weird; I'd really forgotten about the concept of 'weekend' because I haven't had any real chances to rest since I was riding with Vernon. And even though riding in a truck may not be too physically demanding, it's not exactly the same as a weekend or days off.

Anyway, I spend a good chunk of Saturday at BW3 watching football. At the restaurant I talked to a guy named Ted Theodore Rodriguez. Like Ted from Bill and Ted, Ted is from San Dimas. He was there to watch the Colorado/Florida State game, rooting for Colorado. Although his #1 favorite team is USC--the real USC, not South Carolina--Ted also roots for Colorado because back in the 80s his brother was recruited to play for Colorado. His brother never ended up playing at Colorado, but Ted became a Buffalo fan nonetheless. Ted was cool to talk to; he also bought me a beer.

I spent most of yesterday at a Starbuck's, largely because I could get Supercuts' free wifi from there, but also because it was freaking hot outside, like usual, and I just wanted to chill out for a while. Starbuck's employees are always very cool with me, even though I don't think I've ever bought anything from the stores I've visited with my backpack. I talked to one of the workers quite a bit while I was there; he was pretty interested in my story and my objective. I eventually found out that he was the store manager, which was cool because I never would have guessed. Seeing him sweep the floors and doing all kinds of grunt work, I figured he was just one of the crew. Usually food industry managers just stand around all the time, trying to look important without actually doing anything, so I was impressed. I never got his name, but I think it may be Ben.

Even with the relatively relaxing weekend, I still walked 14 miles (5 Saturday, 9 Sunday).

It seems like there was something else I wanted to say, but I can't remember what it may have been, dammit.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dirty cops in Fontana, California, Part 2

I kinda feel like this post may not convey the whole picture of what happened between me and the Fontana cops. Y'know, my brain is not always in writing mode at the same time that I find access to both free wifi and an electrical outlet. That's one reason why the book will be much better than the collective series of blog posts.

OK, seeing how I was not injured or even bruised by the violence-prone police officer prick, I concede that my takedown-by-cop probably wasn’t full-blown police brutality, but it was not far from it. It definitely was out of line and unnecessary. The cops really didn’t even need to interact with me at all because they could see clearly that I had almost all my stuff packed up and that I was literally a minute from being on my way. But my story has just begun.

After the takedown, it was already evident that these cops were not on the scene to serve or protect anyone. They were there to show some stupid homeless loser who’s boss around Fontana. They kept no secrets about that, which also showed their stupidity because EVERY other cop has figured out pretty easily that I’m not homeless. Even the Florida assholes. Not to imply that their treatment would have been OK if I actually was homeless; I think the longtime readers know where I stand regarding homeless people.

Anyway, these fuckfaces continued to verbally abuse me for a while until finally I said to them, “I have the right to remain silent.” I didn’t stay silent for long, though, I guess because I quickly figured out that these tough guys were actually mega-mega-pussies.

After the initial shock of this episode wore off, I began seeing things more clearly. I could tell that even though these guys were total fucking morons, they probably weren’t stupid enough to do any real damage to me, so I became a little belligerent with them. Y’see, like always, I hadn’t broken any laws, and we Americans have this thing called the United States Constitution, which lets us say whatever the fuck we want to say, as long as our words don’t cause any harm. It’s the same thing that lets them verbally abuse me. Oh wait, no it’s not. They’re actually not allowed to do that.

Anyway, this bullshit went on for at least twenty minutes, probably more like thirty minutes. They told me how the Constitution doesn’t mean anything because every state and city has local laws that override the Constitution. (Of course, 'override' is my word, not theirs.) Yeah, real brilliant guys. They also threatened to throw all my stuff in a dumpster and all kinds of shit like that. And this was all after they’d been informed that I had no outstanding warrants and that I’d never been arrested.

At one point I asked the cops if they had their video camera rolling. One of them told me there was no video but that they were recording all the audio.

When they finally stopped fucking with me and let me finish packing my backpack, I heard one of the assholes make a comment about the long hair I have in my drivers’ license photo. From ten feet away, I responded like a smart-ass, mocking him in a stupid redneck kind of voice. Of course, he didn't do anything except perhaps mock me back because dirty cops can't just do whatever they want to people. At least not to people who don't put up with their shit. The easiest way to be a victim of serious police abuse is to be ignorant of your rights and their limits. There is a very good reason why most bad cops disappear immediately after I show them some intelligence and attitude.

As I walked off, I had all kinds of colorful language for them, including at least one very loud “Fuck you.” Oh, and I know they heard me because they responded. Also, as they drove by me, I very clearly flipped them the bird.

Which should teach you a lesson: Don’t fear cops unless they‘re just too stupid to figure out when they‘ve gone way beyond the limits of reasonable police behavior. If you haven’t done anything, they can’t do anything to you. And don’t get me wrong; these guys went way beyond the limit. It’s just that I deal with cops enough that I have a pretty damn good feel for how far I can take it.

I walked maybe half a mile before finding another grassy spot to try to get some rest. This was about 5:00 am. But before long I decided not to bother trying to get any sleep. I was pissed off enough that I had to find the police station and report their behavior. After a little walking, I was in a commercial area where I was able to ask some people where the police station is. With some vague directions, I headed toward the Fontana police station.

TO BE CONTINUED...

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My third sleeping pad flaked

My third sleeping pad flaked out last night, so I got a ride back to REI in Rancho Cucamonga this morning, from Redlands. Been in Rancho all day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dirty cops in Fontana California Part 1

Yesterday morning at 4:00 I was awakened by a security guard telling me to scram. At 4:20, while stuffing my things into my backpack in compliance, a couple Fontana cops showed up. Shining a bright spotlight at me, they stayed at their cruisers for a minute while I stuffed, giving them plenty of time to figure out, without a doubt, that I was absolutely harmless. With only a few small items left to pack, one of the cops approached me and asked me something. I couldn't hear him, so I said, "What?" Apparently providing the wrong answer to his unintelligible question, he immediately ambushed me, grabbing one of my arms and twisting it behind my back, then quickly twisting the other arm behind my back. He then threw me to the ground, face down, and finally pounced on me with a knee to my back to keep me down. He didn't cuff me, nor did he check me for weapons, nor did he keep me restrained
for more than a few seconds because this was not policework. This was police brutality...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A cop here at the

A cop here at the Fontana police station just told another cop that Louisiana is closer to Florida than Georgia is to FL. Wait for this story...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It just occurred to me

It just occurred to me that I topped 1,000 miles walking this morning. That is, 1,000 miles in 2008. Walked about 1,100 last year.

Rancho Cucamonga. Koookamaaaaahnga. Titikaka. Heh,

Rancho Cucamonga. Koookamaaaaahnga. Titikaka. Heh, heh heh. Oh yeah. Thank you, drive thru.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yesterday at a gas station

Yesterday at a gas station I heard Prince's cover of 'Erotic City.' Today at a gas station, 'No parking on the dance floor.' Rock on.

Apparently underage prostitution is legal in Los Angeles County.

By the way, Go Utes!

By the way, Go Utes!

(That was for Luke because Luke was the captain of the golf team at Utah and Luke is a very cool guy.)

Intermission

If you watched the Tonight Show last night and heard a bunch of screaming for Dolly Parton, that was mostly GloZell. Shortly after the show let out yesterday, I made my way down to the Universal City subway station and took a train to Union Station in downtown LA, where I transferred to the Gold Line and took it all the way to Pasadena. Yes, that means I'm leaving LA. I probably still have a lot to say about the Tonight Show in general, but I need to tune out for at least a few days. There's too much shit going through my head right now. My brain has been horribly overloaded and I've been kinda geeking out for a long time already because I can't process everything. So I'm going to spend some time walking and trying not to interact with many people. Really I just want so shut myself off for at least a couple weeks, but I can't do that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Again

Yes, I went to the Tonight Show yet again today, with GloZell. I also interviewed her as we waited in line. (Has anyone seen her interview of me yet?) Dane Cook, Kristen Bell, and Hawthorne Heights are on the show. Dane Cook said something about having never had hair as short as it is right now because as a kid he was bitten by a dog on the head, leaving a scar. In a strange parallel, I too have never had hair this short until earlier this year, when I cut off the mop in Georgia. Except I've had either very long or longish hair for almost all my life. Also, I was bitten in the face by a dog when I was like 5, requiring stitches and leaving a scar on my cheek. The dog was at my great grandma's house in Tennessee: Pat the Brat. I'll be going back to the show again tomorrow. Two of the guests will be Brooke Shields and Dolly Parton. I forget who else will be on. I'd like to see next
Friday's show, with Jimmy Kimmel, but I'll probably be long gone by then. Might come back to LA soon, tho.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Round 2

As you may already know, I went to the Tonight Show again today; sat with GloZell this time, unlike yesterday when I was all by myself. John McCain's daughter seemed pretty cool. I could tell she was pretty nervous to be there, which made it very real. I thought the other dude was kind of boring. If you didn't see me on your TV last night, you may be able to this time, when George Clinton goes over to the audience. He was right in front of us and one of the cameras was pointed at us. Also, when Leno said something about living in a dumpster during the monolog, I blurted out something by accident. Maybe that made the audio track. --> Another camera crew interviewed me Saturday, which I haven't mentioned yet. It was Josh Helmuth of palestra.net. Additionally, GloZell kinda interviewed me today. She's going to upload the video to YouTube unedited. I don't know if she'll link to it from her
blog or what. One of the guys from Clinton's band walked by and talked to us while she was taping.

Me & GloZell are the

Me & GloZell are the only ones in line for the Tonight Show right now. We just talked to one of the guys from Parliament Funkadelic. Kick ass.

That guy

There was a guy in the Tonight Show line that I talked to quite a bit as we waited. I didn't get his name, but he was really witty and funny. (He also took the picture of me and GloZell.) After the show, as the crowd filed out, I bumped into him again. He gave me a little wad of cash so I could get something to eat. I thanked him. Without looking at the specific bills, I thought it was about $4, which would get me a nice meal. After he was gone, though, when I transferred the cash from my pocket to my wallet, I saw that there was actually $14, which will get me at least a few nice meals. Although I'm not sure I clearly let him know how thankful I was for his kindness, I did tell this man about my web site. I hope he checks it out so he can see I appreciate his kind act enough to write a post about it. Thanks, man. You're a good guy. (And if you've read this, please leave a comment so I
know.) --> I just got a ticket to tonight's Tonight Show. George Clinton will be in the house. Rock!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I ended up pretty much

I ended up pretty much right in the middle of the Tonight Show audience, in the first elevated row behind the floor chairs. Watch the show 2nite.

After walking east out of Burbank for a little bit, I changed my mind and started walking west so I could take a train to Pasadena. On the way back through Burbank, I walked a different route and ended up outside the Tonight Show theater, talking to the people waiting in line for tonight's show. Long story short: I'm going to the Tonight Show today. The girl in the picture is GloZell Green. She goes to the show every day and blogs about Jay Leno. Here's her blog: http://glozelllovesjayleno.blogspot.com. I might have more to say about this later.

Filming

This movie shoot is on a basketball court on the corner of Riverside Drive and Beachwood in Burbank. I'm pretty sure it is a Disney movie because a couple trucks drove up with Buena Vista something or other on the doors. I've only seen two actors so far--a twentysomething man and a 40ish woman--and I have no idea who they are. All I know right now is that the guy's character's name is Sam... I stand corrected. They're not shooting a movie; they're shooting for Ghost Whisperer, a show I've never seen before. One of the crew told me Jennifer Love Hewitt (sp?) is on this show but she's not here. --> Man, I really blew a chance to generate a lot of new traffic to this web site Saturday. Sometime reasonably early in the day, I wrote 'aimlessmovie.com' on my 'extra ticket' sign, but I should've done it much earlier, like Friday. Dozens of people took pictures of me and my sign, while
thousands of other people took notice of it. I'm probably not going to get another opportunity like that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Making movies

I was beginning to make my way out of LA, from Universal City east through Burbank, until I noticed a sign with an arrow pointing the way to "SET." I didn't know for sure if it meant *movie* set, so I took a detour to check it out. There was nothing going on, but the road beside a park was lined with orange cones and 'No Parking' signs. A few of the cones had pieces of paper stuck to them, explaining why you can't park there right now. It said the road will be closed on September 15th and 16th for filming, which will be between early morning and 1:00 pm. Aha! I'm talking about a long stretch of road here, so I suspect they're gonna be bringing some big trucks with lots of costumes and stuff. Also, this street is about a quarter of a mile from Disney Studios, so it stands to reason that it's probably a Disney film. Now that I know about this, I'm going to try to find somewhere to sleep
nearby and check out the movie shoot tomorrow. This should be pretty cool.

Walk of what?

I can't figure out why everyone is so freakin' obsessed with these stars on Hollywood's sidewalks. Everyone's all stopping to take pictures of them and stuff. They're just stupid stars on a sidewalk, people! And there's like two million of them. I've never even heard of half of the names I've read. It's not like you have to be Superman to get one of these things.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pink's

A few days ago I expected to start heading out of LA by about this morning, but I decided to stick around at least a couple more days because a cop at the Exposition Park told me about some things I might want to check out. One place he said I should check out is Pink's (pictured, at La Brea & Melrose), which I've seen on travel and food shows before. He said Tom Hanks is known to hang out there. Considering I am Forrest Gump (according to some guys outside the stadium yesterday) and that I've had unusually intrusive thoughts about Mr. Hanks since I've been in LA, I thought I should stop by Pink's and keep an eye out for him. Haven't seen him yet. (But I haven't really been looking, either.) There is over an hour-long wait just to get in the door of this hot dog stand, which I believe also offers burgers and other kinds of "fast" food. --> Now I'm hungry, but I'm not going to wait over
an hour to eat at Pink's. It probably doesn't fit into my budget, anyway.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What a fucking joke. No,

What a fucking joke. No, I didn't get into the game.

Boeckman, you're fired. Put Pryor

Boeckman, you're fired. Put Pryor in for good, Tressel. Jesus.

My mom called me to

My mom called me to tell me she saw me on channel 4. Apparently they said I walked 6,000 miles to get here. I never said that. You saw my sign.

Very big game tomorrow

If you've been wondering why all these media people have been interviewing me, this picture should give you a pretty good clue. --> Hanging around the LA Coliseum for much of the day, I picked up some inside information about the state of the Buckeyes. Word is that Beanie Wells looks pretty healthy, despite reports that he is doubtful to play. (Some ESPN people seemed a little puzzled about what to report.) Also, having talked to a couple former OSU players, I think tomorrow night will likely be the coming out party for Terrell (sp?) Pryor, the prized quarterback recruit. Don't expect him to start, but expect him to play quite a bit. I think this will be a very good game, and I think the Buckeyes might have a lot of surprises in store for college football fans. I think I have more to say, but I'm really tired. I won't dare make a prediction for this game. All I have to say is Go Bucks!
(Also, I'd say there is a very good chance I'll end up with a ticket to this game.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

I was just interviewed by

I was just interviewed by a couple more reporters: Rob Oller from the Columbus Dispatch and a guy from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Schweeeet!

I was interviewed by the

I was interviewed by the WCMH Channel 4 (Columbus) sports guy a few minutes ago. Showed my sign and told a little bit of my story. More later?

Erin Andrews just walked by

Erin Andrews just walked by me at the Coliseum. I wonder if she remembers me from the Giants game when Barry Bonds broke the home run record.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Found the best donut shop

Found the best donut shop ever on the SE corner of Washington & La Brea in LA. It's called Good Day but the sign says Donuts & Chinese Fast Food.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rodeo Drive

One thing I noticed pretty quickly as I walked along Rodeo Drive was the handful of women who appeared to be masking their identity. Based on the time of day (after 6:00) and the tall buildings blocking the sun to the west of Rodeo Drive, there was really no reason for anyone to need sunglasses, yet I walked by several women wearing sunglasses with really big lenses. That alone didn't make me think they were all famous. The thing that made me suspect they may be famous was all the other common characteristics: 1) They were all knockouts; 2) They were all alone; and 3) They were all dressed really nice. Not like they were having a nice night out on the town; more like they were famous, thus they wear what famous people wear. I don't know; I could be wrong. But there was just something that really made these women stand out from all the tourists and regular poor people. Having decided not
to hang around Santa Monica, I'm working my way back to Rodeo Drive for some more people-watching.

Axel Foley

Not long after the Cake guys drove by, I had a visit from a Beverly Hills cop. Asking me first if I was all right and then asking me why I was sitting on the street corner, Officer Blondi was very cool from the start, mostly because I speak like a living human being. After I told him a little about my travels, he was intrigued. So as he went through the routine I've become so used to, I continued telling him my story. When he was finished doing his job, we talked for maybe another ten minutes. He is yet another person to mention Into the Wild. This was definitely one of my Top 2 cop encounters. --> Expecting to keep walking right on down Santa Monica Boulevard upon reaching a famous road, I surprised myself when I decided to take a left onto Rodeo Drive. I've never seen much reason to walk down a street full of stores I can't even get into, but I actually had a fun time people-watching.
Although I did not recognize anyone, I think I walked by some famous people. More about that later.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Some dudes in a convertible

Some dudes in a convertible just rolled thru the intersection where I sit (Foothill/Elevado), with Cake's cover of I Will Survive blaring. Rock!

Walking around Hollywood and Beverly

Walking around Hollywood and Beverly Hills for a few days, I haven't seen any famous people. I wonder how many famous people have seen me.

I hope y'all realize Whole

I hope y'all realize Whole Foods Market is a total scam... OK, it's not a TOTAL scam, but about 90 percent of it is a scam.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Stuff and things

After working the off-ramp yesterday, I got donuts at the same shop as the other day, on Highland at Hollywood. Had my two faves--buttermilk bar & Boston creme--along with a dozen donut holes. The lady working there also gave me half of her breakfast burrito, which was huge. First time I've pigged out in a while. Didn't need to eat the rest of the day. --> Slept at Griffith Park again last night, then walked to Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank today to deliver a message to Tony Morgan, the head of security, on behalf of Vernon. Tony's been promoted or something, so my task was more difficult than I expected. No luck at first, but then I talked to a security guy who said he knows Tony. When I gave him a little message on a piece of paper, he said he'd try to get it to him. I thanked him and moved on. Now I'm working my way toward Santa Monica to exchange yet another defective sleeping mat
--> The injury near my rib has improved quite a bit. I think it was a pulled or strained muscle.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Good tramp

After a cheap lunch at a Taco Bell near USC yesterday, I was down to my last $5. Following lunch, I went to a USC library for a few hours to charge up and get some wifi, then began walking toward Warner Bros. Studios, even though I don't plan to go there until tomorrow. Walking up Vermont from Washington to Los Feliz, I figured I'd try to sleep in Griffith Park, but I got stuck in some wealthy neighborhood way up in the hills. Fortunately, after a resident stopped to talk to me, I learned of a way into the park from the neighborhood, so there I slept. --> This morning I tried to find an off-ramp ASAP so I could make some money. The first ramp I found was in Hollywood, at Franklin & Vine. It didn't seem to be a good ramp when I arrived, but in an hour I made $26, holding a sign that says 'PLEASE HELP A HUNGRY TRAVELER - THANK YOU.' I think I made all but one of those dollars in the first
35 minutes. Now it's time for donuts. --> Notice the Capitol Records building in the pic behind me.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Another day at USC

Picture, from left: Gisela, me, Lindy, Jon. --> I watched the USC band practice again yesterday afternoon. They began learning more drill for their Stevie Wonder medley show, working mostly on the song that goes something like 'You are the apple of my eye,' and also learning the very beginning of 'Superstitious.' Early in practice, during warm-up, the band played Tusk. It was so awesome because although it may be Fleetwood Mac's song, it was USC's band that made it a great song, both on the Fleetwood Mac recording and throughout the years at USC sporting events. I love the USC band, especially all the school songs. --> There was a film crew on campus a few nights ago when I first arrived. I didn't know, though, until pretty late in the evening, when I walked by all the trucks and campers. By then it looked like they were wrapping things up for the night, but I guess they were wrapping
for good because everything was gone the next morning. --> I only have $7. Gonna fly a sign soon.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Cambria, California conclusion

Cambria, California, Part 1
Cambria, California, Part 2

When Gisela's tour was over, after I'd spent several hours below Hearst Castle Sunday, we went back into Cambria and ate at the Main Street Grill again. Once again I ate french fries and garlic bread (which had no garlic).

When we went back to the ranch, we watched some TV with Lindy and Leisa in the main house for a couple hours. They all watched TV, anyway; I was paying more attention my computer. Jon was off doing other things.

Slept.

Woke up.

Monday morning Jon seized another opportunity to cook for guests. This time he whipped up some french toast. Instead of the white bread he would normally use, he used a multi-grain bread for the french toast, I think because it was the only bread in the house. I definitely would like to have tried Jon's standard french toast because the guy knows what he's doing in the kitchen. I suspect Lindy knows her way around the kitchen, too, but I didn't have an opportunity to sample any of her work. By the way, they have an awesome kitchen. It's not awesome because it looks pretty, Mom; it's awesome because it's ridiculously functional, which makes it attractive.

After breakfast we all talked for a while. Jon and I began some college football talk. Jon is a USC Trojan fan, and as we all know, I'm a big Buckeye fan. But Jon is not just a fan; he is a knowledgeable fan, so it was a good talk.

Eventually Gisela decided it was time for us to head on down the road, so we did. We drove toward LA and stopped in Malibu, where Gisela got a very expensive spot in a campground. After setting up her tent, we drove down the PCH into Santa Monica, then took I-10 into LA. From downtown LA we went to Hollywood, where we took Hollywood Boulevard west into Laurel Canyon before taking Sunset back to the coast.

At 1:00 am, as we returned to Malibu, I still had nowhere to sleep, so I asked Gisela to pull over just before we reached her campground. Thinking I recognized the area from when I walked through last year, I suspected I might find a nice place to sleep. If so, that would make it easy for the two of us to meet up again in the morning. (Yes, we could have figured out a way for me to stay at the campground, but I think she was worried about being found out and consequently being charged extra, or something like that.)

After a minute of looking around, I found that the area beside (or below) the campground would make an excellent campsite for me. It was a parking lot near several trailheads into the mountains. So I got my stuff out of the car and set up for the night. Before she left, Gisela said she would stop by in the morning so we could go off and see LA together.

First thing Tuesday, we went to some outlet stores near Oxnard. Gisela wanted to get some Levis before heading back to Germany, where they cost $120 or $130. She also wanted to get some Chuck Taylors for her son, if she could find the kind he asked for. She found the Levis, but no Chuck Taylors. I spent a couple more hours sitting around while she shopped. Fortunately, I was able to spend some of that time working on a blog post.

From the outlet stores, we took the 101 toward Hollywood. She wanted to find a shady place for us to get out of the car and eat some of the food we'd bought the previous night, so I suggested Griffith Park (near the Hollywood sign).

As we exited the 101 on Hollywood Boulevard, I saw a donut shop and said something about it. Gisela had a kind of fascination with donuts because they don't really have many different kinds of donuts in Germany, I guess. She turned into the parking lot, excited because I'd been talking about how good the donuts are in Hollywood, but the donut shop was closed.

To continue to Griffith Park, we needed to make a pretty difficult left turn. Seeing that it might take a while, I told Gisela I knew of another donut shop the other way, near Hollywood and Highland. It wouldn't be too far out of the way, if she wanted to give it a try. That sounded good to her, so she made a right turn on Hollywood and we set off to another donut shop. At Highland we took a right, and after a block we were there.

We each had three donuts. She got a lemon-filled donut with chocolate icing, a maple bar, and a raspberry filled donut. I got a Boston Creme (custard w/chocolate icing), a glazed buttermilk bar, and some kind of bear claw with chocolate icing and chocolate chips. Gisela scarfed her donuts down faster than I could finish half of mine, then she went to the mall across the street to find a memory card thingy for her camera.

After our donut feast, we no longer needed to find a shady place to eat lunch, but we went on to Griffith Park anyway. In the observatory parking lot, I, the designated photographer, noticed Gisela's batteries were about to die. Long story short... I ended up sitting around in the observatory for about an hour or two while she plugged her AA battery charger into an electrical outlet.

From Hollywood we took Santa Monica Boulevard to Santa Monica. As we neared Santa Monica, I thought about Venice Beach and pointed Gisela in the right direction, hoping we could get there in daylight so she could see the wonder that is Venice Beach. I'd never been there at night, so I didn't know what to expect after the sun goes down. Well, by the time we got there, it was getting dark and nearly all of Venice Beach's characters were gone for the night. The stores and shops were nearly all closed or closing, too.

If only we hadn't sat around forever at Griffith Observatory, waiting for the batteries to charge.

So we walked a mile or two of Venice Beach, then we turned around and went back to the road that turns into a pier. When we got back to the road, Gisela asked me if I wanted to get a beer. I said sure. So we went to some upstairs bar that I've actually been to before, about ten years ago with my old Vegas buddy Kyle Johnson. I ordered a Bass and Gisela had a Stella Artois.

Shortly after our arrival, we began talking to our bar neighbor. It was a 26-year-old guy named Pete who is a boat captain. He works out of Marina Del Ray, I think, operating rich people's yachts because they don't know how to do it themselves. Anyway, handsome Pete seemed to be a pretty lonely guy who spends much of his time drowning his sorrows in adult beverages. Hopefully Gisela and I helped raise his spirits for a little while.

Finishing our beers, Gisela and I headed back to Malibu much earlier than we had the previous night, which was good for me because I was tired as hell. She dropped me off in the same spot as before and told me to be ready at 8:00 or 8:30.

The next morning (Wednesday), I rode with Gisela to the car rental place near LAX. After dropping off her Suzuki Forenza, as she waited for her airport shuttle, we hugged and said goodbye. Then she was gone.

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Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

A Hennessy billboard showing a

A Hennessy billboard showing a white guy with a guitar! What's wrong with this ad? Answer below.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Beat the Buckeyes?

With no football game this weekend, the USC band is getting ready for the Buckeyes. Sounds like they'll be playing some Stevie Wonder at halftime in nine days. With one song they're playing, I think the lyrics go: "You can feel it all over." I know the song; I just don't know what it's called. The other song they've been working on is "Isn't she lovely." When I walked over here, they were working on some Raiders of the Lost Ark. I'd assume that was for a different show because Stevie Wonder and John Williams just don't go together. The football team is practicing on a practice field just west the band's field. I've heard Pete Carroll holds open practices, so I might have to sneak a peek someday soon.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cambria, California, Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1 of this post yet, read it here.

After pulling up to the ranch house near Cambria and talking to the two women Saturday, Gisela was away from the car with the women for maybe 15 minutes while I sat in the car. When she finally returned to the car, she let me know what was up, but I had figured it out already: We had a pretty nice place to stay for the night.

Once Gisela relocated her rental car to a spot beside the guest house, I gathered up all my stuff and carried it inside. Soon I took my first shower in 18 days--another new record, by a day. In the shower I watched all the dirt run off my body and down to the drain as I washed myself. Then I washed myself again just to be sure everything was AOK. When you haven’t had a shower in 18 days, you don’t come out until you’re nice and wrinkled like a raisin, first of all because you want to make sure you’ve accomplished your objective, but also because you just want to feel the warm water spray down upon you for as long as possible.

When I got out of the shower, I gathered up all my dirty clothes and took them to the guest house’s laundry area, along with a couple items that Gisela wanted washed. Boy I needed that. I’m not sure I’d even met our hosts at this point.

Eventually I made my way out of the guest house and got to know our hosts. There were three hosts, although only two of them live on the ranch. The ranch owners are a married couple in their late 50s, Jon ("Yon") and Lindy Pedotti. Our other host was Lindy’s sister, Leisa ("Lisa"), who lives in San Luis Obispo. I can’t remember her last name right now.

After our showers, Gisela and I were both hungry, so she asked Lindy where we might get something to eat. Lindy told us the Main Street Grill in Cambria is a pretty good place to eat, so we set off to Cambria. When we arrived, Gisela told me she’d pay for my meal, up to $8, as long as I didn’t order anything with meat. If I ordered any meat, I’d have to pay for it myself.

You have no idea how badly I was craving meat at this point. For several days, my diet had consisted essentially of apples, English muffins, and peanut butter (and not much of any of it). I wanted to pig out, and I wanted to pig out on beef or chicken or just about any kind of meat. But I was screwed. Not just because Gisela wouldn’t let me order meat but because this restaurant’s menu had hardly any items without meat. There were a couple veggie sandwiches and some salads on the menu, but I don’t eat salad and I didn’t want a veggie sandwich. That left me with essentially one option: French fries and garlic bread. So I ordered a basket of fries and some garlic bread, which added up to about $5.

About those fries… The Main Street Grill has two sizes of fries: regular and basket. I figured my basket of fries would be reasonably big, but I had no idea just how big, especially because they were only $3 or so. Anyway, their basket of fries takes up at least as much volume as a bowling ball. I’m talking major shitloads of fries here, y’all.

If you ever pass through Cambria, be sure to visit the Main Street Grill. It’s one of the few restaurants out there that does it right; it’s a well-oiled machine. I’m not saying their food is spectacular or anything like that. It might be, but I don’t know because all I've eaten is their fries. Anyway, this restaurant is happening. It has a wide open kitchen, nice prices, and an efficient flow. No pretentious table service requiring you to tip someone for doing what you'd rather do yourself. It's just one of those special places, like "Ryan’s Pizzeria" would be, if it existed.

I didn't spend much time talking to our hosts Saturday night because bedtime crept up quickly. Gisela slept on the bed and I slept on a couch.



Sunday morning I stepped outside and heard someone call my name from around the corner of the guest house, at the main house. A woman’s voice asked, "Ryan, are you going to come over and have breakfast?" A moment later, Lindy came around the corner and told me they were fixing up breakfast in the kitchen. Breakfast was scrambled eggs fresh from the farm, with a mixture of cooked vegetables and chopped ham, and English muffins. Lindy told me Jon always loves a good excuse to cook up a nice breakfast, and today Gisela and I were the excuse he needed.

After breakfast, we all chatted for a long time in the main house. You have no idea how cool these people are. To welcome total strangers into their home like this, and then to treat us with such hospitality. It was amazing. Really good people.

Early in the afternoon that day, after deciding to hang around the farm for one more night, Gisela and I headed up the road to Hearst Castle, where I ended up sitting around trying to pass time for about four hours. I sure wish I'd taken the laptop, instead of leaving it back at the farm with most of my other stuff.

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Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Showdown

Ah yeah, this is where it all goes down in ten days. The Ohio State Buckeyes versus the University of Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. #2 vs. #3. A preview of this year's national championship game, perhaps? (I'll tell you one thing right now: Current #1 Georgia won't be playing in the second week of January.) You can bet I'll be back on the premises for the big game. Think I'll get into the game? Well, I'm 2 for 2 so far at OSU road games and I have plenty of time to develop a good strategy. I have some good ideas brewing already. Maybe I'll hang around the USC band practices for several days. Maybe I'll make a sign that says "Hitchhiked 6,000+ miles for your extra ticket." Maybe I'll just have the magic touch. I'll figure out a way to get into this game. Go Bucks!

Correction: Make that #1 vs. #3 and Georgia at #2.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Louisiana

To my friends and acquaintances in Louisiana, I hope you're all right, as I've heard there is another hurricane heading your way. Be careful, y'all, and stay safe. I'm thinking about you.

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Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Cambria, California

Friday afternoon I walked out of Carmel toward Big Sur. Many miles down the road, as I walked that evening, I started feeling a pain on the right side of my torso, in the area of my lowest rib. It didn’t bother me too much that night, but the morning would be a different story.

I woke up Saturday morning thinking I might try to walk 20 miles, but my rib had other plans. Even though I hadn’t had any traumatic impacts to the rib, I was beginning to think I’d somehow managed to break it. After only a mile, the pain became pretty intense, so I found a very out-of-place piece of cardboard and decided to hang out in a parking area overlooking the ocean, hoping to get a ride toward LA.

On the cardboard I wrote ‘SOUTH’ and stuck it on my backpack, which was propped up against a guardrail, so the southbound drivers could see my sign. Eventually I wrote ‘(INJURED)’ below SOUTH, but thousands of drivers drove on by anyway. Of the dozens or hundreds of cars that stopped in the parking area right beside me, no one even spoke to me.

After about six hours, finally someone spoke to me. It was a fortysomething woman with a European accent. She introduced herself as Gisela (GEE-suh-luh) and said she was from Germany. Gisela told me she’d been cautioned not to pick up hitchhikers but gave me a ride anyway, saying she was going to Big Sur.

Big Sur came and went, yet still I rode in the black Suzuki with Gisela. Stopping at many roadside parking areas to take pictures of the coast, she gave me the job of telling her not to stop unless it had been at least ten minutes since the previous stop. I didn’t like that job, so I let her stop whenever she wanted.

When I told Gisela about the pain in my rib area, she asked me if I thought it might be something with my kidney. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t considered that already, especially because I’ve had a couple kidney stones this year, with the most recent only a couple weeks ago. It made sense that the pain could have been another kidney stone, or at least something involving the kidney, because I don’t pee a lot when I‘m on the road. Even though I drink up to two gallons of water a day, I sweat most of it out, which means not much fluid makes it to my kidneys. But I guess this pain was a lot different than that of a kidney stone, so I was left stumped and in pain.

As we approached San Simeon, Gisela became more focused on trying to find a campground because she really wanted to see Hearst Castle, but all the campgrounds displayed signs indicating they were fully booked. San Simeon State Park’s campground displayed the same sign, but Gisela drove up to the guard shack anyway, just to see if there were any cancellations. Nope.

The lady at the guard shack gave us a list of the nearest campgrounds, but the closest one was 30 miles down the road and Gisela didn’t want to drive that far, partly because gas is over $5 a gallon along the coast. So she decided to drive away from the ocean on San Simeon Creek Road, where we could look for a nice little spot to camp for free.

A mile or so up the road, we came upon a little house. Gisela stopped and talked to the house’s occupant, seeking some local knowledge, but she came up short. Another mile up the road, she stopped at another house and talked to a taxidermist named Denver in the garage. He said he would gladly let us camp in his yard if he only owned the property, but as a renter he just couldn’t make that decision. However, he told Gisela to go another mile up the road, and after a one-lane bridge, take a right. That’s where the ranch owners live.

So we continued up San Simeon Creek Road for another mile, crossed the one-lane bridge, and took a right into the driveway just beyond. Pulling up to the house, still in daylight, there were two women outside in the garden area. Gisela got out of the car and began talking to them while I stayed in the car. From my vantage point inside the car, the women gave a clearly warm welcome to the German stranger, and within a minute or two, one of the women said, “Well, let me show you the guest house.”

I will continue this story if I get a chance. By the way, my rib area still hurts like hell and I have no idea what’s causing it. I’m starting to worry that it might be something serious.

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Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dee-ah-nah

Thursday evening after walking through Monterey's Cannery Row, I stopped to take a break and eat at an oceanside park. After talking to a homeless guy for a bit, a totally gorgeous young woman approached me and asked me if I would take some pictures of her (with her camera) by the ocean and on the rocks and stuff. With an accent I couldn't place, her looks told me she might be from Italy or Spain, but she was German. Her name was "Dee-ah-nah." (I didn't get the spelling.) We talked for a little bit, then from out of nowhere, she said she had to go. And she was gone. Probably for the best. --> That night I slept on a beach a couple miles from the park, about 30 feet from the ocean, sans tent. No one bothered me. --> Friday, in the middle of a very long walk, I got a ride into Carmel with a real estate agent named Patrick, I think. He drove a Land Rover or a Range Rover or something; my
second career ride in a high-end vehicle. --> I took this pic somewhere between Carmel and Big Sur.

San Simeon

I'm at the 'staging center' for tours of the Hearst Castle (which is somewhere in that picture) right now, with Gisela. Gisela is a German high school teacher. She will be taking the tour; I will not be taking the tour. I have a lot to say about the last few days, but I don't have my laptop right now because I left it back at the farm. The farm? Yeah, the farm. That's part of the story; a really good part of the story. Haven't been able to say anything lately because I was in the middle of nowhere for a couple days. I should be able to catch up a little when we get back to the farm. --> To the anonymous loserfucks who sometimes feel the need to talk shit about me in comments: You are total pussies who wish you had the balls to get out here and do what I do. Fuck you and please allow yourselves to have an original thought someday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big droopy titties

Well, I finally got a ride yesterday after my road ended at the 101, south of Gilroy, leaving me with nowhere to walk. The ride was from a local woman named Brandy, who was wearing a tank top (or wife-beater) with no bra. Functionally she was topless, because every time she moved, if I was looking at her, I caught an unwanted glimpse of a big, droopy, ugly titty. I like getting a sneak peek at a nice pair of titties just as much as any other hetero dude, but these weren't nice titties. The ride only got me about five miles down the road, to a pretty bad exit. Additionally, I'm out of food and I have nowhere to get more food. --> So here's a pic of my new backpack. I usually can't make it stand up like this because the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom is too small, which sucks. Mostly I really like this backpack, but it's already starting to come apart in a couple places (after
less than two weeks of really using it). I'll probably end up exchanging it for a new one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Coastal California

In the coastal region of California between San Francisco and Los Angeles, including those cities, the local people just will not stop to offer you a ride, regardless of how deep you may be in the middle of BFE (Butt-Fucking Egypt). Right now I can only remember receiving rides from six people in that area. (I think that's all of them; they were all last year.) Three of those drivers were from New York; two of them were from Mexico, one of which didn't speak English but still found enough kindness in his heart to give a white boy a ride and $5; and the other ride was with three 20-ish British guys touring California for about a month. --> North of San Francisco it's a totally different story, though. In northern California, people will wait in line to give you a ride and a big fat joint. --> Right now I'm walking south on Monterey Road, about 20 miles south of San Jose. I should be
about to Gilroy (the garlic capital of the world!) tonight if I don't get a ride.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busted!

I was handcuffed yesterday for the first time in my life. It wasn't really a big deal, though; I wasn't arrested or anything. It was just a rookie CHP officer learning how to do his job. Why was I handcuffed, you may ask. Well, because I was walking along the 101 freeway south of San Jose. As is the norm when cops 'pull me over' on the freeway, these guys gave me a ride to the next exit (which was less than a mile from where they found me). It made sense for them to cuff me because unlike most police cruisers I've ridden in, theirs had no barrier between the front and back seats. It also had much more leg room than the typical cruiser, I might add. --> Shortly after my encounter with Ponch & John, I stepped into a McDonald's to fill a water bottle. Seeing Bill Maher on Larry King, I took a seat and was soon joined by a guy named Eric (Zamora?) after he inquired about my gear. We talked
for like two and a half hours. Very cool guy. I've walked all the way from SF, with much zig-zagging.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Aimless is not a love

Aimless is not a love story. Forget the rest of the story because it was too perfect to be real.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No comments?

Are y'all telling me none of my recent posts are worthy of comments? Do I have to be an asshole to get comments or something?

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Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are there still any Berkeley

Are there still any Berkeley students out there reading this? Or Billy Lieberknecht? If so, I'll be there in about an hour. Call me or something.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All the way

Here's a picture of Vernon. By the way, I'm still riding with him, even though he went to Buffalo while I was at the truck stop near Erie last weekend. We're leaving Dallas and heading to San Leandro, CA. --> Last night when we arrived in Dallas and exited the interstate to deliver some engines to an International plant, there was a dude unconscious in his car at a stop light. There was an older guy in another lane who had already stopped to check on him; I think he was talking to 911 when we stopped. After Vernon and I got out of the truck, I stood by the unconscious driver's window as a fire truck approached. Before the firemen arrived, the driver regained consciousness but had no idea what was going on. When his foot came off the brake pedal, he began coasting into the intersection, so I yelled in the window for him to pull the parking brake. Still not quite awake, he pulled the
lever after several seconds. He seemed more alert by then, so we took off, leaving him with the firemen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vernon

Leaving home Thursday July 31 just after 5:00, I embarked on a 17-mile walk to I-70 Exit 79 (Ohio), where there is a TA, a Pilot, and several fast food joints. By Friday afternoon I’d arrived at the exit, where the excessive heat and humidity had me pretty beat. Hanging around the TA fuel islands for a few hours that evening, I didn’t get a ride, but that was OK because I wanted another night of good rest before hopping into some stranger’s truck. So I found a nice place to sleep pretty early that night.

Uncomfortable with TA’s layout, I crossed the overpass Saturday morning to check out the Pilot station. Although I usually prefer TA over Pilot, I liked this particular Pilot station, partly because I found out right away that the management had no problem with me being there, as long as I wasn’t bugging drivers for money, which I never do. After a few hours with no ride offers, I walked back across the interstate for a light (cheap) lunch at McDonald’s, then returned to Pilot, where a driver immediately asked me where I was headed.

When I responded “Anywhere,” Vernon Mack told me he was going to Buffalo, then gave me the signal to come on over and get in the truck. So I climbed up into the truck and put my stuff in the sleeper, and we were gone.

A few minutes after we hit the road, Vernon, who is black with some Cherokee, German, and other blood, began telling me about one of his previous jobs. For ten years he worked at Warner Brothers Studios in LA, doing security for live-audience TV shows, a job he acquired after a chance encounter with Queen Latifah, who was largely unknown at the time. Even though I had not even mentioned my interest in making movies, Vernon proceeded to tell me about how I could land an entry-level job at WB, which could lead to cooler jobs like editing. He told me who to talk to and stuff like that. It’s something I’ll definitely look into whenever I get to LA.

Vernon’s load was bound for Connecticut, but he planned to spend almost a full day in Buffalo first, visiting his mom and various other friends and family. By the time we neared Buffalo, Vernon and I had established a healthy rapport. So instead of dropping me off in Buffalo, as was the initial plan, he ended up inviting me to hang out with him and his people, which I did. He also invited me to keep riding with him beyond Buffalo, which was a fine idea with me.

On our night in Buffalo, Vernon parked the truck behind his mother’s inner-city apartment. Shortly we rode with his sister to her house, where we hung out with her husband and one of her husband’s old friends for a while, drinking a couple screwdrivers and having some nice conversation. Eventually one of Vernon’s cousins (Cliff) showed up and took us to a barber shop in another primarily black neighborhood, where we met yet another cousin, Tony (who owns the barber shop), before going off to an apartment in downtown Buffalo, where we hung out and imbibed all night.

The next day, as we sat on the porch of the housing project where he grew up (and where his mom still lives), Vernon pointed to a third-floor apartment in the next building and told me that’s where Rick James lived before he hit the big time. Vernon had a lot of stories to tell about Rick James and some other characters that came from Buffalo’s projects, but I can’t remember enough to retell them.

Late Sunday afternoon we hit the road again, heading east from Buffalo on I-90 to southern Massachusetts, then south into Connecticut, where we spent the night before dropping the load and picking up a new load in New Haven.

Monday afternoon we passed through Norwalk, CT, where I spent a month in 1994 with Katie Hemingway before she broke my heart and sent me home. This was the first time I’ve been to Connecticut since then. Less than an hour later, in the Bronx, traffic crept along at a snail’s pace for about an hour before finally picking up some momentum in the upper tip of Manhattan as we approached the George Washington Bridge, where I finally got a good look at the beautiful and amazing metropolis of New York City. I ♥ NY, so it was difficult for me to just ride right through the city, then watch it slowly disappear from across the Hudson River in New Jersey.

Eventually I could no longer see NYC, so I turned my attention to ugly, industrial New Jersey. Soon we neared Philadelphia, but I never saw Philly because we stayed on the toll road east of the city, in the Garden State. In a nearly never-ending chain of cities that I suppose begins north/northeast of Boston, we continued until the morning hours, passing through Wilmington, then Baltimore, then the outskirts of Washington, DC, then Richmond. Only after Richmond did the hundreds of miles of continuous city finally come to an end. Finally, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, we arrived near the home of another one of Vernon’s cousins (Brad) in Raleigh, NC, where we watched some TV and slept until late in the morning.

Our trailer full of used automobile tires was destined for a small shop in Columbia, SC. As we headed toward Columbia, Vernon called the shop and found out that they close at 4:30, which meant we could not get there in time to make the delivery that day. So we pulled into a Flying J on the north side of Columbia sometime that evening and had plenty of time to relax and sleep before making the delivery Wednesday morning.

Compared to Buffalo and the rest of the northeast United States, which had beautiful weather while we were there, Columbia was HOT!!! I saw a digital sign somewhere that said it was 106 degrees. Consequently, I was glad we’d be heading north again. For the next delivery, we had to pick up in Florence, SC and deliver to Birdsboro, PA (Reading), where we did not arrive until about 3:30 Thursday morning, partly thanks to a couple dumb-ass drivers in Baltimore who, after turning their cars into accordions and basically closing the interstate, probably still haven’t learned why it’s not a smart idea to ride the ass of the car you’re following.

Thursday we picked up another load near Bethel, PA and took it to Bradford, PA (home of Zippo lighters), where we spent the night. Vernon was looking forward to a weekend in Buffalo, so Friday afternoon he went a little bit out of his way to drop me off at a truck stop in Harborcreek (Erie), PA, where I finally was able to finish writing this post (but couldn’t send it because there is no free wifi).

I was at the truck stop until yesterday afternoon. Now I'm in Kentucky, on my way to Dallas.

Unless I just can’t find any time to type, I plan to write more about my adventures with Vernon. So keep an eye out.

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Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence