Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm still alive

I've been riding with Paul for about ten days. We're between Milwaukee and Madison right now, on the way to Denver. I think I'll get out in Des Moines, though, so I can try to hit the Twin Cities to see my dear friend Jackie, whom I have not seen in nearly 15 years. Also, I don't want to venture too far west right now because I want to attend a gathering in Indy next Saturday. I have a lot to say about Paul, but I'll have to wait until I find some free wifi. I also have a camera this time; I'll try to figure out how to edit and upload some of the pics I take. There are a couple decent ones already. Well, I just wanted to post a short update from my phone because it's been a while. Hopefully I'll be able to say more soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Joined in progress

In case you’ve wondered: Yes, I am on the road again. I just haven’t found any free wifi access until now, nor have I had much opportunity to write anything. (I’m really sleep-deprived right now, too, so I hope this all makes sense.)

Last Sunday, after a three-day family reunion near Dayton, Ohio, my parents followed me to a truck stop near London, where I unloaded my travel gear from the car and handed my keys to Mom. Considering it was already evening when we arrived, I didn’t even try to get a ride. Instead, I found a nice place to sleep so I could get up early the next morning and put myself in position to get a ride to anywhere.

At about 9:00 AM on Monday morning, I found my way to a familiar hitchhiking spot near the fuel islands of the Pilot truck stop, only a few feet from where I met Vernon last year. Never knowing how long it might take to get a ride at a truck stop, I hoped I wouldn’t end up stuck there for the next two or three days. Fortunately I didn’t even have to wait half an hour for someone to offer me a ride. Just before 9:30, we were off.

This ride was much different than the rides I usually get when I hang out at truck stops. This time the vehicle was neither a truck nor a car; it was an over-the-road coach. The 50-year-old New Jersey native, Brian, who normally chauffeurs chartered tourists, was delivering a brand new bus from Canada to Dallas, where it will soon become a new addition to the Lone Star fleet. As a pit stop on his way to Dallas, though, he intended to take a slight detour to Decatur, Illinois to visit his in-laws. This meant I'd be getting out in Decatur.

On the way to central Illinois, as I sat uncomfortably atop the steps beside the driver’s seat, Brian expressed a strong passion for cooking. An amateur food scientist of Italian descent, Brian said he often experiments in the kitchen, sharing his creations with family and friends. Taking pride in the fact that his results tend to be beyond satisfactory, he expressed interest in opening his own restaurant someday. However, I couldn’t help thinking he will probably never pursue his restaurant dreams. Although Brian seemed very confident in his culinary skills, something told me he lacks the courage to invest in himself. He showed a lot of passion and conviction regarding food, but he just seemed like a deer in the headlights of his own dreams. Hopefully someday he will realize his hi-beams are not a threat; they are merely beckoning him to take control of his destiny. All he needs to do is take the wheel, press the gas pedal, keep the car between the lines, and stay focused on his objectives.

With each of us hoping to own a restaurant someday, Brian and I shared our philosophies regarding cooking and restaurant operations. Soon, though, we were in Decatur and it was time to split. Brian dropped me off at a Pilot truck stop outside Decatur, where I grabbed a cheap lunch at a fast food joint. After eating, I headed out to the fuel islands to look for another ride to anywhere (except Ohio).

I spent about 24 hours at the Pilot station in Decatur before getting a ride with a very cool trucker named Paul. Paul and I stopped in somewhere in Oklahoma last night, then delivered his load in Dallas earlier today. Now we’re at a truck stop on the south side of Dallas, where we'll stay overnight before picking up a load bound for Florida. (No, I won’t be getting out in Florida.)

I will surely have plenty to say about Paul whenever I get another chance. He’s a real character. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to find free wifi, especially on the truck stop circuit. It’s also hard to find time to write, but I’ll try my best to keep it coming.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009


I don't know if I ever mentioned the four nights I stayed in a hotel/casino in Primm, Nevada last December as I made my way back to southern California from Vegas. Yeah, well I stayed in a hotel for four nights last December as I made my way back to southern California from Vegas. The first night was free because someone gave me a voucher for a free room, but the other nights were only $22 per night, which I was able to afford because I turned a nickel into $100 on a keno machine. (That's just a small part of the story, so don't go thinkin' I'm Mr. Lucky.)

While I stayed at the hotel, taking a well-deserved vacation, I spent a good bit of time sitting in the hot tub, especially late at night when it was really cold. I can't help it; I love the feeling of standing outside in freezing temperatures, soaked and almost naked yet not affected by the cold because my body is so thoroughly warm from the hot water.

One thing I didn't consider, though, as I sat in the hot tub with the legs of my convertible pants zipped off, is that the hot tub was bleaching my shorts. Consequently, I ended up with multi-colored pants--light green shorts with darker green legs--which looked pretty goofy. By this time of year, even in Vegas and southern California, it was cold enough to necessitate wearing pants, so I had no choice but to look goofy every day following my mini-vacation, as that was my only pair of pants.

Before I hit the road again, I need to try to bleach the legs of those pants to make them the same color as the shorts. That'll be fun.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

It ain't over

If anyone still reads this: I plan to hit the road again soon.

I can't wait to get outta here in a couple weeks. I have too much time right now to think about shit I don't need to be thinking about, and it's not doing me any good.

On the road there's no time to process thoughts, and it eventually makes you really crazy. Considering how much time I've already spent on the road, though, and how much time I've had to reflect and learn, I think I can handle it better this time. But at less than 140 lbs already, will my body be able to take the punishment?

I don't have any more bullshit to worry about, so I think this trek will be much better than the previous adventures have turned out. Also, I think it will be better for the people who put up with the things I write here.

What will be different this time?

Well, for example, I really don't care anymore if I ever hear back from NBC, so no more bitching about that. Yes, I want to hear from them and I know I'm money in their bank, but I'm not the slightest bit worried about it anymore.

Also, that girl Missy who's been in my head for almost five years. I finally realized yesterday that she simply is not a good person. For so long I refused to believe it, and all I did was make myself look crazy in her eyes by trying to reach her. But now I know the truth, and unfortunately she's just not a good person. I think deep down in her heart she is a beautiful person, but she doesn't listen to her heart (or the voice of reason), so I can't continue hurting myself by wishing she would.

Anyway, that's a big weight lifted from my back right there. It's just one of many things that should make the next trek more enjoyable to the three people who read this blog. Another thing that should make it better is that I don't expect to update very frequently. I've put too much pressure on myself in the past by trying to do too much and trying to share too much. I'm gonna be selfish this time and try to enjoy the experience a little more, and that should help you enjoy it a little more, too.

But who knows if I'll stick to my plan once I hit the road?

P.S. - I hope you see this, Missy Green, because... Originally I was going to say I want you to see it so you can misinterpret even more of my words and perpetuate the lie in your head, but that's not why I want you to see it. I want you to see it because I still hope you and I can forgive each other someday and become friends or whatever. I just don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive you now.

Update (7/16/09): Forget that; there will be no more forgiveness.

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