Monday, August 24, 2009

What a waste?

These last five weeks have felt like a total waste. Anything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong. For example, I couldn't get to Minnesota, then I couldn't get to Indianapolis. Having wasted a week trying to get to those two places, my travel options became seriously limited because I ended up having to take any ride offer I received, just to get somewhere else. Then, thinking I already had a ride lined up, that ride ditched me after I'd wasted another two days not trying to get a ride. As a result, I've ended up stuck in Texas and Florida, which are the last two places I wanted to be, mostly because summer only lasts a few months throughout the rest of the country.

I've essentially spent most of the last five weeks sitting around in truck stops, bored out of my mind. By the time I make it to any of the places I can only go in summer, summer will be over and I'll be trying to get out of those places.

Now I'm basically trying to make my way back home, either for a short break or to quit doing this forever. (I still haven't decided if I'm going to continue, although I'm leaning toward more time on the road, and maybe even walking from LA to New York next year.) I've been stuck at a truck stop in Vero Beach, Florida since Friday because Norman (my current ride) hasn't been able to get a load out of here. We'll be leaving tomorrow morning, though, to pick up a load in Georgia and take it to Shreveport.

Looking at the bright side, I do have a lot of new stories to tell. Unfortunately it's been extremely boring and tiresome. Additionally, I've only walked 20 miles, which is normally less than two days' worth of walking (and sometimes less than one day). So even though I don't feel like I've eaten well, I probably weigh more than I did when I hit the road this time. That's a change. (Of course, I only weighed 140 or 145 when I left this time, which is about what I usually weigh when I return from several months on the road.)

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Here's Nathan

Just to prove we were in Louisiana, Nathan insisted on holding up a postcard from his home state. As I said before: If you're ever in the Mandeville Waffle House on a Friday or Saturday night, keep an eye out for this guy. Very cool dude.

Be safe out there, Nathan.

 


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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hey Nate

I also want to say hey to a very cool dude named Nathan. I met Nathan in the restaurant of the Lafayette, Louisiana TA truck stop [dump]. Hey Nathan!

If you're ever in Mandeville, LA on a Friday or Saturday night, stop by the Waffle House near the Causeway Bridge and look for Nathan. (I'll probably upload a pic of him whenever I get a better chance.)

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Some pics and stuff

I wrote most of this post when I was still at the Bosselman’s truck stop in Altoona, Iowa, but I couldn’t publish it until now because I haven’t had internet access. Even when I did have internet access, I could barely get anything done because every time I would try to write something, someone would start talking to me or distract me in some other way. With all the distractions, it takes a lot of work for me to write these posts. It keeps me from getting anything else done, too, so don’t expect many (or any) more blog posts, either from my laptop or my phone. Sorry, but that’s just how it has to be.



Pic 1: Tanya from Bosselman's fuel desk is freaking cool. In fact, everyone at Bosselman's is awesome. Unlike almost every other truck stop I've been to, even the management at Bosselman's did not have a problem with me trying to get a ride out of the place, as long as I didn't bother the drivers, which I never do. Even after ten days, they were still cool with me.

Bosselman's rules.



 

Pic 2: Courtany (I think that's how she spells her name) from Bosselman's had an interesting story to tell. I don't think she would mind if I tell her whole story, but I'm not sure, so I should probably skip most of the details. At age 19, after a pretty messed-up childhood, including meth addiction, she has three kids (one of them is 6), yet she really seems to have her shit together.



 

Pic 3: Ryan (left, age 33) and Josh (age 17).

Ryan dates Josh's mom. Along with another roommate, the three of them were moving from Binghamptom, New York to the San Francisco Bay Area. Mom and the roommate took Greyhound to the west coast, but Ryan and Josh hitchhiked.

On a Saturday the three of us met a trucker named Doug, who offered us a ride. Leaving from Altoona on Monday morning, Doug's next load was going to Medicine Hat, Alberta. From there he would be going to Seattle, then probably LA. On Sunday night we all watched The Stewie Griffin Story in his truck, then I got out to sleep in my normal spot because there really was only enough room for one person to sleep in the truck. Before I got out of the truck, Doug told me to be back by 6:00 the next morning, so I woke up at 5:30 and made it to the truck at 6:01.

Doug was going to drop off his three passengers somewhere in Montana before entering Canada (because none of us has a passport). After delivering and picking up in Medicine Hat, he would then pick us up again where he left us. Then we would continue merrily on to Seattle and California.

The next morning, though, there was a problem: When I walked out to the truck at 6:01, the truck was gone.

I had Ryan's phone number, so I called him to find out if they were still around, at the fuel islands or something. No answer.

That really pissed me off. Since I’d already had a ride lined up on Saturday with Doug, I spent the next two days chilling out, not trying to get a ride. And let me make this really clear: No one owes me a ride or money or anything. But ditching me like that was a really shitty thing to do, especially considering the circumstances. The least they could have done was call me or walk out to my tent to tell me I was no longer welcome along for the ride. I mean, is it really so hard to be honest with people?

Fortunately I found another ride by about 11:20 Monday morning with a dude named Steve. As I’ve said so many times already, I love Bosselman's, but ten days at one truck stop is ridiculous, so I was way past ready to leave.



 

Pic 4: Steve and that dude who says 'fuck' a lot.

Steve (the long-haired dude in the pic) has some gear in his truck that allows him to make simple graphics (mostly text) for other people’s trucks. Whenever he has spare time at a truck stop, he uses his radio to offer his services to truckers who may be looking for some new graphics. Offering the graphics (and application of the graphics) at ridiculously cheap prices, he only makes enough money to cover the cost of materials, even when he has help from someone like me. Consequently, even though I spent several hours helping him with this hobby of his, I didn’t make a cent.

In the picture, you can see the graphics we did for some dude who says ‘fuck’ about every third word (“SPECIAL K TRUCKING INC”). He was cool, but damn he says ‘fuck’ a lot.

After I took this picture, we ended up making a couple more graphics to put just below the windows on each door of the truck. For the driver-side door we made a graphic that said ‘Triple Threat,’ which is the dude’s handle. For the passenger-side door we made one that said ‘Keebler,’ which is the driver’s girlfriend’s handle. (She was not riding with him at the time.)

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's too bad there isn't

It's too bad there isn't a camera crew out here with me because you could learn a lot by listening to some of these truck stop conversations.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There's also no milepost for

There's also no milepost for mile 666 on I-10 East between San Antonio and Houston. Apparently someone stole 'em. I hope it wasn't a Jesus freak.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Broke

I'm hungry. I'm tired. It's 100 degrees. I'm sick of waiting for a ride to somewhere with decent weather. I'm down to my last two bucks, but I have no interest in flying a sign for cash. I wrote most of a long blog post with four pics at least a week ago but can't publish it because I have no available wifi. By the time I'm finally able to publish that post, it will be very old news. In all honesty, I just want to cry for a while in the arms of someone special, but I don't have anyone like that. --> This is no fun anymore. I have nothing more to prove without a TV crew following me. I've been planning to stop at home for a few days in mid-September, then hit the road again for a few more months, but I don't think I'm going to hit the road again because there is no point. I think instead I'll go out and get a stupid, crappy job and become an overworked, underpaid zombie like the rest of
you. This could have (and should have) become something really great, but all it has become is old.

Boy I tell ya it

Boy I tell ya it sure is fun to have ants biting your nut sack all night.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just before you enter Emporia,

Just before you enter Emporia, Kansas on I-35 South, there's a gorgeous house beside a lake off to the right of the interstate.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I finally got a ride

I finally got a ride out of Altoona. Long story; maybe I can tell the story someday. We're Nebraska-bound.

Assistance

I don't have time to tell you this story as it's happening, nor can I capture even a fraction of the story on tape by myself. It's hard enough just keeping myself alive, y'know. You have no idea how much I have to tell you and show you, but I can't do it by myself and I'm sick of killing myself by trying. All I can say is that if my life on the road was a TV show, you'd watch every episode because it's more interesting than everything else on TV. So if you want that, it's time for you to contact NBC Universal Peacock Productions or some other production company and tell them you want Aimless, because that's the only way you're ever gonna get it. I don't mean to sound bitchy or pissy, but that's just how it is. I appreciate your assistance.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Another mystery caller

I received another call from a stranger about an hour ago. It was a Naples native named Daniel who randomly stumbled onto my cop encounter video on YouTube. Now a 31-year-old freshman at Marshall University, he will be taking some kind of journalism class in the upcoming quarter or semester. During this class, he anticipates that there will be an assignment in which he has to interview someone off the street (or something like that), and he asked if I'd be game for that interview.

Yes, I am game.

Actually, we talked about a lot of stuff before he asked me if I'd be willing to do the interview. It was really cool. He even said he kinda expected my phone number to be bogus, so he was a little shocked that 1) someone answered, and 2) that it was me.

So this is weird. I mean, I was getting all geeked out because I'm still stuck at this truck stop, but cool things keep happening here. First the call about being a regular guest on the internet radio show, and now a similar call about being an interview subject, which I think he said could even end up in the school paper. (I'm not sure if that's what he meant when he mentioned the school paper, though.)

Even the truck stop management doesn't care that I'm hanging around. Unlike pretty much every other truck stop I've ever been to, the management here understands that I'm not bugging the drivers or being any kind of nuisance. The people here at Bosselman's in Altoona are so freaking cool, it blows my mind. And these calls I'm getting... Jesus, I'm starting to feel somewhat important.

But that's not even half of the story. Shit, if I don't watch out, I might get another call from NBC, even though I don't really care about that anymore.

Man, I just need to get a ride to Indy now. I'm almost out of time.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

This is frustrating

I'm on my fourth day at the Bosselman's truck stop in Altoona, Iowa. I was trying to get to St. Paul until last night, but I've changed my destination to Indianapolis, where there will be a gathering Saturday with a bunch of people I haven't seen in years. Of course, had I been trying to get to Indy when I arrived here, I would have been gone days ago.

It's hot and humid outside, and it's not easy to find a comfortable hitching post, regardless of whether I hang out near the fuel islands, near the truck exit, or inside the truck stop. Additionally, all the time I've spent using the computer has probably cost me ride opportunities because I'm not as approachable when I'm focused on my computer.

There was a driver here for a couple days who, as I found out after the fact, would have given me a ride to Chicago this morning. He even looked for me in a few different places before he left. If he just would have told me last night that he was willing to give me a ride, we could have coordinated a time and place to meet. Instead, I was sleeping soundly in my tent, essentially right beside I-80. (There is no fence or divider between the truck stop and the interstate. That's weird. Check it out on Google Maps; Exit 142 in Altoona, Iowa.)

I really, really, really want to leave here right now. Fortunately the staff and management at Bosselman's have been awesome to me. I've been here once before, but only for a few minutes. It was the end of a ride from Madison two years ago. I didn't have to stay that time, though, because I had a ride to Omaha (ultimately California) lined up before I even got out of the truck that brought me here.

Well, at least I have four days to make it to Indy for the gathering.

 


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Monday, August 03, 2009

Front yard

Here's a view through the door of my tent during my second night on the road, in Decatur, Illinois.

Don't get used to this rapid-fire sequence of blogging. Once I get out of this truck stop, free wifi will be scarce.

 


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What do you see here?

Click on the thumbnail below and look at the FULL SIZE pic so you can see the details, then leave a comment telling me what kind of mysterious image you see hidden in this picture. It should not be very difficult.

 


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1 days

I couldn't help noticing this sign in the truck stop's restaurant yesterday. I don't think I've ever even seen this kind of sign in a restaurant before; it's something I'd expect to see at a construction site. But when you have such a proud record of safety as they do, I guess you have to show it off.

 

If I haven't mentioned it here yet, I've been trying to get to St. Paul, Minnesota to see my good friend Jackie, with whom I had lost contact for well over ten years (until early this year, when I joined Facebook). I've had plenty of ride offers over the last 50 hours, but nobody's going that way.

If I don't get a ride to Minnesota today, I'm just gonna have to start trying to get to Indy, where I plan to attend a gathering Saturday with a lot of people I haven't seen in years. Also there is a good chance Jeff will be passing through Indy at the same time, on his way to DC and Maine. So if Jeff and I both make it to Indy, it looks like I'll be going with him for at least a few days.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Paul

OK, since that worked, here's a picture of Paul. Story coming soon, maybe.

 

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Test

I'm just trying something I've never done before. Did it work?



[No, it didn't. This is frustrating.]

OK, yes it did... maybe. As you can see, I may have been in Green Bay recently.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Altoona, Iowa

I have so much to say, I'll never be able to say even half of it. Let's start here: I got a very interesting phone call today. It was from a guy named Jason Spurlock. (Google his name to find out who he is. I haven't Googled his name yet, so all I know is what he told me.)

Oh yeah, so I'm at a truck stop in Iowa and I am no longer riding with Paul. I'll have tons to say about him whenever I can or someday maybe.

So this dude Jason has an internet radio show, and he asked me if I'd be interested in contributing stories from the road and stuff. But whoa, it's just way beyond that. The dude is a bundle of energy and he gets it.

Like always, I'm extremely tired. I need to find somewhere to sleep now, even though I would like to sit here and type a few pages for you to read. Hey, I'm trying, but this is so much more work than you can imagine. Maybe with Jason's collaboration, one of my jobs can become a little easier.

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