Tag Archives: United States

Day 1 – Reno

Started out today doing the last minute packing.
Prepared everything, said goodbye to parents, and off to meet Erin. We arranged to see each other during her break at 10.
Got there and waited. Waited. Waited. Break ended. Went to see if I could find out what classroom she was in but the office lady said I couldn’t, but I remembered I had the info on my computer cause of one of our recent conversations (glad I asked) and went to her classroom. Stood outside for a while, (don’t know why I didn’t knock right then and check…). Found out she wasn’t there. AH. Then she must be at home.
So raced over to her house and rang the doorbell two times and called her. YES. She WAS there!!! (She wasn’t feeling great so her parents let her sleep in). So glad I didn’t give up, because I was also 1 hour late for meeting Sean.

The goodbye before felt real, but this one felt more real. I choked up a bit and almost cried but didn’t. ::sigh:: It was hard. In all our relationship, I think that was the hardest thing to do.

She burned me two CD mixes. Which I listened to on my way to Sean’s (which I got a bit confused in the directions but eventually made it there.
We loaded up the van. Sean’s parents came home and said goodbye. And then off we went.

680 N -> 80 E -> Reno
Along the way we saw several things such as Milf Porn, boards sticking out car windows that could have hit dogs hanging their heads out other windows, distractions, girl(?) in a small original mini-cooper, etc. Had to stop for gas, and the price was INSANE. 2.50 something. WTF?

Got to Reno. Went to the Motel 6 first, and got the room (the guy who helped us was totally clueless and had to keep on asking the other woman there for help). Then we set off to explore the city. Parked in some random parking lot that I don’t think we were supposed to park at.

Walked through a park. Saw some punks that looked like they were up to no good. But we continued into town. We passed casinos, and more casinos, and more casinos. We grew hungrier, and hungrier, and more hungrier.

FINALLY saved by this burger stand that was near a concert that was going to happen in a few hours, and we got burgers (the cash register didn’t work so we got them for 6 dollars instead of 8). Sat around and then walked around. Saw plenty of white trash. Plenty. A plethora of white trash. Abundance. Shit-tonne (thats metric for shit-load!).

Walked around. “I wonder if we can find pennies here…” I said.

Passed by a Subway (sandwich), and of course there are slot machines right inside the Subway. Then went into a liquor store and got Weinhard’s Root Beer, the best root beer ever (Sean’s first time trying it). Still the concert hadn’t started so we walked around more.

And more.

And more. There was this huge clown that was very scary and looked a bit like Bose. And we got drinks at the Dairy Queen. And a con-artist got 1$ off of us.

AND HELLA PIMP BATMOBILE!!! An actual car that looked like the original TV series car. It was awesome, and of course we got pictures.

Finally the concert was starting, and basically it sucked. “Blue Oyster Cult”. Early 90s kind of rock, with a lot and a lot of drunk white trash singing along.

Not seen: Anyone under 21.

– Quotes:

(we pass the mini-cooper person)
B “Was that a guy?”
S “No, that was a girl.”
B “…I want to have sex with her!”

B “I wonder if we can find pennies here…”

S “We’re the luckiest people here, and you know why? We’re getting the fuck out of here tomorrow!”

Day 2 – Salt Lake City

– woke
– drive
Woke up and left pretty much immediately. The drive to Salt Lake City was fairly uninteresting, though it can be considered pretty much our first real road trip drive.

– salt flats
– weird tree
At one point we hit the Salt Flats, which was this wiiiiiiide expanse desert of whiteness. It wasn’t snow… and it was weird. This one two lane road we went on that went straight through all of it. No cops on it, or barely any. We also passed this really weird tree that looked like some modern art futuristic tree out in the middle of nowhere (turned out to be some famous Utah attraction).

– checked the state legislature
– indian
– industry symbol
– sliding down rail
Got to Salt Lake City, and drove through downtown to the State Legislature at the top of a hill. Biiig building. Parked and walked around, viewing the various statues. A big indi- er, Native American statue. And then the white people that usurped his land were statued a few feet away. Took pictures and slid down the hand-rail.

– back through the town
– finding a hotel
– regan dies
Drove back through town to the cluster of cheap hotels. Found out Reagan died from the TV in some lobby. We went from hotel to hotel trying to find the cheapest choice, which turned out to be Motel 6. So got a room there, then went out again to explore the city.

Walked down the main street, and passed by the City Hall Building, which was beautiful and lovely, and the park area around it was tranquil and sweet. Then went to Carls Junior where we aggrivated our stomachs with cheap meat.

– walked into downtown
– checked out the city hall building
– carls junior
– Horse pee
– “It smells like applejuice”
So we were walking to the next attraction, whatever that may have been, which turned out to be a horse pissing. We were at an intersection, and one of those horse drawn carriages that went around the city pulled up to the crosswalk line (thankfully across from where we stood) and the horse just started pissing. Whipped out it thang and started pissing. AND OH MY GAWD, there was a whole river coming out of that stallion. It created quite a puddle in the middle of the street. People at the intersection were trying to hide the humor in the situation :D. And this poor little girl across the way witnessed all of this. When the crosswalk light changed to walk, we all walked around the puddle and I caught a little of the girl saying “It smells like apple juice!”
Oh so great.

– Big church
– being blasphemous
– “ooo look its a miniature version!”
– sitting on church steps
Ironically we then visited a church!
The Mormon population there is big, yes, but their church is HUGE!!! They have one building that’s like an office building style, which is weird, and then they have a big gothic style church. I like the feel of the stones. It was quite impressive, and amazing. They must really love their god. Anyhow, we made little blasphemies such as me sitting on the church steps and pointing out the family wearing striped shirts (really weird) and saying “ooo look its a miniature version!” in regards to a smaller church behind the big one (while in earshot of one of the curators).

– walked past SLC Convention center
– Trust Jesus graffiti
– walked back to hotel
– ass raping metal thing
Then did a quick walk around the SLC Convention center (Conviction center?). Saw some Shehuli glass art. Walked under a bridge that didn’t echo and had “Trust Jesus” graffiti. Back to the hotel, but on the way we saw some metal artistic silhouettes which at first glance one of them looked like a guy… well… nevermind.

– took computer to starbucks, which didn’t have wireless
– small walk through childish festival
– kinkos
Picked up the computer at the hotel, and drove to Starbucks but they didn’t have wireless. Walked through a children’s festival that wasn’t very interesting (saw a rock on a stick though… a statue of a rock on a stick…) and made our way to Kinko’s which had free internet!

– back to the hotel
– porno
– prince
Back to the hotel, and yes, HBO had porn on, which was a disturbing kind so we watched other stuff. Purple Rain, the 80s movie by Prince, was on, and that’s when it hit me. I looked at the TV. I looked at Sean. I looked at the TV. I looked at Sean. No difference. SEAN LOOKS LIKE PRINCE!!! He just needs the hair that he got cut before we left… THEY LOOK SO MUCH ALIKE. Amazing.


Day 3 – Grand Junction

– woke up
– drove
We wake up and leave around nine. Get gas and prepare for exciting adventure driving through the world-renowned, glorious scenery that composes Utah/Colorado.

– drove past desert
– drove past nothing
I firmly believe that Utah was once hit by many, many nuclear warheads. Rarely have I encountered such a desolate wasteland. Think Mad Max was bad? This is worse. At least in Mad Max, they were driving a muscle car.

– drove past zero
Our trip odometer resets to zero after passing 999.99 miles. We win a prize!

– drove past an unchanging scenery for quite a while
… Continue desert wasteland rant.

– passed cars
Incredibly, there are actually other humans out here! Of course, they must also be just passing through as quickly as possible. I noticed a pickup (the most common form of transportation in the middle United States) pulling a Dodge Charger race car. To where, I have no idea. Also, several people were riding choppers, but we did not always hear the requisite Harley-Davidson “potato-potato-potato” exhaust sound. Strange things happen out here.

– Green River, UT the car lurches
– stop on the side
Oh shit! Our intrepid adventurers experience mechanical difficulty as the car lurches and the engine revs drop to zero! They pull over to the side of the road and wait for a few minutes, and are then able to crawl along for a short period at speeds hardly worthy of a Honda.

– rabbits, stones, and pissing
We stop in Green River, Utah and wait for the engine to take a break or something while we hang out. Ben runs around and notices a) a jackrabbit, which he unfortunately cannot catch for food or skinning, and b) a big pile of rocks that are awesome for skipping! How they ended up in the middle of the Utah desert we have no clue, but we don’t care! Ben also takes a piss.

– did it again
– and again
“Fuckery!” -Me. Our car dicks us over again. And again.

– Grand Junction
– Found Auto Zone
We finally reach Grand Junction and try to figure out what’s wrong with the car. We stop at an Auto Zone, where a cool guy looks at the car and gives us a few ideas about what might be wrong. He recommends a mechanic in town and gives us directions.

– went to dealership, closed
– went to auto-repair, closed’
The bleeding Christians in this country conspire against us and close all their businesses for Sunday. Various insults for the dim-witted inhabitants of Colorado are bandied about.

– decided to chance it
Hey, we’re young and stupid! And you wouldn’t want to stay in a place like Grand Junction either!

– over the rockies
– died 7 more times going up inclines
It appears that God didn’t want us to go on this trip. Our car dies seven more times going up the Rocky Mountains. Lovely.

– praying, shouting, yelling
We invoke many deities in our attempts to keep the car running. Also, many cockbites get in our way, forcing us to slow down and lose our hard-earned speeds of 50 miles per hour! The filthy bastards!

– down through the tunnel and didn’t happen again
We hit a downhill grade once we reached a tunnel and didn’t have to stop again. However, we remained very, very cautious. Once we reached Denver, we had to go through a complicated detour to find the semi-suburbia that Paula and Harvey’s house is located in.

– made it to Paula and Harvey’s house
Thank bloody Christ. The house is shaweet.

– went out again to Outback
Car doesn’t fuck us over, but we have to take yet another confusing detour to find the Outback Steakhouse where PK works. Ben tries to remember PK’s last name.

– PK!!
We meet PK!! She’s a cutie! Ben is shocked at how short she is.

– dinner
We discuss women and our confused love lives over prime ribs and salad. This place makes some damn fine red meat. PK goes outside for a while for a smoke, then rejoins us.
Ben’s Note: Damn it was so nice to see PK. Over the past year or two, we’ve talked and gotten close. She almost feels like a sister when I talk to her online. But meeting her was really strange. It’s like, I know her personality, and things about her life and stuff, but I don’t know her looks, and I haven’t been familiarized with all the physical features she has. I knew she was beautiful from the pictures I’ve seen, but wasn’t sure if she was going to be as so in real life. Well, she is :D. It was a lovely time with her, and I love her so much.

– to PK’s house
– Drawings, etc
We follow PK to her house. She has a cat and dog. She also shows us the art she’s made, which is AWESOME. She has mad talent. She also has a cool Megatokyo blanket in her room. We say goodbye and return to Paula and Harvey’s house.

– back to the house
– played pool
Settle in, play pool, make use of internet connection, la di da di da.

Ben’s Note: I played pool until 1 or something. As I was getting into bed, Sean startles and asks me “Hey, do you have 7 dollars and 11 cents?” and I’m like “Why?” “For the political/government poster.” ::mumble mumble falls back to sleep:: And I just laughed as I too went to bed.

Day 4 – Denver

– Walked in the small suburb city
Got up in the morning and walked around a small suburb in the middle of Boston next to Paula and Harvey’s place. We witnessed MANY, MANY Starbucks. But got some food at this other coffee place.

When we came back, the door was locked. We tried to go around to the garage but that was closed too. We didn’t really know how to get in and my phone wasn’t working too well. I doodled a small chalk drawing on the garage patio.

– Drove around trying to find T-place
Since we had our keys, we decided to head out and find this car repair shop. We guessed that the car had actually just overheated and was having problems with the Utah desert environment, but we wanted to get it checked out so it wouldn’t break down on us anymore. But we didn’t really know where the fix-it shop was besides that the city it was in started with a T and it was in a northern part of Denver. So we drove around trying to find this T place

– Drove around a hell of a lot and got lost
We ended up getting completely lost and not really sure where we were going. Recently I had read that some maniac had driven a tractor into some buildings in a city nearby, but we decided not to go check it out. So we drove back to the house.

– got directions
This time Paula was there so she opened the door for us (heh, woops), and we got the real directions to the car repair shop. I think I called them and found they didn’t have any time to work on the car but if we brought it in the next morning they could finish it by the afternoon or something.

– Went to downtown Denver
So assuming the car was ok enough to drive to downtown Denver, we went to downtown Denver.

– traveled the 16th street mall
– chinese food and sandwich
– got CDs – ac/dc and dropkick murphies
– starbucks everywhere and my evil plan to order water from starbucks
We walked around and found a place called the 16th street mall, which was this long strip of road which had stores on either side. We decided to walk all the way down it, so we did. We stopped for lunch, and I got chinese food while Sean got a sandwich. We stopped in a CD store to get an AC/DC album and Dropkick Murphies. Walked down to the end of the mall place and took a trolley back. And then walking back I was thirsty so we stopped in a Starbucks, and thats where I came up with my evil idea to REBEL AGAINST STARBUCKS BY ORDERING FREE WATER EVERY TIME!!!! That way, I get free water and they lose a cup that they paid a small fee for!!! muahahaha, I win, they’re punked. Ha. Anyhow. I like them because they give me free water and ask if I want it with or without ice.

– dinner with paula and harvey
– talked about plans and etc
– told a girl she was pretty on my way out
Then we got back from exploring Denver and Harvey and Paula invited us to dinner at a nearby good restaurant within walking distance. Went there and had a nice conversation about our plans and such over a nice dinner. There was this cute girl sitting in a booth diagonal to us and I acted like a dork and on my way out I told her she was cute. I’m not sure she heard me though. Ha. Talked to some people Harvey knew on our way back.

– and fooled around at the house before knocking out
And fooled around at the house before sleeping. Did stuff on my computer, and played a lot of pool. I think Sean read or went to sleep.

Day 5 – Omaha

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-5-29 ——

We got up and first thing we did was to drop the car off at the dealership. As we were walking into the shop, we heard police sirens approaching the nearby intersection. We saw this just as it happened. Some guy started to creep into the intersection (either he didn’t hear the sirens or thought they were behind him) and a police car came from the perpendicular direction and BOOM right into the front of the guy! Both cars spun around a lot and it seemed like nobody was seriously hurt. We looked at it for a while and then went into the shop and arranged things. They gave us a car to drive while they were working on ours.

Found breakfast at some bagel shop nearby, walked a bit more around the town.

After enough time we went to back to the mechanic shop and picked up the car. I believe they did not find anything wrong with the car, or at least the changes they made did not fix the problem. We drove back to Paula and Harvey’s place, said goodbye, and zoomed off again.

We took 76 North to meet up with 80, and made our way through hot and humid Nebraska. There was nothing but farm land and large cow farms that went on for a long ways. I’ve never seen so many cows in my life, and if you look at the photos you can only see a blur of brown between the sky and grass. It got dark over the course of the drive since we had started so late.

[lost memory] – stop in somewhere to get food (mysterious wendy’s?)

Driving at night on highway 80 can be really boring and I remember falling unconscious briefly two times, kind of a head nodding thing. So I decided to stop at the next rest stop to take a break. I sat on top of the car for a bit looking at the stars, and since we were out in the middle of nowhere there were tons of them. I saw a shooting star too.

We drove into Omaha at night, and tried to find an inconspicuous place to park the car to sleep. There were sketchy places EVERYWHERE, and in the end we drove over the state border to Iowa to some inn, parked in the back lot, and fell asleep there.

Day 6 – Omaha

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-5-29 ——

Woke up feeling incredibly disgusting, and on top of that: Humidity. Anyone who has been to the middle of the United States during the summer knows how awful this can be. Since we were sleeping out of our car, we felt extra dirty, but a shower probably wouldn’t have helped at all.

We drove around Omaha, admiring the abandoned factories and old buildings made of brick. It was later that we realized we were in the industrial section (the ass end of town), complete with the obligatory homeless guy pissing on a bench.

After relocating to the back of a Sears parking lot we slept some more. Eventually I called this girl Andrea. This is a friend I made from my online journal who I had spoken with for a long amount of time. She also was very attractive, and a bass player in a band. This was the second online-friend that we met through the trip. So we arranged a time and place.

Meanwhile we went to Borders to get some reading material. I picked out a copy of Moby Dick, which then stayed with me for years and years. I think I finally gave it away somewhere on my second Europe trip in 2012. Sean picked out a Punisher comic book.

We went to Red Robins to meet up with Andrea. She was as attractive, maybe more so than what I had seen online. Had a nice lunch and chatted about random things, then as quickly as we met we said goodbye and were back on the road.

One smaller note: Saw a sign for a “HUGE BABY KIDS SALE”. I wonder how much they cost.

Sean drove while I slept this time, and we made our way through Des Moines without stopping.

Around Iowa City the car finally decided to die. Our problems had not been fixed in Colorado, and no matter how many times we waited and started driving again we couldn’t make it more than a few feet before it died again. So we called AAA, waited a bit, and got towed to the Chrysler dealership downtown. The guy was very nice and we paid him $12.50 for the towing (quite a deal thanks to AAA). The dealership was closed so we filled out a form for them to look at it, dropped the keys off, and found the nearest motel.

One very memorable moment of the trip (besides breaking down) happened at the reception of that motel, where a woman who was from Walnut Creek (CA) gave me the guest form to sign and told me she just needed my “John Henry” on the line there. Welcome to Iowa City.

Day 7 – Iowa City

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-5-29 ——

Iowa city is pretty much equal distance between each coast of the USA. Or at least I thought that was true until I did a google maps search right now, but generally it’s in the middle of everything. And there is nothing, nothing there as we found out.

We woke up to raining weather. Walked over to the dealership and talked to them. I think they hadn’t seen the form that we filled out so we explained the problem and they said they would look at it. We went back to the hotel for a bit and then went out to explore the incredible town of Iowa City. I am mostly certain that we were along 2nd St, close to 4th Ave, which is a little out of the main downtown area but there should have been a few things.

We walked down 2nd and along a back street through the small town, I’m guessing this was Coralville. Got some gummy worms to eat and hung out in a video game store for a bit. We sat in the park. Skipped some rocks. Yelled at ducks, especially the rejected white one. Then it started really raining hard and we just kind of walked through it all getting soaked.

We went back to the dealership and they said they would try to have it done that night, and would most likely have it done by the next day, so we went back to the hotel and rented it for another night. After relaxing for a while the dealership called and said they fixed the car, and the total cost would be around $400. Overjoyed we went back and picked up the car. Checked out of the hotel but we didn’t ask for a refund because we didn’t really want to / note: I don’t remember that.

Headed off to Chicago, driving through more of the nothingness that makes up the midwest. And then we crossed the Mississippi River for the first time! Since it was such a momentous occasion we stopped and browsed around the information shop. I remember looking through the periscope at the river and seeing… a river. Anyhow, continued on our way through bad weather and arrived in Chicago at night.

We were staying with my family friends the Rivoire’s, who had a very nice home in a high class suburb. Bob Rivoire had grown up with my mother’s family and I had seen him a few times at family gatherings. We had a nice conversation about our journey and Bob even ordered some real Chicago deep dish pizza. To this day I don’t think I’ve ever had a better deep dish pizza than the one that night.

After a long journey we eventually slept.

Day 8 – Chicago

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-8-11 ——

In the morning we went to the local suburb to get some coffee and bagels to eat, and then got two two-way tickets for the train. Took the train into the downtown area and I believe we were a little lost. Walked a couple blocks one direction, and then another few blocks another direction. We arrived at the park by the shore of the lake and hung out there a bit. The weather wasn’t very incredible, but there was a nice fountain, a weird statue that had water spraying at it like some weird water sports fetish, and some geese and fish that we watched. Got some hot dogs and sat on the side of the lake. Then we got up and walked towards the downtown, and noticed there was a blues festival happening. And actually it some some large blues festival, although it hadn’t really started going yet.

Made our way to the Sears Tower (I believe the name has changed since) and bought tickets to go up the tower. Of course since the weather was horrible, there wasn’t anything to see, just a whole bunch of clouds and occasionally the tops of some other towers. We lounged around up there trying to make the most of it before heading back down and returned to the blues festival to hang out some more.

We sat at the edge of the lake some more throwing ice into the water, which attracted ducks and fish, and after a while we got up to secure a good place on the lawn at the blues festival. Waited there a while, and they finally started, but the blues being played were not so impressive and felt very generic.

After we got tired we went back, finally found the train station. I refused to give money to some homeless man, and then he called me racist, which really aggravated me a lot. And I couldn’t find my return ticket on the way back so I had to buy another one.

Anyhow, back at the house Sean and I went on a walk around the neighborhood. It was a nice, very American style suburb area, one you would expect home made pies sitting on window sills (but who does that anyway? anyone?)

We were walking around when something attracted my attention. I caught a flash of something or other from the corner of my eye. I asked Sean if he had seen it and he hadn’t, so at first I thought I was going crazy. And then saw it again. And then upon paying more careful attention, I discovered they were fireflies everywhere! This was my first time ever seeing fireflies, so of course I wanted to watch them more.

It says in my outline that we “made eggs” but I don’t remember that at all. I do remember playing with Bob’s two shelties, which were adorable dogs.

Day 9 – Detroit

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-8-14 ——

Before leaving Chicago, Bob took us on a short trip around his neighborhood in his convertible. We got to see some extremely beautiful houses, all totally Americana (as noticed the previous day, they all deserved apple pies). Then we headed out, following the coast of Illinois that wraps down around Lake Michigan, briefly through Indiana, and ends up shooting us over through Michigan. The state was very green and beautiful, and I remember passing by many lakes (which it is known for).

We arrived in Detroit and went to Sean’s cousin Jimmy’s apartment. We hung out a bit at his place before heading out to Applebee’s, where we had some excellent steaks, and came back. We went out to see the Troy, and then came back to watch National Security. Both movies I don’t remember very clearly. And that was the end of that day.

Day 10 – Detroit

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-8-14 ——

We got up quite late and Jimmy made eggs for us. Then we drove downtown with him, and he showed us around. It seemed like an urban wasteland, with lots of trash and decrepit buildings. We went to the waterside where people walked there dogs and we strolled for a while. Saw some dead fish in the water, which did not improve our impression of the city. There was a few odd statues, one of a fist, a big ring thing, a black cylinder, and another of the Spirit of Detroit wearing a Piston’s jersey. Saw the giant GM buildings – which looked actually pretty cool – and walked into the Hard Rock Cafe, but didn’t really do anything there.

We went to a car show that I believe we just stumbled upon. Since Sean was a huge car nut, he loved it, and I just enjoyed seeing all the old styles.

Got some P.F.Changs and after that went back to Jimmy’s apartment. I guess he went out to see a Lakers game, and we relaxed. I did my laundry and read some of Mona Lisa Overdrive in the laundry room, while Sean finished 1984 in the room. Eventually we went to bed, while Jimmy came back early in the morning.

Day 11 – Detroit

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-8-22 ——

Jimmy left in the morning for work, and Sean did his laundry while I slept in. Eventually got up and had some cereal for breakfast. I don’t remember the order of events as they were listed in the trip outline, but apparently we watched Terminator III afterwards, which was a really crappy movie. We came up with this conspiracy that Shwarzenegger had actually taken most of the movie’s budget, and instead of investing it into making a great movie with actually good special effects, he used it as his campaign financing. Wouldn’t surprise me if that were true.

Then we went to the Ford Museum to look at some cool cars. Walked around and got some car crackers and postcards. Then left.

We went to a book store to pick up some reading material for the trip. I picked up a book on Rumi poems (to this day I haven’t read it) and a book of Aesop’s Fables, and Sean picked up a Tom Clancy novel with a car magazine.

We met with Jimmy again at his apartment and then went out to the mall. I don’t know why, but we didn’t find anything and came back. Got dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (which I don’t think I had had before then). Back at Jimmy’s apartment we sat around for a bit, and then Sean wanted to go running so I joined him. Sean was big into Track and Field in high school so he was quite the runner, and I was not, so I definitely got exhausted faster than he did.

Came back for a shower, then watched Analyze That, and went to sleep again. It seems to me we didn’t especially do too much in Detroit because there wasn’t much to do. Maybe it was that we were 18 at the time.

Day 17 – Burlingham

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-8-26 ——

Woke up in our sex hotel room and drove off through Montréal. Had a hell of a time trying to get out of the city, and we kept on getting lost. But finally made it South and went over the border. A nice guy from Denver interrogated us and they didn’t even check the car (even though we were bringing an orange or some kind of fruit from breakfast over the border).

We made our way down through Vermont and stopped in Burlingham. It was a very cute capital city with a quiet small main street. We walked down it to the wharf and took some photos. Walked back up the street and spotted a Brazilian food restaurant. I don’t think I had ever had Brazilian food before, so this was quite the experience. A cute waitress brought us all these meats and tropical fruits on a platter, and we ate. And they brought out more. And more. There was tons and tons of food, and it was all delectable. Filled up in our stomachs we headed off to Boston.

Went down through Vermont and New Hampshire and eventually made it to Boston. I had family friends in Topsfield, the Carrolls. Found their house in the woods and finally got to relax. They were having a small get together that we were too exhausted to partake in much, but we had a nice conversation with them and enjoyed talking to “grandma” (that’s what she had us call her).

Before going to bed I finished Aesop’s Fables, and then had a well deserved sleep.

Day 18 – Boston

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-8-26 ——

Woke up and took our showers. Had a cereal breakfast and then left for downtown Boston. We tried to find parking for a long time around the Oak Grove subway station, and finally parked in a gravel area. This was back when the subway had actual tokens to ride, which I really miss, so we got 8 tokens. Rode to Downtown Crossing and walked out into a frenzied marketplace. There were people everywhere with all sights/sounds/smells. It was a very cool area and we walked from there to Boston Common to get to the Information kiosk for ideas on what to do.

We found a trolley tour that went around the city and decided to do that since it was one of those services you could get off and on again. We walked over to their stand but we were called over to another trolly service that advertised a better tour so took that one instead. Went around town trying to listen to this tour guide we could barely hear, and he was making terrible jokes too. Got off the trolley near the water side and got a mocha smoothie.

From there we took a free boat tour that was combined with the trolley tour. It was very windy and nice out on the bay, but again couldn’t really hear the recording talking about the various sights we could see. We got off at the first stop and walked around a battle ship they had open to tourists in the harbor. Again got on the trolley, and this second guy was a bit funnier but not by too much of a margin.

We took the trolley back to the wharf and walked to this restaurant we had seen named Anthony’s. From the outside it just looked like a casual seafood restaurant, but when we walked in we realized it was actually a high end dress up establishment. All the waiters were dressed to the nines, and we were only dressed the the threes or fours. But we were committed and hungry so we went anyway. I ordered the soft shell crab, because I knew that I liked crab, but I don’t think I understood exactly what the soft shell derivation was. It was absolutely disgusting. I think I made a side order of clam chowder, which was good because that was very delicious. After a while at the restaurant we started to notice that all the waiters and the whole place seemed like some kind of mafia establishment. It was the perfect environment for people named [Adjective] Tony or Jimmy [Number] [Body Part]. Anyhow, we paid a large bill and headed back to Downtown Crossing.

Took the subway home, and then watched Lost in Translation before going to sleep.

Day 19 – Boston

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Once again woke up and showered and had a bagel for breakfast. Once again went to the subway to get downtown again. Saw a sign that said “Caution Deaf Child” which was thought was amusing if read the wrong way.

Made our way down to State Street and walked over to the naval yard. Took a tour of the USS Constitution, which was interesting and the tour guy was good. Visited a museum, and an exhibit called “Pirates!” which wasn’t great. From there we walked all the way over to Newbury Street, which was high class. Stopped at a California Pizza Kitchen for some incredible Jamaican Jerk Chicken pizza, and I think Sean got a pear pizza.

We continued walking down Newbury while I explained the plot of Planet of the Apes to Sean. Found a “No Moleste” hotel doorknob sign that I wore for a bit and we thought it was hilarious.

[lost memory]
walked past a group of indie rock bottom
walked down an isolated street, quiet and peaceful
/ note: I don’t remember either of these things happening and it isn’t in our photos

Walked to the Bay Street subway stop and rode back. Again had pizza but it wasn’t that great. Watched The Replacement Killers and played a bit of Chrono Trigger and then slept.

Day 20 – Stamford

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In the morning we packed up to leave, making sure to say goodbye to “Grandma” before hitting the road. The drive down to Stamford wasn’t very long, and we took a scenic Highway 15 which Syd had suggested.

So a bit of back story: Sydney was a friend that I made online years upon years ago. We met through Livejournal, and started reading and commenting on each others’ lives. When planning this trip to find people to visit and places to stay, she was up on the top of the list. Since then, it has almost been a bit of a tradition to visit Sydney whenever I’m over on the east coast. She’s a delightful person, and sarcastic and critical and hilarious in a way such that she’s often compared to (and looks like) the character Liz Lemon on the show 30 Rock.

Anyhow. We arrived at her house and immediately were swarmed by two small fuzzy dogs, Oliver and Stuart. As writing this Stuart is still around and I saw her recently. I’m not sure what happened to Oliver, and I think he’s around too. Anyhow, we went into the backyard so they could run around a bit more and immediately one of the two shot off like a rocket, circled the back yard about 5 times in the span of 30 seconds, and ran back to us. REALLY excited dogs.

We chatted for a bit, and then went down to the beach since we wanted to do something. The beach was a bit gloomy, and compared to what Sean and I were used to in California, it wasn’t much of a beach either, but whatever! It was nice and we walked around more.

Then went out for burgers before coming back to chat more. Syd and I nerded out over internet stuff, and meanwhile we did our laundry. Syd’s mom came by and she was also very nice. We had dinner and just hung around the whole night. Sean went to bed early but I went up to hang out with Syd some more and we ended up talking until 5 in the morning. Finally went down to sleep just a little bit.

Day 21 – Norwood

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-8-29 ——

Up in the morning and Sean did his laundry.

[lost memory] I believe Syd was having some work done on her house so I made a note “the chimney guy” and “builders”.

We might have had breakfast and said goodbye to Syd before driving South. Our destination was Norwood, where Sean’s family friends lived. It was a bit confusing getting there, but finally made it and met them. Andy and N_____ (can’t remember her name). They were an extremely hospitable nice older couple who forced food upon us as those people do.

They decided to drive us into New York to meet their daughter. This would be my first ever trip to New York, and I was filled with an overwhelming sense of awe. New York is gigantic, and never ending skyscrapers everywhere. I found it so strange how much of the visual space of one’s surroundings could be so consumed with buildings. Meanwhile the driving experience as terrifying because Andy wasn’t the best of drivers. Maybe it was just becoming accustomed to the New York style of driving, but he was also somewhat of an older gentleman and that may have added to the horror.

We met with the couple’s daughter, which I have absolutely no recollection of, but I do remember going up to the top of her apartment complex and having an incredible view of the city as well as the UN building. We chilled up there watching the sun set, which was a deeply polluted red we could barely see through the buildings.

We drove more around Manhattan, trying to split our attention between the sights being pointed out and Andy’s driving. We stopped at a nice lookout point that gave us an overview of the city.

Had a great Greek dinner before heading to bed.

Day 22 – New York

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After a good sleep we got up and had a good bagel breakfast. Then the Kinessides (I believe that was their surname) drove us to the Lucerne Hotel on 79th and Amsterdam, where I met up with my family.

Side explanation: In New York we were to celebrate my cousin Shalom’s wedding. We were staying with my family at this hotel.

So my dad, brother, Sean, and I all went to the museum of natural history. There we saw extremely lifelike taxidermic animals. Then we went to an IMAX presentation about space narrated by Tom Hanks. Walked around an exhibit on the Big Bang, and chilled there for a while, then went around the Earth formations exhibit.

We walked back through Central Park, which was interesting to see after hearing so much about it, and went to a cafe. Sean and I left my dad and brother to go meet up with Syndey. We chilled some more, I think at her cousin’s bar or something. And then after went back to the hotel to get ready for Shabbat dinner.

Went to the service and played with my cousin Jacob during the service. Had dinner, which included some kind of strange gefilte fish that was actually salmon, a good type of soup, and some dinner that I don’t recall at all. But I believe this was the dinner when I tried to convince Jacob that raisons were evil aliens. Somehow that stuck and I he remembered it years later.

Back to the hotel briefly before getting my friend Josh’s sister Serene’s number, and Sean and I went downtown to see her art show. She was really into the electronic mystic trippy scene, and her boyfriend was DJing for an art exhibit with Alex Grey paintings and I believe maybe some Geiger ones too. We had a bit of trouble getting on the correct subway downtown but eventually got the right one down to 25th street. Walked to 10th/11th avenue, which I remember at that time of night was a bit sketchy, but we could deal with it. Entered the place and went upstairs to meet Serene and Craig. I think we were unsure that we were in the right place originally, but then felt very lucky when it actually turned out we were in the right place at the right time. We hung out for a bit and talked about things, and then left.

We decided to walk down to 42nd street to see Times Square, which was a long walk but at the end it was worth it, incredible to see all the lights and business. Then we walked allllllllll the way to 2nd avenue, which was the wrong way but we didn’t realize it until we got there. Turned North and walked through Central Park again, this time in the very late evening/early morning. We were prepared to be attacked, as we had been warned Central Park was not the place to be at that hour, but despite all the warnings nothing happened to us and we got through with almost no encounters of anyone else.

Got back to the hotel and relaxed and slept.

Day 23 – New York

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We started the day by visiting the Statue of Liberty. Took the ferry over and walked around the base only because at the time they weren’t letting people up the statue. We took pictures, and tried to take some funny perspective photos but they didn’t work out so well. Then toured Ellis Island. I don’t remember seeing a “short live play” but it was in the notes. I think I also tried looking up my great grandparents’ records but couldn’t find them.

Took the boat back and walked through Wall Street. It was closed so we couldn’t really see anything except a movie set being built. We returned to the hotel briefly before going back out just to walk around.

We went to a comic book shop and Sean picked up some things while I got the last of the Transmetropolitan series. Stopped in a Starbucks to read our bounty. Then I called another online friend I had planned to visit, Kit. I barely remember this girl, but we had a good friendship going on back then. We also were kind of flirty with each other, which made me wonder how meeting her would go – which I think happened a few years later. Anyhow, left the Starbucks and finished our comics back at the hotel.

For dinner we went out to Carnegie Deli with the family. It started downpouring rain so we took a taxi there. The sandwiches there were gigantic, and delicious. I shared a corn beef sandwish with Dad, and had a delicious Matza Ball soup (although I think it was a really condensed matza ball and not what I was used to). I was also pretty surprised to find it was a place that only accepted cash.

After dinner we went to Broadway to see Avenue Q. We had very nice seats right next to someone that looked like a mafia boss. As for the show, I was very impressed. I thought it was hilarious, and totally unlike the sappy kind of musical I was expecting. Laughed a lot and the songs were very catchy. After the show we walked back through Times Square, stopped at some tourist shops, got some CDs from Virgin Records (and my mom picked up the Avenue Q soundtrack). Then returned to the hotel.

Day 24 – New York

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So I’m not sure what we did until 3 pm that day, but I would expect we just sat around being lazy. But at that time we were to get ready for Shalom’s wedding – the first (and so far only) Orthodox Jewish wedding I’ve ever attended – so we got dressed and boarded a hired bus in front of our hotel. We rode past a lot of scenery for a long time, including the observation towers from the 1964 New York World’s Fair, which I recognized because they were in the last scene of Men in Black.

Fell asleep now and then on the way but finally got there. Got some champagne and socialized before heading to the “Tish”, which is an orthodox Jewish celebration. At this tish there was LOTS of alcohol, and people got very drunk and happy. Then we followed a parade of people out into another area where some words were said by the rabbi. Then we separated and all were seated around the hall. The ceremony proceeded, although it was quite short, and like all good Jewish weddings a wine glass was broken, everyone shouted ‘Mazel Tov!’ and the party continued. Sean and I went to have horderves. Then had more horderves. We talked to a lady and her son the “Ha’vard” graduate, who I wrote down as being annoying in my notes. Then the dinner began and along with dinner was dancing. Lots of dancing.

From this wedding I have gotten the impression that Orthodox Jewish weddings are done in excess. Excessive alcohol, excessive singing and shouting, excessive dancing, excessive food.

The food came out and my cousin Jacob sat next to me. He’s always been a fun kid and I enjoyed playing with him. I wrote in my travel outline that he “was always managing to spend energy in some creative and destructive way” which makes me think he was being a pain during dinner, but I’m sure it was fine. And then my cousin Steven came to hang out with us for a while, and he’s one of my favorite cousins. Extremely hilarious, and also extremely good with kids.

The food wasn’t perfect, but good enough, and more dancing was had. Eventually everyone got tired and drunk, so most of the party loaded the busses again. I seem to remember a large part of the party stayed behind to party through the night. On the bus back Jacob sat next to me talking about baseball for about an hour. I asked if he wanted to lay down on me since he looked sleepy and once he did it was about 10 seconds before he was totally passed out.

We finally got back and I carried him out, passed him to Steve for the two-point conversion, and went up to sleep since I was pretty exhausted.

Day 25 – New York

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-2 ——

After a good night’s sleep we went out to breakfast with the family. Had popovers with my mom’s cousins Lenny and Terry. Then we headed to the famous Empire State Building. At the top was the classic Manhattan view with many buildings. Stayed up for a bit and then went back down.

Sean and I went walking through New York again. At one point we encountered a Starbucks across from a Starbucks and I took a short video to commemorate this.

Later in the day the Carroll’s, from our Boston trip, had come down to New York. Jim was my dad’s good friend at Stanford. We all hung out and had dinner somewhere, and had some good funny conversations over the table. I had a French soup that was piled on with cheese.

Sean and I left again to travel around, picking up some last minute touristy goods before going back to the hotel to sleep.

Day 26 – New York

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-5 ——

Our time with New York was finished, so this day we packed up to leave. Had a nice walk through Central Park with the family and went to the Gugenheim Museum.

[lost memory] lots of hand pictures / took pictures of hand against ceiling //I have no memory of this at all and I don’t know what I was referring to.

Walked back through the park and left the hotel. Caught a cab to Grand Central, which we then took to the bus stations at Port Royal. It was only after that we realized we only had to walk eight blocks to the station. Then at the bus station we got a bit frustrated since we couldn’t figure out where the right bus was and were we were supposed to go, but finally got on the right direction back to Norwood to Sean’s family friends. (We had parked our car there during our stay in New York)

I often stare out the windows of busses, and on the way back I did so while admiring all the different sorts of clouds. This gave me the idea to buy an analog camera and print out photos of clouds, then draw on the photographs the images that the coulds would make.

After a trip we finally got to Norwood and luckily we made all the right turns at the right streets and got back to the house fast. We dropped our stuff off and went to find Chinese take out, which we brought back to the house. At some point I went to check my luggage for my camera and…

… wait a second. Where was my camera? Explitives were cast, and my camera was lost. I looked through everything twice, retraced my steps in my head, trying to remember the last time I used the camera. We called the bus station and reported the missing item. Then Andy (Sean’s family friend/our host) called some people and managed to find someone to allow us to visit the bus depot. We made the trip over there, and found a parking lot full of busses, which was an interesting sight to see. We found the bus that had taken us and went to the back of it where we were seated, but after some intense searching we still couldn’t find it. My best guess is that the camera had slipped out of my pockets (I think the particular shorts I was wearing were notorious for that) and someone must have picked it up.

Oh well.

Went back to the house and decided that was the end of that digital camera.

Day 27 – Philadelphia

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-5 ——

After a large breakfast we said goodbye to Andy and started the drive down to Philadelphia. Went down through the New Jersey turnpike, and actually happened to miss the correct turn and had to backtrack a little to get to the city.

Finding parking in the city was tough, but eventually found somewhere that looked like it had free parking. Walked through a small suburb, which I believe was a little south of the downtown area, before getting to the city. Bought a touristy map, went through a yuppie shopping mall, got a cinnnabun, and I bought a camera.

// I actually don’t remember buying a camera at all… I don’t have any photos from it in my photo library, but it could have possibly been lost in a later incident

We then went to the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell is one of those historical artifacts that every American hears about at some point in their life, and to us it seemed like the Statue of Liberty of Philadelphia. But when we got to see it, I’m not really sure what we were expecting, but all it was was a large bell. It was just kind of sitting there, on display, with a bit of a crack. There it was. It was the single most anti-climactic experience of my life. One of the most uninteresting monuments in the world.

Despite that, we went to see some other famous places around town, including some kind of building related to Benjamin Franklin. Walked through some parks and streets and after all that we went back to the car, drove off to a hotel we saw a little outside town, and slept.

Day 28 – Philadelphia

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-5 ——

Before leaving Philadelphia we drove back into town to visit the Museum of Art. I think we couldn’t visit it the previous day for some reason. Anyhow, we parked at the base of Benjamin Franklin Parkway and put two hours into the parking meter at 11:00, because that’s all we thought we would need, and walked to the museum.

Saw all kinds of art – American, European, Asian, Middle Eastern. We dragged ourselves through the place for a long time. And especially admired the Medieval armor and weapons section. After three hours at the museum we left and went back to the car. Sadly we got a parking ticket. We figured the traffic person must have been standing right next to the car when the meter ran out because the ticket was 1:04, two hours right after we had put the money into the meter. Oh well.

We continued on driving to Washington DC. We took the scenic route down through Delaware and Eastern Maryland, checking out corn fields and little towns and plantation-like houses. This way we could avoid the traffic of Baltimore. Finally made it to Washington and immediately found the roads to be impossible to navigate. We tried several times to stop and find an information booth of some sort, and finally got to a fair sort of place and parked. The people at the information booth told us about a somewhat cheap hotel over in the western part of DC.

Since we were nearby, we walked over to the Washington Monument and watched the sun set behind it. Afterwards we drove out over to where the people had directed us, but we couldn’t find the motel they were talking about so instead we went to a “Motor Inn” and called it a night.

Day 29 – Washington DC

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We started the day leaving the car at the hotel and taking the metro into the city. Picked up two croissants, a Dr. Browns soda, and a root beer. Bought tickets for the subway and rode over. I remember the subway walls being this really weird honeycomb/waffle texture that made it look like a bad 70s sci-fi setting.

Got off the subway and first went to see the White House and its surrounding area. There wasn’t as much security as we thought there would be, or maybe it was just all hidden agents. Anyhow, there it was. We went to the visitor center and watched a film. Then went to the Air and Space Museum, which was pretty awesome. We went around the various exhibits, and didn’t spend too much time reading the texts but instead admired the cool planes and everything.

Then headed to the WWII Memorial, then the Lincoln Memorial, then the Vietnam Memorial, and then made our way back. I wrote in the notes that we saw “the monument of the men putting up the statue thing” and I think I meant the Iwo Jima Memorial.

We took the car over to the Motel 6 on the other side of DC for some reason. Maybe it was cheaper? I can’t remember, but we did our laundry there. Also we noticed that the neighborhood was very… African American, and we were the only white people. Well actually I was the only white person, as Sean was half Indian so had a darker hue.

Day 30 – Washington DC

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It ended up being a very long night. At some point someone’s alarm clock went off in one of the adjacent rooms and kept us up.

In the morning I talked with Erin on the phone. I can’t remember if she called me, or I called her, but it was not a comfortable talk (for those who don’t know, I had a very unpleasant break up with her before the trip started).

Anyhow. We headed into town on the metro again, and met some people on the metro (although I completely forget that part). We couldn’t get into the Spy Museum for some reason, and also the FBI Headquarters were not interesting, at least from the outside.

So we headed to the Botanical Gardens. Then went to the Capital building. Then the Library of Congress. Then the Jefferson Memorial (which seemed a lot lonelier than the Jefferson Memorial). We tried to walk to the Pentagon down a looong pathway, but realized that there was no way to get over the highway separating us from the building and our feet felt like they had died a million times, so we gave up and walked back to the metro.

We looked for food a little bit but gave up and just went back to the hotel and got Chinese food nearby. Then another long night of restless sleep followed.

Day 31 – Washington DC

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This day was the 4th of July, which was by no coincidence. It was pure trip design that we happened to be in Washington DC during the celebration of the nation. We figured everybody in the country would want to be in the same place we were, so we expected a huge crowd trying to reserve spots extremely early in the day.

We were wrong. Not that it wouldn’t be a huge crowd, but rather that people would show up early to pick spots.

So we took the metro into the city and at about 1:00 we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial, finding a prime spot to look out over the Mall. But there was almost no one there. Even so, we stubbornly waited. There were some other families waiting, and we met some kids, two from Indiana, and a girl from Oregon.

We waited. And waited. And waited some more. We got some lunch around the area, but besides that didn’t leave. Finally, nearing fireworks time the people started to flood in. Suddenly all the steps around us were taken up by large families. Many of them were loud and obnoxious, but we held onto our spots.

And then the fireworks started. And almost immediately, the people sitting in front of us STOOD UP. We were really pissed off and we tried to quickly move to another spot to see better. Luckily we did find a place where we could see well enough to see the show. Of course being the nation’s capital, it was a very good show and we enjoyed it.

Afterwards we just took the metro back.

Day 32 – Washington DC

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On this day our objective was to meet with Carrie, since it was the only day she was available, and then drive down to our next stop, Atlanta. This ended up being possibly not the best plan, which I’ll explain.

We started the day with a 7-11 Slurpie, and called Carrie to find out where to go. Headed to her apartment and saw her! Said our Hello’s and How Are You’s. Her apartment was really cool (although I don’t remember it at all) and we sat around talking for a while. Then we went to get lunch at an Indian restaurant. We got kebabs, and lots of them, and a few of Carrie’s friends joined us and we had a great time.

With bellies ful we went back to her apartment. We spent a while trying to decide what to do and it was one of those moments where it became impossible to decide, so in the end we watched Labyrinth, which was great. After the movie and some more chilling, Carrie was headed out to a friend’s party, and we were invited. Everyone was very cool and we sat around eating crab and chatting about various things. Then it was time to leave, and we stopped at the supermarket on the way back. Said goodbye to Carrie after gathering our stuff, and got out on the road at around 9 or 10 in the evening.

Then began a long night drive to Atlanta. This was down highway 95, which is ultimately one of the most boring highways in the nation. Essentially it is a homogenous palindrome of trees – road – median – road – trees.

Sean drove first while I tried to sleep. I wasn’t that successful at sleeping either. At some point through North Carolina Sean got tired and handed the wheel over to me. I drove, and drove, and drove. I was slightly entertained by seeing all the “South of the Border” billboards, advertising some kind of tourist trap. Finally passed it, and was half tempted to stop because of the power of marketing, but didn’t. It got harder and harder to stay awake but I struggled. Listened to the Moby Dick audio book, and then tried listening to Frank Sinatra and singing along quietly (as to not wake Sean). At one point I started drifting and hit the loud road border noise makers, which jerked me alert and full of adrenaline for a little while, and then it started happening again. Eventually I decided I was way too tired to drive and we needed to stop at the next rest stop, which was 70 miles away. So I struggled for that last hour or so stretch, and FINALLY at 5:00 in the morning arrived at the border of Georgia and South Carolina, parked in a spot, and slept.

Day 33 – Atlanta

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We woke up on the border of Georgia sometime later that morning and drove the last few miles to Atlanta. We found the hostel and parked.

Come to think of it, I think this was the first hostel of the trip. And very possibly, this could have been the very first hostel I ever went to in my life. I very barely remember it…

Anyhow, after settiling in, we went to a park for a moment, and then went to the CNN Building to take a tour. Rode on the longest escalator (in some context, I’m not really sure…). The tour was alright. We had a choice between CNN and Coke and I think we would have had a better time if we went to the Coke factory. Oh well.

We decided to walk to the Martin Luther King Memorial, but what we didn’t really realize was that it was in the middle of a pretty bad neighborhood. Some crazy bipolar lady approached us and offered to show us there. She had some really prominent lipstick on that looked weird, but she was really nice. We got some change at a store (I think in order to pay her as a guide, I’m not sure). She told us about various things and claimed that she was protecting us in the neighborhood. I seem to recall that she even shouted across the street at some people to not bother us, “They’re with me” sort of thing. Anyhow, it was very amusing and afterwards we gave her $4.

We saw the Martin Luther King memorial, which was so memorable that I have completely forgotten what it looked like, what it was, and any other details about it.

Anyhow, headed back to the hostel. Chilled there while Sean did his laundry and I went out to buy fresh bread and cheese. We played pool on a bad table, and talked to other people in the hostel. Some guy named Bob and two Australians. We all went out to a restaurant called the Tin Roof and got pretty good food. The waitress was extremely good looking (so much that I wrote it down in my trip outline). We went back to the hostel and I talked outside with Bob for a long while. Then went off to sleep.

Day 34 – New Orleans

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We left Atlanta and drove through Alabama and Mississippi. We took the scenic route, which involved going down through Montgomery, and then Mobile, and then driving along the Mississippi and Louisiana coast, seeing all sorts of casinos and old plantation era houses. Felt very Southern. We tried to stay on the scenic route for as long as we could be somehow got shifted over to highway 10 eventually. I guess we made an attempt to get off of the highway and back onto the back roads, but we ended up going in a large circle in some small dreary town.

Anyhow, we went over a large bridge and down into New Orleans. We had two hostels to check out, and first tried the India House hostel. But when we drove there, it was dead center in the middle of a neighborhood we didn’t really trust… so we decided to check out the other hostel, Marquette House. It looked like it was in a slightly better neighborhood, and kind of straddled the line between ghetto and standard residential.

We went in and reserved beds for three nights. I took in my suitcase and backpack, which sean just took in his backpack and left his suitcase in the car. This detail will be important later.

We were a bit hungry so we went out and got some food at the Trolly Stop, which was a great 24 hour diner. I had some good corn beef hash and a bagel.

I don’t entirely remember what we did then. I think we were tired so might have had a nap. I went to the car to get my computer cord and worked on my computer for a while before going to bed. The bed was extremely shaky and squeaky, which made it very fun getting to sleep.

Day 35 – New Orleans

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-17 ——

Today was interesting.

So I woke up early, before Sean for a change. Took a shower and afterwards went out to get something from the car. I went to the spot where I thought I had parked it… but ummm… where was it? Where did the car go? Shit. Did Sean move the car while I was in the shower? I ran around the block of the neighborhood trying to find it but it wasn’t reparked anywhere. Was it stolen?

I went inside and talked to the front desk. After a bit of a conversation we decided that yes, it probably had been stolen. Sean was taking a shower so I couldn’t confirm with him whether he moved it or not. After he got out I asked him and he hadn’t.

We called the cops, and gave them all the information we could and they said they would call us back. Sean and I were in a terrible mood and sat on the hostel’s front steps thinking things over. We thought about what we lost, and what this meant for the trip, and went over what we had done the previous night that might have led to it being stolen. I didn’t remember specifically locking the car, but I assumed that I had because it’s mostly habit for me.

So we finally got a call back from the police department asking more questions and telling us that they would work on it.

So despite the miserable news, we decided the only thing to do was to go into New Orleans anyways and make the best of it. We walked there, which was quite a long ways, and walked along Decatur St in the French Quarter. We looked at various things along the road, and I think our conversation was very sparse. It was a sunny day outside when we had started our walk, but by then it was a bit cloudy. In the span of approximately 5 minutes it went from warm to pouring rain, and then pouring rain to torrential rain, and within another 5 minutes it actually started hailing on us. We of course didn’t have any umbrellas, so we allowed ourselves to get drenching wet as we walked along.

We were walking down Barrack’s Street, stopping to find shelters under awnings while moving along, and decided to sit down for a bit on some brick steps to wait for the rain to pass. This was a pretty narrow street, and not in the best of conditions. Soon enough, a truck came speeding down the road and drove right through a huge puddle in the street, which then created a tidal wave of street water that landed directly on us, making our already wet selves that much wetter. My first instinct was to run out into the road flipping off the truck, and Sean just remained sitting – miserable. Something in me found the situation to be completely ludicrous and hilarious, so I was laughing it off, admiring the moment.

We went into a cafe on the corner of a nearby street, somewhere on the Eastern part of the quarter, enVie Cafe. We told the server, Jessica, that our car had just been stolen from our epic road trip and she sympathized with our situation. We stayed there for a long while and she even gave us some alcoholic/coffee mixed drink that tasted really good. It also got us more relaxed (and actually, Sean didn’t know it was alcoholic until I told him).

After enough time there, and after the rain had let up a bit, we walked back to the hostel, visiting the shops along the way. Sean had found out the location of a Salvation Army, so we decided to walk there. This ended up being an awful decision as well. We completely misjudged the distance of the store, and ended up walking about 8 or so miles through bad neighborhood to get there. When we arrived it was already 7:15 pm, and the store closed at 6 pm. So tired and exhausted and beaten down with the storm of misfortune we started back. We found a bus to take us back, but the driver said it would be better to take the trolley car. We found the trolley, paid the $1.25 fare, and rode it back to the hostel.

Back there we talked to people in the lounge about traveling. Most consisted of Europeans and Aussies. Sean called his parents and told them everything that happened. I was a bit more shy about calling, so put it off. We went out for pizza and during dinner my parents called me first – apparently Sean’s parents had called them before I had a chance to. Anyhow, I talked to them and told them I had everything under control and sorted.

Well, after a long day we somehow got to sleep.

Day 36 – New Orleans

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-18 ——

This was a long day as well.

The events may be jumbled as it seems the outline that I kept for this day got a bit mixed up. I’ll try to clear it up as well as I can.

Although before starting on this day I should clear up some things about what was lost when the car was stolen. I had taken in my bags and backpack, so most of my things I still had, including my computer. The only critical and sentimental thing that I lost was my grandfather’s watch. But in the end, it’s just a watch, and I have many other things from him. Sean on the other hand was not as lucky. He had left his whole suitcase in the car, and currently only had what clothes he brought with him into the hostel. I think he lost a jacket he really liked too. We had left many souvenirs, including postcards we had been keeping from each city we visited.

In the morning we were still miserable. Sean’s mother had been suggesting that he return home on a plane, and I thought that was absolutely a horrible idea. We couldn’t just abandon a road trip in the middle of it! It wouldn’t feel complete. Sean mostly agreed with me.

We walked to the library in town. Or rather, we tried to take the trolley there but it passed us by, annoyingly, so we used our foot power to take us there. Of course, it was closed. But we did manage to take the trolley back. I grabbed my computer and once again we set out to the downtown area. We walked down Bourbon Street, which was an interesting place to be.  Went to the enVie Cafe again, although our favorite waitress Jessica wasn’t there. We used the complimentary internet, and wrote our story up to the internet somehow (this was before Facebook was around, so I think we were just using AIM and emails). I posted to my livejournal:

Friday, July 9, 2004 2:28:07
New Orleans, Barrack Street and Decatur Street of the French Quarter
The Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe
AIM Conversation

monkz (2:28:07): hello nikhil
nikhil (2:40:24): hey man
nikhil (2:40:25): hows it going?
nikhil (2:40:27): where are you guys?
monkz (2:40:31): uhmmmmmmmmmm
monkz (2:40:32): hehe
monkz (2:40:35): funny you should ask
monkz (2:40:40): we’re in new orleans
monkz (2:40:44): dude:
nikhil (2:40:46): sweeet
monkz (2:40:47): BEST STORY EVER
nikhil (2:40:50): lets hear it
monkz (2:40:54): well
nikhil (2:40:55): did sean kill an elk?
nikhil (2:40:59): with a buckknife?
monkz (2:41:02): do you want the long version, or the short version?
nikhil (2:41:06): long version
monkz (2:41:09): ok
monkz (2:41:10): so
monkz (2:41:14): we arrive in new orleans
monkz (2:41:19): at some sketchy hostel
monkz (2:41:22): cool cool
monkz (2:41:30): i bring in my suitcase, sean brings in his bag
monkz (2:41:39): later that day i bring in my computer and wires and stuff
monkz (2:41:42): that was 10 oclock
monkz (2:41:57): i wake up the next morning, and after taking a shower
i go out to the car…
monkz (2:41:59): and…
monkz (2:42:02): its gone
monkz (2:42:18): HOPEFULLY sean moved it while i was in the shower
monkz (2:42:24): but, he was still in bed
monkz (2:42:25): sooooooooooo
nikhil (2:42:27): haha
monkz (2:42:29): the car got stolen
nikhil (2:42:30): shit
nikhil (2:42:58): you wouldnt say best story ever unless you found it
again would you?
monkz (2:43:11): we might
monkz (2:43:23): turned into the worst morning of our lives
monkz (2:43:26): like totally cliche
monkz (2:43:29): it was AWESOME
nikhil (2:43:37): HA
nikhil (2:43:43): so still no car?
monkz (2:44:36): yep
monkz (2:44:41): that was yesterday morning
monkz (2:44:48): dude
monkz (2:44:53): we’re sitting on these brick steps right
monkz (2:45:00): a few minutes ago it was sunshiny
monkz (2:45:06): and it turned into a tropical storm
monkz (2:45:11): like usual new orleans
monkz (2:45:14): it started hailing
monkz (2:45:20): and there was this huuuuge puddle on the street
monkz (2:45:25): and A TRUCK PASSED BY US
monkz (2:45:32): sprayed water ALLL over me and sean
monkz (2:45:38): i thought it was HILARIOUS
monkz (2:45:42): sean thought it was miserable
monkz (2:45:53): just out of a movie or something
nikhil (2:51:29): so what now
monkz (2:53:15): i’m gonna copy and paste here
(copy and pasted)
monkz (2:53:22): well
monkz (2:38:02): seans mom is forcing him to go on a plane back home
monkz (2:38:12): and i’m going to take a train through texas
carrie (2:38:34): she won’t let him stay with you
carrie (2:38:39): what about grey hound
monkz (2:38:48): and my dad is driving down to el paso and we’re gonna
drive to santa fe to meet up with my mom and we’re gonna do whatever
there, then they’re going to go back home on a plane and i’m going to
take my dad’s car the rest of the way
monkz (2:39:01): she won’t let him stay with me, that is correct
(/copy and pasted)

Another AIM Conversation
carrie (2:49:32): ha!
carrie (2:49:35): that is hilarious
carrie (2:49:40): you should just make a movie
carrie (2:49:42): about yoru trip
carrie (2:49:44): i mean really ben
monkz (2:49:50): i know
monkz (2:49:51): really
carrie (2:49:52): more stuff happened to you two than i have ever heard
monkz (2:49:58): except the video camera got stolen with the car
carrie (2:50:22): doh!
monkz (2:50:55): ::shrug
monkz (2:51:02): its been a spritual experience
monkz (2:51:03): ya know
monkz (2:51:12): 2000 miles from home with almost nothing
monkz (2:51:19): makes ya a lot less materialistic
carrie (2:52:03): right
carrie (2:52:05): i feel that
carrie (2:52:07): but ugh
carrie (2:52:08): that sux!

Well, there it is folks

Oh yeah, some coffe/burboun mix might have been involved yesterday to
cheer us up. And I semi-drunkenly wrote on my arm:

I lost my girl
I lost my car
I lost my sanity
(insert drawing of skeleton with thumbs up and big smile :D)

We talked to a few different people and then left. I think on our way back we stopped at an antique store, and I got a strange cheap pocket-watch, sort of to replace my grandfather’s watch that had been lost.

So after getting back to the hostel we sat out on the steps some more. Sean talked to his mother some more and discovered that she had already bought him a plane ticket home for that evening. He had absolutely no say in the matter, and I could see he was a bit annoyed by that, but also a little relieved that he was heading home. I think he was affected by the car getting stolen a lot more than I was.

Anyhow, we talked to Joey, who was a business friend of my mother’s. She had put him in contact with us so that he could help with anything, although there wasn’t too much he could do. He came to pick us up at around 6:30 in the evening and drove us into the city. He was a very cool person and told us all about the different parts of New Orleans, his business, the things he had done, famous foods and such. It was a nice relief. We were going to go play pool at this place his friend owned, but a) I couldn’t go in because I was under 21, although they probably could have made an exception because I was 18. But b) Sean was under 18, so that plan failed and we couldn’t go there. Instead Joey drove us over to the docks, and dropped us off at a good restaurant – Muffuletta (although this is the name of a dish, so I’m not sure what the restaurant name was). It was very, very good but we could only eat 3/4ths of it. Joey had to go somewhere and do something for a while, but he was going to come back and help take Sean to the airport.

We went to the bowling alley afterwards, and watched some southern people bowl for a long time. I beat Sean’s ass in air hockey, and we played various arcade games. Then we walked down the street, bought some Arizona Ice Tea, walked back up the street, played some more video games. I played air hockey with this little African American kid, but there wasn’t a puck so we used a dime or a nickel, and then when that wasn’t good we used an empty pack of cigarettes. We sat at the bowling alley chilling, and then Joey sneaked up and surprised us. He was ready to go a bit earlier but I didn’t hear my cell phone.

We drove Sean to the airport. For some reason there was a lot of cops on the way. Anyhow, got to the airport and said goodbye to Sean.

Joey drove me back to the hostel, but not before driving through downtown again. He showed me the area around the river, and told me what part of town not to wander into. Apparently this certain grass median was the dividing line between the French Quarter and a really bad part of the city. Especially Louis Armstrong Park. I wonder how these places are now post-Katrina. Anyhow, Joey drove me back to the hostel then.

I didn’t feel like sleeping, so I went out into the courtyard and talked to other hostel guests. I ended up doing this several nights.

So around the table from me clockwise were: Ron, Margret, Heather, and Paul

Ron was drunk, and I seem to remember he reminded me of Ron Jeremy for some reason, but he was a coherent philisophical drunk that talked about life and how we should all just get along (“in the words of ______”). He also was a singer/bassist. Margret was closer to my age, and kind of lanky and cute. She added to the conversation now and then. Heather made some comments before leaving early to do something or other. Paul was the quiet guy so he didn’t say much. Ron and I first got along quite well but then I introduced the Israel/Palestine conflict into the conversation and we started getting into an argument. What it was we were arguing about, I never was exactly sure, but it was an argument about something or other that Ron really got into it saying that I didn’t have my facts right. That really aggravated me but after a while I found it a bit pointless to continue the conversation so I just shut up. Heather came back and shortly after Ron left.

Heather was an interesting girl. She had a buzz cut, and worked as a stripper part time. In the past three months she had been traveling everywhere. She told us some of her stripper stories, or about meeting famous people, or climbing up to the hollywood sign completely stoned. She was a bit of a crazy girl, but I really like that kind of person. She also told us she had a very strange vision disorder where she saw the world kind of like how an old comic mixed dots of color to create the various hues. I’m not sure how true that was, but I thought it was really fascinating.

Next, a Scotsman named Sean came by. He had been in the military (possibly the Marines), and was now training to become a chef. He had this gigantic encyclopedia of ingredients that he showed me, which was very impressive. Heather left shortly after, and I think Paul also left, leaving Sean, Margret, and I. We told our stories, and I heard about some of their drunk adventures, Sean had some especially good ones, and we had a pleasant rest of the evening. Sooner or later it actually became morning, and with the sun rising I went to bed.

Day 37 – New Orleans

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

After a long previous day, I slept in a bit. Being the first day in New Orleans without Sean, I was at a loss for what to do. Being the experienced traveler I am now, I know that the nature of a two person journey is completely different than a solo trip.

First I took a long needed shower. Then got on a trolley that brought me to the French Quarter again, which seemed to be the only part of New Orleans worth spending time in. I walked up and down each of the streets, and visited every art gallery and antique store that I could find. I also headed back to the enVie Cafe and once again our favorite server Jessica wasn’t there.

Not much must have happened, or I didn’t write it down in my outlines, but considering my late start I suspect that it was soon night and I returned to the hostel for another night sitting around the table outside.

[lost memory] I didn’t elaborate on who was at the table, or much of what happened, but I wrote “Voodoo and Fire”, and by this I assume I meant we talked about voodoo and sat around a fire.

[lost memory] I wrote down “morning – weird german guy, cigarettes”, and this I can’t figure out at all. Too bad for lost memories.

Day 38 – New Orleans

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

These few days around New Orleans contain a lot of lost memories.

For example, I can’t remember that I “slept during the morning on the floor”. But that’s what I wrote. And apparently I went back to the enVie cafe again. I don’t think it was just to try and see that Jessica girl again, but more so it was that they had free internet.

I went into some place to play some pool.

And looked for Margret at some place. I believe she told me she worked at some place, and I went to find her there but couldn’t.

I missed two trolleys on the way back to the hostel, and so I walked. But while walking down the street someone threw eggs at me from a passing car! They hit me but didn’t explode very well so I only had a little bit of mess on me. It was more annoying but also contributed to the amusing tragedies I had been experiencing in that city.

Back at the hostel I talked to an Aussie and British guy.

In the evening I went out on the town with Margret. I was getting to really like her, and hoped that some kind of temporary romance would start between us (but it never did). [lost memory] ditched ladies. She led me to believe that it was really easy to get into bars if one was under 21, since she did it all the time. But that seemed to only be true for her since the two times we tried to get into a bar I got carded and had to leave. We did go to some kind of souvenir shop and I bought one of my favorite shirts that I still have today, which is one of a skull with two pirate swords crossing it. Also at some point I picked up another House of Voodoo shirt that I had for a long time in my life but eventually lost one day.

We went down to the Mississippi River and chatted there.

[lost memory] zots

If I remember correctly, at the end of the evening I really wanted to make some sort of move on Margret, I really wanted to kiss her, but I never found my moment and chickened out.

Day 39 – New Orleans

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

This day I went shopping a bit. Went to a “voodoo” store and got a small voodoo doll for $40. I have absolutely no idea what happened to this voodoo doll.

While walking around downtown some guy approached me, and tried just a friendly chat approach to getting something out of me. He walked with me for a few blocks and we talked casually, and I didn’t feel threatened by him though I was completely expecting him to ask for something. I think at some point we started talking about smoking marijuana, and I informed him that I didn’t do that and never had, and I think soon afterwards he excused himself.

This evening was actually my last at the hostel, as I had booked a Greyhound bus to San Antonio. We had a Voodoo extravaganza, which apparently was so good that I don’t recall it one bit.

So at 1:30 a.m. or around then I went to the front desk of the hostel to call a cab. I picked up my bags, said my last goodbyes to Margret and left. Y’know I did get her contact information, and I believe I even tried to contact her on two occasions, but didn’t hear back from her.

Talked to the cab driver about all that happened, and tipped him $2 out of the $10 fee. Got my luggage tagged, sat, and waited for the bus. I got up to spend $0.50 on an airplane video game, since I kind of like those ones, but I died pretty fast. The bus was then loaded and I got on. There weren’t many people so I got two entire seats to myself, which helped to sleep. The bus was supposed to leave at 2:35 a.m. but I think it left a bit later than that. I couldn’t see anything out the window, but knowing how Texas and highway 10 is I doubt there was too much to see. Slept.

Day 40 – San Antonio

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

The bus stopped at a few places but I was to tired to notice where. We arrived in Houston to switch to another bus headed to San Antonio. I was temporarily confused by some guy helping me by telling me I didn’t need to re-check my baggage. I think after having the car stolen I had become very suspicious of people.

I had a bit of time to get some food at the local mart. Of course being a bus station,I was approached by another drug dealer who wanted a dollar for McDonalds or something. I got back on the bus, and once again had an entire two seats to myself, and I easily knocked out and slept most of that trip as well.

Texas was completely different than how I had imagined it. There were plenty of trees, lots of grass, lots of greenery out the window. I believe I had imagined something a lot more like the Sergio Leone movies. I was told that most of East Texas was green like what I saw.

Finally got to San Antonio and called Monique (another friend from the online world) telling her that the bus was about 5 minutes away. She picked me up at the station not long after I had arrived.

We got to her place and I put my things down. Monique and I chatted about things. I had no idea that she had a fake eye, and thought that was pretty awesome. Her dogs were at first very crazy and suspicious of me. One was very friendly and the other took a while, but both of them got accustomed to me fairly fast. We got on bikes and Monique showed me around San Antonio. We visited the Alamo, which wasn’t too interesting. We tried riding to the city square but got a little lost. Then to a sort of market place but nothing was happening there except a few touristy shops. Rode to a German restaurant where we met up with her husband Ed, who was a pretty awesome guy. He was a BMX stunt guy. At the restaurant we got some amazing root beer and some kind of meat which tasted great.

Then we left to check out some tree place. I guess we didn’t go since I wrote “locked off”. We rode around looking at various houses and chatting before heading back to the house. Once again the dogs went crazy. Did a bit of laundry, and worked on my computer. Talked to Ed about video things, and then watched something on television (Futurama or Family Guy) until late and went to bed on their really comfortable couch.

Now what’s weird is that I swear I went up to see Austin during this trip, and the only way I could have done so would have been a day trip during this day… but I didn’t write anything about it so either I’m confused and I’ve only been to Austin in 2008 and 2011 before moving there, or I didn’t write this in.

Day 41 – San Antonio

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

Monique’s dogs barked me awake in the morning and then joined me on the couch. I got up and took a very cold shower because I had gotten the handles switched. Folded my laundry and then went out to get some great Mexican food – Beef Puffy Tacos. Monique needed to go to work at 11, so she dropped me off at the bus station before then.

There was a bit of confusion and I wasn’t sure how to interpret instructions from a guy who spoke indecipherable English. I got in line long after I should have because I wasn’t sure where and when the bus was going. Then I asked the guy what gate I had to be at and he said the bus was already loading, which was a WTF moment.

Anyhow, got on and sat next to a guy with a cowboy hat, which was totally Texas to me. I slept for a bit. Then the cowboy answered his cellphone and chatted for a while. He mentioned something interesting and the people in the seats in front of us started chatting to him. I jumped into the conversation when appropriate and we all started a nice little party on the Greyhound (which happens quite often actually). We talked about Texas stuff, military stuff, and all sorts of things that made up a good time between the many rest stops between San Antonio and El Paso. The cowboy was a guy named Sam, and happened to be Jewish, and a woman in front of my looked like a teacher I had at one time (Mrs. Barth).

[lost memory] I wrote down that we crashed in the middle of nowhere, but I don’t remember crashing at all. It was a desert area, and there was a beautiful sunset and clouds. I guess we got back on the bus and continued. Sam started to play some kind of bowling game on his cell phone and he was very good with it. At some point I observed the time zone changing too (I’m guessing this was on a cell phone’s clock).

We made a long stop to get some food (which happened to be Wendy’s), and then finally made it to El Paso in the evening. El Paso was a whole lot larger than I thought it was going to be. I got off the bus, said goodbye to Sam The Jewish Cowboy, and met up with my dad and one of my distant cousins.

To fill people in: Once the car was stolen in New Orleans, my family and I formulated a new plan where I would take the Greyhound bus to El Paso, and meanwhile my dad would drive his Jeep Grand Cherokee down from the Bay Area to meet up with me. Then we would drive together to Santa Fe to meet up with my mom, we would spend some time there, and then they would fly home and I would drive my dad’s car the rest of the trip.


So at this point we went to my cousin Arlene’s house. Arlene had many health issues in her life, and wasn’t doing so well. I didn’t, and still don’t know that side of my family too well, but Arlene has passed away since. That might have even been the last time I saw her. Anyhow, we talked a bit and I played with their two dogs Brisket and Brownie (or maybe we ate brisket and had brownies… the trip outline is unclear). But anyhow, we had decided that instead of burdening them with our presence we would stay in a hotel, so we said goodbye and headed to La Quinta, an I watched Family Guy and Futurama with my dad before sleeping.

My dad keeps a very detailed journal, much more than my own, and he was kind enough to give me his records of the day:

Wed, 14 Jul Hot with afternoon thunderstorm buildup.

Ben takes Greyhound bus to El Paso at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. Arrives at 10:35 p.m. I drove to El Paso and visited with the Hutmans, Arlene, Mark and Patty.
I had breakfast with Nat and Eloise and left about 9 a.m. and drove East out of Phoenix on Hwy 60 to Globe (past the big open pit copper mines. This was where Lenny went to high school). At Globe I refueled ($1.79) and took Hwy 70 to where it met I-10 again at Lordsberg. Hwy 70 was all 2-lane but mostly straight and almost no traffic. I cruised at 75 most of the way.
I stayed on I-10 to El Paso, stopping at Deming for lunch at Denny’s. I called the Hutmans from there and got directions from Mark. I arrived at the Hutmans at 4:30, Arlene walked out to the living room to show strength but she’s essentially bed-ridden. Patty had a women’s dinner so Mark and I went by the LaQuinta to get a room and then to the Great American Stake House where I had brisket, way too much so I brought some back for Ben. While waiting for Ben to arrive, Arlene and I talked for over 2 hours catching up on family gossip.
Mark and I picked Ben up at 11 in the center of town Greyhound bus station, complete with a drunk and hooker. I immediately called Carol and handed the phone to Ben, she was finally relieved that Ben was indeed safe and sound. He did seem to handle himself well with a little bit of swagger. We brought Ben back to the Hutmans and visited with Arlene a little bit and then he had my leftovers and we went to the LaQuinta.

(Apparently Brisket and Brownie were references to food eaten, not the dogs’ names)

Day 42 – Albuquerque

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

At this point in recording the trip, I somewhat gave up the outline responsibilities and left the journaling to my dad, only putting a few additions onto his records. So here was his interpretation of this day:

Thurs, 15 Jul Very warm with afternoon thunderstorm buildup.

Ben and I drive to Albuquerque and wait for Carol to come in tomorrow. 
We slept in somewhat and got on I-24 North shortly before 10. We stopped at IHOP in Los Cruses and had brunch before Ben took over and drive to Albuquerque. We checked in at the Airport LaQuinta at 3 p.m. and rested a bit. The LaQuinta had a free high speed internet so Ben went online immediately and started talking to his friends and catching up on his blog.
Ben and I went over to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and had two hours to look at the Museum which I found fascinating because it had exhibits of each Pueblo Indian tribe, their art and culture. Ben checked out the gift store but I didn’t have a chance (or I would have bought some CDs).
The we drove to the ‘old town’ to look around and found museum row, the Natural History Museum, the Atomic Museum, the . . . We stopped for dinner at a heavily advertised Mexican Restaurant, Little Anita’s (very tourist). Just as we were leaving a thunder storm started dumping, we waited for a break and got to the car but it rained heavily all the way back to the LaQuinta. From our third story place we watched the thunder cloud dump downtown Albuquerque while we experienced a microburst with high winds and rain.

My additions to his records were:
At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center we watched film of a woman making black clay pots, which I thought was very cool. And Dad spent a whole lot more time really soaking in the museum than I did. As my usual museum habit, I just grazed over the visual stuff and didn’t read into the details. I’ve never been very huge into the dynamics of museums.

Day 43 – Santa Fe

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

Here is my father’s record of the day:

Fri, 16 Jul Hot with thunderstorms.

Carol called at 9:30 from Phoenix, pick her up on time. Ben and [I] packed up and left the LaQuinta and drove around Albuquerque looking for a steering wheel locking bar. Then back to the airport to pick up Carol and drive North on I-25.
We stopped for lunch at the Sandia Indian Casino for lunch, very posh and cheap lunch. Carol [gambled] a few quarters (Ben had to wear a red armband because he was under 21).
We made Santa Fe by 2 p.m. and went directly to The Garcia Compound to meet Glen & ML Hiersoux of Santa Fe Stay, 636 Garcia St, Santa Fe, just around the corner from Canyon Road. The compound consisted of a main house and 4 small cottages, all renovated and very comfortable.
[Mom and Dad have always been interested in purchasing property in Santa Fe]
We rested until Glen got back and then had about an hour interview with he and his wife ML, running the management company and what and where they manage properties. Glen preferred less than 40 units from Palace Ave. down to Capitol East. For a straight cut of the rental, 15%, they would take care of everything, including reservations (handled by ML). Glen is also a broker and can show us properties that we might be interested in.
Then we dressed for services at Temple Beth Shalom and went down. We met the Rabbi’s wife, Janet Schwab who was from the bay area. She knew Rick Steinberg and Stacia. She also mentioned to Carol their other house in zzz that they are thinking of selling (it’s being rented now).
Then we went into town for dinner at the Cowgirl Bar and Grill, lots of noise and urban cowboys but good food, Ben had his buffalo burger. It was also a hotbed of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community from the paper I picked up, very interesting combination.

My additions:
For lunch I had a steak quesadilla. Beth Shalom’s services were kind of intersting to go to. They had similar songs to what I was used to back home, and also some new tunes, and some new songs. But that’s typical of most synagogues. Some stereotypical Jewish grandmothers were behind me during services, and I felt that was important to write down for some reason.

Day 44 – Santa Fe

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

Dad’s record:

Sat, 17 Jul I switched teaching pottery with Njeri today. Very warm with thunderstorms.

Although my watch went off at 7 a.m. I didn’t get up until 8 a.m. I made coffee and after I showered everybody else was up. First things first, I dropped Carol off at Temple Beth Shalom for Torah Study and went back home to do a load of laundry. Then Ben and I went back to pick her up at 10:20 and went over to the Back Door Café where there was a free wireless internet. Ben hooked up immediately on AirPort and proceeded to sign up for his Brandeis classes, right here in Santa Fe. Then Carol got on and dumped her email messages.
Since we had the car parked in a good place, when Ben and Carol were through we wandered around the Plaza and over to the Blue Corn Café for lunch. Then more wandering until we got back to Water St. where Ben bought a black cowboy hat from a street vendor. Then back to the unit for a quick nap and change of shirt.
At 3 p.m. we had an appointment with Tom Simon of Kokopelli Property Management (same building we met Clark Kindell before in 2001). We talked to him for an hour about much the same things we discussed with Glen and ML yesterday evening, but his experience and expertise was far wider than Glen’s, but not as personal. He was very clear between vacation and long term rentals and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Zzz more
Everyone just hung around until 7:30 when I dragged everyone out to drive up to Espanola for dinner at El Paragua Restaurant on Hwy 76 (24 miles north of Santa Fe, I found it in the Yellow Pages). Very traditional Mexican food, I had excellent tacos. Hwy 85/285 was under heavy construction so we were slowed coming and going. On the way home we ran into a thunderstorm which dumped for only a few minutes.

My additions:
I stayed at the rented cottage during their visit with Tom Simon. In the evening I transferred dad’s log of the trip to my computer so I didn’t have to work as much (and now I curse my lazy past me for not writing down the trip in my own words, since I think it would have been interesting to compare the two perspectives of the trip).

That black cowboy hat I bought, I either still have it, or I think I was going to trade it for a different hat at Burning Man in 2012. It got pretty beat up and was falling apart due to moths eating away at it while it was in storage.

Day 45 – Santa Fe

—— Converted from outline form: 2013-9-19 ——

Alright, now back to my own outlines.

In the morning I slept in but finally got up and did some work on the trip logs. I also made new music mixes to play in the car for the trip back. Mom and Dad were bickering over something or other, which isn’t too out of place. Kind of a Ricky and Lucy sort of bickering.

We had breakfast at some grill in a very up-scale shopping mall, but that didn’t make the steak sandwich any less delicious. We went back to the place we were renting and immediately left with one of the realtors that they had been talking to to look at houses. The first one was small and linear. The second had a sunken living room. The third had a lost cat. The fourth was two stories. And the fifth I didn’t have any comments on.

We came back for a brief lunch before heading out again to look at more places in a mountainous area. Stopped by some coffee place and I browsed magazines. Also went to a bookstore. Then back to the rental and I watched some movies (Ocean’s 11 and Hook). I went out to dinner with Mom and for dessert had some pumpkin ice cream.