"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Friday, August 27, 2010

8/27/10: Boise, ID


Mike elected to stay in Boise until Saturday, and I was glad to hear it. They needed another day out of the car and that would provide a chance to get to know Ben & Brad a bit better. Besides, I was selfishly enjoying this new (to me) dynamic!


Ben and I took a fun trip to pick up clothes for his senior pictures, and it seemed that the time the three of us had spent together over the week had paid dividends. The timing was unintentional...and perfect: I’d landed the week they’d be home and before they’d begun school. Ben and Brad are fantastic young men. I’m proud to know them and thankful for the little bit of time we’ve been able to spend getting to know each other. Of course, with that thought comes the temptation to rage on time lost; that’s something I’ll probably never completely come to terms with. That’s for another time, perhaps, but today I’m struck by the course of events since June 2008.

Once Dave was home, his sister Robyn came over for a huge chicken/steak & potato dinner...and of course Rum Runners! We all drank a bit too much, Lynette got reacquainted with Mike & Bobbie, and Ben and I threw the ball around and played basketball in their neighbor’s driveway. It was a perfect crescendo to the week, but as the day ended I still had yet to decide whether to leave with Mike in the morning or remain in the Northwest.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

8/26/10: Boise, ID


Mike, Bobbie, and Ally returned from a quick but perfectly enjoyable visit to Bend and their plan is to return east as soon as tomorrow, depending on what I decide to do. I honestly don’t know what that will be. I’m inclined to stay and head toward Portland again; of course, there’s always something unresolved. I also could have them drop me in Cheyenne to hitch or catch a bus home, or suggest a return through Colorado where they could drop me in Denver.

Nebraska, anyone? 

The "where" no longer matters. The question is "whether" to continue on at all, and I’m on the edge of capitulation. I have something to lose, and that sense of possible loss is both new and troubling. 

As Dave put it yesterday, this is a period of huge transition. It’s one highlighted and accented by a quiet, poignant, frustrating regression. A useful one. I’ve gone creatively and spiritually dormant over the past six-months; since Ray. The negativity is wearing me down, making me tentative; I’m questioning both myself and my ideas; my character and the stability of the intellectual and spiritual ideas that now seem to have vanished. Nothing is new here. I’m either going to fight through it or cave in and return to “life.” 

That’s a bit disingenuous; there’s no “returning” to that old life, thank God. The life I'd rejoin now was created by this "quest". Only by stepping out have I found the means and the courage by which to confront demons. Only by stepping out have I taken control of meeting Michelle, Mike, Lynette, and their families. Only by silencing family and childhood narratives; forcing a relationship with reality--for better or worse--have I found a semblance of relative peace. At times it seems there’s nothing left to confront, and I actually miss that!

The novel-euphoria of “new family” has worn off, as I’m sure it has with them and their new "brother". I’ve begun to incorporate Michelle, Mike, and Lynette into life on a practical level. My life feels to be unmistakably on the edge of a radically new phase. Not just my 40’s, but something much more significant. I don’t know what that is, but I know it’s coming.

As I look back over the last 2 1/2 years, the course of events and changes are staggering, and much of that’s been due to brazen confidence and/or arrogance; something I’ve lost and want BACK! I’ve not missed this kind of anxiety one damn bit, but to be fair, its absence has likely left me a little complacent. 

Another day or two in Boise? We’ll see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8/25/10: Boise, ID


Dave worked a full day, but once he was home we embarked upon a remarkable chat concerning the results of one losing their religion or spiritual compass. Considering his background of renouncing Mormonism after climbing its ranks, Dave has a rare, fascinating, and original perspective and personal experience with it. I explored how my loss of "trust-in-the-compass" coincided with the negativity I seem to attract lately; at least since the Chris rants of February, if not all the way back to Andre. The conversation eventually turned to forgiveness (or lack of); giving people, myself included if not first, permission to be, as Ray put it, flawed.

Beyond that, I believe I have lost partial sight of my original goal: truth. I’m afraid some of my political rantings have encouraged the adaptation of the base habit of preferring to “appear” right” than being right. 


I’m in an odd place. I still crave answers yet am still caught entertaining both petty regret and a want to go home; give up this quest and build some sort of life. My priorities have abruptly altered and suddenly there are more important things than an intellectualized ego quest. 

Yet, as 40 prepares to strike in a few weeks, I’m not yet willing to embrace a domesticated pasture. Looking around my current setting I see the organic fruit of this "quest": Lynette, Dave, Ben, Brad, even their cat! Without this “quest” for the indescribable, this current scene, along with its characters, remains unknown and unresolved. This part of life remains banished to the same oblivion-of-waste as the previous four decades. 

As I suggested in May, I need to find that positive spot; that place where I am putting something positive back into the world. I’d love to spend a month here pickin' brains!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

8/22-8/24/10: Boise, ID

Our "coincidental" timing was remarkable. We arrived at Lynette's at about 11pm, literally a few short minutes before their cab, and after 36-hours in the car, proceeded to fight car lag while exchanging enthusiastic greetings and reacquainting ourselves.


It hadn't really struck me until watching them how little time Mike & Lynette had spent together in their lives. After just an hour, and against Lynette and Dave's vehement protests, Mike chose to continue on toward their destination in Bend, which was still several hours west. I'd decided to remain behind and begin the process of looking backward and forward at the same time. I had been sensing powerful mental tectonics threatening to snap since Alex Bay, my instincts were now screaming to just sit and process for a bit, and after 2009 and spending New Year's here, Lynette & Dave's place felt like a bit of a sanctuary!

Once Mike resumed his journey west, Lynette, Dave, and I were in bed almost immediately. They had been traveling all day and had to work the next morning. As for me? I just needed... rest!

The next couple of days were incredibly tranquil. Ben and Brad returned from their dad's, which made for a nice surprise when they realized I was back. With Dave & Lynette working, the three of us spent time just hanging out, watching a movie or throwing a ball around. It was quite nice, and an excellent start to an eventful stay.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

8/17-8/22/10: New York to Idaho-Doug


With the sun falling, and having no luck in my shitty spot, I was contemplating nesting possibilities when a 4-door Toyota with Vermont plates recklessly pulled over on the narrow shoulder, and waved me on. When I said I was going toward Erie, he shockingly replied, “no problem”, told me to hurry up, and suddenly I knew I would make it on time to catch my brother and, barring any complications, his ride toward Idaho and Oregon.

Aim for Maine. Land in Oregon. I am the traveling sharpshooter.

Doug was tall, about my age, had long curly hair, familiar cheap monotone clothes, and judging by the large boxes of open food cans, laid out buffet-style, was traveling somewhere distant and gave an initial hippie impression. That generalization was woefully mistaken. Yet, he would prove to be a powerful reminder of our ingrained, unavoidable duality.

Doug had the rare combination of being supremely arrogant and at the same time pathetically awkward. Assessments aside, it quickly became obvious that Doug was brilliant and suffered from the stereotypical social deficiency that often comes along with it. He reminded me of someone genetically spliced from the DNA of a Slabber and Sheldon.




Doug was driving from Vermont across New York and on his way thru Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and ultimately Montana investigating various places along the way that he described as “unspoiled” parks and nature preserves. I loved the coincidence, of course, especially uopn learning that one of the places he targeted was, literally, five-miles from my sister’s house in Ohio: my destination!

Nature, botany, and geology are Doug’s primary passions. He had methodically targeted unspoiled spots in nearly every part of the country, and meticulously planned, to the point of obsession, every detail to immerse himself in them. He raved about, and offered an impressive, home-schooled seminar on, the geologic history of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, while mocking that I had been at their doorstep and not bothered to investigate "God’s Country." I made a mental note. While I am sometimes inclined to engage in obnoxious hyperbole Doug did not seem prone to exaggeration!

A Happy Reflection 

In an earlier life, Doug had been quite successful in New England real estate, and made a great deal of money in another business venture. And, he had been miserable. We often finished each other’s sentences while exchanging personal anecdotes about learning how an external pursuit of “stuff” left us hollow inside. He ultimately sold everything, took an extended through Europe, and now lives much as The Friar and I do: he works when he needs to, but not to buy clothes, cars, or LED TV’s. He works to travel, often doing menial labor, and, as he told it, with much greater satisfaction. For him, work is not a practice in perpetual servitude or careerism: the jobs end once they’ve served their purpose and he recommences living life again.

We spent a great deal of time sharing stories and exchanging social philosophies while bemoaning the willingness of most folks to subjugate their lives to the implanted idea of “career”; to become an unquestioning cog in a decaying machine. I haven’t written much about that in a long time, but it’s still there and it was quite clear that Doug and I had a great deal in common, at least in this area. We’d made similar decisions after drawing similar conclusions. As we weaved thru western New York, I also heard the familiar, “I never pick up hitchers, but something told me to stop” which triggered a twinge of warm, faint nostalgia.

An Uncomfortable Reflection 

Doug’s other, and more significant trait, at least in this particular narrative, was his blunt and overwhelming disgust for people. It was a disgust that seemed to stem from arrogance and contempt as well as a poorly concealed, deep seated sense of rejection. When we stopped for gas he seemed to actually go out of his way to be rude to nearly everyone he interacted with. It was embarrassing, and I found myself shrugging as if to say, "I don't know what the fuck's wrong with him either!" His comments made it clear that he was either showing off or that he considered these people his inferior minions and wouldn’t suffer the effort of disseminating an unnecessary common courtesy! This extended beyond words; he was a prick driver as well!

He provided some insight into this as we approached Erie. Doug told of how he was ostracized and made a spectacle of as a child because, as he told it, he was “so much smarter” than everyone. He smugly told how, even as a youth, he could think several steps ahead of everyone else, even teachers, and use his intellect as a stealth weapon. In his eye, the battlefield is the mind, and on it he's Napoleon. From the passenger’s seat, there was a veiled, enraged, hurt child striving to show off and impress me with mental muscle. The closer to Erie we came, the more pathetic he seemed. I was also disturbed a bit. These insights were entirely too clear, and frighteningly familiar. Using intellect, ideas, and venomous words as weapons to reap vengeance? Hmmm....

Shortly before leaving New York, I offered Doug gas money to ease his airtight budget if he’d let me ride along to Sandusky or Toledo. My new plan (ha!) was to meet Michelle, who had offered to pick me up as far away as Erie or Cleveland, and coordinate with my brother from her place near Toledo. The closer I was to Toledo the better Doug readily agreed, but said he was stopping for the night just past Erie, on I-90 at the Ohio Welcome Center, and I'd need to find a place to sleep.

Ohio 

No problem there! I found a secluded spot for my bivy snuggled beneath some evergreens and we were back on I-90 toward Cleveland by 6:30 Wednesday morning. I was looking forward to both ending this little Massena-Ohio sprint, and a leisurely day touring northern Ohio’s natural wonders with Doug. Natural wonders in Ohio? Really? Little more than the Cuyahoga River's chemical blaze came to mind!

Yes, it really happened! 
The first stop was impressive, and something I would never expected to find in any city, let alone Cleveland. Rocky River Metropark is a beautiful, nearly undisturbed preserve IN Cleveland. Yes, CLEVELAND! Doug seemed impressed with Cuyahoga County, and gave Cleveland his thumbs up. I had to grudgingly agree, besides...it’s not like I was complimenting Columbus! Ick...

Rocky River Metropark, Cleveland
Cleveland
Through the morning and afternoon, I found myself hiking a wetland preserve near Sandusky, reading while Doug explored another preserve in the middle of nowhere, then exploring Marblehead Lighthouse and its adjacent state park. At each stop, he’d euphorically bound down the trails for extended, giddy hikes and return with tales of his intrepid Adventures in Botany! He had a love for and a bond with nature that I admired a great deal. This was his element, and he was quite likeable while he was in it...and as long as there were no people interfering with it!


Cedar Point
Lake Erie Near Sandusky, OH

Near Port Clinton, OH
A Troubling Reflection 

Throughout the day, we had inevitably talked politics and sociology. Doug’s worldview was an interesting ideological hybrid. Being from Vermont, he had traditional libertarian tendencies, but he also was quite progressive when it came to issues like energy and the environment. Economically he was Milton Friedman’s persistent wet dream. “To the right of Attila the Hun”, to steal a line. Socially, like many of us willfully loitering out on the fringes, he believed society to be on a downslide and saw sustainability, both individually and on-scale, as essential to survival.

However, what will stick with me forever was Doug's chilling, unwavering, and disturbingly reptilian lack of compassion. When it came to unemployment, social security, food stamps, health care, or anything to do with assisting the poor, he was convinced that caring for these “freeloaders” equated to growing an inoperable economic tumor that would consume us all. Doug’s platform: “Austerity Now! Austerity Tomorrow! Austerity Forever! Fuck Them!

I tried to appeal to Doug’s sense of humanity, but found none. He was ready to go to war to protect the endangered Flatulent Pink Flamingo, but when it came to his own species? Social Darwinism. No mercy. Natural Law. Economically, everyone was to be left to and at the mercy of “The Market.” Ultimately, I asked him if he thought we should just throw the poor, sick, and starving into the streets as they did in medieval London. “Absolutely!” Can’t keep up? Out of the gene pool!

Doug’s lack of basic compassion was reminiscent of my earlier conversations with various economic and social “anarchists” I’ve met over the last few of years, particularly in the Dakotas and Slab City. Admittedly, they also mirrored some views I entertained and tinkered with since ’08. Through conversations with some of my Teabagging friends, as well as reading some of their in-depth ideas, and watching the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill this summer, I’ve concluded that this brand of socioeconomics is, at best, inhumane and beneath civilized culture. At worst: an deluded rationalization for greed & cruelty; financial cannibalization and exploitation of the most vulnerable.

To make matters worse, I saw it coming. The backlash I predicted in December of '08 now has a name: Teabaggery. While he admirable despised the Alaskan Road Whore, Doug’s clever arguments and verbal gymnastics seemed to echo all the other austerity-driven propaganda and did little more than provide Teabaggery with clever nuance.

“Not My Problem” should be the emblazoned upon every Teabagger’s calling card; avoiding taxation in the name of “The Market” is all that matters. The Market is literally God. Is there nothing held higher? I asked, is there’s no higher ideal in this world than the ability to accumulate and hoard wealth, even at the expense of others? At that, he gave me his patented arrogant, amused look saying he hoped I understand that at this point in my life. Proudly, I firmly reject it.

Drawing on recent experiences, and particularly conversations with Brian over the summer about things like projection and cognitive dissonance, my bullshit detector was blaring, especially considering his story the night before. It seemed clear that Doug’s prime concern was less about social philosophy and politics and more about avenging himself as “the victim ostracized from the pack” only because he was “gifted.” There was entirely too much anger tainted with superiority and disdain to be just simple ideology.

Rant Alert 

Beyond him specifically, Doug provided yet another glimpse into the mindset of an alarming number of people. As I’ve said, I’ve seen them all over and have mentioned them periodically over the last two-years. I’m no Rasmussen but the anger is manifesting itself into something ugly. You need only to be aware of their pervasive dogma while listening to The Asshat King Glenn Beck, Rush, The Alaskan Road Whore, or any of the whackjob Teabaggery candidates like Sharon Angle or Christine O’Donnell. The fact the latter are legitimate candidates speaks volumes.



Doug’s clearly no anomaly; there are millions of Americans who are more than happy to throw whomever they define as a “freeloader” into the streets to starve in exchange for lower taxes. Never mind that the lower tax rates their avatars constantly bleat about won't apply to THEM!

Despite often clinging to their Bibles, they are perfectly comfortable in their “freeloader” judgment, along with any number of other designations with which they choose to label the “undesirables.” Meanwhile, rest assured they're not to be bothered being their brother's keeper, let alone anyone else!

They typically perpetrate all of this while clutching their crosses and wrapping themselves in the flag while arrogantly assuming the title of "patriot" and ridiculously belching out recycled, PBR-stenched phrases which include words like “tyranny” and “liberty”; all terms they couldn’t use in a sentence before they received their Teabag marching orders shortly following the election of The Socialist Antichrist.

Somehow, they equate freedom with gluttony and greed. Somehow they’re convinced that they know ANYTHING, about “tyranny!” Bloated, gun-crazed, redneck Americans moaning about “tyranny” is like butthurt Christians crying “oppression!” Fuck off. Listening to these arguments has convinced me that Teabaggery is the repositioned philosophy and legacy of Timothy McVeigh. He too championed second amendment remedies.

End Rant 


From this point forward, Doug was a resource. I kept the rest of our conversation away from political and social issues figuring that was the best way to keep the peace...and me in the car!

Late in the afternoon, I guided Michelle to a McDonald's in Port Clinton ending this little cannonball trip west. It had taken me 72-hours to get from Massena to Michelle.



As we sat waiting in the parking lot, I realized I had never given Doug the gas money I promised him. I concluded that the Karma Market and Natural Law conspired against him and chose not to provide. More to the point and to quote Deacon from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: “He was a dick.” 


Doug
As we parted ways, we made the obligatory promises to stay in touch, but that was clearly not happening.

Ohio to Idaho 

There’s not much to tell about the next few days. I made an REI run and began processing the past couple of weeks before meeting up with Mike and helping him drive their version of the Oregon Trail.


The cross-country was uneventful, except for another rendezvous with the Iowa 80, and taking  joy watching Mike and Ally’s amazement thru the Rockies. Mike had never been beyond Iowa. I could literally see their faces light up with seeing places for the first time; places I now take for granted. It reminded me of my first trip west and how I was hypnotized. Its a different world out here; one where pictures and words just don’t suffice. They took a special liking to Wyoming and Utah, and I must confess: despite everything I have said about Utah, if I were leading my cult west I’d likely settle near the Wasatch, too! It’s disgustingly beautiful!
Wyoming
Near Laramie, WY
Utah




It was good getting to know Mike a bit more as we rode west along I-80 and, although Lynette and Dave were in the Antilles scuba diving, I was looking forward to stopping in Boise on the way back from Oregon for a reunion of sorts. My intention was to surprise them, and just have Mike and I show up. Unfortunately, I was unsure of their itinerary so shortly after we crossed from into Idaho I called to let her know we were around and that I hoped to see her at some point while we were in the Northwest.

To my shock, she almost immediately returned my call saying that she and Dave were in Salt Lake waiting for their connector to Boise! It seemed that we’d all be simultaneously converging on Boise in a couple of hours...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8/17/10: Elmira and Corning, NY

When Tuesday dawned, I was far from certain about getting to Ohio for the week’s-end rendezvous with my brother. Casey & Julia had dropped me in a great spot as far as shade, camping, and a truck stop. The problem was no traffic! It reminded me of '08's Mormon Black Hole near Pocatello!

By 9am, I had broken camp, repacked, returned with water & coffee, and hoped to quickly pass Elmira, which Julia had aptly described a bit “shady”; a vibe I’d noticed both with Alex and in ‘09 with Chris & Stacey. It seems the best of Elmira's attributes is that it is a gateway to either New York or Pennsylvania!
"WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING HERE?"

The traffic never picked up; often as infrequent as a car every half-hour. As morning became mid-afternoon, I began to repeatedly ask, “What the fuck am I doing here?” This wasn’t in the predictable, dismissible tone of simple frustration.

Sitting in the sun, sipping water, and throwing stones at signs, I again had time to reflect back over the near-year since meeting Leslie, Lynette, and Andre, during my northern jaunt of 2009. Another baby step toward the coming reconciliation came with again seeing how much I had lost touch with what were once cornerstone beliefs.

Since leaving Port Townsend, the core energy and vibe of these little travels had changed. From Andre to Wendie all the way to Ray and my relationship with Chris, everything had taken a distinctly different, sometimes sinister tone. I had cultivated doubt in myself and my own beliefs as I dissected those of others, particularly after the Don Quixote manifesto, and now, particularly since Brian’s this summer. All the old ideas of universal synchronicity, even the 'Side Car' & 'Sit Down & Shut Up', sounded deluded and ridiculous when trying to articulate them. It was as though I’d performed a Broadway version of the R.E.M song Losing My Religion! I had hoped that this trip, to places unknown, would rekindle my sense of wonder and adventure; reignite what I’d lost and missed terribly: belief in a purpose and, to a great degree, myself. 

It nearly had, until the infamous Asscrack Incident! Despite my opinions of Ginger and Ahab, I wasn’t kidding myself into thinking that it was anyone’s fault but my own, yet I couldn’t comprehend what had changed in myself in the time between meeting Lynette & Andre and now...beyond losing touch with my Innards, and that thing I call The Voice

With such an obvious solution, it would seem easy to convince yourself to just “believe” again, and some can do that! I am not one of those people. I had inadvertently opened logic & reason’s door and wielded empirical proof as a weapon against spirituality, synchronicity, and intuition... then pointed that gun at myself! While challenging other’s possible “delusions”, I was scuttling my own foundation!

Mother. Fucker.

I’m sure that a few certain readers will savor my self-inflicted pain--perhaps call it Karma. Maybe deservedly so. But, you’ll need to wait for the moneyshot! For the purpose of continuity, Tuesday eventually provides New York’s companion-catalyst to the Asscrack Incident, this one a mercifully  external example helping to advance this tortuous process of spiritual realignment & growth, at least to some degree.


ELMIRA & CORNING


After five-hours, I was imagining spending next month’s birthday in Tioga Center when, out of nowhere, Levon pulled over and invited me in for a hop to Elmira. For the next 45-minutes we (mostly he) talked sociology and politics. He appeared to be in his mid to late-20’s and was on his way home to Watkins Glen after hiking a bit of the Appalachian Trail.

Levon’s father is involved in politics in some capacity, is himself is a passionate small-government Libertarian and, if I recall correctly, not a fan of The Alaskan Road Whore & her Teabagging Minions. That meant we got along beautifully! So well in fact that he offered me food, his number, and a ride to Erie, PA if I somehow became stranded and in danger of missing my Ohio connection. I like these New Yorkers!
Levon

Elmira required improvised, technical navigation. Meaning I had to walk. Levon’s drop-site was busy, but at a spot that was impossible for someone to stop. I took to the grass next to the interstate, hopped a fence, crossed a massive mall parking lot, and ultimately found accommodations on the ramp re-entering I-86 next to the airport. The heel blister had healed nicely to that point, but this little urban trek destroyed that!

Soon enough, I was in the car with “G” and on my way to Corning, famous for it’s glass making and home to CorningWare! “G” was in his 50’s and really nondescript but offered some great information on where to hop a train if I decided to AND drove me thru the pleasant little town that seemed a good place, since it was getting late in the day, to camp until Wednesday morning if needed. 

That would not be necessary...

Monday, August 16, 2010

8/16/10: Tioga Center, NY- A Nymphomaniac, Abortion, and End of an Era

Monday morning's alarm never had a chance to ring, deferring instead to the ominous chimes of thunder at 5:45. The skies offered a temporary reprieve, so I hustled to pack and sprint out of the woods to the truck stop hoping to ride out Mother Nature's drama. Thus began one of my most bizarre days!

Two hours, three pots of coffee, and a steak-and-eggs breakfast later, the storms had passed Central Square, the camera, cell phone and I had a full bellies, and all were prepared for a day-long push toward Binghamton then east toward Erie & Cleveland. My hope was to find a cannonball thru Syracuse right away. When Liz pulled over (another single woman!) 10-minutes later in what appeared to be her combination commuter/farm vehicle, it seemed to be a modest uneventful 10-mile start to the day. Ninety-minutes later I was disembarking from, aside from Dennis, what may be the strangest, most uncomfortable ride I’ve had since beginning these travels in 2008! 

Liz was married, in her early or mid-20’s, quite round, and already had a large flock: five kids. Once she felt assured I wasn’t a freak she relaxed, bypassed her original 10-minutes and just kept driving. And driving. Once thru Syracuse, I learned firsthand how women must often feel! Liz steadily, and without subtlety, manipulated the conversation to share that she was a "raging nymphomaniac", "addicted to pornography and the male form”, and that her husband was as "insatiable" as she. Oh, also that I should consider seeking out "work" on the Internet because, “with all the walking you do, I’m sure you’re in really good shape!” I regularly felt as though I should remind her that my eyes were “up here”. I didn't, and request that you remember that next time I'm accused of having no filter.

Liz repeatedly asked if I was uncomfortable with her steadily intensifying advances and, wanting to get as close to Binghamton as I could, I just rolled with it answering questions like, “what do you do about, you know, sex while you’re on the road? Do you just jerk off?” "Ya ever get a lot-lizard?"I laughed because, while it sounded bizarre coming from this critter, it wasn’t the first time I’d been asked that question. I  braced myself for what I assumed was the inevitable demand to watch in exchange for the ride! A demand that, thankfully, never came! But, with that question, all I could think of was Ahab and Ginger's daylong Cirque du Soleil coital-harpooning ceremony in Watertown! Some things you just cannot un-see.

When she finally figured out she was being stiff-armed, Liz quickly bored of me. In Binghamton, she took a spontaneous exit, and unceremoniously dumped me out in a Lowe’s parking lot next to US-11. I felt dirty. Used. Like was being shoved out of the car after being taken to Red Lobster and refusing to put out ! I'm a human being, goddammit. Not a wandering sex toy. Hold me.

I must admit I got a few laughs imagining the signs I could write up if I took Liz's "work" advice: "Will whack for ride." "Erect 'til Erie." "Let's bone to Boise!' Feel free to come up with your own.

Despite all that, I could care less. It was barely 10:30 and I had made it thru Syracuse all the way to Binghamton while rebuffing the advances of a would-be BBW porn star! I could now pivot east and making it to Ohio by Friday was looking good! 


One of my fatal-flaws is laziness. It always has been, and while I try very hard to fight it, I have colossal lapses that occasionally create comical scenarios. Allow me to present Exhibit #562. 

After fending off my voracious sexual predator, I was rather disoriented and misjudged the layout of Binghamton. I also underestimated its size. We had just left I-81, I was looking for I-86, and saw a sign for I-88. That’s a whole lotta 8’s! Rather than simply pulling out my map, I relied on my hazy recollections from the ride thru in 2009, lazily assumed I’d mistaken I-86 for I-88 and confidently pranced onward-- to the north then east-- following the signs to the interstate. 

Ooops...
When I’d arrived at I-88 forty-five minutes later, there was no place to hitch and only after walking another 20-minutes down an industrial service road did I finally decide to look at my fucking map. My discovery? I had not only mistaken the interstates, but this one ended in Binghamton! It did NOT connect with I-86. In fact, I-86 (despite what Google Maps said) did NOT pass thru or even touch Binghamton. I-86 in Binghamton was a trasportational phantom! The road I needed was NY-17. The question: how the hell was I supposed to get there from here! 


Blister McBastard, which had been doing well, was no longer doing well. It now paired painfully perfect with this little navigational abortion. And the weather was deteriorating! Downpours began as I cursed everything Binghamton and put my head down resolving to simply escape Binghamton one way or another. A couple of hours and several miles later, I had my bearings and set the proper course to my new obsession: Route 17. Incidentally, all I had needed to do at the outset was turn left instead of right when Liz let me out. It would have been obvious had I just USED the fucking map I was hauling around! That’ll piss a guy off. 

Eventually, I found a place to set myself up with a sign at a busy entrance ramp back on to I-81. Busy ramps are deceiving. One would think it would be easier to catch a ride at a place like this, but that’s usually not the case--especially in cities. Three hours later, the midday rain was replaced by a blazing mid-afternoon sun, heat, and humidity, and I felt as though I’d begun to grow roots from my ass to my backpack. I needed some positive energy. I found it in the form of a couple of great kids.


"The Kids are Alright"
Casey & Julia were both 19, just out of school, lived a bit west of Binghamton, and heading home after signing up for community college classes. They had originally passed me then decided to return, which happens frequently and , as I’ve said before, always amazes me. I was further astonished by their spirit and hospitality. They helped me get the pack into their trunk, loaded me up with water they had on-hand in the car, and vigorously tried to determine the best spot to drop me off without taking me all the way to Elmira! 

Neither Casey nor Julia seemed sure about what they wanted to do with their lives and expressed an untapped desire to “see what’s out there” despite their parents insistence that they get busy and “make something of this life.” I’m pretty sure that’s what led them to stop, and thinking of both myself and conversations I’d recently had with my contemporaries, I encouraged them to tell mom and dad to stuff it; to take their time before getting obsessed with becoming a cog in the machine. Julia, in particular, seemed fascinated by my method and philosophy of traveling, particularly after the story of Dennis and, comparing favorably to Leslie (which is tough), she reminded me once again why I love the Youth's attraction to the mystery, excitement and the possibility of life! I’m slowly accepting that, while it’s often accompanied by unavoidable ignorance--the kids have most of it right. What’s interwoven within the synthesis of mystery, excitement, and possibility is the fountain that streams what each of us need: hope. We old fucks bitterly know it on some level, but too many have let the practical “business of life” smother the very spirit that, in my not-so-humble opinion, makes life meaningful. Then, we wonder why we can’t relate to Youth and suddenly feel empty. I was happy to spend 20-minutes immersed in and reminded of that.

Route 17 finally turned into I-86 and shortly thereafter Casey and Julia dropped me off at a truck stop just west of Owego assuring me that the people out here were "stand-up" and that I’d have little trouble finding a ride. The truck stop seemed promising with lots of traffic and an adjacent Best Buy distribution center. I wasn’t too concerned as watched the sun fall from the nearby exit ramp and found a spot to bed down chuckling at the course of this day!

I had no idea, but this would be the last time I'd stealth camp for a VERY long time. If I had, I would have taken a picture of the nest!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

8/15/10: Central Square, NY-About Face

I’d first heard about Oregon on Friday. It wasn’t until I knew their departure date that I seriously considered trying to making it happen. If I wanted to, I had a week to turn tail and get from extreme northern New York to Ohio, where I hoped Michelle would pick me up and help me to catch my stage west.

Subconsciously, I knew what I was going to do all along. I have the short-bus habit of quietly making quick, rash, often foolish decisions, then acting out the drama to appear as though I’m anguishing with the already completed process. Often, I even Don Quixote myself into believing I’m still trying to decide. I really hate this tendency!


I wanted to take the opportunity to possibly spend 10-days traveling with my brother. I wanted to spend time with he and Lynette in Idaho. Besides, Lynette and the clan were part of the plan from the very beginning so though I’d miss Maine, I’d get to spend time with family. Right?

Right?

The problem was admitting, after all the talk and thought about getting to Maine, that I’d get this close and not finish! After all the high-minded talk about visiting Massena to “make something right in my head”, I’d finally get there, then turn around and leave! Then there was my bike-tour buddy Bruno, who was maybe two hours away in Montreal. I’d hoped to reconnect with him while I was up here, too.

I knew all that would go by the wayside. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were going nowhere, unless Bruno’s feeble Quebecois invade! I’d been unable to contact him and besides, my energy was fleeting. I hadn't felt positive about much since Friday. I wasn’t thrilled with my own behavior or, particularly how I reacted to their results and needed something positive to happen. Family time on the road might provide the scene change I needed. Right?

Right?

It seemed like a dark cloud of negativity had emerged in Alex Bay and was now stalking me. I’d been given a reprieve, even recaptured some of the old connectivity that I’d been lacking all year but with the radio conversation, I’d opened a door...and poof! Gone.

This articulation only served to worsen things. I was forced to peer back at Andre, Friar, and Ray then quietly re-assess my own complicity, yet again.

The problem was, as I looked back, I couldn’t see where I had necessarily been WRONG in any of my insights! Was it wrong to expect a person to want an answer to his, “how can I be of greatest assistance?” If he were going to answer his own question, wouldn’t it be more authentic to state, “this is how I want to help you”? After all, "words ARE important"!

Was it unfair to scrutinize a public, supposed “reborn man of scripture” who’d renounced wealth, and ask why he was hocking corporate camping gear? Why he was soliciting donations (wealth) for the Sierra Club? How did he reconcile abandoning gluttony for dependence on handouts and charity? And, what would Jesus say to giving interviews subtly touting his righteousness and carrying the articles around as Sierra Club marketing material?

Don't get me wrong: Relatively speaking and by typical standards, Ray’s quest was noble until it ended a couple months ago. But, by utilizing the print media and invoking scripture, he set the bar pretty high, and thus these were (and are) fair questions. Fair questions, but still... something bothered me about the venom I spewed while asking them along with my failure to accept humanity; that, as Ray said, “we’re all flawed human beings.” 

Andre, in particular, haunted me and I had to chuckle as I felt the onset of a forced humility brought on by a difficult personal inventory, and more significantly a clarifying, empty sensation of something lost! Yes, sitting in the rain trying to figure out how to tell myself I’d come all this way only to turn around, yesterday’s cracks grew and I descended a few more steps into a deepening, dark psychological cellar. 

Exhausted and nestled away in this secluded spot, I’d slept for 15-hours finally waking at noon Sunday to the sound of light rain and occasional thunder. The rain would come and go all day, so I spent much of the afternoon in the bivy and chatting on the phone until I had all but decided to take the Greyhound to Ohio. The bus stop was a mile down the road, it left at 10 Monday morning, and would cost way too much! But it seemed the safe, logical thing to do considering my location and new schedule.

It couldn't hurt to at least try to get a ride back toward Watertown to save as much money as I could. Who knows? Maybe I’d get lucky and slingshot far enough so not to need a ticket at all. There were tangible, nagging pangs of regret with the realization that I’d come to the outskirts of Massena just to see a woods and a Stewart’s gas station! In all likelihood, I’d not get up this way again so this was a significant opportunity wasted.

Something deep down grumbled that this had become much too common.

That all went silent shortly after I arrived at the Stewart’s. I struck up a quick conversation with George, and within 30-seconds, somehow, had a ride toward Watertown with this 40-something guy who’d claimed to have been arrested 32-times for everything from assault to armed robbery.

As he turned south west, in his company’s van, it quickly became clear that here was a guy who knew how to read people, ask direct questions, and would tell you the truth simply because what you thought didn’t fucking matter! George went on to tell how he’d since reformed himself, had a beautiful wife who’d stuck by him, was a relatively new father, and learned how to “get respect” in a better way. Along the way, he let me know that I was “fuckin’ nuts. Ballsy. But, fuckin’ nuts!

George dropped me at I-81 about 15-miles north of Watertown and quite close to the scene of the Asscrack Incident. 10-minutes later I was stumbling into the messy van of a character known as "Corny". Another interesting cat, this ornery Corny. The perfect ride when you’re tired or preoccupied: in love with the sound of his own voice, and wanted someone to talk TO--- rather than converse with! He was around 60, talked non-stop about “that crazy fuckin' bitch ex-wife”, being disabled during his time in Viet Nam, his loser son (who sounded like he was doing fine), and how the VA was “fucking him like a $10 whore day and night.” I can’t think of who, but with his receding hairline exposing a round forehead, round nose, peculiar animated mannerisms, and thick New York City accent, he reminded me of someone quite famous.

Corny was going all the way down to Syracuse, but it was getting late and wanting to avoid the sprawl I asked to be dropped 20-miles north at a truck stop in Central Square. It looked as though it was going to downpour, so I quickly found a spot in a woods well past the parked semi’s, set my alarm, and snuggled into the bivy at dusk.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

8/14/10: Massena, NY-Cracks

It took some time to understand, but Saturday morning’s frustration was less about Ahab, Ginger, or Bill than myself. Somehow that perfect Friday soured, and although I meant no harm other than being my oft-obnoxious self, something sinister and familiar crashed my little party via the radio conversation: what Chris likes to refer to as my negativity and judgment. Guilty: I have a track record as one aggressive, direct, cold, bitter son-of-a-bitch-- especially when someone tries to sell me on the value of conservatism or that shell-of-a-medium called radio! I suppose that’s because on some level, it still matters to me. The conversation ended, but I lugged the negative energy with me.

Setting off Saturday morning, I was motivated to put Alex Bay’s now-putrid energy behind me! But, with the heel it would clearly be impossible to walk in my boots. It was time to put the Crocs (an idea borrowed from Ray) to the test, and I was shocked to learn that they were fucking comfy, and sturdy! Even with the pack! There was nothing  rubbing on the heel, it could breathe, and while they took some getting used to the lone problem I saw was the holes in the front, and the rubber potentially rubbing parts of my feet raw. Socks solved that.

I hoped to catch a quick ride as far as Ogdensburg or all the way to Massena as I walked east, but nothing came-- giving me the time, atmosphere, and exercise to think optimally and over-analyze the night before! 

In my infinite idiocy, I hadn’t connected why I was so sensitive to the topic of radio with where I was going: Massena! I had done a night show there for a summer--recorded in my bedroom and sent via the Internet from Michigan. I’d never even glimpsed pictures of the place, and needed regular coaching from my program director to be sure I pronounced cities, streets, and area landmarks correctly! When I learned I was passing thru New York on my way to northern New England, I knew this was my chance to at least see, talk to, and pay respects to the little town I’d deceived way back then. I never felt completely right about that, although I was good at it. Still, I don’t think I realized how much it bothered me until that morning, waddling like a blistered duck down this tiny two-lane road next to the St. Lawrence. 

There’s more to this story. Most of it is a lingering, persistent idealism and perfect rant material. Maybe I’ll share it sometime, but today suffice it to say that my experience deceiving Massena subconsciously helps trigger an intense, adverse reaction when people profess radio’s nobility of purpose and its benefit to society-- as Bill did the night before. Horseshit. It’s surviving “purpose” is playing songs between commercials and providing thinly veiled, pathetically executed illusion of local, community involvement. Remember that the next time you hear “live and local!” Anyone telling you different is lying or selling something to you. Buy Sirius. Seriously.

There’s one final setup that will be helpful for the impending posts. My time at Brian’s over the summer wasn’t what I’d term a chapter in a new Heroic Epic, but is was quietly and deceptively productive even though the “product” will not resemble what I expected!

Eventually, I'll write things that will seem radically out of character, and this moment is these painful realizations nexus. August 14th was the birth and a baby step toward an overdue, month-long reconciliation of a year-long mental and emotional logic-induced stagnation. What was begun at Andre’s, followed me to Port Townsend, then Slab City, Cambria, Monterey, and Michigan; what’s haunted, anchored, and confounded me for the past year had finally begun breaking loose. 

However, all I knew then was that I was tired and pissed off that I was walking Route12 in Crocs! Profound. Inspiring. 



Six miles later, I was disturbed that my central New York luck had not appeared to follow me north when I needed it. Exhausted as much from thinking as walking, I squatted down on my pack across the road from a hair salon in the middle of nowhere. An hour later things started happening. Another single woman, Sue, took me to Chippewa Bay where I watched nearly every emergency vehicle in northern New York drive past on their way to a fire. My version of reality TV!


Ninety minutes later, I was picked up by a guy in his 30’s driving a pickup and offering to take me just a few miles, to Morristown. When I told him why I was going to Massena (radio), his face lit up as he claimed to recognize my voice from the station! I’m not sure I believe him, but after he heard that, he suddenly had free time and wanted to take me the rest of the way to Ogdensburg. 

Ogdensburg is the largest city in the immediate area-- not huge, but sizeable. It’s 30-miles southwest of Massena, and decrepit. It metaphorically reeked of drugs. It’s hard to articulate, but there is next to nothing there, despite it’s decent size. Houses are falling apart and many buildings stand abandoned and empty. Sadly, it reminded me of a whitebread Detroit..

My new ride/old fan said he would have taken me the final 30-miles to Massena, but didn’t have that much time. Unbelievably, he offered to do the next best thing: pay far the cab the rest of the way. He was concerned about me camping along the road in the impending rain and, despite my meager protests, insisted I call the taxi for an estimate. When Kermit quoted me $30 to Massena, he pounced on it. 

We met the taxi-van at Walmart, I said goodbye to He-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless, and over the next hour watched as some amusing vocational drama played out. Kermit, the semi-elderly driver/ co-owner I'd spoken with on the phone, had overextended and needed another driver. But, the other co-owner refused to answer his phone! Driving me to Massena on a busy Saturday was a hassle!

Over the next hour, Kermit went off-duty, Mark took over, picked up & dropped off several people so  consequently I saw much more of Ogdensburg, literally AND figuratively, than I ever expected! When the other owner finally called back, I learned that the $30 fare Kermit quoted was in fact HALF; it was $30 each way. To their immense credit they were each adamant about honoring Kermit's quote. 

Eventually, we were finishing my final leg to Massena and Mark dropped me off at a gas station on the far-west end of town. I chatted with a some gas station customers while I ate, and had another of the “I thought I recognized your voice” moments. My hungry, piggly little ego loved it-- even if they were full of shit! Then again, maybe they weren't. In this case, I choose to believe the best in folks!



I was three miles south of town, it was late in the day, and the sky looked as though Hell were about to bust loose. I spied a woods directly behind the gas station that appeared to be on public land, found a perfect spot to nest completely concealed in-and-beneath thick vegetation, and finally sprawled out, exhausted, just before the rain began.

Before I dozed off, I got a text from my brother about his sudden, impulsive fact-finding mission via I-80 to Oregon. He’d be going past Lynette’s and offered me a ride. Caveat: needed to be near Michigan by the following Saturday!

Perfect Nest. 
There was no way I could process any of it effectively then, but it made for an interesting Sunday!

8/13/10: Alex Bay, NY-The Asscrack Incident






Wanting to avoid pesky park rangers and potential problems for Gus, I was packed and nearly ready by 7:30 when to my surprise Bill showed up and invited me to stay at his site for the day--or weekend --to relax and mend the blister. I was quite impressed with Keewaydin State Park and more than happy to accept!

Bill


Nearly every aspect of this Friday the 13th was ideal. It was sunny, hot, humid and with Keewaydin situated directly on the St. Lawrence River, the perfect place to swim! Bill insisted that we make an early afternoon trip into Alexandria Bay for food and beer before the weekend’s flood of tourists arrived for the Pirate Festival. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, wandering around the campground, and leaping from 12-foot cliffs into the St. Lawrence. It would be hard to improve on the scene or the vibe. It reminded me a great deal of seeing Andre’s Portland, Cambria & The Marin Headlands in California., and a few other places. Intense natural beauty often helps me to feel completely connected and present, but that's something I’m finding much less frequently this year.

We began drinking beer in the early afternoon and began learning more about each other. Bill was in his 50’s and had a razor sharp edge to him. He also had quite an elaborate campsite, living out of of a pop-up trailer with his dog and girlfriend. Set along side was a partially converted van for traveling and his job. From the outset, he let it be known that he was quite prosperous; that he had “made it” as the owner of a successful construction company and they were at the campground waiting on a job somewhere near the Adirondacks. Everyone  knew Bill and Liz because they apparently spent alot of time at Keewaydin every summer. This led to the staff looking the other way as he claimed a “staff” site -- for free! Bill was mindful and quite grateful for this and whenever he went to town was sure to go out of his way to bring something back for whomever happened to be staffing the gate.

Bill had been in the military (Special Forces, he claimed) and had a great deal of outdoorsy know-how and equipment. He offered solid advice about how to deal with the blister, suggesting I use foot powder and thinner socks even offering me some of his along with a t-shirt and a few MRE's.

While he too was well-off, his energy was anti-AndrĂ©. There was a distinct, omniscient bitterness oozing from Bill. His mother came into about $2 million when his father was killed in a car accident. Through some family drama, his mother and brother burned through it and were now requesting money from him-- after he'd seen none of his father’s insurance money! This obvious gnawed at his core. Beyond that, he would freely, almost constantly, point out how he “hated people” and would seriously like to kill some! While he was exaggerating on the second point--mostly--I suspect there were elements of truth in both.

Most tellingly, Bill's hostility carried over to his girlfriend. Liz was much younger than he and they had been dating for 12 or 13 years. She was for the most part a simple, gentle soul. Mousy, quiet, submissive, introspective, and appeared to be at least slightly impaired in some way. When it came to Liz, Bill had an ugly side. One recurring throughout the day. He would constantly remind Liz that he had somehow “rescued”her, was taking care of her and could and would get rid of her anytime he chose. From his perspective, she was the one who needed him and he clearly enjoyed the control. I gained no real background or perspective on their past or private relationship, but from my standpoint it seemed vicious. I felt sorry for her. And, I knew it was not in my interesest to make it my concern.

**Quick sidenote to the self-righteous couch-bound blowhards screaming about what they "would have" done: Perhaps put your shit talking to the test. I can help you gear-up and everything! I'd just LOVE to see how that sort of arrogant domestic interference works out for you! To quote Rush, "Show me. Don't tell me", fuckos!**

As the day went on, the sun shined, my shoulders scalded, and the beer and conversation flowed. Bill introduced me to the young woman who worked security at the campground overnights and explained how she was utterly useless as a supposed authority figure, which Gus (who had appeared periodically during the day while he worked) emphatically confirmed. Some of Bill's young friends repeated it later, recounting with heavy disdain as to how she had called the cops on an unsuspecting camper for simply gathering dead wood -- without confronting him first! She was also a morbidly obese redhead. All of this combined to earned her the affectionate behind-the-back title: "Fat Ginger Bitch". She just reminded me of Cartman.




"Ginger"




As the sun fell into the St. Lawrence, Gus vanished into town for the party while Bill and I, despite his domestic tension, continued forging a friendship. In fact, I was certain that this weekend would go down as a classic. I was right -- but not how I thought.

Long after another beer run, midnight approached and after drinking all day the conversation turned to, of all fucking things, radio! I had shared some of my experiences in the business with him a few times through the day and (at his repeated insistence...you don't say "no" to Bill) played him my demo reel from my phone. With that, he shared that his family business was -- wait for it -- radio. His family owns a small group of radio stations in upstate New York, and his brother runs it.

After a day full of PBR, neither of us were particularly effective communicators. Yet, I had no problem telling him what I now thought of his family business! Despite that, Bill was sure that I should run, or at least work for, his family's rock station! In fact, he tried to call his brother, well after midnight. to tell him all about me! While flattered, I really wanted no part of this. But, again, Bill is not used to being told “no”. The more I did-- the more he insisted. The enlightened, faithful reader will naturally see how such a conversation could get a little "louder" than normal. Not that we were yelling, we were just -- loud.

By early Saturday morning, Ginger Bitch had put on her mental uniform and was "on duty." Somewhere along the way, she'd gone from slurping and gulping Apple Pucker and talking about her supposed daylong "booty call" in Watertown to demanding that we "respect her authoritah" and quiet down. To be fair, we were a bit loud and honored her request. But the image of this ridiculous creature suddenly demanding respect and authority still makes me laugh. It was as though she’d been furloughed from a Jerry Springer Bootcamp and bellyflopped into this cake-gig ranking somewhere between mall cop and Walmart greeter. (No offense meant to either!) Yet, Ginger fancied herself as essential to securing The Homeland™. And protecting innocent, vulnerable dead wood from those who would do it harm.

With that, Bill and I chose to take a lap around the campground. We didn't get far. Ginger's Watertown booty call had shown up. Like moths to flames and rubbernecks to highway carnage, we simply had to have a look. Ahab was a loud, cocky, boisterously preppy young man in his early 20s who proudly (and repeatedly) announced that he had asked Ginger to marry him that day; presumably during post-coital pillow talk; and that she had turned him down. I was shocked. He was a handsome, mostly likable kid  with a seemingly good sense of humor.

Seemingly.

Now comes my moment of infamy. Perhaps these next few paragraphs are best read with the old Monty Python theme playing in your mind's ear.

I had just cracked a PBR when Ahab stepped in front of me and bent over irresistibly revealing what historians shall surely refer to as The Asscrack of Doom. First, I just chuckled. Then, without really thinking, poured a few small drips from my PBR into this perfectly presented asscrack. Despite my  proud look of mischievous pride, Ahab and Ginger were not entertained. Particularly Ahab. In fact, he was irate! Obnoxiously so. To be fair, perhaps Ginger had gifted him a new g-string prior to her harpooning? Maybe he had an asscrack infection of some sort? It could have been that assplay of any sort was traumatic and something for which he required a safety word? I have no idea. All I know is that his reaction was dramatic and bizarre!

As is often the case, the more buttons I can push the more I amuse myself. Especially with people who take themselves too seriosly. In fact, when I think about it to this day I still laugh. It was a minuscule amount of beer and no harm was done -- except to Ahab's pride in the presence of his precious Ginger. I had defiled his honor with PBR! And, he had to talk a world of redneck shit to get it back. It was middle school-cute, even by the juvenile standard I myself had just set! While he threw his tantrum and threatened to “kick ass” (without taking a step toward me), I apologized between hysterical laughs and the fact I obviously wasn't taking him seriously enraged him even more. Again, from a safe distance. Soon enough, he was screaming, emotionally convulsing really, and other campers were being disturbed. Ginger could not have that on her watch. Something had to be done, and since Ahab was her man, she informed me that I "had to go". And that she was calling the rangers.

At 3 a.m.? Really?

Really.

Two Park Rangers arrived promptly and, chests thrusted forth, aggressively asked me if I was a registered camper. I told them no, and that I had been invited by Bill to stay with him. After running my ID (of course), I asked them in a terse, “don’t fuck with me, rent-a-cop” tone if I was going to jail. They conceded that I had broken no law. But, since I was unregistered. and security (Ginger) had reported me as a disturbance, I had to go.


Packing in amused amazement, I watched Bill's demeanor change out of pure, yet understandable, self-interest. He saddled up to Ginger and Ahab while throwing some of the hostility he had earlier directed toward his girlfriend my way! I don’t blame him. He had a sweet, extended hookup at the campground and, though Ginger was a preposterous excuse for “security”, she was in a position to ruin it for him. Why not throw the drifter under the bus?

I finished packing, minus the gifts Bill gave me earlier,  and asked the rangers to drive me out of town because of the obscenely ridiculous time-of-eviction. As I loaded into the cruiser, I heard Bill barking my name as though he had parting words. I ignored him, choosing instead to reply with an obnoxiously cheerful “Buhbye!”

The rangers chose to drop me off at a public fishing pond a few miles east of Alex Bay. To their credit, after the initial intimidation tactic, they were professional, courteous, and even helpful. I was half-drunk and exhausted, so simply found a semi-suitable spot and crashed. Even then, legitimate title or not, being bounced by Erica Cartman seemed both ridiculous & hilarious! I reminded myself of the “Rule of Agreement” and wasn't the least bit upset as I drifted off to sleep.

Amazingly, after drinking all day and getting to bed at 4, I was awake, and motivated, by 7. However, I was not nearly as philosophically zen as just a few short hours before. A persistent and intense Ginger-based anxiety triggered acute stomach discomfort exacerbated by my over-consumption of PBR and growing fatigue. Clinical diagnosis: the beer shits.

I admit that what follows is likely too much information, and quite unflattering. Normally I would seek out a secluded spot to bury nature's wrath. But, this morning all I could see was Ginger, Ahab, and Bill. All I could feel was a hangover and heel blister. And I knew that I had to walk. I was particularly vindictive; some have rightfully said immature. I chose to leave a little something special behind to show my appreciation. There was a well-used trailhead connecting the parking lot to the fishing pond. By the time I slid into my Crocs and hoisted the backpack, there was a large steaming piece of interpretive intestinal artwork adorning their trail-head.

Of course, my morning affliction was immediately cured. Treatment: effective! As your doctor if the Toddzilla Method is right for you!



No. I did not take a picture. You're all sick bastards.