Flagstaff Fires

Smoke from the fires in Flagstaff was visible all the way out in eastern AZ on the Navajo reservation. We wound up on a very rough dirt road in our quest to find the "scenic route." Well, we found it. The dirt road was fun in the Sportsmobile, but it was rough enough that I thought the van was breaking up on reentry to the earth's atmosphere or something.

Finally, a Casino

Twighlight over Route 66 Casino

Here we are, only Sunday, day 4, and we’re just past Albuquerque. The sun is rising over the Route 66 Casino and I just gambled away my last $20. Ok not really, but I did just lose $20 in the crappiest gas station slots I have ever played. And, this is totally true, we took a wrong turn somewhere in Albuqurque. I don’t know what it is about Albuquerque and wrong turns, but somehow Praveen hyperspaced about 10 exits in front of me without either of us realizing it. When we called each other to find out where we were, it was very confusing that the exit numbers were going in opposite directions. Anyway, we wound up rendezvousing here at the casino.

Our goal today is to reach LA, which shouldn’t be a problem, except that it’s like 13 hours away and we’re kind of sick of driving at this point.

We’re not in KS Anymore…

Leisurely morning in CO

Really. We’re in CO. So beautiful here at Ray’s place in the mountains, totally off the grid. He’s got solar power and everything. I’d like to write that up some. How you conserver power and are careful about what you use. Spring fed water tastes delicious. Aspen groves out back in the 91 acre back yard. Living room views of the La Garita wilderness. Another awesome dog, Loki. Delicious breakfast of cheddar jalepeno bagel with lox and avocado. So anyway, the whole house is paneled in local wood. So beautiful. A large table once owned by Georgia O’Keefe. And now we’re listening to Praveen’s stereo, drinking coffee and computing. So what else…we camped out at a rest stop in KS the night before, so this stop was especially incredible. I always love leisurly mornings with friends after a great night’s sleep.

Ray's Place

St. Louis

Vehicles in St. Louis

St. Louis has a Costco! My favorite store in the world. However, there’s a lot more to this. First of all, I’m in St Louis. Praveen (my roommate) and I left DC yesterday in separate vehicles at 6am and drove 16 hours through WV, KY, IN, and IL to get here. We stayed with his friend Deepa and her husband and their awesome puppy, Frye. They have a cool house in a sketchy neighborhood so we had to park our equipment-laden vehicles in their gated backyard. I’m carrying Praveen’s stereo in the Sportsmobile, plus we have a lot of camera gear between us.  So back to Costco, my favorite subject. Anyway, Praveen got his oil changed in his Subaru Forester, and I needed my tires rotated on the Sportsmobile. Costco is great for tire shit. So I went there and they told me my 8-year old tires were not roadworthy. Fuck me. So I just shelled out $857 and change for 4 new tires. But, better to do that than to get stranded in AK or something.

So what else has happened since we’ve left? I’ve learned some new travel tips already on the first day. I’m very happy with my Engel fridge. Not having to stop for and deal with ice is great. My MP3 player (it happens to be an iPod but it’s just a fucking MP3 player people) is awesome. GPS is indispensible because it has a database of all the Costcos in North America. I’m thinking of planning a trip visiting every Costco in the country. Man I would love that. While it’s true I love Costco, it seems a little pathetic that that’s a highlight of my travels, something I can go to every day anyway even if I don’t travel. What’s that all about? I’d love to hear some thoughts on why Costco can get such a grip on you.

Packing up the house and putting everything in storage was such a fucking nightmare; I’m so glad that’s behind us.

So, so far so good on this trip. I’ll take preventive maintenance any day over crisis repairs. It increases your freedom and peace of mind.


Friends crowd the Sportsmobile at our going away party

Man what a great party Misha and Graeme threw for me and Praveen. Incredible food and lots of friends. It was so great to be able to spend some final time with everyone before heading out into the great wide open. I’m really going to miss everyone, but looking forward to reuniting in August at Graeme and Misha’s wedding in Scotland.

Also, what a great keepsake this picture taken by Judy and Frank Van Riper will be, of all the partygoers surrounding the Sportsmobile. I know it will bring a smile to my face when I’m out on the road.

Too Much Stuff

Man, I hate my stuff. It’s killing me to pay storage for a bunch of crap I don’t even want. But, I kind of procrastinated selling it and throwing stuff away so now I’m paying the price.

My Crappy Office

I’m leaving my crappy office on June 12 to drive to Alaska, where I’m going to be a photographer for the summer. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do after the summer, but someone will think of something.