31 August 2005

Can't sit around much longer - Tuesday, August 30, 2005

As Erica is busy with school and no one around here wants to do much of anything, I'm feeling edgy. I've traveled halfway around the world, and I don't aim to sit on my ass. I've spent 24 years doing that. Got to get a move on. I wanted to see Fantastic Four today, but for some reason never made it. I went shopping at Target and barely ate today, because there's not real food here, just fast food and chain restaurants. I want a real diner. A deli. Something I'm used to.

I bought two new CDs. A cheap Johnny Cash best of and the latest Blink 182, because I had listened to an older album of theirs coming into Phoenix that first night. I also knew I liked the song "I Miss You." Luckily there were some other songs on there I like too.

30 August 2005

Not quite bowling for Columbine - Monday, August 29, 2005

Drove back to Peoria today. Found some cheap gas, only $2.50. Wahoo! Not much happening today, just hanging out with Erica. Went bowling tonight with her and David. Did alright. Got a bit competitive with David, which made me bowl better, but didn't make me "win." Still, it's in how the game is played, and that is as ruthlessly as possible. Had grilled cheese. Bowling alley grilled cheese is the best, despite my lactose intolerance.

29 August 2005

Guns for show, knives for a pro. - Sunday, August 28, 2005

Today we went shooting out in the desert with a variety of firearms.

While we were firing off rounds, a couple of people went across the other side of the wash to shoot. Everyone smiles and waves at each other, but Tyrel says to be wary of strangers anyhow. He also says to know where your rounds are going, which is good advice. Since we took his BMW, we couldn't get over the wash and only had so much to shoot at. I wanted to walk further down the wash, but we would have had to carry everything with us, because this close to the border, there could be illegals behind any bush. I had seen a lot of border patrol when entering Sierra Vista, so I guess it's true. Tyrel told me the bordr patrol usually won't stop you even if it looks like there's one illegal in the car, because there is always someone else transporting half a dozen of them and those are the ones that need to be stopped moreso.

After shooting into the opposite face of the dried-out wash for a while, it became a little boring. So I scouted around and found some empty soda bottles, a shot up can of latex and a discarded jacket, which Ty said must've belonged to a border crosser. Being from New York and so liberal as he calls it, I had to question a lot of the things he said, but he had some good rebuttals. I just wanted to make sure he wasn't making blanket statements about people crossing the border to el Norte. He had some interesting stories about them and about the crazy Arizona Minutemen, "ordinary" citizens who take it upon themselves to patrol the border. I'm told you can't just shoot anyone coming across the border and that you must be in imminent danger in order to open fire.

There was also this crazy blimp thing a couple of thousand feet up in the air. Tyrel tells me there are about three of them along the border and they surveil drug trafficking out of Mexico. If I recall correctly, he said Arizona has one of the highest meth lab rates.

Here I am shooting (bel0w). I fired all ten bullets in the clip before I knew one had left the barrel.

I like this next gun. I was pretty accurate with it and it doesn't have much of a kick. Unfortunately, I still flinch when I shoot, so I'm sure it affects my accuracy.

Here I am (below again) with a shotgun. It had a really good kick until we started using the shells that only had a little powder in them. I found an older washing machine down in the ditch, so we fired upon that a bunch. With the kick of this gun, you've got to be really good with it or shoot something big enough you know you cannot miss. The shot does fire over a fairly large area.

Tyrel thinks he's so cool shooting one-handed (below).

You can see the smoke coming out of the barrel just after the shot was fired. I bet he got that latex can but good.

Take that ants! I didn't realize we were going to the desert and not to a range, so I wore my sandals and got bit by an ant. It stung for about two hours. Nasty little bastard.

Here is the old copper mine in Bisbee. It is very, very deep. Tyrel tells me Bisbee is the old mining town that retired Harvard professors come to live. The mine was operated by Phelps-Dodge and they mined copper from it for about sixty years. You can kind of see at the bottom, the water that's all coppery. I bet it's mighty tasty.

We then ate at this really great restaurant and went to some of the shops where I got postcards and gifts for people. There were lots of antique, jewelery, and used book stores. It's a really quaint place to visit for a day or two.

28 August 2005

Not quite the Batcave - Saturday, August 27, 2005

Let the pictures tell the story of the day.

Here is some power plant that looks what I remember Freddy Krueger worked at in A Nightmare on Elmstreet 2. This is actually from entering northern AZ on Friday morning.

Tyrel has a really nice apartment. The rent isn't bad and it's fairly spacious. He's got a lot of posters from movies like Scarface and Reservoir Dogs on his walls. His refrigerator is filled with tortillas and cheese to make Quesadillas, the staple of his diet, as well as lots of chocolate, soda and orange juice.

This day, Tyrel and I went caving in Coronado State Park. This is about thirty miles from the Mexican border if I recall accurately.

Upon entering the cave, after a rigorous hike up the ascending trail, we greeted a man and two women leaving the cave, who gave us a cave map, which is kind of hard to read they way they draw the cross-sections. They told us about the bats they saw deeper in the cave. Unfortunately I saw no bats, though Tyrel said one flew by when we are climbing up to an opening that the park rangers put a grate over for some reason.

There was so much buzzing along the trail, I thought we were going to get swarmed by killer bees or something. I've never heard so much insect noise before. The cicadas in summertime New York are nothing in comparison.

Luckily my camera and spare flashlight I keep in my car had straps on them so I could free my hands up for climbing and crawling. There would have been plenty of times I might have dropped them otherwise.

Here is Tyrel at the back of one part of the cave. The flash seems to have worked really well. I was afraid it wouldn't.

Here is Spider-Ma. . . I mean Tyrel crawling around upside down. That's the sort of thing he likes to do. A couple of months earlier, he nearly killed his friend, Suesan, when she fell trying to climb to where Tyrel was. I'm told she took it like a soldier, as there was lots of blood and gore, but she didn't fuss too much about it.


Here I am, trying to crawl into this little cavelett. It's rather claustrophobic in there. We had to crawl a couple of hundred feet, over rough rubble to get to that mini-cave that I am trying to make my way into. Tyrel couldn't quite make it in so I attempted it. I got my head and shoulders in there and started excavating the loose rocks beneath me. I think I could have made it in, but it was only about three feet in diameter, but about twelve or fifteen feet high. Getting back out might have been something of a problem, since I could not have laid down in there. As you can see there is lots of graffiti in the caves. Though some areas are still clean as I was informed by Tyrel that the cave was still forming.

The mountains of Coronado State Park.

Look at these pretty flowers on the trail up to the cave.

Look! A poisonous creature! Finally. I'm told you can pick them up and if you get bit, it doesn't hurt for that long. Tyrel says the same of scorpions. But I'll take his word for it.

We came across this critter leaving Coronado State Park. Tyrel spotted it so I told him to turn around so I could see it closer. It was very slow moving and stopped when we approached it. Ty spit some water at it like a jackass, and it went and sipped some and went on about its way.

26 August 2005

Holy Hell it's hot! Alliteration anyone? - Friday, August 26, 2005

Leaving Amarillo this morning, I had the cruise control set on about 87 MPH. I figured it was 6:30 am and no one was on the road. Sure it was a 70 MPH limit, but it's the southwest, people need to get somewhere that day, you know? I wanted to be on the road for as little time as possible. I'd been fine speeding by about 15 MPH thus far, so what's to stop me now? Why, the Vega City Policeman, that's who. To avoid this sort of thing, I would generally alternate my excessive speeds with less excessive speeds when I saw other cars either coming up behind me or oncoming. I got tired of having to turn the cruise control on and off and what could happen now in Texas, at 7 in the morning as the sun was rising? The officer was actually on the regular roadway which ran parallel to the interstate and he was heading in the opposite direction as me. As soon as I saw the blue and red lights flash on I began to slow down and pull over as he made his U-turn onto the interstate and came up behind me. He asked for all the things they ask for and had me come over to his truck and wanted me to have a seat, and as I was a little flustered, I started to open the driver door, but he said that's where he likes to sit, so I went around the other side so he could finish calling my info in and write out the ticket, which only had me doing 85. He said I could appear on court to dispute it on my way back through if I wished. Like I would even want to go to Texas again even if I hadn't been pulled over. I think Vega has a population of about ten anyway.

Then I was on my way, keeping at the speed limit. I felt like I was crawling. As there was no fine listed on the ticket, I would have to call up later on to find out how much I owed, fearing something like $400.00.

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful. Turns out I had only been about an hour from New Mexico. If only I could have made it to the border before that rotten cop got me on that empty stretch of highway.

New Mexico gets really pretty near Albuquerque. The rocks and what not are really nice shades of brown and what not. A lot of the overpasses are painted or decorated in a southwestern motif. It's all rather nice to look at. I'll get pictures next time out. Maybe I'll see Bugs when he makes his wrong turn there.

Once in Arizona, I stopped at the Tourist Welcoming Center and grabbed a million brochures on things to do, as this would be the place I was going to stay the longest. Near the bathrooms, there are signs that warn to stay within the rest area as there are poisonous snakes and insects about. There were silhouettes of snakes and scorpions on the sings. Do I need to write someone and tell them that a scorpion is an arachnid? I was desperately hoping to see some poisonous creatures. That sign got me really excited.

I had planned on eating at this place called the Pancake House (no, not the International House of Pancakes). It was almost noon, but I was really tired and wanted to eat something and maybe take a nap. Being sick and watching the road all day will do that to you. I figured I'd get some pancakes. What could be a better breakfast? Well, those bastards stopped breakfast at 11. What kind of bullshit is that? You cannot call your restaurant Pancake House if you do not service Pancakes during all hours of operation. As Johnny Cash sings, Pancake House (really San Quentin) "may you rot in hell." So I went over to the Indian Trading Post and got some crappy cookies and other snack bars to tide me over. Maybe I would eat in Flagstaff in a couple of hours. No tax on the snacks, must be on the reservation.

I drove past the Meteor Crater, which I should like to visit. It's only 40 miles or so from Flagstaff. I drove through Flagstaff to get some gas, thinking I would remember places I had been 7 years earlier. Nope, nothing looks familiar. Is it more built up, probably. But I think I just don't remember it too well. Two more hours to Peoria.

Guess what. It's really, really hot in Phoenix even at night. I'm in Peoria now. It's like its own little city suburb of Phoenix itself. I decided to head there first to see Erica, as I have not seen her in six years. I was pretty excited, because we've kept in touch all these years, with all the goings on in both our lives. Tomorrow morning, I'll drive on down to Sierra Vista, 3 hours from here, to meet Tyrel and stay there for the weekend.

Erica looks a lot different then when I knew her, but also different from what I expected based on the last picture I saw of her, after her second daughter was born. But it's good to see her. I'm staying at her sister's townhouse, which is very crowded, with her, her sister, her brother-in-law and their two kids Collin and Matthew and now Me.

Favorite CDs on this trip:

Johnny Cash: Live at San Quentin, The Complete Album
Dave Matthews Band: Live at Red Rocks
Reservior Dogs Soundtrack
Kill Bill Volume 1 + 2 Soundtrack
Pulp Fiction Soundtrack
Dave Matthews Band: Live at Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado

What is this a picture of? I was trying to capture lightning during those storms in MO. And did I mention how hard it can be to take pictures while driving 80 MPH?

I'm entering what must be the Rockies in New Mexico, driving on I-40 still, which I will take into Flagstaff. People in NM like to build houses on some crazy precipices there.

Looks like there's not much to look at in some places, but to the left, huge plateaus began to emerge from the Earth's crust.

Here I am traveling on I-17 down to Phoenix, I believe.

You can see in the distance, near the highway sign, a dinosaur, I believe a VELOCIRAPTOR, making it's way towards unsuspecting northern Arizona travelers.

25 August 2005

Holy Crosses, Batman!

I left Missouri about an hour earlier than planned. I forgot to set my alarm clock back an hour when I entered the Midwest, so I woke up at about 3 am instead of 4. Or was it 4 instead of 5? And who needs a shower anyway? Getting on the road is so much more important.

I drove through a bunch of downpours and lightning storms. Pretty cool, because you can see it pretty well with all the flat land all around. So I drove diagonal across Missouri into Oklahoma, where I had to pay $7.00 in tolls on two sections of the interstate. Something I don't understand and should look up. I thought the interstates were a federal thing. Isn't that where our tax dollars go? Oklahoma is actually pretty nice to look at. I was expecting the dust bowl, but mostly saw lots of pastures and trees and just plain greenness. There were signs every here and there stating DO NOT DRIVE INTO SMOKE. Guess they have lots of brush fires or something.

The northern part of Texas, that little handle thing up top, is a pretty barren place. Lots of brown earth with scarce bushes. I drove from the eastern border, which connects to Oklahoma along I-40 (major East/West thouroghfare) along to Amarillo. They have these things out west, called Business Loops or something like that. The signs will often be in different colors than the red, white and blue interstate signs. And it will be called something like Business 40. It will often run near and perhaps reconnect with the interstate proper on the other end of the city. Well, the hotel I stayed at was along this other road that ran along I-40 itself and not Business 40. So that took me about an extra hour to navigate. I had seen the Red Roof coming into Amarillo and was excited I got there about an hour earlier than expected. Eventually I found my way to it only to find out I could have gotten the room for less had I not booked online. Good to know for next time. I had to wait behind these slow people before being checked in. First thing I did was hit the pool for about an hour or so. It was so refreshing. There I met this wonderful couple from the San Fransisco area. We talked about politics and their kids and what kind of jobs their kids were getting and liking or not liking. I talked to them for a good hour or more. They had come up from somewhere further south in Texas, Houston or wherever they have trees in Texas. They were on their way up to Colorado because someone had passed away while they were vacationing in Texas.

That night I ate well at Johhny Corrino's. Some western Italian chain. It wasn't bad Italian for Texas, I suppose.

I talked to Tyrel, my friend in Arizona, for the second time. I met him on eBay about 4 years ago, when he bought some comics from me, and then some time later, I had happen to come across some I was looking for and oddly enough, he was the seller. I think that's when we started emailing. Hopefully he's not some backwater gun-toting psycho.

The Western Hemisphere's biggest cross.

I had about twelve hours of driving to do today, so I didn't feel like stopping. It would have been eleven if I had not gotten lost due to mapquest directions, once I got to Amarillo, Texas. We don't really have business loops in the northeast, so it threw me off...

24 August 2005

Metropolis or bust - Wednesday

Last Superman Standing:
The last son of Krypton stands proudly adjacent to the museum.

Welcome: Flying like a bird, like a plane... Look! It's Superman!

I made it to Metropolis in a mere three hours. The Man of Steel himself, painted upon a grand sign, greets visitors upon entering town.

Located in downtown Metropolis, Illinois, a few blocks from the Harrah’s Riverboat Casino, is the Superman Museum: The world's largest collection of Superman memorabilia under one roof.

The Superman Museum: Here is the Superman Museum. A whole building full of super stuff.

A thanks to Comic Buyer's Guide for informing me of its existence.

The Gift Shop: The entrance to the museum also acts as the Fortress of Multitude, filled with tons of Superman and Justice League merchandise. The Justice League is DC Comics team supreme, often made up of A-list heroes, such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and J’onn J’onz, also known as the Martian Manhunter. Sometimes the team consists of B-listers like the Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Mister Miracle and so on, who are all loved by many fans, though not well known to the general public as are some of the A-list group. There was a made-for-television Justice League movie made some years ago, but it’s scarcely seen the light of day, having never been officially aired.

Compared to the other stores in town the gift shop items were overpriced. I imagine this is to help pay for the maintenance of the museum, since admission is cheap, at three dollars a head. It had seemed like many of the Superman items might have been exclusive to the gift shop, not the entire town, so I bought from the gift shop. The town itself is pretty small, so perhaps Smallville would have been a more apropos name. And guess what. There is a Lois Lane. The woman working at the chamber of commerce told me she used to live on Lois Lane and that it's just a bunch of apartments.

Wall of fame: Superman has been portrayed on the Silver and Television Screens via several live-action incarnations. The exterior side wall of the Museum features a nice paint job of some super actors. From left to right: Kirk Alyn, George Reeves, Christopher Reeve (no "s" and no relation to George) and Dean Cain. I wonder if Tom Welling will have to wear the costume on Smallville before they stick him up there. Of course 2006's upcoming Superman Returns actor, Brandon Routh will be up there soon enough, should the museum curator decide to keep going with the theme.

Green with envy: Am I green with envy! Look at the cool chunk of Kryptonite. After its explosion, pieces of Krypton bore paths across the galaxies to become radiated as they entered the Earth’s atmosphere making them deadly to Superman. The only other things that can traditionally hurt the Man of Steel are magic and a broken heart.

Those are the boots worn by the first Superman of the silver screen, Kirk Alyn, of the Superman serials from 1948.

Here are some awesome props from the fifties Superman television show.

A foil/metallic poster from
the original
Superman film from 1978.

Seeds: Here is a
sliver of Kryptonite,
which I believe was
a prop from the
1978 Superman film.

We must learn to crawl before we can fly:
Here are props from the Superboy television show circa 1988. I don't remember the show at all, but then again I thought Superman was a huge wuss until his 1996 animated series from those animation geniuses at Warner Brothers. The animated series made me realize there could be good Superman stories and he isn't always such a big blue boy scout. My thanks to Curt Geda, Bruce Timm and the rest of the gang behind the animated series of Batman, Superman, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.

Patch Adams: Here are some costume patches from the Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman show from the early 90's. You can see Metropolis Light & Power, Lexcorp, Metropolis Fire/Rescue and others.


Super Rug:
More Superman memrobilia.
Go Figures: Here are some Superman statues and figures from various time periods. Can you guess which two just flew in from carousing with lonely sailors at the San Francisco wharf?
Kryptonian Cartography: Here is a map of Krypton, a long dead planet. It was doubtlessly drafted by some of Krypton's best planetary cartographers. Does anyone know where a person can obtain such a map? Contact me if you do.
No one sells papers like the Big "S": Here is a copy of the Metropolis Planet, Metropolis, Illinois’ very own newspaper. It is not unlike the DC universe’s Daily Planet. Kal, of the house of El, must always make headlines when he goes through a major change like death, marriage, and when he got new energy-based powers, along with the corresponding costume for a time.


As I was exiting Metropolis, like a baby being rocketed from a dying planet, I stopped at an authentic looking Mexican restaurant recommended to me by the woman at the chamber of commerce. It was incredibly dark inside and it looked to be staffed by real Latinos, hopefully Mexicans. I thought the food was going to be really good, but instead of grated cheese, they used some kind of cheese sauce. Does cheese sauce exist in traditional Mexican kitchens? Luckily my stomach was all right after that. The salsa was really hot, which is good. If it doesn’t make you sweat, then it’s not good enough. I wonder if it was homemade.

The Gateway to the West was hardly welcoming. From the highway I traveled there were no signs directing wayfarers to some scenic overview where they may take awe inspiring pictures.

Driving at somewhere around sixty miles per hour on the bridge I snapped a few shots of the grand Saint Louis Arch.

Unfortunately there isn't a scenic pull-off that I had passed in around that part of the highway I came in on, so I had to risk taking crappy pictures from the car, doing the speed limit of about 65 MPH. Hopefully at some point I'll have a good enough photo program to crop and rotate them properly. I'm sure they'd look much better without the hood of the car or bridge railing in the way.

About a half hour later, I made it to Saint Charles, Missouri. There I met Great Aunt Rose, Nana's younger sister, and her husband, Uncle Sam. They are wonderful people. Aunt Rose reminds me a lot of Nana. There is a definite family resemblance and they are both always on their feet, doing work of some kind. She said that's what the Zag girls are like. She has a garden in the backyard and birdfeeders hanging for the hummingbirds. I learned that Uncle Sam liked the Cardinals and listened to the games on the radio (even though he's from Pennsylvania. He could have picked the Mets).

I brought my stuff into the spare bedroom and found out where the local comic book stores were, what with it being Wednesday and all, I had to see what new books came out. Since I had to keep my spending down, as it was only my second day out, I didn't spend too much and got a discount on the comics I bought. The guy had a great shop, Comic Book Relief.

When I got back to the house, cousin Marcia and her husband, Dave, were there with their granddaughter. They were wonderful to meet and talk to, but could not stay very long. I talked with them and Aunt Rose as she made me something to eat. Later that night, I talked with Aunt Rose about Nana and them growing up and how she and Uncle Sam ended up in Missouri. Uncle Sam used to work for some railroad company and they transferred him. She also said she thinks that's how he got sick, from the chemicals they used to use and she also talked about how they used to use a gardening pesticide with some kind of lead in it. That's the kind of stuff I learned about in my college courses.

They had a cat with a bunch of kittens living in the basement. The cat was very sweet, but I didn't get to see the kittens.

Exhausted, I laid in the bed and fell asleep despite the humidity.

Procrasti Nation: Hit the Ground Running and Don’t Look Back

All who know me fairly well know that I am infamous for my procrastination. If there are two subjects I could easily get a doctorate in, they are comic books and procrastination. That’s how good I am. I’m not sure if procrastination can be taught. It might be an inherent ability in select individuals.

The night before my departure I was up until three in the morning, frantically packing for my journey with scarce hours to go before I would depart. What clothes did I need? What would the weather be here and there? Which CDs need to come with? I wished I had an iPod. That’s like having seven hundred CDs in the palm of your hand. I also needed at least a short box of comics, books, and graphic novels. I’ll be gone for at least a month after all.

I made my last minute hotel reservations at the behest of my worrisome mother and printed out my route plans from Mapquest. I would arrive in Arizona in four days. That's 1,010 miles to Metropolis, Illinois, stopping overnight in Morehead, Kentucky and then 188 to my great aunt’s house in Saint Charles, Missouri. Followed by an additional 762 miles to Amarillo, Texas and then 778 more to Sierra Vista, Arizona. That makes for a total of 2,738 miles, not including tooling around town to minor last minute destinations.

After only three hours sleep I pulled my corpse-like body from my bed. I continued to pack, or should I say, over-pack. Another characteristic of mine. I always bring many just-in-case items, just in case I have hours and hours of free time for reading and other such entertainment. I almost never find time for such asides on any trip. I got on the road at about eight that morning after saying good-bye to my grandparents, with my father seeing me off just before he headed to his daily grind. Tons of clothes, more books and comics than I could read if I traveled for six months filled my trunk and back seat. I hit the ground running with about an eighth of a tank of gas, hoping to make it as far as New Jersey, where gas would hopefully be significantly cheaper.

About 30 miles into my estimated 8,000-mile escapade the gaslight came on. Shit. I had only made it to Queens, so I had to stop at the gas station near exit 17 on the Grand Central Parkway. Some luck did befall me. The smokingest girl I'd ever seen was leaning over her sports car. Camaro, Corvette, whatever. I wasn’t looking at the car. I noticed at least eight other guys ogling her as she wiped down her windows. Since I was almost in Jersey I put in only about two gallons of gas, which went in way too quickly. Hesitant I got back into my car and was on my way to find something out there on the highways.

Driving through Pennsylvania was pleasant except for U.S. Interstate 78. No one gets through that interstate unscathed, due to constant construction. Traffic was at a halt for a good while as only one lane was open. Trying to conserve gas and our environment, I opened the moon roof, all the windows, and shucked my shirt. The air conditioning would have to wait until the heat was unbearable, I told myself.

Phlegm and mucus exploded from the back of my throat and maybe my nostrils too. I had been sick for several days. I had a full box of tissues, but managed to sneeze all over the windshield many times before I could grab one and cover my mouth. Upon skirting Harrisburg, the state capitol, I could finally build up some speed in my new automobile. Not much later I crossed the Mason-Dixon line entering Maryland. I sneezed all over the inside of the windshield again. I was driving through history.

Beautiful green mountains and valleys, strewn with foliage formed the West Virginia landscape. From what I gathered it's not the backwards hillbillies and coal soot covered miners as I thought it might be. Maybe that's the New York elitist in me that expected the worst based on movies like Deliverance. Naturely scenery blurred past my windows. At this point the driver window was up. I had forgotten this when I turned my head to sneeze out the window. More gook sprayed splayed on the window next to me. The highway rose and fell like the chest of a sleeping giant. The cruise control strained under the constant barrage of down and then sudden steep upgrades. Losing altitude, my car whizzed downhill at over one hundred miles per hour and I was thrilled. The only times I saw police were at work zones, where I curbed my enthusiastic excess speed.

I was in the left lane, lazily going about my way in my lane when a car from the right lane veered at me. I must have been doing about eighty, which is about the speed limit there. He had been right next to me and for no apparent reason, had come toward me. There was no one in front of him in the right lane. Had he looked he would have seen me in the left lane, just next to him! Breaking, I swerved into the left hand shoulder, slamming my palm on the horn hoping this would indicate that he’d better get the fuck back over. I was scared shitless. The guy moved immediately back into the right lane and then pulled onto the shoulder and stopped. I wonder if he fell asleep at the wheel or if he's just a dumb asshole.

Six-hundred-and-eighty-five miles from Long Island I arrived in Morehead, Kentucky. After thirteen hours of driving while sick I was hungry and exhausted. All I had eaten were sugary snacks from gas stations, like pudding pie and vending machine hot chocolate along with my bag of cough drops. As luck would have it there were about five places to eat in the same parking lot as the Quality Inn I stayed at. Food prices were so cheap, that I felt bad leaving a normal percentage tip, so I tipped the waitress what I think was a lot based on the area.

Dead zone. I was told Morehead could not receive Verizon Wireless signals over the surrounding mountains, so they didn't charge me for my long distance phone calls. On my way back from dinner I saw a skunk walking across the lot. I had never seen one except on TV and maybe in a zoo. I got close, but not too close. I thought it would be cool to get it to spray, but didn't want to stink for days, so I let it be. It is also well known that I am a certified night owl. It wasn’t even late, but I was soon in my bed deep asleep. That’s how tiring a twelve-hour day behind the wheel can be.

PS: Please note: I am writing this as if I'm posting about every day as if I am still on my trip. Hopefully I remember things as they really happened and not as I wish them to have happened. Memory is a very faulty thing you know.