the summer moon lights my way

from dixie to a lake in michigan

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my taste of georgia’s coast draws to a close. an interesting experience and i learned i love living on a beach, but this is not my beach: it is their beach and it is like gummo meets a prequel to wall-e. isn’t it great they have a beach that’s not my beach?

an invitation to lake-house in michigan arrives with perfect timing: just before hurricane matthew and right as hurricane-boss’ wife learns ffffffffuuuuuu he’s diddling a ginger

my drive to the lake house is pleasant, introspective, full of hard rain – not quite “baptismal” though it has that cleansing vibe one looks for in hard rain. i stop in ashville – i like it there and the iyengar studio has nice views of the mountains which, though hard to see beyond all the prop-cities, is just lovely. my prop city had a million blankets

pulled over in ohio – no ticket

the cottage has been in the friend’s family for a hundred years. it gets the sunsets across the lake. what a treat! a reward for the taste of a place well-done ferrrrrsure

listening to: jonathan wilson’s the way i feel (2011)

pulled over with the saints

thesaints

at target. they’re climbing on everything. i’m buying a lamp, seems like a good idea: more light. we see each other, “you’re awesomeeee”– they pull the headphones out for a listen: Spaceman 3 and they approve. the saints: olivia, jackie, and gg. a cosmic collision for the few days gg and jackie set olivia up for school in saint louis.

that evening they’re at drinks. jackie’s texting how hungry she is, i haven’t eaten all day: though i bought a lamp. it’s 1:44a and we walk into to one of the diner institutions on the south side but it’s cold (physically and metaphorically) and there’s not enough room for us, who seem to need it all.

a bumper sticker on the institution warns: eat rite or don’t eat at all – we have 15 minutes before my favorite spot closes, “or don’t eat at all?” challenge accepted. i drive as fast as i can to get there in time. but when olivia asks about speeding cameras and i brag that this stretch of road’s not patrolled – then we get pulled over. clock’s ticking.

photo by jackie (a few days later)

Makin’ Lemonade in Michigan

western edge
lower peninsula, michgian

who brakes for tropical storms? well, i do, or at least i did. the organic blossoming of a road trip into ozark country and crystal bridges museum of american art, a serendipitous year in the making, was canceled at last minute due to flooding and torrential rainfall from tropical storm bill. and so a journey north into michigan seemed a more serene and less-personally-traveled option for myself and this trip’s attorney. this is a simple reminder for how to make lemonade.

the ad campaigns and after party ramblings of the unparalleled beauty of michigan’s coast was always a bit forgettable. lots of places have beauty, how’smichigan any different? well, damn.

we traveled on whim and chatted with everyone- an ever growing game of happenstance all while avoiding the interstate: despite an early blowout and a mid-trip scrap with harmless’ angels

pure michigan.

listening to marika hackman’s before i sleep (2015)

A Day to Hannibal

in elementary school history class we were taught about the pony express. the pony express was a horse-powered courier service which delivered messages across the american west from april 1860-october 1861. it failed after 18 months because it was replaced by a better product, the telegraph. sure morse code isn’t as exciting as dodging indians on the back of stallions but if understanding History is about learning from our mistakes then why, year-after-year, were we taught about a failed delivery service?
“the pony express” is a lot of things.

i drove my mom’s car up the illinois side of the mississippi river then across to hannibal, missouri. we went to hannibal a few times as a family. i haven’t been back since. mark twain is from hannibal. the temperature was near 70 and the sun was shining. a cloud hovered just above the water’s surface. it rolled north, much further north than i traveled. on one of our family trips to hannibal we went to lover’s leap. it was the first time i heard the term, was quite heavy. i went back there after taking a photo of a yellow corvette one block from the real becky thatcher’s house. becky is the unattainable aristocratic woman.

i asked a young couple if i could take their picture. they agreed and she added,  “i been livin here my whole live and i’d never seen anything like this” pointing to the cloud riding up the river. they’ve been through a lot. neither of them have had it easy but they’re trying and they found each other (a little laughter too). she’s 17 and lives with him. he works full-time. they’re saving money to move to alaska after she graduates high school in the spring. they’re ready to leave now. they just moved into a new apartment building. the first night he went into the basement. he moved a sweatshirt on the wall and discovered a meth lab. i hope they make it to alaska. we said goodbye, i thought i heard them say “hey…” as i got in the car but maybe i imagined it.

starting in east st louis

meeting the mississippi riverbox

before arriving in hannibal i shot my way around side roads taking an occasional photo. around the bend of a dirt road i found a group of holstein cows. the farmer who’s land i was on came down on his atv to say hello. his dog was in the back. she goes everywhere with him. he took over the farm after he lost his previous one in the flood of 1993. i remember the flood, it was 20 years ago but it’s recent history along the river.

returning to hannibal and lovers leap

i want to do this forever.

Cupcakes Turtles and Kinks

dolly parton had her own variety show on abc in the late 80’s. we watched it as a family. she said a lot about growing up in the smokey mountains. they meant a lot to her.

in the early 00’s a girl i was with told me she’d never pilgrimed graceland and wanted to, badly. hours after the start of spring break we were diving south to the mississippi delta in the rain. we wore all black. the sad-face photos of us at the eternal flame were outstanding and appeared meaningful.

while dolly aired, the family took a spring break road-trip to florida. we left in the middle of the night. i woke up in the backseat when my mom announced, “this is where dolly’s from!” the rising sun shined through the fog that rested on the range: smokey mountains! the name made sense

the day after graceland, girl and i were entertaining the staff of a bbq place on beale street. we asked if they had ideas on where to continue our trip but they weren’t much help: two of the cooks hadn’t ever traveled outside of memphis. we numbered six places we knew on a napkin and rolled a die. one was drive east to the smokey mountains; two was south to new orleans; six was west to texas; i don’t remember four or five. we rolled a two, easy!

despite my car breaking down so close to new orleans, i didn’t make it back on this trip or back to the smokies on that trip. if i stay on the road long enough i’ll be able to connect all the nouns of my life. e.g. if i take the smokey mountains on this journey, i’ll be experience mapping at a highly skilled level. like the circled white icing on a hostess cupcake

great smokey mountains-

i stayed the night with family friends in louisville. from there it’s a straight four-hour-drive to st louis. i wasn’t ready for that: i had this feeling that the trip was incomplete: it wasn’t a i-don’t-want-this-to-be-over feeling, rather a this-isn’t-done one. i turned the gps off. exited the highway and cruised with no direction

for days i wove roads and states without a map. i often didn’t know where i was. i slept in the car. i barely spoke. i drove really fast. this is experience dessert.

weaving until it feels right-

in southern missouri, i was on a farm-to-market road. the speed limit is marked 50 but everyone keeps 70+. at the top of a hill, off the corner of my eye, i noticed a turtle crossing the street. i hit the brakes and ran out. i snapped the photo and picked him up as a caravan of trucks sped past the spot he was at

i set Allegory Turtle down safely in the field he was walking to

now i’m ready.

i kept a rough course in the direction of st louis and as the cupcake’s circle would have it, came upon the subject of the journey’s first photo via a road i’d never traveled-
how predictable – life is pathetically poetic

listening to: the kink’s till the end of the day  (1965)

OKie but that’s ok

i was in oklahoma for a while. spent a lot of time in the studio and exploring gravel roads. gps is alright- when im driving i can concentrate on important things like texting and song selection instead of stupid paper maps. im getting real good at driving. i barely pay attention now.

tulsa-

oklahoma city- Resident Advisor didn’t have anything for oklahoma. oklahoma doesn’t rank on RA’s top states of 2011. RA hates oklahoma. i googled “hipster” “indie” “okc” and got one result. one. a drag bar with tribal tattoos. i didn’t stay long cause i’m not good at drunk driving yet.

western ok + elk city-

i wanted to hang out in the sunshine a ways from the highway. it was there i met a guy with a huge dog, the biggest dog i’ve ever seen, with a bark to be felt as heard. the guy, jared, grew up ten miles further along the road i was already 10 miles along on when he pulled up to see if i was broke down. i told him I‘m working on it but the car’s fine. i said i’m from missouri and we talked about branson. “it was really a great place. amazing music, i was certainly comfortable there. not like louisville. louisville’s a beautiful place but a little too big.” he graduated high school three years ago in a class of fifteen people. his parents met at the high school. so did his grandparents. he told me about the drought they’re having and what his family did during the dust bowl. i asked if he watched Carnivàle, he said he was unfamiliar with the show then told me which sports teams he likes. louisville’s the furthest he’s traveled.

$40/n butterface motel

listening to: brian jonestown massacre’s whoever you are (1997)