End of the Line

i sold my car and moved to berlin. it’s been seven months since my last post. The Journey was 2012 and the world’s predicted to end in december. upon my arrival i knew that this blog couldn’t be continued as it was while making myself at home in a place i’d never been because there’s that time in a new place after the honeymoon fades where one might question the decision. i didn’t want to write about that or endless rambles of longing wheat thins and other groceries not available in germany. when the end-of-the-world-day comes and goes my blog will be a year old and in the new year i’ll continue this project as the next chapter.

last weekend i rode the trains. that’s it. as far as my day-passes would take me i rode the trains. ipod in pocket, camera at my side, and changing leaves all around. it was vaguely reminiscent of The Journey, quite fitting for an epilogue and the pass cost less than a shrimp cocktail

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)

Pulled over in Spartanburg

A Palmetto State of Mind
south carolina

from savannah, i took two-lane state roads through the cradle of reconstruction. this is where lincoln and johnson experimented with giving land to the Freedmen. everyone i met was wonderful though my conversations were more “yes” and “thank you” than talking. im over talking. it’s forced. self-oppressive. i don’t want to talk anymore. i want drive through the south quietly, forever.

the sun isn’t far from setting. i got the biggest coffee the gas station had. then got another biggest coffee another gas station had. it’s not a big deal: i pull over and pee wherever i want cause i can do it standing up cause im a man. i pulled into spartanburg, sc cause it’s on the edge of the smokey mountains. a perfect place to stop before appalachia.

i fill up my tank and drive towards downtown. a police car is to the right of me at a four-way-stop. the police car turns and i pull behind them. then they pull over to the shoulder. i pass them then they get behind me. i can almost hear the benny hill theme playing really slow. then they turn their lights on and i start my voice recorder. it is no longer forever.

oy. remember when i was over talking?

Hostess City of the South

i left miami and began the conclusion of my journey. i slept at a rest stop near daytona beach. woke up at sunrise and went to the beach: we went there as a family when i was seven. my folks drove the station wagon through the smokey mountains down to florida: it was my first road trip. i’m backtracking their route for the finale. kind of.

savannah photographs were lost because my computer ate the sd-card

Savannah, GA
the savannah college of art and design is a private design university for the artistically inspired children of those wealthy enough to afford it. you can see the money in their bone structures. i liked savannah, it’s cute. my ex-fiancé and her husband have been living there since last summer while he works on a secret project that will be a very popular toy among the parents of scad students.

they’re awesome. we ate shrimp cocktails on the ocean and saw real gators and ferrel cats and (i) drank so many piña coladas at this place that was like merlotte’s- they were two of maybe six people dancing to new order at ultra because the stage was empty… they’re awesome. she knows everything about eighties and nineties pop music there is to know. she coulda done 120 Minutes on the fly-

two weeks before our wedding her and i had a bickerment that lead to calling things off. we’d have been divorced within the first year. in my opinion we couldn’t find a balance between our dreams so for one of us to be happy, the other would be miserable. i feel much of the time since then has been a frenzy of proving it not in vain and perhaps this journey was my way of coming to terms with what i see/saw as a major sacrifice *mind you my hindsight is messianically romantic.

her and i spent the morning walking through forsyth park talking about everything that’s happened since we last saw each other and what we thought of what we had. she sees our end a little differently, “you live your life like a game. constantly finding different scenarios to put yourself in. you figure things out faster than your patience and when you find yourself in the throws of total intimacy the game suffers and eventually… eventually you get bored.” ffffffffffffff

there’s no fountain at st augustine’s fountain of youth. no basement either

listening to : new order’s world  (the price of love)  (1993)

Car Trouble

i’ve never owned a bmw. i don’t know how to drive a stick. i’ve tried but it takes more concentrating than i feel comfortable with. i’m into not paying attention to what i’m doing behind the wheel. that’s why i went to look at a slick 80’s bmw convertible with automatic transmission at a car lot near my brother’s. i went to the wrong car lot.

the sales guy, dan, at the wrong car lot is a race-car fantastic. his lot features framed photos of every pace car of every indy 500 ever. he told me the car lot with the bmw is next door then asked what i wanted a car for. i told him about the trip. he asked if i had a minute to show me something.

dan showed me a 1992 honda accord with 35,000 miles. it belonged to an old lady. her son sold it with power of attorney, he was 75, she was old. the wrong-lot turned out to be the right lot. i bought it. it made sense: drive a super clean and cool old honda that won’t break down then flip it for what i paid after the trip. how was i so naive to think it wouldn’t deliver tension in the script?
thursday, march 1st, 5p
had a little routine maintenance done in la.

monday, march 5th, 4p
blow out near joshua tree. repair shop in blythe, ca replaces tires and master cylinder.

tuesday, march 6th, 12a
car won’t start in roswell, nm. when tow truck arrives car starts. i go to fill up and it doesn’t start. local mechanic takes me to get starter fluid: i spray it in a hose under the hood and it works. i do this myself: im working on my car

thursday, march 8th, 11a
car won’t start at rest stop near winnie, texas. starter fluid is useless. my roadside assistant told tow i was in a different place with a different car. took tow two hours to find me and i was scared cause of the scariest sign. guy at auto parts store 10 miles away helps replace fuel filter. car works. i spend the night in baton rouge and try to get hooker to no avail.

friday, march 9th, 3p i. don’t. need. this shit.
car dies while driving towards busy interchange near hammond, la. im in a bad spot 50 yards from worse spot and im dressed like an asshole in seagreen.
the tow driver was awesome. he was alive with energy and charisma and would answer questions by repeating question with the the kind of delivery that said it all, which usually meant angrier and louder. said i’m his funniest customer all month. he’s honest. so cool but i can’t write too much about him cause then this would be a good post and i need it to elicit the feelings i was going through which might be similar to how you feel if you’ve read this far: fuck this blog. fuck this car. fuck this trip. i should just cut losses and light the car on fire. would be a great video
the car taken to a honda dealership in covington, la. the guy at the dealership says they’ll take a look at it in a few minutes. i hope they know what it is. they don’t. i’ll have to stay in covington for the night. the next morning i get a call: they don’t know what’s wrong. they won’t get to the car until monday.

covington, la is 42 miles from new orleans on the other side of the lake pontchartrain causeway. both of the city’s car rental places were out of cars. there’s no trains, no busses, no shuttles, basically no way of getting to new orleans aside from hitchhiking and i can’t do that cause of the last time i was in louisiana… yeah…

monday, march 11th, 10a

the car is fixed. it cost me so many shrimp cocktails. a genocide of shrimp. there’s a reason all this happened. i dunno why and i didn’t proofread any of this, fuck this post

listening to primitive radio god’s standing outside a broken phone booth with money in my hand (1996)


Baton Rouge’ll Flirt Wit’cha

i wanted to get a prostitute. i’ve never picked up a prostitute. i’ve taken girls out for dinner and after dinner we did stuff which is kind like paying for it and i’ve been with girls who were a lot of work the next morning so i payed for it in other ways but i’ve never actually paid for it. if prostitution truly is the world’s oldest profession, i’ve been neglecting my rite as a man to soliciate this service. tonight’s the night.

i checked into the cool boutique hotel in downtown baton rouge a couple blocks from the one bar i found googling “hipster baton rouge”. the room was nice and the desk clerk called me “mr. joseph”. i had sushi on top of the slick high-rise next door. i sat at the bar a couple chairs down from tanya. tanya is 40+, educated, and works in insurance. it’s her birthday and she was there with all her black coworkers. she kept saying, “lukatchu cute lil’whiteboi. if i wadn’t marrieeeeeeeed, ewebet dat’ass i’d be flirt’n witchah. ooowwwwah” she didn’t. she passed out from too many blue martinis and her coworkers carried her to elevator.

at this same time but in miami my friend was walking along the beach when a tall and mysterious fisherman opened his hands to present the most beautiful shell of the season. “for me?”, she asked. the stranger nodded his head with a smile. my friend took the shell and that was that.

after dinner i walked towards the hipster bar i found on google. some djs set their pa up in the corner and played a mix of eclectic favorites like hot butter. the bartender who took care of me is young, thin, beautiful, excited about her vintage mom jeans, she’d soon love my blog. she ignored the other patrons and let her co-bartender make all the drinks. we spoke of the perks of self-awareness and i told her about my journey. “i wish i could do something like that” she whispered she asked where i was staying.

as i’m going through a real empower the self-aware thing, i spent 45 minutes at the corner of the bar verbally pumping my bartender full of empowerment then said goodbye before finishing my second drink. in my head, i was a magic apparition of light who appeared on a slow night and gave her a shell of strength to do wonderful things then left without a trace or “pumping” but there’s a thousand other ways she may have and probably perceived me.

baton rouge is on the mississippi and the old town buildings were erected at the same time as st. louis’ inner city. i felt akin there, this is a cousin home. mark twain probably felt the same way except he would have written tanya differently.

the sky looked super neat and i took photos before going back to the hotel to call prostitutes. i called five. deep down i knew i wouldn’t actually sleep with one. she’d show up, we’d jump on the bed, eat pizza, and fight over little spoon while sharing bad date stories. none of the prostitutes returned my calls. i’m worse at prostitutes than sealing deals with young bartenders and tanya. the next morning my car broke down next to a sign that read, “watch for snakes. theyre watching you.”

baton rouge was alright


listening to primal scream’s rocks (1994)

Misinformed X-Files Tourism in the Southwest

from email dated march 7th 2012
—– – –

so i stayed in tucson on monday and started driving towards roswell cause I thought it’d be kitschy and i’d meet some awesome people. it wasn’t what i thought it’d be. it’s just a town.

the UFO crash happened some 75 miles away from town. i didn’t know that till i checked into the hotel and wiki’d the city and incident. i probably should have wiki’d roswell before I drove there but I flipped a coin to decide if i should go and that’s chance for ya

the drive through white sands missile range made it all worth while. white sands is where the trinity test occurred. the history of the world changed forever in this desert and there are so many ruins of little structures and towers popping up out of the ground. thousands of them. i wondered if they had names that are still in use and if they are still in use.  the basin is huge and it’s all for testing. google maps doesn’t list anything in the gray area it’s zoned in, but there’s a lot there. i wiki’d it at the hotel that night: now the military shares it with NASA. it was like stepping back in time to the cold war…

i had to exit the highway and go through military check point. the mp who spoke asked if i was an american citizen. they other mp didn’t say anything. i asked mp1 if he wanted to see my id, he said no. he asked where i was going and i said roswell and both mps laughed. that was it. they let me through. going through military checkpoints near nuclear weapons is lots easier than flying.

white sands had some tests happening but i didn’t stick around cause i hate modern explosion stuff (they look way better in black and white) and i was really excited about getting to Roswell which you know, sucks. why’d i trust x-files and conspiracy documentaries on tv over a pre-wikipedia?

until miami,

—– – –
little structure on a hilltop; little structures this one's [probably] an observatory; little structures on a hilltop, do they still have names?

So Much California

i liked california. you know the song “hotel california”? of course you do: a guy goes to california to hang out and can’t leave but the song’s really saying “why leave? it’s alright here”. well i was driving route 99 and the song came on the radio and i had this moment where i was actually experiencing the song except for the part about “the beast” because that line is an inside dick joke to steely dan and i don’t know them and find a lot of their catalogue boring.

have you ever felt like something you were blogging about made perfect sense except for one thing? that’s “the beast” and most steely dan

*california will have the last laugh: its curse will echo in my car for the next week.

The Heart Castle RPG

hearst castle – i wasn’t feeling very well and it’s valentine’s day but not because it’s valentine’s day; i simply wasn’t feeling well. i’m ok being alone on valentine’s day and not-valentine’s-days because i’m not one for settling tho sometimes… i’ve been known to make exceptions. there are three options for tours: grand rooms, upstairs suites, and cottages & kitchen. i chose the grand rooms tour because it’s next. we can’t wait around for tours all day can we? no we can’t

william randolph hearst was the first media tycoon. the only child of a wealthy miner and the inspiration for citizen kane. he spent 30 years building his unfinished palace on the top of a mountain overlooking the ocean. there’s a lot of money in yellow journalism and wealthy parents

a school bus takes visitors up the winding road to “la cuesta encantada”. i climbed on and got a seat by myself. everyone else was coupled up. holding hands. holding each other. reading pamphlets. staring at the guy sitting alone in dark clothes, coughing, chanting “what- the- fuck- this is nuts- what- the- fuck-”

alex trebek narrated the bus ride up.

at the top of the mountain we’re greeted by our tour guide, rick. he’ll take us inside the castle and talk at us for forty-five minutes before setting us free to enjoy the grounds on our own. he’s in his 40’s and charismatic in a vegas lounge lizard who does tourist tours during the day kind of way. the delivery of his script is like a dry run of a high school play: fast and abrasive, insincere

“folksssss mr hearst looooooooooved entertaining-and celebritiessss were regular guests here. at. the-ranchhhhh. it was not uncommon to-find the likes of…… clark gable- greta garbo- cary grant- joan crawford but for those of you young people that’s your ben affleck, courtney cox, ashton kutcher, and kim kardashian” skjenfkjewnr fjh serjv wejfnaw No they are not!!

hearst bought entire rooms of 16th century castles and kept them in storage for decades while he tailored his enchanted slope for them. exotic animals grazed on worldly plants across 60 miles of private land. it is entirely self-contained: it’s own water source, power station, and farm. the only rule for guests is “no shacking up unless married”

rick had the old couples eating out of his hand as he led us from room to room but i felt his affectation like an icicle on the skin of my empathy. i didn’t say a word and smiled the best i could cause it’d be wrong to disrupt The Other’s experience, but he knew. he knew i wasn’t entertained and he knew i was insulted by his lack of free form and inability to match golden-age celebs with their “of this generation”s.

after a short movie he let us go. the rest of my time at hearst castle was spent in the sun: taking pictures of the grounds, chilling by the neptune pool, throwing up in the bathroom without asking rick’s permission. i don’t want to write extensively about rick because this is a positive and uplifting blog of my American experiences but if you gave me $25 for a rick tour i’d spend forty-five minutes comparing him to a lawnmower | rosebud…

the gift shop was closed by the time i got back to the visitors center but i was feeling much better

alex trebek narrated the bus ride down.

listening to raw material’s time and illusion (1969)

Soaring the PCH

the accord was pushed to its limits as i soared the curves of the coast. the prisoner built, new deal funded california state route 1 was my wind for hunting sunsets and skeletons. i love this road.

celebrities like clark gable stayed at the santa maria inn on the way to hearst castle. the “historic hotel” was upgraded in 1988 and has stayed the same since. it wasn’t worth half the asking price. the holiday motel next door wasn’t worth the two shrimp cocktails they charged. the all-night partiers in the local meth scene had set up camp there. the frenzy had been raging at least a few weeks if not longer. why did i feel it was acceptable to juxtapose such a magnificent day of driving with a real life i am legend? is saving seven shrimp cocktails that important? apparently.

above is the one from sonic 2, level 7 – oil ocean

i picked up a couple hitchhikers, wwoofers (world wide opportunities on organic farms). they stay at organic farms and trade work for room and board. they’d been standing at a bend in big sur at dusk for over an hour waiting for a lift. i barely saw them when i flew past. i picked them up and recorded the conversation because my mom reads this and i want to show her how good i am at hitchhikers. i could probably start picking up all the hitchhikers. even the ones who clearly aren’t the type to stay at hostels. that could be my thing: driving really fast on dangerous mountain roads and eluding knives as i pick up all the hitchhikers. fuck it