Driving Across America

Thursday, September 7, 2000


Location: I'm currently in Kingman, Arizona, about 120 miles from the Grand Canyon

I was going to visit Cedrick in San Francisco this weekend but I called him and discovered that he has to work over-time, so I called Linda in Texas to see if I could go visit her. She basically said "Come on down any time!" So the plan is to visit the Grand Canyon tomorrow, followed by Arcosanti (both in Arizona), then drive down to Texas to visit Linda.

While in Rocklin, CA, I actually found a Kinko's that had a station for laptops with an Ethernet cable to access their high-speed Internet connection. This Kinko's was right next to a Gateway Country too! My laptop is a Gateway and I've been having some problems with it. Unfortunately, there is a two week wait on repairs at this Gateway store, so I call Gateway tech support and they say that I need the Gateway Restoration CD that came with the laptop. Oops! I don't have it, and they won't send me one and Gateway Country is not allowed to sell me a copy either. Argh!

So I called my roommate to see if he could mail the CD to Texas so its there when I arrive, but he couldn't find it. Now my only option is to find a Gateway Country store in Texas that will repair my laptop in a couple of days. What's wrong with it? Not much really. I can't play DVD movies and I can't access the Internet via my Ethernet card (Fast!). I can still access the Internet via my cel-phone though (Slow!).

I drove over 500 miles today. I broke the 2000-mile mark for total mileage today. I've discovered that the secret to doing a long road trip is taking a break about once per hour. Otherwise you get stiff and sore.

The more South I go, the hotter it gets. It's in the 90's today. The thermometer in my truck says 97! Everything is hot! My engine is running way hotter than normal, but still within acceptable tolerances ... I hope.

My laptop feels hot. My stick-shift knob feels hot. My stereo feels hot. Everything is burning up, including me! Luckily I brought my Mr. Mister Mate! It's this bottle that you fill with water and pump up so it's under-pressure. It has a hose with a knob, when turned on, it sprays this fine mist that keeps me cool. I simply point my air-vents at my face, then hold the mist hose in front of them, and I'm sprayed with a cool mist. This is my air-conditioner! I picked this up at Eagle Hardware for $15. It really works!

Twice in the past two days, I felt like a cowboy riding a bucking bronco when my truck hit some uneven pavement. Both times I just held on and shouted Waaa-hoooo! You see, my truck has a lot of travel in the suspension due to the fact that I have this inflatable suspension, which is currently broken. So what I'm left with is this ultra-soft, ultra-spongy suspension that really rocks ... literally.

I can actually get my front wheels to jump off the ground by pumping my gas pedal in first gear. The trick is to get the truck rocking by pump, release, then repeat until satisfactory results achieved. I've had several witnesses that say my front tires hop about an inch or two off the ground.

I'm passing a whole lot of Joshua Trees. I'm assuming that's what they're called based on the U2 album of the same name. On the cover of the album, Bono and the band are standing in front of one of these weird trees in the dessert. I swear that I passed that exact tree! Wait! There it is again! It must be the heat.

I pulled off the road to take pictures of these giant windmills on the hill and noticed there was tumble-weed caught in the fence. I can't remember ever seeing tumble-weed in person. Another first! I regret not having grabbed one. I was thinking about how fun it would have been to mail one of these home to somebody. Imagine ... your very own tumble-weed. You could setup fans to blow it around the house. Fun for the whole family!

A lot of people have said to me "Bring me back something". Everybody's getting tumble-weeds! I swear!!

As I look up at the windmills, they remind me of the windmills in SimCity 2000. I must have played that game far too much because I'll hear a police siren and think "That sounds just like SimCity 2000".

In a few days I'll be visiting an Arcology called Arcosanti. SimCity 2000 had Arcologies. Dang! There I go again.

Once in a while I'll pass thru a cloud of insects and it will feel like its raining bugs. The windshield gets so clouded, I have to use the wipers in order to see where I'm going. Each time I fill up my tank, I have to scrub the bugs off my windshield. I'm wondering just how many bugs I've killed today. I estimate at least a few hundred. This is quite amazing considering each vehicle on the road is doing the same thing. That's a lot of dead bugs!

I hope the bug deaths aren't too painful. I hope it's a quick and painless death. I'd hate to think that I'm causing a lot of pain and misery in this world. This whole bug thing gets me wondering about how many animals I've killed in my lifetime. I'm talking about all of the ants I've stepped on, all of the flies I've swatted, all of the wasps I've killed with Raid, all of the daddy long-leg spiders I've tossed into the fire (I used to do this as a kid when we went camping), all of the animals I've run over, all of the fish I've killed while wave-running, etc. The death toll caused by me alone must be in the millions.

I pulled to the side of the road to take some pictures and when I returned, I found the front of my truck buzzing with flies! I wasn't sure what the big attraction was, but then I realized that they were attracted to all of the dead bugs.

There is one bug that evaded my windshield. I was going like 70 mph chasing this dragonfly. I wasn't really chasing it. It was flying down the road in front of me and I was gaining on it. It must have been doing about 60 mph! It got within 10 feet of my windshield and made a sharp left turn and was gone. I was amazed at how fast dragonflies can fly. I am NOT making this up!

Traffic was awesome today! I didn't hit one slow spot the entire time. I averaged 70 mph the whole way. The speed limit was actually 75 the last 50 miles. What ever happened to 55 saves lives??? I tend to drive 5 miles over the speed limit just to make better time ... and because I can get away with it. I've never gotten a ticket for doing 5 miles over the speed limit. It's always for 10 to 20 miles over the speed limit. I seem to average 1 or 2 speeding tickets per year. Lets see if I can avoid getting one this entire trip!

I wish I had cruise-control, then I wouldn't have to worry if I'm speeding. I kind of have a lead-foot. The speed limit will be 65 mph and my speed will slowly creep on me when I'm not looking and before I know it, I'm doing 80 mph! I guess that's one of the sacrifices I have to make for driving this old truck. That and no air-conditioning.

As the sun sets and the temperature drops, it starts to get cloudy and rain. I'm driving into a lightning storm. Bring it on! Tasty Treats! Tasty Treats! Oh excuse ... I'm randomizing. A side effect left over from the Burning Man. (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you need to go back and read entries 6, 7 and 8 ;-)

The sun is setting directly behind me on this flat straight road. I'm glad I'm not heading West! The sun would be directly in my eyes. Didn't they think about this when they designed the road? Don't you think its dangerous to design a road so that the drivers going East are blind in the morning and the drivers going West are blind in the evening?

As the temperature drops, everything starts to cool off. My engine is cooling off (phew!), my laptop is cooling off, my stereo is cooling off and my stick-shift knob is cooling off. Oh yeah, I'm cooling off too.

I love saving money at these cheap Motels way out in the middle of nowhere. You can actually find places for $20/night, but don't expect much. The rooms are pretty stripped down.

The MP3s on my laptop, helped make the trip go quick. Here is a list of the songs that grabbed me and forced me to sing along today. Look 'em up on Napster if you want to hear them.

  • Moby - Porcelain
  • Moby - Body Rock
  • Moby - The sky is broken
  • Moby - Why does my heart feel so bad?
  • Foo Fighters - See You
  • Foo Fighters - Walking after you
  • Foo Fighters - Doll
  • Foo Fighters - Everlong
  • Pixies - Where is my mind (the song they play at the end of the movie Fight Club)
  • Pixies - Here comes your man
  • Collective Soul - The world I know
  • Cake - Let me go
  • Rush - 2112
  • Midnight Oil - Barest Degree
  • Sublime - Smoke two joints
  • Cranberries - Just my imagination
It's time to delete a bunch of music off my hard-drive so that I can download some new stuff. I have to wait until I have access to a high-speed connection though.
Date Created September 15, 2000
Last Updated April 12, 2006