I warned you, I'm feeling ultra lazy. Too lazy to put up pictures. They're up on Rach's site, just jump over there (my address without the bethanyrambling at the end, for you 2 people who didn't come through her site).
Sorry, this is out of order; I'm feeling lazy, though, so I am just slapping everything up. It's late. I'm tired.
Man, it’s hard to write a blog while watching “Bring it On”. This is why I don’t do much writing when I’m not on the road.
The days are flying by here in DC. I’ve been to more museums than I can count, and dodged millions of raving 8th graders. I’ve sat on the laps of many bronze leaders of our nation, and walked the only mall that doesn’t quite drive me to tears. It’s been fun.
But the real fun is just about to begin. Right now, millions of women are pouring into the city in droves. Feminists, families, baby dykes, knitters, and politicians, the variety and sheer amount is astounding. Em just came back in from a coke (sorry, that’s Coke, not coke, Em would like to point out) run, looking a little stunned. She had just recognized the prominent feminist author who had broken her dollar.
Last night I had a reunion with one of the girls from the hostel in Minneapolis. We mixed it up, had a grand time, and early the next morning I was off to pick up my sister and Em. My days of sleeping lonely in my truck are over, at least for a few weeks. I am drinking up the company, and havin’ a ball.
Yesterday morning I wandered into the National Cathedral, and ended up wandering out roughly 3 hours later. That place is insane! You can explore everything, from the crypts and glittering mosaics in the basements to the tops of the gargoyles heads in the observation room of the tower. I’ve always been frustrated in cathedrals by the ropes cordoning off the really cool shit that only the monks get to see. Here, it seems like you get to poke your head everywhere.
The gargoyles are fascinating, ranging from the traditional to Darth Vader. The stained glass windows have a similar range, scenes from Christ’s death vying for attention with moon rocks set into outer space scenes and Colonial heroes.
It’s all cool, in a patriotic, national way.
Friday, April 30, 2004
Yep, I heart NY too!
The same feeling I got on the subway has continued throughout the rest of my wanderings. New York has its own mythology that is almost overwhelming, and every other corner you come to is familiar, an icon of some sort. I found myself rambling, not really doing or buying anything, just wandering and saying, “Holy shit, I’m in Greenwich Village, this is the Village! Holy shit, it’s the Hudson River! That’s the Bethesda fountain, holy shit! I’m in Central Park!” Everything was familiar, even though it’s not like any place else.
Tuesday was our guided tour of the city. Em was amazing, showing us all the sights. We got off the subway at Battery Park (even though we weren’t desperately seeking anything), then hopped a ferry, of course, to Lady Liberty. She’s an all right gal. I guess I always knew she was walking, but it was kind of a trip to see her foot peeking perkily out the back of her robes.
The next stop was the East Village, which... is very hard to describe. It’s just... New York. Walking down the streets just made me think, yeah, this is what I expected. The mix is amazing. In San Francisco you’ve got a lot of strange folks, but they are all confined to their own little area. In the East Village, you see every type of person imaginable, and they all have some sort of style. No one wears just jeans and a T, except for silly boring tourists from California.
That night we met Cari, and Rachael was like a giggly school girl. Those three together are so cute! You couldn’t be anywhere near them and not pick up some of the fun they were having; it was infectious.
The next day was their big yarn excursion. I’m a knitter. I like to knit. I like yarn. I like yarn stores. But these people take it to another level completely. They’re a little bit insane, but in a really good, fibrous way. Anyway, since we had a knitting group that night, an afternoon at Knit New York, and 2 days at the sheep and wool festival, I decided that I could forego this trip.
So I wandered. All over, to all the places I already knew, but had never been to. It was great. I spent the entire afternoon completely lost inside the Met. I was thrilled to see exhibits that I had read about in the New Yorker. How freaking exciting is that? I saw the Christo exhibit, as well as the Byzantine art. They were as fabulous as I expected, as was the miles and miles and miles of everything else.
I had several New York moments. The pigeons in Central Park scattering in front of me. The sun was setting when I got to Brooklyn, and I peeked down a street to see a dead end with a pick-up basketball game going on. Brooklyn, baby. I was in Brooklyn. Have no fear, Brooklyn is here!
More wandering the next day, this time with Rachael, all through Central Park, to Tiffany’s, and back through the East Village. What can I say? It was all fabulous.
Now we are back on the Dragon bus to DC. I’m glad to be seeing Tach again, and looking forward to everything that’s ahead of us, but I’m so sad to leave New York. I know I will be back, again and again. Even on this trip, I know I’m coming back to Brooklyn; We never got to Coney Island to play some skeeball! So I’ll be back soon...
And yes, Kara, I had several tequila shots for you.
Yep, the march rocked, and I would love to post all about it, but my mind is stuck underground. We took a bus from DC that got us into NY about 10. We prepped for the ride by spending the afternoon in a bar, knitting and drinking. 4 hours on a gently rocking bus, alcohol slowing down all my mental processes, just about knocked me out. I was as dopey as could be.
Then we passed through the Holland Tunnel. And suddenly I was wide awake and wired. I know I should keep my cool in a new city, try to pretend like I'm not a big yahoo, but I was grinning and craning my neck like crazy. Still, I wasn't really excited until we got onto the subway.
New York has got to be the most mythologized city of American pop culture. Books, movies, television, music, every medium for vicarious living has been pushing me towards this city since I was a kid. The subway entrances are possibly more familiar than BART to me, simply because I've seen so many different characters running down those steps.
Then we came to the platform. Shady characters lurked behind pillars, and I had visions of scottish men wielding swords running into the dark tunnels. We had to run for the train, and we made it on just in time, as a voice said "Stand clear of the closing doors", not quite Soul Coughing's "won't you please stand clear of the closing doors", but close enough for me. The train was not full, but not nearly as empty as it was when Spike fought an epic battle there.
I could go on for days. It's the holy land all over again, where one site lays claim to multiple visions, events, religious extravaganzas. On this one rock, Jesus spit, Mohammed tripped, and Moses juggled. Luckily no one is waging war over their claim on the subways. Can't you just see Buffyites trying to stake the followers of the Scot with the Big Sword? Mayhem, it would be.
There was a crack in the plaster through which you could see brick, and a whole to god knows what through that, that led all the way up to the grime encrusted mosaic at the top. I desperately wanted to take a picture.
I didn't, of course. That's the other curse of New York. I have a desperate urge not to be taken as a tourist, I have to be as cool as Susan while wandering Battery Park. But I can't get rid of my grin...
I've found another perk to hotel lobbies; free internet! Hee hee hee.
DC is not as scary as I was afraid of. I wandered all day yesterday, and found parking pretty easily. I wasn't able to stay out of the multitudes of museums, and ended up wandering through several. Hirshhorn was my favorite; it has the most recent exhibits. Funky multimedia shows are more my thing than French Impressionists, although they had a Buddha exhibit in one of the other museums that was very cool.
I found myself wandering the mall, where they were in the midst of preparations, putting up stages and sound systems. I knew I was in the right place for the march when I heard them sound testing Sarah MacLachlan.
Back to my wanderings...
AIIGH! I just lost about a huge post!! I knew that would happen someday, I'm on library computers, the server was to busy, and I couldn't get back to it. BORkjfoiwe9!!!
Well, maybe later. No, I guess I'll try to recreate it.
Baltimore is excellent. I can't say I was precisely shocked, as John Waters promised, but it was excellent.
My first stop was at the American Visionary Art Museum. Probably my favorite art museum ever. It's not huge, but it has some good shit, full of fantastic sights and ideas. It was very inspiring, actually.
And here was the section in my original blog where I told you all about my shrine ideas. Well, you missed out. Now it seems it is not the time to tell you, so I'll keep mum. You'll just have to be surprised and shocked with the rest of the world when I unveil my art.
I wandered the streets for a while, marvelled at cathedrals, and stopped by Edgar Allen Poe's gravesite for a quick memorial and picture. He will always wear Lee Press On's face in my head. Which is a little strange and jarring, but oddly comforting. I saw quite a few traditional Baltimore haunts, which made me long to stay a little longer. Unfortunately, I have little patience, and even less money, making me realize again the skimming nature of this trip. Still, I saw enough to know that I will enjoy a return trip someday in the future when I can enjoy it at my leisure.
A short way away from my car I discovered that I had forgotten a pair of undies that were peeking out of my hoodie pocket. I probably could have run them back to Tach at that point, but instead, I left them right where they were, and got a little Watersian thrill and a strange smile every time I thought of them. It seemed fitting.
I was also reminded of the budget traveler's best trick. If you aren't too terribly scruffy, do make sure to take any shortcuts through hotel lobbies that present themselves to you. Quite often you are rewarded with ice cold lemonade or cookies. It's not much, but it's sneaky and satisfying, and if you keep moving, the hotel detective will never catch you.
I'm in DC now, and though I haven't seen much, I am already impressed. The size of everything... the number of museums... the amount of cars... staggering. I think I'll take it slow today, and just meander a bit. Tomorrow is soon enough for some serious museum hopping.
After that last post, I managed to get yet another hike in! It was only a couple miles (straight down, however) to a nice little waterfall, so I squeezed it in before sunset. The Parkway is crammed full of great hikes, and when I got to Shenandoah National Park, there were even more!
I found some coin operated showers and managed to wash the stink away (after one last hike to a waterfall). Somewhere along the way, I learned how to take amazingly fast showers. This one was 5 minutes for a dollar, and I had another dollar lined up and ready. I had so much time left, I thought the timer must have broken down. I can now claim to take both the fastest shower and the longest bath. Actually, I've heard stories from military guys of much faster showers, but under 5 minutes is pretty damn good for me.
I'm now in the middle of horse country, in rich, rural Virginia. Rambling black fences enclose huge estates, all with their own crest flying out front. A historic marker informed me that one mansion nearby has been home to the same family since the 1800's. This same family started the nation's oldest foxhunt (Piedmont), and the nation's oldest horseshow (Upper something). How gentile.
I've finally realized why I have been so obssessively collecting music since my teens. If you have a large enough variety, you can create the perfect soundtrack to whatever countryside you happen to be passing through. This truth was rammed home in Tennessee. My visor holder had the Porch Ghouls, Son Volt, Garth, Spice Girls (cause they work anywhere), and Open Road. In the player was Drive By Truckers. I was singing along when I went under an overpass with "DRive BY truckers" spraypainted in orange on it.
Whew, I'm a stinky girl. Normally I really don't care, but I'm at the library and someone just sat down beside me, and boy, do I feel sorry for him. It's all due to the fact that I went for 2 hikes today (yay for an active me). I got lost on the first one, so a nice ramble on the Blue Ridge turned into a fairly serious (and sweaty) hike.
After that, I wasn't too ripe, so I didn't even bother to change before hitting my next stop, HolyLand USA. Unless you are willing to pay, this too is a bit of a hike, so off into the hot Virginia sun I went. And now I am most definitely stinky.
What to say about HolyLand. It was... interesting. Sort of. Not really though. Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit, it could be that they put a good deal of research and thought into it, but this replica of the holy lands seemed a little half-assed to me. It looked like some gung-ho Christian had an old farm with nothing to do on it, so they roughly divided into sections of the holy lands (Bethlehem to Jerusalem and all stops in between), then threw up crosses and concrete blocks everywhere, added a bunch of old farm implements for some unknown reason, and called it a tour.
Maybe if I had paid this would all have made sense to me. I am the poor unenlightened slob you see before you, all 'cause I'm cheap.
More likely it looks cheap in comparison to the Ave Maria Grotto. That one was inspired. That one was a lifetime of work. That one was fascinating, interesting, different. This one was like a pageant put on by the VBS students at church on Sunday. Not very original, or interesting, but sweet.
Upwards to DC! The march countdown is on! Not to mention the countdown to seeing my sis!
Got a new block on this computer; Netnanny would not let me view my own site! I guess I am ####. Cool. Okay, that's even cooler. I saved this as a draft, and when it came back up, the #s were replacing a slightly less delicate word I used.
I would like to take a moment to try to explain the concept of a perfect road to those who fear curves. I've been on the Blue Ridge Parkway for the last couple of days, and yesterday I had one of those totally zen moments where you really understand what they mean when they say the road is unwinding before you. Your arms flex and stretch in perfect symmetry to the curves in the road, and the speed of your car moves you into a rhythm, and for just a minute, it truly seemed like the curves ahead of me were unwinding and the road moving beneath me while I was standing totally still...
Bliss. And that's not even mentioning the times when you are truly the ridge itself, and the mountains fall away on either side of you, or the strange calming effect of the ridgepole shadows that flicker over you from the still skeletal trees on either side. That is one good road.
I wandered into a couple other fabulous roads as well. I took a big long side trip to a small town called Elizabethton, from a tip I got from some old book (you can see what's coming, can't you?) about an underwater main street tour they held. TVA flooded the old town way back when, and, according to the book, the water over main street was so shallow, you could take a boat over and practically see the old timey folks going about their business in the watery streets. This had been one of the "must-see's" in my trip; I know I've mentioned it here several times.
I checked in with the Chamber of Commerce, per my fabulous guidebook, where I was met with a blank stare. Then an incredulous laugh. Then she called in all her co-workers to laugh as well. "Hey Bill! They doing that scuba thing over in old Butler now?"
Apparently my information was a bit outdated. No one had ever heard of the tour, but one man did remember back about 5 or 6 years when they had to partially drain the lake to do some repair on one of the dams. At that point, you sure could see Main Street; in fact, some buildings were actually sticking up out of the water a bit.
This just emphasizes my biggest peeve with this trip. I'm just a little too damn late. Tiki Gardens is closed, the Elephant Fantasyland is a rose garden, the waters have risen over old Butler. I'm only 25 years old and I'm already hideously outdated. Everything I wanted to remember one day, I'll never even get to see. Damn damn damn.
Still, the search did lead me to one of my favorite roads so far, highway 321 coming down off the mountains. It's a slow, windy, no windey, winedy, damn, is that not a word? It wound a lot, and popping up all over the place were the most delightful spreads, beautiful old houses interspersed with collapsing barns and shacks, some of which were still inhabited.
They have this strange vegetation out here, which I described earlier as the perfect setting to hide a body. It looks like layers and layers of old dead vines, and it covers everything in its path, so that you can't tell what the hell is under there. One old shack was only halfway devoured, and it looked like an American Gothic version of the living rock temples in Ethiopia and Syria, its facade peeking out from an entire hill made of vines.
Today I left the parkway again in search of another one of the circled towns on my map, a place called Love Valley. The only thing that I had written down was "Old West Town". Normally that is not enough to merit a circle on the map, but I had a foggy idea that this one was something special. Besides the fact that it's not really in the west.
And it was something special. Or I guess it's what it wasn't that was special. If that makes sense. It was an old west town, NOT an "Old West Towne", if you get the difference. This was not a town for tourists, though the tourists did come. But there are no cutesy stores selling turquouise jewelry, and faux leather vests. When the tourists arrive, they have to content themselves with the amusements that really were in the old west. Which means when I got there, just past noon on a weekday, there were about a dozen or so folks in sneakers sitting around on the porches. That's it. Sittin' around, chewing the fat.
I'm sure later it gets a bit wilder, as I counted at least 3 saloons. In fact, apart from saloons, there wasn't much else. There was a general store/homestyle diner that consisted of 3 video games (okay, so it's not all authentic), a selection of ice creams and snack foods, and some folding tables and chairs in the back, a saddle shop, a dance hall, and Miss Kitty's Boarding House. Cars are not allowed on main street, as it may disturb the slightly skittish horses that were tied up outside the dance hall.
According to one old timer, the town had seen some real craziness just the week before. Halloween and Easter are huge in Love Valley, and there were upwards of two thousand horses in this small place last Sunday. Hard to imagine. The only horse moving today was the one lazily pulling a carriage up and down main street. I suppose even with only a dozen tourists in town, the taxi service can't afford to shut down.
The hills around the downtown area were a little bit more up to date, but everyone was still real gung ho about keeping up the theme. Houses, sheds, and garages all had the wild west look to them, but the strangest things were the RV protectors. Love Valley favors the horse crazy transient, and there were tons of RV's in the surrounding area. But they weren't just left out. Oh no, that would ruin the image. They were shelved neatly under aged wood shelters, with western doo dads and cow skulls hanging from the eaves.
6 minutes till shutdown here in the library, so I have to mention one more thing that I just remembered. Totally a non sequiter, but whatever. My favorite roadsign ever was in Florida, where they had slapped a small "utility" sign partially over a large orange "ROAD WORK" sign, so what you saw was "Futility WORK".
Okay, everything else is shut down, gotta send before they kick me out.
It's not often that I use maps, but when I do, I generally prefer that they are actually represent the roads and lands they pretend to. Up until now AAA maps have served me well; they are a bit on the skimpy side, but they work for my bare bones approach. Well, apparently the people at AAA never actually went to Alabama and Tennessee. There were roads on the maps that simply didn't exist, numbers that were just plumb wrong, but my favorite mistake was in the Great Smokey Mountains Park.
I was heading around the long way, as I found out the path through the park was shut still, due to snow. I had to make for the interstate, but instead of following signs, I went by the map, and took what looked like a scenic back road. It sure was scenic. It was a perfect road, windy and slow, through Tennessee forests. Up in the higher stretches, the trees were covered in white, although there wasn't enough for it to stick to the newly paved road.
The newly paved road ran out after about 10 lovely miles, and the road, while remaining a windy, country road that you can't go over 15 mph on, turned to mud. Hmmm. I consulted my map again. Nope, not a sign that this might happen. It was still pretty, though, so I kept on going. It was a lovely drive, however unexpected, and it did get me where I wanted to go.
Let's see, it's been a long time since I was able to blog. Did I tell y'all about the Weeki Wachee Mermaids? This was one of the main FL sights on my list, and it pretty much rocked. Overpriced, like most of Florida, but well worth it. The curtains opened on an underwater marvel, a castle in the background, and silvery bubbles floating up. Suddenly a girl in a sparkly bra and tail pops up right in front of you, eyes wide open, and painted mouth twisted in the most frighteningly frozen grin I have ever seen. She is joined by her sisters, and they put on a fabulous production of "The Little Mermaid", supposedly the traditional story version, but it had a good resemblance to Disney. They changed the tunes just enough to avoid getting sued. Every now and then in between cartwheels they suck some air from these long tube like things. Interesting.
The rest of the park is really just backdrop to the show. There were waterslides and a "River Adventure" that would have put me to sleep if it weren't for the pelicans sticking their heads over the side of the boat to try and reach the fish the captain threw overboard here and there.
My next stop was at the Koreshan settlement in Estero. It was one of those communes established in the late 1800's, you know the type, wacky scientific theories, utopian ideals, that sort of thing. This one was remarkably well preserved, and throughout the park, the information had a strange undercurrent. It's like they really believed they were right, and the park was established to honor the area's founding fathers and mothers, not to show an extinct subculture. Turns out just about the entire thing was funded by one of the last remaining Koreshans, as they were a productive and slightly wealthy commune. History is written by the ones with the money.
By this point my mosquito bites were driving me absolutely frigging nuts, and I resolved to book it out of Florida. I almost took a picture for posterity; there was one on my foot that was about the size of a ping pong ball. Allergies stink!
On up into Georgia again. I spent one whole day tracking down religious sites; or trying to, anyway. County road 78 did not appear on my fabulous maps, and I was not in the mood to speak to anyone at all, so I skipped Pasaquan. Really mad at myself for that one, actually. Anti-social behavior is fine every once in a while, but I really wanted to see that one! I just couldn't picture myself walking up to one of the clean cut looking farmers gathering outside the feed store and asking, "Excuse me, do you know where the heathen religious community is located?"
On to Alabama, where a catholic shrine refused to be found, despite fairly clear directions, and I again refused to ask. Finished up the day in Cullman, Alabama, which made all the rest worth it. The Ave Maria Grotto has been a roadside highlite since the 30's. It's inside the grounds of a monastery, and is the work of one Brother Joseph. If you have AAA, you get a dollar discount on the entrance fee to the shrine. That just seemed odd to me.
Once inside, you see a few funky folk-art shrines, towering cement creations with glass baubles, cold cream jars, and whatever else was handy. Keep walking down the path, and the creations become more numerous and more elaborate. There are two entire villages of miniature religous buildings, one taking inspiration from Rome, and one from Jerusalem. It all ends up in a fabulous gigantic grotto. Breathtaking.
The next day I started out in the Scottsboro Unclaimed Baggage Center. It's basically just a big thrift store, except for the fact that the stuff is not the junk that folks got rid of; it's the good shit that just got misplaced. I picked up a well fitting baseball cap advertising some type of rum (spring break memento? it's mine now!), a new purse (Stripes is getting tired of getting shoved in my back pocket), and 4 pop-py cds (Justified, A-Teens Abbaesque, an unnamed plaid covered disc, and ESPN's 1996 X-Games mix).
I finished "American Gods" about a month ago, and since then, I have been desperately wanting to go to Lookout Mountain. Actually, I desperately wanted to go before then, but that just shoved the want a little deeper. The climactic battle scene takes place there, and there was a fabulous description of the evil gods lurking among the stones in Rock City.
It definitely was creepy. Not at first. At first you wind your way through amazing rock formations and well tended gardens, squeezing through narrow openings 20 feet high, and crossing over a swinging bridge to the view point where 7 states can be seen and where an Indian maiden once hurled herself after her lover.
Then you enter Fairyland Caverns. It starts slowly, a gnome here, a few more there. The music piped in is cheery, and you see a whole group of gnomes at a still, playing the fiddle, etc. You get deeper, it gets darker, and much stranger. There are long stretches of blackness, where you can just feel the gods breathing down your back, and the only interruption to the darkness is when you come to a blacklit diorama of a fairytale scene. I was practically running by the end, mostly because I was all alone. There was not another single soul around; I had purposfully put myself in a break between huge groups. I enjoy everything better that way, but boy, did it nearly make me wet myself.
My favorite diorama was Jack and the beanstalk; you look through a very yannicly shaped flower pod to see a shocked woman standing at the base of a very large stalk. They did that on purpose. My other favorite was a carnival scene, where gnomes with cracked faces and wandering hands went by at a dizzying pace on a Ferris Wheel.
So great, my words don't even begin to give it justice.
That brings me up to the mountains. The snow has stunned me; just days ago I was sweltering. I am loving being in the cool forests again, and can't wait to get going on the Parkway. No more scents of Saipan; instead I smell hearth fires over every other hill.
If I believed in past lives, my reaction to the scent of woodfires would have to be attributed to one. It's too strong a reaction for this life. It reminds me. Can I say that? When I have no idea of what something reminds me of, it just reminds me. Of something just out of reach, that maybe I never knew. It's a reminder of the wilds, a slightly dark feeling, a la "In the Company of Wolves" that makes me grin manicly, slightly dark and intensely comforting. It's also the only smell I can physically bring back, even if it's been a year since I smelled one. I can't clearly imagine the odor of a watermelon, or clam chowder, or engine oil. But a wood fire is permanently in my nose, it just takes a thought to bring it back.
Maybe it's all just because I used to curl up by the fire on dark, chilly (for California standards) nights with a fantasy novel. Dark kingdoms, princesses and werewolves are what I'm smelling.
As for knitting, I'm wearing my lotech every single day, and still slowly working on my tank. The lotech, to answer some questions, was made with a very budget conscious Peaches and Cream 100% cotton. The whole thing was about $10, and it still feels pretty darn nice.
In absolutely NO order. Webmistress Rachael hopes Bethany breaks in to place captions on each photo, 'cause WR can't even begin to do so.
(note from Bethany: yeah, they're in NO order! There was some old film in there somewhere!)
Old Church Ruins outside of Savannah:
Homecoming Parade in Heartland, USA:
Bridge. maybe Jax, but I think it's actually between Charleston and Savannah. I later saw two big toughies on Harleys taking the same picture:
Just for my own personal sick and twisted amusement:
Stripes on Conrad Aiken's grave marker:
My beach (that of the wedding, twins, and old men)(you can also see how freakily shrine like my dashboard is getting):
Modeling my birthday sweater from sister Rachael:
Traveler's Chapel, the coolest thing in Wall Drug, SD:
Another South Dakota pic, probably the Badlands, possibly Teddy Roosevelt Nat'l Park. This is my favorite picture, mainly because Stripes is calmly laughing at me and not raising a finger to help. On second thought, I should have posed him on the hood just by the camera:
A Coke Memorial Wreath. What The??
Dungenness ruins of a Carnegie mansion on Cumberland Island. Way cooler than the picture came out:
Did you know it costs 9 bucks to PARK at the big giant heads in SD? We did a drive-by photo shoot:
Sister Christy in front of some old Charleston building. I think this one had secret passages discovered in it recently:
America's Tiniest Roadside Chapel (actually it's not, but it makes the claim):
Sister Christy (she's starting to sound like a nun) at the hostel in Atlanta:
Mother Superior Christy in front of the Pink House in Charleston:
Swings. I think I almost made Christy puke here, but I really wanted the picture:
Me grinning in my new cozie hoody, courtesy of the fabulous Theresa (knitting blog coming soon):
Modeled on me:
Modeled on my indian:
Hat for Christy, design by Bethany, outside of a hostel in Deadwood, SD:
Majorly Huge Tank! Look, it's almost as big as Tach's hood!
Okay, Florida is pretty great. Right after my last post I decided to abandon the coast. Picturesque it may be, but if you can't see the picture for the condos it ain't worth it. So I headed inland, to Lake Ogre-Chobee (which it will always be for me).
It was stunning, in a very poor, rurally depressed kind of way. The jungle really does retake anything left alone for a moment, and there were many houses, trailers, and tractors in mid-gastration. It's all farm country, the lake surrounded by acres of orange trees, or something in fields, I'm not very good at identifying things. One of the older ramshackle houses had an even more ramshackle sign out front proclaiming it "Oleo's Acres : One of the Cheaper Spreads".
After that I skirted the Everglades (saving them for tomorrow!), and entered Miami. I've discovered that this trip is definitely not about the cities for me. It's hard to save money in cities, and it seems like most cities are basically the same. Having said that, Miami does have a different feel to it. It's more colorful, lively, whatever, you've probably heard it all before. It was just how I expected Miami to be.
And the Keys were just how I expected them to be as well. On one of the very first islands a man stepped out in front of my car wearing a priest's black suit, white collar and all, and he topped it off with flowing locks and a Hemmingway hat. Managed somehow to look very presentable. On my way back, same island, same man (or at least he could have been taken for his twin), this time dressed in a dirty white shirt and lugging a pail full of fish with a straw hat on top. Very Keysey.
Key West was beautiful, full of gorgeous old houses, chickens wandering the streets, and people fanning themselves on porches. It felt so much like an old tropical island, if you could ignore the hordes of people and the Hard Rock Cafe's and such. It's a very small town to be so packed with us camera-happy mainlanders.
I saw the Jesus of the Deep! Well, not The, actually, just A, but still very cool. Apparently there are several, along with a Buddha in Islamorada. I splurged on a snorkling trip that was well worth it. It was even worth the odd inverted V shape burn on my back (the number one peril of traveling alone: no one to get the lotion on your back). It's been 15 years since I went snorkeling. I had that initial snort of surprise and panic, then settled in comfortably, and paddled around to my heart's content.
Now I'm back in Miami, staying with a very generous blog-commentor who hopes to hit the road soon herself. She lives in the most amazing part of town. The houses are not huge extravagent mansions, but there are some damn nice ones, and every one is unique. The streets wind their way through oddly shaped yards and masses of tropical trees. For just a moment the other night, I caught a whiff of Saipan. Her house is much like Rachael's; cheery, bright, and stuffed full of yarn.
Woo, almost lost this whole thing. New computer, and all. I think I am just going to send it now to be on the safe side. More from the road later!
Okay, I suppose Florida is not so bad. I found a perfect spot to sleep in last night, well down the strip from the partiers in Daytona. I backed Tach up into a spot at a beachside motel, and left the curtain up to watch the moon rise over the water before I fell asleep. In the morning I was woken up by the sun rising in just the same spot.
I've been cruising for the last few hours and haven't seen anything that really pulled me. Zipped by the Kennedy Space Center (where Bush is supposed to be today), not in the mood to spend too much money to stand in a Republican throng of people. I haven't seen any particularly seedy sights that needed to be photographed; in fact, the only thing I've taken a picture of at all is a sign that said "Two plus Two equals Sex".
The afternoon might find me in the Keys, at the rate I am going. I'm trying to remember if any of my hook-ups gave me good tips for Miami, or if I should just skate on through. We'll see.
I'm bad for not writing, but really, you woulda heard more of the same. I'm tired of being here, whine whine whine, leaving soon.
Well now I'm going! Woo hoo!! Except I'm not totally excited, and I don't know why. I think I may actually miss this crazy, hard job that I spent 13 hours at yesterday. Very strange.
Many of you feel bad for the old top billionaire. That is because you are crazy. It has no feelings. And the new one is much better.
Why am I so tickled by this? Gates does lotsa good stuff with his money, I have no idea who this crazy Ikea man is, I've never owned a stick of his furniture, and my home area has especially been boosted by Gates. Still. I find this very un-boring.
My writing is shit, all I wanna do is drive my car, so I'm outta here. Eat my dust.
bleh bleh bleh. Somebody take me home, I am FED UP with all the sunshine and blue skies and palm trees. I am going stir crazy, inertia is addling my brains, I am longing for foggy days and misty nights... 5 days more.
On the happy side, my Lo-Tech is totally finished! I put in the zipper today (my first), and it is pretty damn fine, if I don't say so myself. It's a big comfy binky, and I am wearing it all day today, even if it gets to be 80 degrees. Rachael has pics, so yell at her to get to the developer. But then pity her for having to work midnights again.
We just hired a new girl for the office. For the past 15 years she worked midnights for an airline, and I noticed again the strange, ethereal quality that graveyard folks have. They always look like they are dreaming a little bit. Rachael has managed to cover up this dreaminess a bit with the sweet attentiveness she has perfected, but it's still there.
I am still excited about heading south; there's so many strange sights to see! My railing against this damn place and the damn weather here is just the frustrated cage rattling of a zoo monkey (be glad I'm not flinging shit). Just like that monkey, as soon as I gain my freedom I am going to linger around the cage, enjoying the new perspective of the other side of the bars. I don't think escaped elephants long for the known safety of their cages; they just want to snitch some free peanuts to enjoy as only free elephants can.
Back to reveling in my bleh. Bleh, bleh, bleh. Bleh X 5 days.