Day 17 was a long day. A really long day. Google says it is 777 miles between my Day 16 and Day 17 motels. Of course I had several detours making one tired Andy. I got to my room at 11:30pm and had to be on the road today at 6:30am. I also lost an hour due to a change in time zone so you can understand why this post is a day late. All of that driving was worth it and I had 2 great days.
Roswell! Prepare for tacky, alien nonsense. But there are only so many alien souvenir shops a man can go to, so I had to expand my activities to Carlsbad. Fortunately I now have a local friend (possibly a disguised alien) who was willing to be seen with me and show me around. I continue to meet the most fantastic people and she is certainly at the top of the list. I wouldn’t have seen all the great sights today without her.
I’m over halfway through my trip and tomorrow morning I leave Howard’s house. I have a lot to look forward to, but I’m a little bummed everything is moving this quickly. This post will be quick. I want to hang out with Howard for a bit then turn in early. The goal is to be on the road to Nevada by 7:00am.
Today was fantastic! The weather never got higher than the mid 70s, it was sunny, and we ate well. A lot of the day was spent in traffic, but the places we ended up at were great. A good bit of the day was walking around Santa Cruz, one of the filming locations for The Lost Boys. I didn’t see any vampires, but I do have an awesome picture to share below.
Overall I think Howard and I were good kids. So why is it when I think of him, I think of getting shot by BB guns, being caught on fire from coffee-mate explosions, the sound of exploding light bulbs, pee limit signs, and 1996 AOL phishing schemes? We both turned into fairly successful men. We’re educated and have been consistently employed. In my head though, I still see us as idiots doing our best to hurt ourselves in the name of fun. I haven’t seen Howard in too many years and I’m really happy to be spending this weekend at his house.
Fact: Idaho = Potatoes. There’s no getting around it. That’s why, even though I love animals, I had to sacrifice feeding baby bears in order to get a true potato experience. My first two stops today exemplify the theme of this trip perfectly. I’ve now traveled thousands of miles to look at potatoes and clean things.
Today was my day off! I didn’t have to drive anywhere and technically I didn’t have anything planned. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get up to anything fun. It certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t drink most of the day away with a Romanian bartender! Today was all about rest because the next few days will be taxing. This is also my last night in Wisconsin.
Two more days of work. Three more nights in my bed. I’m mostly packed and pick up the rent-a-car tomorrow at lunch. My living room is full of my emergency and first AID gear. My bedroom floor is covered in various clothing and gift bags. People have my route and hotel information should I go missing. Pretty much everything is planned. Shit is getting real.
I hope this blog doesn’t come across as critical of some of the things I’ve seen and will see. People think the Mystery Hole and House are silly (and they are) but these are the places I live for. I love John Waters’ quote at the top of this post; these are places I celebrate. I don’t want people to think I’m laughing at these unusual places, I’m enjoying them for what they are. My blog header mentions tourist traps and tacky gift shops but I don’t want to come off glib. I’m spending a lot of time and money to see these places. I respect them and the people who run them.
I got great news today and that’s why I’m clarifying my views of my destinations. A gentleman I contacted has a personal museum of nostalgic items in his house. It appears to be his passion and life’s work. Today he responded to me in a friendly manner inviting me to visit his museum/house. I am extremely grateful for his invitation and would be mortified if anyone thought I was going there to make fun of him or have a laugh at his expense. I feel his collection isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m excited to see it and meet this warm, talented, and interesting man! I’m sure I will enjoy the tour and hopefully come away having made a new friend.
Recently a friend returned from a 2.5 year trip abroad. He spent time in Africa serving in the Peace Corps and then time in Europe with his wonderful, German fiance that he met during his service. Before he left he was my roommate for 4 years. Tyler, his brother, and I are as close as family can be. Tyler helped take care of my father in his final years and was even at the bedside with us when my dad passed. It’s no wonder that when I picked him up at JFK airport our conversations picked up right where they left off. I was forced to take this unflattering picture for his family to prove I picked him up. Apparently they thought I was going to forget or leave him in NY? Continue reading “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. – RWE”