Tuesday, January 23, 2007

and so it was a road trip: a christmas story part II

So, where was I? Ah yes, a nine hour drive from SC, a stop over in Tennesse, grabbing a twin, and hitting the road. I wanted all you canadians to see to see just how far of a drive it is from south carolina to our place here in cali. Here is the link to see it on google maps:


(my directions thing didnt work, but you can see SC on the very far right side, and Cali, on the very far left -- for you geographically ignorant canadians).

So, after we left Tennesse, we only stopped for the neccessities, gas, food and the bathroom - in that order. I tell you, I saw some gnarly bathrooms on that road trip, but nothing beats the horror show that I was privy to in LA. We decided to detour south of our route, and bipass colorado, as they were having a snow storm, and instead drive the width of texas. That state is huge! We had dinner in the evening on the eastern boarder, drove all night, and when we had breakfast we were still in texas! I had the 2-5 driving shift, as we decided it may be best to let me drive when all other sound minded people were sleeping. I was driving when the sky started to lighten, and we could see that there was desert all around us -- but it wasnt as I imagined the desert to be. It was very pretty, with lots of hills and a beatiful sunrise.

We drove and drove and drove, and came close enough to the mexican border that we began to see patrol cars, another highly effective american plan to aid in illegal immigration (this is where i roll my eyes). Anyway, we saw a ton of those trucks, but not one illegal running around on the side of the road, so who knows, maybe they are infact effective (this is where you would hear my sarcasm if we were speaking).

Of course we saw some interesting billboards in texas, this one, didnt surprise me at all considering our location, but if was say, on the outskirts of vancouver, i think it would have been more strange. Regardless, i got a good laugh.

Speaking of odd billboards, i dont know if you can see whats in this picture or not, but its a giant wood and metal roadrunner. Its like, at least 15 feet high, maybe taller it was hard to tell from the highway.

Also an odd billboard, and a bad picture, is this billboard/wood cut out of a baby, playing by itself in a lone feild. As far as I can tell there is no Ad that goes with this baby. Its just a baby sitting, all alone, in a feild. Talk about neglect. Maybe its a subliminal public service announcement. Who knows, but it is definetly odd, dont you think? No offence texas, i know i know, dont mess with texas, even if they have strange things on the sides of their roads.

K theres nothing odd about this next shot, its just the classic desert cactus shot. It was SO warm here that i was uncomfortable in long sleeves when we stopped at the gas station.

Looks hot, dont it?

Once we got out of texas the drive seemed not to drag on as bad as it had been. Its possible by that time we were all just a bit sleep deprived, and were suffering from cabin fever. Everything seemed that much more funny, especially the orange sunglasses that stowed away in Cs glove box. They were hours of fun. Just ask Christopher.. doesnt he look like hes having a blast?

This shot is taken through the glasses. Like I said, they were hours of fun (for me anyway). Who needs photo shop, or sepia function on their cameras when you got a fancy pair of yellow sunglasses??

I was really amazed to see how much new mexico, and the southern edges of Cali were just like texas geographically speaking. I mean, i know it never rains where i am in cali, but we have greenery. There wasnt alot of that along the eastern cali border, and for the most part, its hard to tell where my pictures are from, after we hit texas.

Heres a cool shot, of what the area looked like generally. Really cool rock formations -- and cheryl i thought about you the whole way through this part, and how you'd climb every rock there if you had the chance. Especially this one!

The sun set a few hours after we crossed the Cali border, and it was a georgous sunset. My pictures just dont do it justice, but heres a few anyways.

I was a little dissapointed that the sun went down before we got to LA, cause i wanted to see what it looked like. Well that was before I went through LA. As far as Im concerned now, that place could fall into the ocean and i wouldnt think twice about it. It was terrible. We got lost. Had to use this bathroom at a gas station that was so gross it rivals the nasty shell at the corner of clark and 6th. You know the one, the one that has the black light in it so junkies cant shoot up in it? Not to mention the wonderful graffitti, garbage, and aroma of je ne sais quoi. Anyway, we went further into LA than we wanted to cause we veered off onto the wrong highway. We went pretty far into LA, turned off the highway to try to pee and get directions, when we got back on the freeway, it wasnt the one we got off of. So, in trying to find the freeway we were on before the gas station, we saw a sign for the original highway we had accidently gotten off. Ureeka, it was like a gift from god, and we were yet again, on our way home, after a 2 hour detour of HellLa. We had to drive through a mountain pass to get home, just out side of LA. I had no idea they had mountains there. It was so windy, christopher was double handed and white knuckling it on the steering wheel, and i still thought the wind was going to pick us up and put us in the other lane. We made it through, and shortly there after we were driving along, and christopher and I smelled this unbelievably horrid stench. I ignored it, blowing it off as a farm, but after about 10 minutes, it just got stronger, and there was no farm in sight. Christopher looked over at me and whispered that maybe his brother had had an "accident". I shook my head, no, its just not possible for a grown man to deficate in his own pants, with out copious amounts of drugs or alcohol. But, as time passed and the smell got worse, i was frightened to admit he may be right. I think eventually our giggling woke blake up, and we watched him through the rearview to see if he was upset about anything. Finally C broke down and asked him if everything was ok, and i guess my initial hypothesis was correct, altough we couldnt see them, we had to be passing some sort of farm. Blake was clean. Heheheh. I took over driving, and yet again, geography that i had previously considered hills, became yet again mountains, and of course the california fog rolled in right at that time. I looked over at the clock after about an hour or so of driving. It was midnight, on the button, new years eve. I looked over at blake, my perfect copiolet and muttered grumpily "happy new years" as i gripped the steering wheel, driving through foggy mountains about 2 or so hours from home. We made in at about 3am and went straight to bed, and i tell you, i havent slept that well in a very long time.

So you kids know, I am heading to vancouver for 10 whole days tomorrow! So, not that its that strange for me to go 10 days with out posting, but i thought id tell ya just incase any of you were wondering where the heck i was. For you other folks, I will see you very soon!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

And so it was christmas: a christmas story, part I

Ah yes, another christmas come and gone. Christopher and I were talking about it yesterday, and we both agree that it feels like we've been back for over a month. I thought about it, and realized that Christmas WAS almost a month ago now. Time just flies.

So, we started our trip in the monterey airport at 4am. Because of the time of year, and the elevated saftey threat, we were advised to fly 2 hours early. What a bunch of BS, the front desk checker inner people dont even show up until 4:30, and of course our people were late. Oh well, I like getting little sleep the night before I fly, so I can sleep the whole way there. Note to readers: people do not enjoy getting their photographs taken at 4 am. ESPECIALLY people who barely tollerate it at a decent hour.

So, we arrived in Nashville in the afternoon, the flight was uneventful, and our luggage arrived on time, as we did. Thats always a bonus. We only stayed a night, but I got to meet Christopher's grandparent who were very sweet. His grandfather was funny as hell. I also got to meet their family's new dog jack, a rescued shitzu (or how ever you spell it), who has recently undergone some serious surgery from being attacked by the neighbour's dog -- so jack is on his 3rd doggie life. We had a wonderful dinner out, where we saw Reba Macintyre the country singer. She has a house out that way, and looks exactly as she does on TV.

So, left to right in this picture are the grandparents, Christopher's mom, his twin, him, and in the front his step dad.

So the next day, we got into Christopher's truck, and made our way to his dads house in South carolina. Jack decided he should drive.

It was about a 9 hour drive to Christopher's dad and step mom's house, and other than a little rain, it was a nice drive. They have these GINORMOUS fireworks stores littered all over the highways out there. I mean, they are bigger than Cosco!

Seriously, can you believe this? Its a far cry from buying bottle rockets out of the "bad kids" locker in Junior high, like most canadian kids are forced to do.

There wasnt a ton to look at along the way, a few rolling hills that the locals probably call mountains, but are nothing but hills if you live near the rockies (as most of my fan base does). I managed to pull off a nice shot of a lake that were zooming past at like 120kms. Its one one of the local "mountains" I was talking about.

We made it to his dads house in one piece, and only with a tad of car trouble as we were arriving. Something about the gears, but as I dont know much about cars, and less about stick shifts, I will leave it at "car trouble". We got in late, so late the furballs were all long asleep under the christmas tree.

I snapped a few shots with my camera, but as some of you already know, one of my favorite things about going to Christopher's dads place is that i get to use his camera, so the next day he pulled it out for me, and I didnt use my camera one more time that trip. Very cool... he burned all my pics from his camera onto a disc, and of course now i cant find it anywhere, so all my pics from SC are lost. I did however get one shot of Paddi's (c's step mom) brother's pugs. They were SO sweet... I wanted to take them home with me.

I also got a picture of C and me, in my new shirt that his dad and Paddi got for me

Unfortunetly, thats all the shots i have from his dads place, too bad too cause its a cool house. They have a silo built into part of it, it was a real silo, and they redid the inside of it. We slept at the top of it the first few nights we were there. Its got a winding staircase to get to the top, and has a tin roof. It rained while we were there, and it sounded SO cool on the silo's tin roof. So, we stayed in SC for a few days, had a nice relaxing time, didnt do a whole hell of alot. Ate, shopped, and put a few puzzles together. That was fine with me. We headed back to nashville, where Christopher made me drive my first drive longer than 5 minutes not on a country back road. Yes, i learned how to drive stick on a highway going through what seemed alot more like mountains when IM driving. EEK. I drove for a couple of hours on the highway, then through part of the city, with lights and everything. I found it very stressful, but got us there without stalling. I was overly thankful when C said I could pull over and he would drive the rest of the way. I wouldnt have driven at all, but he pitched such a fit that i felt so bad i had to drive. We were at a gas station, where he announced your driving, and tried to get into the passanger seat. I didnt agree, and fought him for the passenger seat -- the whole while pleading "STOP.. your making a scene.. just DRIVE". Well, he won the wrestle, and beat me into the seat, so i just sat on his lap. He wasnt impressed - got out, and drove in silence for about an hour. Finally, like i said, i felt SO bad, i was forced to tell him i'd drive. And drive i did. SO we made it back to tennesse, stayed another night, had a very nice time. We went to the Opry mills hotel, which is HUGE. They get all decorated with lights at christmas, and lots of people go. Its hard to see the hotel, but thats the front view of one of the buildings, with all the trees lit outside.

So, thats opry mills hotel. It was pretty. They sure do deck the halls there every year. Im glad I got a chance to see it.

So, we slept at his moms, house, woke up the next day, had a great breakfast prepared by debbie (Cs mom).. and then me, christopher, and his twin brother blake hit the road. Little did i know at that time that that night was the last time id sleep in a bed for 6 states, and like 3000 miles. The boys decided that it would be a good idea to drive straight through to cali. But, I will leave that tale for my next post, a christmas story, part II.