The Great Trek: The Last Day

Idaho: Where the elevation exceeds the population. -unknown

After a night of “moseying” I got up early and did the same thing I did the previous few mornings and made my way back to I-90. Even though Billings was pretty I was ready to get to Coeur d’ Alene. I guess it really started to hit me somewhere between Boseman and Bute that I had only seen a few pictures of the city that would soon be my home. There was this choking sensation in my throat like a sickly kid in school ingesting  peanuts. The enormity of this spontaneous move started to sink in because in 7 hours I would be in a city were I knew no one, had no place to live and school and work didn’t begin for another week. But, that’s how I do things. I do them as risky as possible.

Well, after an hour of making whimpering and wheezing sounds I calmed down and tried to take in some of the great state of Montana which, not surprisingly, was unbelievable. Then came the rain. But not before I stopped for gas and saw Burger Time! I have heard of these but never have I laid eyes on one. And now I have. Sorry about the bug guts.

I didn’t take too many more photos because the last leg of the journey really became hairy between the rain, mountain passes, construction and the 75 mph speed limit that didn’t let up at all. I was trying not to ‘fuck the dog’ with only a few short hours left in the trip. Can you imagine driving 2300 miles and wrecking with only 10 miles to go while trying to take a picture of trees? Almost happened.

Well, I battled the harsh weather over the mountain range and at the peak of the mountains I crossed over to the last state of the leg, Idaho. I was in the upper part of the great mistake, er, state and the next stop was the city of Coeur d’ Alene. Like a bomber pilot on his/her last mission, all I wanted to do was park and say that I made it with no incidences. And in 45 minutes I was able to do just that.

After a few moments of breathtaking beauty, as seen above, I took the City Center exit and made my way towards the visitors center so I could get a list of hotels and possibly a tip on where to get a couple of beers. That’s always of importance to me. I’m Just being honest. So I pulled in to the parking lot, stretched and walked up to the steps of the visitor center.

I don’t know why, but I was a little disappointed I didn’t have a welcoming committee awaiting my arrival. I imagined the mayor, Miss Idaho, a rodeo clown and a member of the local Native American tribe, all standing there with a basket of coffees, fruit and a ‘Welcome To Idaho’ t-shirt. Nope, it was just me and a dirty car.

So, the lady at the help desk did just that; she helped me. I found a Comfort Inn to shower and unpack a little and then I walked around the city center keeping an eye out for any welcoming places to drink a couple of cold ones. It was pretty chilly out too. Forgot to mention that I was wearing a sweater.

Foof! I look spent and I think that is with good reason. I found this really cosmopolitan bar called “The Beacon” that was full people in their late 20’s early 30’s. I didn’t stick out too much but I felt alone. Jim Morrison really hit it on the head when he sang “..people are strange, when you’re a stranger. Face’s look ugly, when you’re alone..” I suppose the bartender felt a little bad for me because my tab was cut in half and she gave me free shots. Who said pathetic looks don’t go far? Anyway, I made my way back to the room, grateful that the trip across the country was over, turned on the TV and drifted off to the theme song from Cheers. I want to go where everybody knows my name…

So, that wraps up the trip but I have been here for a few days and there is so much more to tell. I’ll keep these posts rolling. But for now I will leave you with a little known fact about Idaho. Above every urinal there is a head butt dent. I never knew that! And….now you know.

The Great Trek: Day 3

This is crazy! This is crazy! This is crazy! – Clark Griswald

It’s funny when you drive across country where your mind tends to go. I think I changed my voting preference at least 10 times based on whatever XM radio talk show I was listening to. I managed to sing “Stairway To Heaven” in Pig-Latin and made up my own sociology project by looking at passing drivers and pointing straight at them. Only one pointed back. What else am I suppose to do when driving across North Dakota? This is all I saw for 6 hours:

The good thing is that the speed limit increased to 75 mph so I pushed it to 85. And so did everyone else. With a cross wind of at least 35 mph I had my left foot depressed on the floorboard as if I was applying left rudder. You can’t take the pilot out of the plane, I suppose. That was enough to make me pay attention so I didn’t fall asleep and hear the familiar “bump bump bump rrrrrrrrrrr” sound as I drive off the highway.

And through the plains came the mountains. This is on the west side on North Dakota and I became a little more perked up as it was clear I had arrived at the beginning of the scenic route. It’s amazing how these hills and mountains just start. That sounds dumb because, well, how else should they? I guess after 2 and a half days of driving I can be impressed by anything. Especially the fifty foot cow you see above.

These are the Bad Lands and Holy Schmit they were awesome. As a city boy I am in awe how anyone could have lived here. The theme song to Dances With Wolves was constantly in my head as I walked around the park, looking at the wild horses way up on the top of these peaks and wondered, “aren’t they hot?”. It was a really inspiring break from the road. Right up until I saw this:

Back in the car!

Well, I drove straight on to Billings, Montana were I found a cozy spot at a Holiday Inn Express. And I needed a beer, stat. So I moseyed (I can do that since I was in Montana) over to the bar next door. And no shit, that’s were there were real cowboys. There is nothing better than sitting in between a bunch of the toughest dudes in America in designer shoes, Banana Republic jeans, The Clash t-shirt and order a Michalob Ultra. Especially when the Loretta Lynne looking bartender said “we got Bub and Budlight, sweet thing”. I got a Bud. Maybe I overplayed my hand on that one.

This story had a happy ending, though. The beers were only $2.25. Then I moseyed on back to my room.

The Great Trek: Part 2

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. – Amelia Earhart

I got up relatively early on day 2 because for one, I passed out before 10pm and two, I gained an hour since I was now in central time. And by early I mean 5am. So, I showered, brewed coffee, watched the news, raided the breakfast bar downstairs and climbed into the Element cockpit, refreshed with a renewed sense of adventure. So adventurous was I that I decided to go off the recommended AAA road map and take route 65 straight north to Heaven, er, Iowa. (That was a Field Of Dreams joke) I am glad I did it, too.

I saw lots of what you see above. I guess that is harvested wheat? Whatever it is, it is as far as the eye can see. To me, it looks like God spilled his bag of Combos. You see that too? Hrm, I guess I might be alone on that.

Actually everything was very pretty for the first hour. Then it became pretty boring. I can sum up route 65 into 12 words: Cow Cow Cow Corn Corn Corn Cow Cow Cow Corn Corn Corn. That is pretty much it. I am glad I didn’t talk my friend into coming who likes to break out with an ‘I Spy’ game every ten minutes. It would have gone something like this:

Friend: Wanna play ‘I Spy’?

Me: Um…sure?

Friend: Ok, I’ll go first. I spy something red.

Me: Is it a barn?

Friend: Uh…yeah. Ok, let me try again. I spy something brown.

Me: A cow?

Friend: Fuck you, asshole.

I am positive that is how it would have gone. He is very touchy about losing that game for some reason. Maybe it’s because no one else gave a shit and he always won by default?

So, about hour 2 into the the drive I passed by a bunch of bikers. Normally I wouldn’t have thought anything about it because, lets face it, Harley Davidson really took the balls away from the average biker when accountants and stockbrokers started sporting leather and Softtail bikes. But these dudes were in formation, ZZ Top beards and giving the Heil Hitler salute to me. Maybe I scare easily but that freaked me out. I hate Nazis. It’s ok to hate Nazis, right? I know it’s not right to hate but Nazis are the exception, I thought.

I told myself I wouldn’t touch on this but I have to. So, after I escaped the 4th Reich I needed gas, so I stopped at the Kum and Go and used the Jerk and Spurt to fill up my car. It’s a good thing I already had a drink and I didn’t need a 32oz Suck and Slurp. Oh my goodness. I sent Mandy this picture because I couldn’t keep it to myself. Are these through out the Midwest and if so, do people think that’s funny?

So at this point of the trip my excitement level began to climb steadily because I was soon to rendezvous with a fellow blogger in Minnesota. I apologize for the smeared windshield. That is all bug guts. I think by the end of this trip I was responsible for the deaths of over 10 million bugs. There are bugs all over the US flying their flags at half mast right now.

So, who did I meet? Kristaine! The mastermind behind the very famous The Pilver.

This was such a treat! Generally people who meet from online groups or blogs can be a bit of a let down but not Kristaine! She was every bit as funny, smart and entertaining as she is on The Pilver and X-E. I have to say that it was a great couple of hours and I look forward to meeting more of my blog buddies. So, if I show up at your house don’t worry, I’ll come with food and beer. Thanks KB!

Well, after Kristaine and I parted ways continued on to my resting spot in Fargo, North Dakota. Yes, I had to go there. And I bought a t shirt too!

Tomorrow I will post day 3 and 4. I bet you are excited to read about my drive through North Dakota, aren’t ‘cha? I know you are.

The Great Trek: Day 1

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by. – Robert Frost

So last Monday I backed out of the driveway for the last time, put the car in drive and left the neighborhood for the great trek to the Northwest. I passed my favorite coffee shop, my cleaners, the gym and my running track, waving goodbye to each one. There wasn’t even a bit of sadness but rather excitement and tinge of nervousness because well, this is crazy. I left with what I could pack in a 2008 Element, a four day trip ahead, no familiar faces and no home to go to when I get there. I feel like I threw a parachute out of the plane and then jumped. But through adversity comes greatness. Or at least good blog material. I’ll break it down by days.

Day 1!!!!!

So I started off driving straight up I-75 towards Nashville, TN. I would elaborate on the details to be honest, I can’t remember very much about it. And even if I did, you would be so bored I bet it would force you to turn off the computer, tie the chord around your neck and throw it out the window. So for your safety and my reputation as a mediocre blogger, I’ll save you the story. But I did stop by Adams Tennessee to see the infamous Bell Witch site. I’m weird like that.

Yeah, I had to stop there after learning about this odd piece of American history on the History Channel. You have to go to these places with an open mind because nine out of ten times they are a disappointment. This didn’t. I have to say, right when I got off the highway I was spooked out and the many old farm houses and overgrown trees didn’t help. I can’t say that I believe in the ghost stories but when I got out of the car to take a few pictures, I swear I heard whispering all over the place. That was enough to make me get back to 75, most Ricky-Tick. I didn’t even take a photo, that’s how fast my visit was. If anyone is curious, the Bell Witch is in Adams Tennessee, and there is no lodging for at least 20 miles. The site is really tricky to find but when you do, I swear that the experience will hang with you for at least a day. Kind of like watching the movie Seven.

The next stop was my old stomping ground at Ft. Campbell, home of the 101st Air Assault. I have great memories of my brief time here and it just so happened that I needed a haircut. So, I stopped in for the famous $7 “suck-cut”. I’m serious, it’s a haircut that sucks as it cuts because the sheers are connected to a vacuum hose. Well, it’s the best haircut a guy can get for $7. On to St. Louis!

I guess this can be symbolic. It is the “Gateway to the West”, as Dad said when I text him this picture. He has been just beside himself that he couldn’t go on this trip with me but I made sure to keep him informed where I was as he followed at home with his atlas. It would have been great if he came.

I remember I took this picture at hour 8 of the trip because ‘All Things Considered‘ came on NPR. I have to listen to that show on every road trip. It’s tradition, really. If you haven’t heard of it I highly recommend you check it out because that program highlights so many aspects of the world and American culture. Just because my ass is atrophying after one million miles in a car doesn’t mean that my mind has to.

So I finally came to rest in Columbia, Missouri at a Hampton Inn, right across from U of M. At the end of day one I saw GA, TN, KY, IL and now MO. Though I went through many states nothing really note-worthy  happened. My battery was so low I skipped dinner and fell asleep, face down, shoes on, TV blaring Family Guy and computer left on X-Entertainment. Only three more days to go…

Well, that was day one. Later today I’ll post day two and it is full of great stuff including a meeting of a fellow blogger, cows and corn, getting a Heil Hitler salute from a bunch of Nazi bikers, and much much more. I bet you are excited. Huh? Huh? uhhh.

Moving

Sorry it has been a while. That’s pretty presumptuous of me to apologize as if anyone was really waiting, huh? Well, anyway, it is for good reason. As of Monday I have resigned (even though I still went in yesterday) because I am changing careers and moving 2300 miles North West to Idaho. So, this coming Monday I will make the long trek across this great country and hopefully blog about it on the way. It’s a little scary, especially because the town I am moving to does business via fax only still. No shit, here is the conversation I had with a leasing agent about an apartment I a renting.

Me: Hello, I am moving to Coeur D’ Alene this next week and I saw from the classified ad that you have an open apartment for rent and I was hoping I could go ahead and get an application.

Lady: Oh Neat! Sure thing. Do you have a fax?

Me: I do but would it be possible if you could just put it in an email attachment since I will be putting personal information on it?

Lady: Oh, I am sorry. We don’t have the application on the Internets.

Me: *shit my own brain*

See why I might be a little nervous? I think the lady actually believes that the internet is a series of nets. Beside the fact I have no idea of what the apartment looks like. I bet she would mail me Polaroids if I was to ask. A leap of faith, my friends.

So that is my lack of posting excuse. I think that’s a good one. Now I have to get back to packing the essentials and buy a coat because I hear north Idaho can get cold, especially to a dude who lived the past couple of years in a subtropic climate. And for that very reason I may just grow a beard.

Oh, before I go I need you guys to take a survey. I have a buddy here who is just one of the greatest guys but I truly believe he is a hybrid.  It has always been up for debate who he looks like more. I will leave it up to you. Here he is below:

Here is another angle…

So study D’s features and tell me A) B) or C), who you think he looks like the most. I’m not being mean, I ask him this all the time. He always picks C.

A) Mick Jagger

B) David Johaneson

C) Ed from Iron Maiden

Choose carefully. Now I really have to go because there is a lady that just sat behind me and she is eating a plum like it’s her job. I can’t tell if she is eating the plum or the plum is eating her face.  Watch your fingers, lady!

T minus 5 Days…

…until I get all the legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way and launch the new fitness site sponsored by Big Peach Running Company, Northface, Inov-8 Running and Function Drink. It will be pretty cool because I am just the administrator rather than the site designer. That’s because I am a retard on roller skates when it comes to CSS and HTML. So, with much money and a creative drive I will have little control over the look but a lot with the content.

But it will not be with out the help of friends. I lucked out to have support from those on my blogroll. If you haven’t been to the blog Macabre Fitness then check it out. It’s currently a shell for the actual site but the articles that people have contributed are amazing. I know this because the stat counts triple what I post. Here is one Pam sent me and it is exactly what I am looking for. It gives great insight to the world of the sports bra. Something I could never know anything about. The only thing I can say is boobs; I like them and they should be protected. Thanks you so much Pammy. I am even going to throw it on Veggie because it is that good.

So send me your funny stories, tips and tricks about physical fitness. I am working on free stuff to send you guys from the sponsors. No good deed goes unrewarded. Here is Pam on sports bras. Enjoy!

SPORTS BRAS!

Looking Out For #1 and #2: An Intimate Guide to Sports Bra Shopping

Those women who not only have washboard abs but also a washboard chest don’t have the same concerns as I do when it comes to athletic wear. Unless you have a rather ample bosom, you couldn’t possibly understand the pain and injuries that can occur if you’re not properly outfitted. Running, jumping, boxing or anything that requires you to move quickly in an up and down fashion is likely to be painful unless you smash your boobs. Working out is definitely not the time to enhance them. Goal number one when sports bra shopping: make your boobs as flat as possible as the correct bra will inhibit breast movement.

Therefore, the first thing to look for in a sports bra is support. So what constitutes support? That would be the back and you should choose either a full or racer back which allows your shoulder blades free movement. If made well, the thicker the back the sturdier the bra. You don’t want hooks or zippers as sweat makes metal slippery or sticky and both are cause for embarrassing moments – trust me.

Next you should look at straps, which must always be thick. Anything that resembles a spaghetti strap is going to offer about as much support as a wet noodle. Your boobs shouldn’t be hanging low when exercising but that’s exactly what will happen if you choose a thin-strappy tank top sports bra, with or without a shelf. Rule of thumb: if it’s more of a tank top that you’d wear to the beach over your swimsuit, then it’s not the right bra to work out in. Thick straps will always stay in place and you will never pop out of one – no adjustments necessary no matter how intense your workout.

BAD GOOD

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Style and liner. I dislike the uni-boob look that short sports bras will give you, which is why I always choose the tank top sports bras. But not just any tank, one that has a double liner. Nike usually wins in this category with a tight and durable outer layer and an underlying cross-shaped bra liner with thick elastic underneath. This double bra action gives an extra layer of support and ensures no flopping around.

Material. Get something that breathes or you could suffer from chaffing or zits in weird places. I’ve discovered that anything Under Armor makes is basically mana from heaven. I don’t feel wet or sticky and sweat never rolls down my back when I wear it. You want a material that absorbs as much sweat as possible without making you feel like an old shower towel. Also, never go with any bra that is made entirely of spandex as it absorbs about as much as duck feathers in a rain storm.

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Finally, purchase a bra that’s a little too small for you. Not so small that it inhibits breathing or creates cleavage in your throat, but small enough that it keeps everything in place and doesn’t allow for free movement. If you wear a 36D and purchase a Large sports bra, chances are there will be material gaps on the sides of your breasts – so get a Medium instead.

For those of you who might be basically breastless, this doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to go braless as ALL women should protect their goods.

Be tasteful, tactful, and true to yourself.

-Pam Shep: Hey There, It’s Pammy-Girl

I Have Questions

  • In the show All In The Family, why is Edith always running? I have seen every episode and I have never seen her walk.
  • If you have a lisp, can you even say the word ‘lisp’?
  • Dogs hate it when you blow on their face but they stick there heads out car windows?
  • Why do I always touch the plate at a Mexican restaurant when the waiter clearly says “hot plate”?
  • I love San Fransisco but I just read an article that the city is looking to regulate all restaurants to ban all trans fats, add a 3% charge to all hotels and dining for the city’s socialized medicine, and make selling bottled water illegal. I can’t understand how a city that prides itself on diversity and individual choice can do the exact opposite? I am wondering when the former Soviet Union will declare San Fran their new home?
  • I get very uncomfortable when people are singing while making eye contact with me. I wonder why that is?
  • I am sure I can Google this but I would rather ask it to you; can you please explain to me why Hawaii has interstates again?
  • Math

Anyone have any answers? Or did I add to your list of questions?

Snake In The Garage

I feel pretty fortunate to live relatively close to my parents for the time being. After I turned 18 I pretty much left for 7 years straight except for the occasional holiday and I believe that took a toll on the family because I am the only one they had. I guess youthful indiscretion can be at times better worded as selfishness. But now that I am older I recognize the importance of spending family time even when this happens.

So I am at work, knee deep in superficial issues and figuring out other peoples dilemmas when I get a cellphone call from my Mom. I make a point to not answer personal calls at work but then she called again before the voice mail alert beeped. Maybe it is the fact that there are elderly people in my family and I am extremely paranoid over the well being of my parents, because I broke my cardinal rule and picked up.

“Bill, you need to come home right now”, Mom said in a shaky voice. My heart stopped.

I asked what happened as I frantically made my way to the elevator. There was a long pause and then she quickly said she would call me right back and hung up. As soon as I reached the bottom floor I made my way to the parking deck, my mind racing on every conceivable emergency. Did something happen to my Dad? Did my final Grandparent pass? Did one of my little cousins get ill? What could it be?

Now, I love my Mom but I know that she exaggerates the severity of issues. It’s not her fault, it was just how she was raised. We all have someone in the family that takes a situation and adds a touch of irrational thought and a pinch of panic. That’s her. So as I was driving out the garage I figured unless someone was dead I needed to subtract at least 20% from whatever I was about to be told. And then the phone rang.

I quickly demanded to know what was going on and then Mom said in a voice of pure excitement, “There’s a snake in the garage!”

Yep, there was a snake in the garage and I left every pending issue of corporate importance to drive 30 miles and due battle with a snake. I have to tell you that was a relief. I instructed her to call animal control and I would be there as soon as possible and not to shoo it out herself. If you think Mom would get excited to see a snake I couldn’t even comprehend the story if she was bit. Epic scale my friends.

So she informed me she already called 911. God I wish I could have heard that conversation. I imagine it would have gone like this:

911 Operator: 911, what is your emergency?

Mom: There is a huge snake in the garage!

911: Ma’am, can you describe what the snake looks like?

Mom: I don’t know, but it’s walking around on it’s hind legs! Come quick!

So I finally got there after I spent time on the phone consoling my very bothered Mom. I walked into the garage and saw no sign of a snake but I have seen Animal Planet. I know these thing coil in the furthest corners. So I peered over the first place that I would go if I were a snake and I found him. And it was exactly what I feared. A copperhead snake and it was poisonous. Fuck.

I have very bad luck when it comes to handling dangerous or any non-domesticated animals. I am always the one to walk away from a petting zoo with the handlers saying, “So sorry Billy, Danny the Deer has never ran down and bitten someone like that before.” So my chances of getting said snake from the opposite corner of the garage to it’s natural environment without getting bitten was not good. So I did what any guy in a suit with zero training would do. I took two golf irons and picked it up. (don’t do this)

Surprisingly, everything was going smooth. The snake wasn’t flipping out, I didn’t trip, Mom didn’t faint. Nope, 90% of the journey was smooth as silk. Right up to the point I gently put him/her down on the driveway. Then the little bugger did the unexpected.

Every nature show I have seen on TV paints the picture that snakes, when caught and then let go, take off into the wilderness because “it is more scared of you than you are of it”. Bullshit. That little bastard was on the ground for about ten seconds after I laid it down, sticking it’s tongue out with it’s head raised. Then right before I felt a sense of accomplishment it turned and made a beeline right for my leg. (shakes)

I don’t remember how I got to the end of the driveway. I think I miracled myself there. Regardless, that little bastard took approximately 30 dignity points away from me and fused my heart to the base of my throat. Jeff Corwin, suck it.

So we waited until animal control came and it took the guy about an hour to check the entire garage and came up empty. So now the next time I visit the folks I have to be worried about a very pissy foot long snake that wants to bite me. Winter can not come soon enough.

As for Mom, she may never use the garage again. I feel bad that I botched that up but she still made me a sandwich and lemonade. It’s funny that moms have a way of fixing issues through food.

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