Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boston

     It was drizzling most of the day I was there and I spent most of my time inside where its hard to take pictures, but I manged to get a few.  Even people who don't have to answer to the man need excuses every now and then.
 
From Boston Album




Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Words Are Back!

    Newerest plan: screw chronology.  Once at work after I had gotten much praise for a technical report I had written on a trip I had been on (it wasn’t anything special but you only need to sneeze on a piece of paper to engineers), I was accused of being obsessive compulsive.  I suppose this is in part true because the main reason I haven’t posted any stories in almost a month is because I really, really didn’t want to post anything out of chronological order.  This was fine when I was only a few days behind on my posting but then it became a week, two weeks, three weeks, and now…yeah.
    I was hoping to be able to catch up to the present by only posting pictures but at the rate I post and plan on posting, it would take until my trip was over to catch up.  Lately I have been thinking about doing a lot of writing about my trip after my trip.  It really feels like there’s something missing with me just posting pictures though.  Like I’m disconnected from friends and family who are exciting about my trip.  So basically what I’m trying to say is … screw chronology, here’s what I did yesterday:
    I woke up at 2:30am very cold.  I was in my car behind a truck stop in Crookston, Minnesota.  It was about 32 degrees out and I didn’t have my winter coat on, but I decided for the first time on the trip to put it on, decreasing the size of my pillow significantly.  I had gotten out of the car to put on my jacket and in doing so got the urge to partake in the ritual morning pee.  One of the main downsides of this sleeping situation is not the comfort of the “bed” but the inability to stumble sleepily out of bed and partake in this ritual in either the brush around you or a toilet.  I thought about just going behind a dumpster there, but there were a lot of bright lights and a camera there.  I decided go in the gas station.  Just as I turned the corner, a patrol car rolled past me in the gas station parking lot.  They would have definitely seen me had I chose to go.  When I got to the front of the gas station I realized that I didn’t have my wallet on me and didn’t want to just walk in, use the bathroom and then leave.  We people who sleep behind gas stations need all the good karma we can get.
    I got back to my car and decided to try to go back to sleep.  I don’t know if I slept or just closed my eyes, but the next time I checked the clock it was 4:30 and I decided to officially get up.  I got some coffee inside and just sort of spaced out/warmed up for about fifteen or twenty minutes at a table.  There was an older man (probably in his sixties) drinking coffee and reading the paper.  Eventually he was joined by two other men.  I guess you could call them three grumpy old Minnesotians.  One of them cursed more than anyone I’ve seen in a while.  I couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying, but here’s most of what I heard: “…fuck...he signed the damn thing he should have supervised them….god damn….three hundred thousand dollars…I was just a regular solider…fucking officers went to West Point and shit…some people say I’m nice, some people say I’m mean…I know I’m a horse’s ass, but horse’s asses serve a purpose.”  They left shortly after that.
    The last few days of my trip have been unlike any other.  It’s been windy, rainy and cold ever since I drove onto the Michigan upper peninsula from Canada.  I was really banking on enjoying the nature here, but lately she’s been kind of a bitch, so I just kept driving.  I made the mistake of camping in Wisconsin when I was there and woke up to find that not only was my tent filled with water, but there was a shoe under my tent.  A couple times during that night I thought my whole tent was going to flip over with me in it.
    Well after a quick stop at Walmart to pick up some long underwear, I headed south toward Moorhead.  On the way I ran into a road closed sign on what I thought was a US highway.  There were no detour signs or anything, just a message of, “Screw you, roads closed.”  I managed to make my way through some gravel roads through large farming fields so I could stay on track without backtracking.  I finally made it to Grand Forks and got my oil and air filter changed.  Worked out pretty well.  Just showed up and they did it in an hour.
    After an hour or so of driving, I was desperate for something, anything to see since I hadn’t done much the last few days.  Out of all the tourist fishing hook signs along the interstate just before Jamestown, it was the “Live Buffalo” one that reeled me in.  I took a few pictures of the “World’s Largest Buffalo” statue and looked disappointingly at a bunch of trees in a ravine where the buffalo were hiding from the weather.  I toured the Buffalo Museum which turned out to be a really cool place and I’m not just saying that because I have been driving through rural Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota the last few days although I can’t really be sure.  My favorite part was a video on the Plains Indians culture relating to the buffalo.  In the days before they had horses they would sing and do buffalo dances to try to get the buffalo to come near their villages and when they would because there were millions of them then, they would get all their hunting gear together and sneak up on them.  Probably not that hard since I read buffalo are not alarmed by gun shots or buffalo all around then falling over dead.  Probably not the best survival instinct to not run when animals around you are dropping like flies.  Also, they’re pretty much blind.
    The white mans version of hunting buffalo after the civil war was to ride their horses until they came about fifty or so yards away and then drop to a knee and pick them off one by one like a video game or something.  One man could kill thousands each year.  They would then of course drink whiskey and eat.  This went on until…the stupidity of decimating a limited resource caught up with them.
    When leaving the museum I did see a buffalo in the distance which definitely justified my stop here.  I continued on to Bismarck and as I approached, the fields around me got whiter and whiter and eventually there was some ice on the road.  One minivan had wiped out and was stuck in the median.  After many nights of not getting the best night of sleep and the temperature now below 30, I decided to break down and get a motel.
    I figured that I have been traveling for exactly twelve weeks and have about seven more weeks to go.  I am definitely anxious to see friends and family again.  The cold is getting to me a little bit, but I am very anxious for the rest of my trip in the West.

Beavertail, Newport and Cape Cod

From Beavertail, Newport and Cape Cod Album








Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blame Canada

For being so big and having so many cool things to see.

Vermont:

From Vermont Album