Monday, June 29, 2009


The taco consumption isn't quite moving as well as planned. I'll probably have to eat about 15 for every meal we're in Texas. I am prepared to make that commitment.

Humide toujours.

America's Wetland. Every state has a motto and that's Louisiana's. Truly this is the wettest, sweatiest state I've ever been in. We rolled into New Orleans in the mid-afternoon on Sunday and checked into Hotel Provincial. It's in the middle of the French Quarter and is very quaint, very authentic.

Neither Laura nor I had ever been to NOLA previously, but it's pretty much an American equivalent to Amsterdam. The closest touch point's we've come across so far have been the douche district (pronounced "doo-shay") and the sex district (so many beads with penises). At the corner of Douche and Sex (actually Bourbon St.) a drunk hillbilly dude-bro came up to me and our interaction went like this:

Him: Is your name Lucky?
Me: No.
Him: Yes it is.
Me: No.
Him: *muttering nonsense to his nasty entourage as I walk away*

After dinner we spent a minute at a bizarre karaoke bar that Laura swears was completely staged because no natural environment could have been so strange. Over the course of the hour we spent there we saw a bunch of drunk lawyers bump and grind to various disco hits, teenage Gary Busey, a drunk girl who kept groping her blond friends (she left her friends of darker hair colors alone) and a cop on a horse stumbled in through a door momentarily. On the way back home we passed a ghost tour. The "guide" was drinking a beer on the street and rambling to his group while pointing to a nondescript second floor apartment. I want this job.

Right now it's thundering outside so we're holed up in our room waiting for a break in the clouds so we can traipse around one the nearby above-ground cemeteries. It's going to rule.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Like the surface of the sun if the surface of the sun contained hillbillies.

Oh hi,

I’m writing this in the car on the way to Louisiana. We spent last night in Birmingham, AL where we went to a bar featuring the most pregnant lady in the world drinking a glass of wine. Keep it classy, Alabama.
Aaron and I decided to have a relatively loud and protracted discussion about fetal alcohol syndrome which culminated with me saying, “I think it’s cool in European countries to have a glass of wine while you’re pregnant.”
Aaron then said, “Well, I certainly hope her baby’s going to be a European.”

Maybe that baby will grow up to be a German raver, which is technically the same as being retarded.

The two days prior to that we spent with my family in Tennessee. We stayed (in separate beds, ya’ll) at my aunt’s house in Knoxville. We managed to visit pretty much every relative that I could think of with the exception of ANYONE approaching my age.
My family lives on the side of an honest to god mountain. I got a picture of the most startling drop-off which ,despite being paved and really well maintained, manages to make you feel like you are going to go careening to your death at any moment.
All the ladies in my family love Aaron… like, awkward love him. My 96-year-old aunt tried to pull him onto her lap and told me she was “keepin’ him”. It has been discussed and agreed upon that he is handsome, a real sweet boy and much too skinny. I think implied therein is that I am a total failure because he is not fat.

I won’t write much about the cave tour we took, because Aaron summed it up really well. It’s notable that Aaron’s bruises are the most spectacular thing that I’ve seen.

I believe the Garmin and I have reconciled. It gives me such clear and accurate directions that I have decided to start having it make all of my decisions for me.

“What should my advanced degree be in, Garmin?”


“That makes no goddamn sense, Garmin.”

Let’s see… we’re currently driving through Mississippi. Mississippi sucks a little bit. I like that every tree here manages to look like a pine tree of some sort, but there are a lot of really tanned, really southern looking people here and that bothers me somewhat.
We ate at a Mexican restaurant just a minute ago and the couple next to us was very tanned, very southern. The lady (about 5 years younger than me, no less) and her husband had four totally white children and one small bi-racial baby.

In closing, it is 102 degrees Fahrenheit and the demon sun is reflecting like a light bulb in a mirror off of the white-paved expanses of this god forsaken state of child brides and illegitimate brown babies and burning my delicate undercarriage.


Friday, June 26, 2009

There's no such thing as a Cave Taco.

The drive down to Kentucky was, for me, pretty uneventful. We stopped at a Goodwill in some tiny Ohio town for a minute. They had a Fleetwood Mac LP from the early '80s I thought of getting. Knowing that it would turn into a pile of melted vinyl as soon as we shut off the air-conditioning detered me.

A couple days before we left I watched Duel, the made-for-TV movie by Steven Spielberg from the early '70s. It's about a traveling salesman who is constantly chased and almost killed on multiple occasions by a psychotic semi driver. It's decent pre-Maximum Overdrive big rig terror and I had a couple OH GOD moments since the semi to car ratio was about 3 to 1 in Kentucky. This included one guy who would not stop riding my ass and flashing his brights at me. I lost him on a big hill somewhere. Also of note in Kentucky: Louiville has 21 locations of Cox's Smoker's Outlets. I'm just saying...

It's been about 90+ degrees all day both days we've been camping at Mammoth Cave. Starting and tending a fire in this heat has been pretty ridiculous. Wednesday night we scrounged up some moldy, worm-holed wood left scattered at the campsite which burned awful. Also I broke the hachet we brought with us hacking up some poor sapling. At least the total fail of a fire yielded grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and s'mores.

Thursday we did the Wild Cave Tour at 10am. Laura got up early and started a rage/lighter fluid fire to heat up coffee and oatmeal before we left. It was a good choice to get these things in our systems because we were underground for about 6 hours. Not only did it wear me out physically, but it bruised probably 50% of my body.

It really ruled though. We climbed up huge boulder piles, down water-carved canyons and crawled on knees and elbows through incredibly small spaces -- the smallest of which was about 9 inches high. Although I'd never faced anything to prove or disprove it, I'd thought there was a tiny chance I was a touch claustrophobic. Getting wedged into these places again and again and not even coming close to losing it has me thinking otherwise.

Currently my forearms two big purple masses and there's a deep red line across my abdomen, but nothing hurts much. This might be thanks to the endorphines or the vodka and Tang we're drinking. *Addedum: everything's a LOT more sore today, but it's that good kind of hurt. Except when it's the hurting kind of hurt.*

Laura made some great tacos for dinner. (A side note: I told her I was going to eat 50 tacos on this trip. She's supplied me with 3. Things are looking good.)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Upsetting the Garmin.

Hey folks,

We left this morning on our grand world tour, after getting our Annie Palmer Special (white Toyota Corolla) at the local Hertz/drug- front.
The guy that rented us the car didn't even check to see if we had insurance, I passed their credit check with no problem and there was a dead palm tree and water dripping from the ceiling... all signs point to that place not being there when we get back.

We're now near the OH/KY border and our GPS is trying to kill us. We asked it for a Panera bread (on account of the free internet) and it led us four miles through a very low-rent area where we saw a lady with no limbs riding a motorized wheelchair down the street.
It has also told me to turn around and go home, drive into oncoming traffic and park sideways across three lanes of highway. I swear. Ask Aaron.

I fell on my tailbone and broke the cooler (those events are related) already, so that temporary health insurance I purchased is seeming like a superb idea. Incidentally, my car and my body now both have a $500 deductible.

We're on our way to Mammoth Cave and from there we're going to visit my family in Knoxville.

More later,