Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Portland, Oregon is a nice little town. Ben and I got haircuts the day we arrived so that we would look as together as everyone else. We were set up with a place to stay on our first night via Friend-Bennett, which was lovely, but we spent the other three nights in car. The neighborhoods reflected Ann Arbor's enough to make us miss home a bit. We had parked in a quaint-as-fuck part of town called "Sunnyside" and spent the majority of our time there. There was a lot going on around us, with the holiday and all, and we ended up meeting a group of like-minded young folks at a birthday party that was pouring out onto the sidewalk. We haven't really met a lot of people our age (it must be that we're so cutting edge to be exploring), it was interesting seeing what our peers are up to in the northwest. Turns out it's mostly shotgunning tall-boys of PBR, but it was insightful, nonetheless. 
On the 4th we celebrated by seeing the Dirty Projectors perform at a hip little venue in south-east Portland. I thought it was great, I usually get bored at live shows, but they did a great job of keeping everyone moving. Except for Ben--He felt cramped and hot, so he watched from the hallway. The video posted below will give you a little taste//
 Backtracking a bit...
We managed to avoid the bleak and boring Interstate from LA to the border of Oregon. Highway 1/101 is (are) beautiful, and easy. It took us straight through Redwood National Park, where we stopped and played by the water despite the bitter bite of the pacific winds. 
Now we're in Seattle. It's sort of like Gotham. We haven't been rained on yet, but it's been a perpetual state of grey. That's what is expected though, I'm not complaining. We're staying with Ben's sister Leigh, and her man Terry, which is great. Ben and I wake up late and shoot zombies on the Xbox until they get home from work, then we eat (really awesome) dinner. It goes without saying that the days here have been good. 
We're all going to camp out west tomorrow. The coast of Olympic National Park is supposed to be beautiful, according to Leigh and Terry. Ben will finally see the tide pools he's been itchy to get to. 
After that we start the eastern drive towards home. I think we're both ready to be back. 


Saturday, June 27, 2009

We're Still Alive

Well we've made it to San Francisco. And according to local accounts we've come at perfect time. with temperatures reaching a sweltering 95 degrees Fahrenheit, I've decided it was the wrong time to come. oh well. 
We left Colorado...duh. And it was a real nice and relaxing stay with Evan's Aunt and Uncle and Cousins and his sister as well, so it was a genuine Doering reunion. So I applied make-up and a fake mustache and played along. 
It was a healthy and revitalizing stay of a full week, which is longer than we've stayed anywhere else. After a happy and sad departure we said farewell to Colorado, the place where we were proper raised, and made course for the untamed and Mormon state of Utah. We spent our first night in the parking lot of a Best Western, and were passed by countless milk trucks, much to our delight. 
On the second day we made our way to Zion National Park where we back-countried our way into the back-country, slept by the foot of a canyon wall (pictured), and I had my stay with hopes of seeing a Mountain Lion/Puma/Cougar, however all I saw were several small lizards and a ground-squirrel, both of which were presumably very endangered and incredibly rare. 
We headed out of Zion (which was an extremely beautiful drive for the record), and rolled on down to Californ-I-A. But first I should mention that we went through Arizona, and Nevada (totaling four states in one day), and strayed off the Interstate with high hopes of winning big at the Bellagio. Turns out that Vegas casinos aren't as interested in our business as their Native-American and Canadian brothers, and enforce a 21+ rule. Anyway, we made it to North Hollywood that night, and our buddy Emily graciously put us up for a couple of days. 
Los Angeles is a bizarre place. You really need to hang out with someone who knows what they're doing, because we found that it's not that hard to end up driving through the Topenga National Forest if you're looking for a coffee shop. But we did have a great time. We me up with Ben's (this is Evan now, by the way) childhood friend Andy, who moved out to Tinseltown and started working for a company that makes such shows as "Robot Chicken". We grubbed on some really great vegan, and got a complimentary tour of his studio. Really sweet. Lots of dolls, spaceships, and Mac Pros. Also, we were introduced to Seth Green ( for those of us who live under rocks) and he was very interested in our trip. According to him, Alcatraz was a must see in SF. I don't know that we'll be going though. 
So we had a lot of fun with Emily and her ever-so-lovely mother, Marta. There's a lot to do in the city, but at least I feel like we had a successful visit. We didn't go crazy sitting in traffic.
We hit the road on friday afternoon, heading north up Highway 1. Beautiful. I drove the first half of the day, so Ben got to start right as the fog was rolling in and the sun was going down, which made for un-drivable conditions by his standards.  Se Tres WimpĂ©. But I guess it was good and safe to stop after all, we cooked up some beans and fresh tomatoes we picked up from a stand off the highway, and reclined the car seats for yet another terrible night of sleep. The area where we stopped for the night was some sort of parking area right off the highway, it was kind of creepy at night because we had no idea what all a bunch of empty cars were doing in the middle of nowhere. But we woke up to find that we had slept in the car directly next to  at a trail that took you right to a beautiful, free campsite overlooking a waterfall. I'm not sure if that's some sort of Karma-related thing, but regardless, it stung. 
It didn't take too long the next day to make it to San Fran, we had a tank full of excitement. Since we've been here we've just been bopping around. Valencia St, has been our base camp in the city so-to-say. There's great coffee at Ritual Roasters--a place we were excited to get to since before we left Ann Arbor, cool shops, and cheap food. Everyone is pretty attractive and hip in the city, it's really great. We've been staying with my family friends Dan and Sarah, who have a great place right outside of the city. They have been treating us too well, it's been truly lovely. Who knew the food in California was so good? Most people, I guess.
Anyway, the plan now is to hang out here for a couple more days, then go up to Portland for a couple of days, then Seattle for a couple of days, then potentially Glacier National Park for a couple days, then shoot on home through the UP. But who knows. We haven't really been sticking to any plans, which is how it should be in my opinion// 
Overall everything is going well. Ben and I are still friends, which is impressive seeing as we've spent essentially every minute of the last 30 days by each other's side. We're not completely out of money, though it does go fast. We're just enjoying the country. It's a strange and wonderful place. It's a good trip.

--Ben, Evan

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Y'all's have Y'all's selves a good time!"


Austin, done. Went to Marfa, site of such films as; No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood. But don't imagine some glitzy Hoolywodd, instead picture the iconic bare-stucco facades and the dusty streets that lay empty aside from a parked motorcycle and a stray dog. That's only on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, when the town sleeps, any other day the numerous local artists of the 2000-aught community come out on their bikes and take to the open galleries that line these western streets. A strange town indeed. And we were about to leave, after a viewing of the infamous Marfa-lights ( ) and a night well spent in the auto, but then we charmed our way into a room in the world renowned 'Thunder Bird" hotel-----Discounted---Heavily. 
Ok, I'm going to start summarizing here:  luxery hotel, lots of beer, drunk by the pool, nap, see galleries, blank spot in memory, fell asleep I guess. 

Leaving Marfa, Okay, on to (h)El(l) Paso. Set the scene: Pushin' 90 down I-10, when the emergency ABS lights start dinging... furiously. And the dingin' don't stop. Act 1: We find our way to the neaest repair shop, and learn that our rear breaks crumble with the slightest brush of the hand. Act 2: we wait for the repairs to be done, Law and Order reruns play on the television. Act 3: continue waiting, more Law and Order, back to back.  Act 4: still waiting, some other bullshit crime show comes on TNT, your home for drama. Act 5: We bust out of (h)El(l) Paso like bandits, and make north... Mexico El Nuevo.

White Rock: Evan's residence for a short while, while young. A beautiful small town, placed in amongst the remains of a volcano. Right next to Los Alamos, the site of the Manhattan project. We stayed with family friends of Evan's; Mac & Debbie, host-extraordinaires. They held us up in their lovely home with their lovely dog and lovely cats. A lovely time it twas. Too tired to keep writing, it's late here in Colorado. Good night moon.

--Evan, Ben

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's too hot in Austin, so this is what we do.  
Did have a good time at the spring though, met a guy with a parrot, apparently Battle-Creek smells like fruit loops. The things you learn in traveling.

just keep truckin' oooonn...

New Orleans...whew, what a fucked up place that was. We left on Friday, leaving our dear friend and host NoMario (that's what we'll call him). He was a zen catholic monk. They say that the devils' right hand is a pistol, well from nine in the morning NoMario's right hand was a Marlboro Medium, and his left was a pint of Natural Ice. But don't get the wrong impression, he was a wise and nurturing gent, who took us in and under his wing without even knowing us. Many more things could be said about our main-man, but best saved.--By the way, did you know that in NOLA you can drink on the street??//

Katrina rests heavy on all the residents. Even after four years it's the main topic of conversation. Everyone had tragedies, most folks got screwed over by FEMA, or whoever. Much tension was created between the races and classes. New Orleans is the murder capitol of the world. We didn't see any murders or crimes, but we did end up meeting the chief crime reporter of 35 years for the Times-Picayune out side of a cafe, he talked us up one side and down the other. He had just retired, and so he relished the opportunity to talk about what he had seen. He showed us around. And as he drove he would point and nonchalantly say: "Why that's where two young women had their throats cut by a local crack-cocaine deala', and that there is Wallgreens...".//

Interesting people, interesting city. Won't forget it.//

Now we're in Austin, kinda bored, not the most welcoming of cities. Beautiful though...and we have a gracious host/councilwoman. We're camped out in her back yard and she is nice as it gets. The hundred-degree heat puts us in a cramped and lethargic sort of mood, good thing there's natural springs to swim in. We're going there now, because it's so damned hot.......................Next stop: Los Alamos, New Mexico!!////


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Adventures in Arkansas

As previously posted, we stayed at the Buffalo River National Park monday night. We started off at the visiter center, and talked to a ranger who recommended a spot that was great for swimming, and free camping. Being the cheap lads we are, we went straight there. It was a gorgeous area. Canoers stopped to swim and drink, we ate and set up camp. Once the sun was heading down, we retired to the tent and got ready to fall asleep. The thing about where we were staying is that it's not a real camp site that is monitored for unusual animal behavior. We were completely in the wilderness. So, it is no surprise that as soon as we closed our eyes, something in the bushes started rustling towards us. The two of us had packed our knives and pepper spray, and we were armed before we were out of our sleeping bags. For a full minute, silence. It was broken at once by a fierce and unforgettable growl. Ben deduced it to be from a Black Bear, so being the quick-thinking lads that we are, we growled right back. We may not seem very intimidating during pleasant conversation, but apparently we are, because the creature ceased its approach. Our three inch blades and plastic containers of mace were not put to use, but they were the only possessions we thought to grab as we ran as fast as we could in our underwear. We made our way safely to the car and (eventually) fell asleep. Once morning had come, we deemed the campsite as safe and headed back. All of our belongings were in order, except for the outside of the tent, which had been "marked" by our enemy, further proving it's victory. We have yet to determine any sort of moral from this story...


P.S. Our access to internet is very sporadic, you'll have to excuse the long periods between posts.