Lessons learned from tonight’s class

Calling 911 is a terrible lonely experience.

You think at first that you’ll be have to calm the nerves enough to speak meaningfully to the operator in a clear voice. But then,time passes. You check your phone to see if you’ve been routed to Sprint’s SprintService Emergency HelpLine ™ to ask if you’d like to sign up for a 2-year contract plan. No,no… we haven’t reached those terrible times yet. It says "Emergency"… But it still rings. Perhaps time is just moving extremely fast in these high tension times.

But the ringdown rythmically drones on. At which point your body reacts on it’s own and you let out a wild yelp of "COME ON!"

When someone FINALLY did pick up the line it was the sherrif of somewhere or other, Milwaukee.

I had no time for this sort of formality,so I got the point quickly.

"Thanks for picking up so quick,fucko,there’s a fire in the alley at 624 E Russell."

I believe I heard him start to chastise,but I had no time for quarrell. I repeated my imperitive message. Luckily,I wasn’t dealing with your typical meatbrained Law Enforcer,and he dropped the subject and patched me through to the fire department.

A few rings pass,and they send troops.

Some minutes pass. I was unable to find neighbors the Old Fashion way,so I improvised with my Air Horn. A few seconds’ blasts,and I had the attention of a few passers-by. We chat,I inform them that the garage that’s burning directly behind my house is empty due to it currently being sold.

I of course have been running around still in shorts and nothing else. This was a step up,considering I had been sitting in my living room naked with the kevlar vest – for protection.

At long last,the fire truck pulls up in front of the house. I run up front to inform them that yes indeed,Virginia,there IS a fire and hell yes, you can see it from the street.

The unload a canister of extinguisher which does Very Little. They bring the truck around down the alley and finally take care of it Proper.

They’ve finally left,but a few neighbors have found their way back to talk of the Hooligans and current events. I’ve gone back to my porch and my table and chair to write this,now that the adrenal gland has pumped enough epinephrine into my system to sustain a bull.

And why not?

There was no real threat to my house,but when you’re half-dazed in some terrible David Lynch film about to fall unconscious,hearing giant flames and looking out the window to that orange glow just below your house… You tend not to analyze too carefully whether the set of What is On Fire happens to include your house and all the valuable Equipment therein.
I would have had to save the Equipment,which would have led to Certain Death.

But now all is calm,and even the gossipers have left. The come-down will be clean and soothing as the Wild Turkey moves in.

Visions of the American Landscape

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MKE,4:18am,Sunday July 10,2005

This is All Your Fault. You asked for it,and LiveJounal allows me to do this. So I fully expect to Lose Friends over this post. The End.
Selah
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Introduction

The trip started technically on the 22nd,when I flew from MKE out to Denver for a Budweiser between flights,and then on to SFO for a late night arrival. The scene was not what I expected. We got a late start out of SFO after a lot of business on Sunday,June 26,2005. We arrived in Yosemite in time to get to the valley where we amazingly scored accomidations in a "tent cabin" for two nights,until we departed on Tuesday 28th in the AM. Without electricity in Yosemite,little writing was done,and that was well before I decided to document this… spiritual/geographical search in writing along with photographs. Though the photographs should have been more documentary-style,rather than "pretty",this will have to suffice.

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?:??pm PST,Tuesday,June 28,2005
Winnemucca,NV

Metal machines,smell of burnt brakes,metal on metal,acrid smoke. "Make these people know my will,fill the land with smoke"
Tire treads strewn across the Interstate at Regular Intervals
The New American Purgatory and Ripping Off Hunter S. Thompson.
Gasoline. Searching. Sunburnt face. Run for the Jungle. Right on,Mr. Fogerty. MAke a run for it. 75 speed limits,up to speed at around 90. McLean,loud,in the tiny Chevy. Gas mileage is good,better than the elevation altitude changes.
Deranged,black cowboy hat and unbuttoned red hawaiian shirt. Standard fare and expensive gas.
8 hour burns at high throttle,don’t look down.

Abandon Yosemite today,and accelerated across high plains up into Nevada. The people out here have their own gas – mine,drill operations in the middle of the salt flat deserts. They sell it at better than 2.98/gallon backwoods stops in Yosemite and Mono Lake. Coming down the mountains from 9,800 feet,down the yellow and red rock,with the brakes heating up in reentry. The air gets heavy and the brainpan snaps with pressure. The velocity increases exponentially and one miscalculation while the mind adjusts to the sudden drop in altitude… 1000′ down to the valley floor. But not today; the breaks hold and we take in the sun-soaked rock and brush aromas. Just outside of Tioga Pass,leaving Yosemite National Park proper,the descent ends with a freakish Mobil Resturaunt that serves $20 salmon steak and pizza slices,along with cheap wine and tourist shirts. It overlooks Mono Lake and a trapeze set constructed on a small patch of uncharacteristically deep green grass.We fill up the tank and have packaged hamburgers from the "resturaunt",then hit the 395 up to Reno.

Booming across the desert where the speed limit is 75,but preferrably you get up to speed at 90. Unless you’re an unfortunate trucker with a locked up right rear wheel spewing off deadly metal fumes. I tried to warn the trucker with various hand gestures and body language,and the odd horn,but without CB communications,the point was moot. I sped up to 100 mph to clear safe distence when the rear right wheel of the semi would eventually blow out. She’d jackknife across the Interstate,completely aghast out int he middle of nothingess except for that last prison (one of several) we had passed some few miles back. What then? Off the freeway,multiple trails from vehicles tired of the ho-hum standard pavement careen off into the sand,off to random drinking holes and shanties where the natives get down to serious nighttime business. Just drive right off the Interstate concreate pavement,over the shoulder and onto the grass/dirt trails leading to vast empty fields and hillsides.

Lake Tahoe,the private residential lake resort-home with a 10′ square public landing space at $2/car for a 15 minute piss-break. What funds these homes? Who are these people? Houses on the bluff overlooking the crystal clear water,snow-capped mountains in the distant southwest. The water is straight from the mountains and is ice-cold,but somehow inviting on a hot summer day amidst a long,windblown drive. Especially when your face has been stuck in the Earth-brand Microwave for a good 8 hours.

Then down to carson city,and Nevada’s capital building,approximately the size of most of the houses on Lake Tahoe,but just down the way from the shotgun range/sushi bar,and of course the casinos. The governor’s mansion is just across the way,but we didn’t stop in.

The Californians on the road don’t seem to understand the concept of distance and speed in this open country. I heaved pass multiple at speed,noticing they’d all be travellign at a leisurely 65 mph. At that rate,you might make it across the desert in a few days,and hopefully not end up as one of those metal carcasses on the side; the driver shot dead from a mercy kill,or the owner drown in the mudsalt desert dunes looking for a Shell or Arco mirage. Nope. This is True American country,cowboy country. The twilight lasts for hours. The black shadowed mountain horizon to the west tear off the solid color luminance of the sunset sky abruptly… Like a fine watercolor spilled on paper,ripped from the notebook and hung on a blackboard – for a literal translation. At this point in time,I’ve lost most of the ability to conjure up the proper phrases.

No moon or stars yet,I’m staying in the Days Inn int he middle of some backcountry vegas strip with Gods lit up Casino money sex signs surroundign me. Who knows if the moon’s up there still. Food will be an issue,soon I think. The clock on the IRC session says 12:04am CST. I’ll have to face these demons; truckers and locals all wanting fresh flesh to gnaw on while riding out the back country. The cowboys are dead. There’s two maximum security prisons within 50 miles (which equates to about 20 minutes at speed). Construction in the middle of nowhere left a raw feeling in my feet. Hot tar and the bones of tar rigs inoperable at that tempurature. We had to drive on the rumble strip because some yokel placed the barrier bins in the middle of the only lane open on i80. Entire townships out here are comprised of a factory,and the factory-supplied housing. Some place,before Toulon I think,was comprised of a worn-out,burnt,run-down rusting mill that had been surrounded and propped up by a handful of trailer homes… I wondered if that’s where Carnies come from. Those deprived people have more a sense of community and sense of nationalism than anyone back in Reno,or here in Winnemucca,as deranged and solitary as it may be outside their shanty-town.

Nothing can really compete with the physical,mental,and spritual comedown of hiking/climbing to Sentinel Dome at 10,000 feet in the middle of Yosemite,taking stock of El Capitan,Yosemite falls,Half Dome,echo peak,valley forests and my own sanity and earthly spirit to Reno/Carson City/ finally Winnemucca Neon Casino Strips. To be clear,I never left America… it was there all around me,constantly… "for good or ill". But,just like the mountains that still seem unreal in front of me,I can’t see this America Wholly and United… it’s disjointed,and I can’t for the life of me reach out and touch or experience America. Not in the same way I can touch,climb,and experience the mountains in Yosemite. My forehead has certainly experienced enough radiation,as it’s beginning to feel raw.

"Depression Rates". The only thing open in this town after 10pm for food is Burger King. This includes the McDonald’s across the main strip Winnemucca Avenue. The Casinos apparently run the town,and have yet to run Burger King’s operation intot he 10pm fold. You could try one of the 24 hour coffee shop casinos and join the truckers… The truck stop off i80 on Winnemucca Ave. is filled with approximately 200-250 semis. One trucker stares us down as we gun it across the closed McDonald’s parking lot… perhaps he was one of the hired guns,making sure every good tourist stops in for a try at the slots,or dies trying. The Local Motel across the way is advertising Depression Rates with No Gimmicks. There was a vacancy.

Photography – the geographical and spiritual search for evidence of the New American Purgatory. The cowboys are dead. The steeds roam a ceaseless economic depressed valley . Oil. Desolation,but in a connected global world,this place seems more desolate. There’s a fog draped over the countryside,and America’s lost it’s identity… it clings to the old traditions in sick demented ways – smalltown conservative hicks and truckers,pickup trucks,faux-cowboy drawls and shallow mentalities outside of whatever the next fix is: beer,guns,strip clubs. No foreigners,tourists. The construction sets scattered about the Interstate cut through rich heritage lands. Where palominos once rode the trailers lumber down at sub-speedlimit paces,sure not to spill their drinks or chaffe their asses. The Interstate cuts the landscape with a primary color highway harbinger of caution,danger,information,direction; but no noise other than the bug-spattered winshield occurs.

Food was terrible – an unfortunate necessity. Should be about an hour before my lower intestine rejects the concept entirely and lets me know in no uncertain terms the consequences of my actions. At least here we have our own private,locked bathroom this time.

Tomorrow,Evanston WY. Across Utah and the great Salt Lake City and the Mormons… better make sure the doors are locked and secure and the cannons loaded. This will be trouble. And this is what… day 3 of the search for the new america? And it’s come to this already? The Fear grew up here,ran around those foothills and up into those mountains. Now it’s matured,and prematurely senile due to excessive homeade moonshine,and takes on anyone the instant they stop noticing and looking…

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8:49am PST,Wednesday June 29,2005
Winnemucca,NV

Ringo is on the motel television crooning terribly… "Sounds great",old baby-boomer guilt-stricken good American citizen states kitschly… can’t even name "Help" by Beatles,can only rabble off the lyrics in a vain attempt to reclaim his raped misspent youth. Ringo launches into it,tuneless and souless. And Micheal Jackson owns the rights… Backup singers show up Ringo,who is now simply talking Lennon’s words. Morning in America,lost in some motel drowned in speed casino commerce and trucker diesel sleep. kill kill kill on tv! Read the telepromter… GDP up first quarter,looking good from NY up above central park. London,Paris,Xetra DAX,Zurich,all up,oil prices fall. down .90 to 57.30. UK retail sales fall at fastest rate in 22 years. Smiles,smiles…

I’d love to put on some local news,see what we’re up against when we leave,but there’s bad noise on the phone,insurance,health care,the Business Reality we’re currently so distant from,but is only a phone call away. My forehead has been placed in a nuclear furnace,and is now beginning to tenderize the nerves below. Ah,Gaza fighting on TV. Rocks vs. soldiers with guns. This must be… yeah,it’s what I guessed – Israeli soldiers clashing with Jewish settlers in the strip. At least they’re consistent. Bush is back on tv,I missed his stay-in-Iraq speech. Probably a hollow threat to legislation that doesn’t want to be there anymore; boost his public image and regain his shot approval. Maybe he’s relying on the Winnemucca vote – those who are behind the American flag wherever it waves,whever it leads them. To the local Casino,down the strip,off the Interstate. This is the consequence of building a nation of unquestioning followers and fox news entertainment winos – a quick turn of opinion following blindly…

On this trip,I’m driving on out ahead of the American flag,attempting to find that place,and if that New American Purgatory has any true meaning or free market value. Maybe the construction workers,truckers,and other local folk hide it deep down… No great personal danger to bring out that true spirit. These workers on the Interstate find serenity in the cool desert air with mass-consumption of cheap beer just like Milwaukean proletariates. A connection,a common thread underlying the cast-off looks of tourist vs. local. Which is why perhaps the few of us find ourselves searching for personal danger. Out in the desert at 100mph or power-on self-tests via strong drink and drugs. Finding that spirit to overcome that’s built into every human that’s slowly and systematically being drowned in convenience…

Everyone should get out on the desert in a fast car and blow a gasket.. find out where you really stand. Ask America for forgivness and cable tv then – out in these rural despots of the nation.

At least I shaved for the first time in about a week. I originally liked the idea of coming home looking like wrangled brawling scruff,maybe even half-bearded,and completely red-faced from too much exposure.. but realized once I did finally and inevitabely shave,I’d look like some crazed racoon,bleach white and blood-burnt red… A True Native Species. Ah well; self-image was never one of my high points,and I’ve got other concerns. Prisoner of War status,Geneva Conventions,Gitmo detainees have no rights because they are Unlawful Combatants – they belogn to no army (what army?)….. Savage,legal representation,Congressional opinion line up along political partisan lines like iron-ore filings. Fox News blazes fury entertainment across the tube.

Quick,change the channel! Infomercial,infomercial,fishing,nascar,infomercial,bowling,midol commercial,Ruby Tuesday,Cancer… Local television is currently all commercials. Ah,rocket tests… Bad News: Fox News here in Nevada has a certain resonance. Laughing at the UN proposal for expanding the building: bias? It’s news with a Human edge,right? Palatable,make news.. fun!,edutainment,convenience. Explaining things in the way the common Nevada man can understand. None of that technical mumbojumbo,we can laugh along with New Yorkers,sense of connection with the world out here in the desert. Every angle covered,The ASman Observer on UN HQ. Don’t support the UN corrupt organization says Random New Yorker hand-picked… "starting to waver",but the president made it clear "untilt he Iraqis can take over themselves",the newscaster states what the president said as his own words – quotes without quoting. Reference 9/11,standard op on public intelligence,Fox NEws is on the goddamn payroll. "We’re doing this and that,infrastructure up,no proof,just talk"…

"why worry about the goverment,you have enough to worry about…" BenderBender something?… commerical

Remembering Yosemite: hiking,valley walls,waterfall – mist,soaking wet and unable to see… "quiet time" starts at 10pm when the kids finish their last-call drinks and run off to the backwoods for mass group orgies or the intimate outdoor fuck. Plenty of nubile young things ready to explore. Terrible,terrible… yet during the day they’re out with the rest,hiking,taking in the awesome panorama. The old routine and village elders cast a scornful eye and censure the youthful exhuberance,forgetting both that this is the New America they’ve brought in and burying the deep,covetous heart that burns below… The haze of the distant mountains and granite structures and the wind rushing up from the valley over the domes and peaks. The remote snow-covered echo peak quiet… mystic,unreal,untouchable. Fresh air,clean,the pure burning nuclear furnace above saturating my skin. Spiritual,euphoric self-awareness and awareness of Earth. It makes every landscape artist look like a horrible hack and a fraud,myself included. The flat 2 dimensional imagery of photographs and video make dull light of the true massive immersive experience. Climb a mountain,invovle yourself into the awesome environment that envolopes everyone… Again,danger and fear,living,breathing… Taking on these experiences in a vain attempt to find some tactile reality to that place. Or something else…

"Angelic Pastor down in Aruba for the trial,pray for the family,bang on the door of heaven,asking God for justice and information."
Legal anylists,DOW down 11.5. Roll emo tape… Out of the blue,make up the story… "I have little kids,and I know etc etc" "Why would they make up that story on such a serious thing?" Because you just put him on TV,shithead bitch. Cue audience clapping. Bring back the Aruban Pastor talking abou tpolygraphic equipment for confession; proposing a religious police investigation? Who knows… but this is what Fox News says AMerica is bringing to the gripping soap opera in Aruba.

Now,I drive. Evanston,WY,about 7h 48m away,through Salt Lake City and the great salt flats/desert.. Where they burn rocket cars for full land speed records approaching mach 1.

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9:19pm MT,Thursday June 30,2005
Evanston,WY

Wesley Clark on O’Reilly. Bowen says "Clark’s pretty conservative,but I forgot what conservatives sound like… when they’re not insane." O’Reilly is truly a fascist; he’d be in complete favor of shutting down anti-bush "media outlets". He thinks any opposition of any "media outlet" undermines the war against terrorism efforts – and will be "exposed on this show." He just told the spokesman for Aruba that his goverment is responsible for stepping into the case and take over the evidence,and "come clean" to the United States…

Last night,the UK Government won the vote on the second reading of the ID Cards Bill by a majority of 31. The Bill now moves to the committee stage for review,before going to the House of Lords. The government’s current aim is to have legalisation passed by early 2006,if not before,so that it can begin the procurement phase in mid-2006.

"Procurement Phase". [

"The development of the National Security Service is the next step in the evolution of our ability to protect the American public." – Robert Mueller.

Interstate carcas: worn rubber tread. Passed through the great salt desert mid-afternoon,at peak tempurature. 30 minutes of high speed across white flats,mirages mask the horizon… liquid atmosphere,heat. Wyoming has heritage of the old cowboy lands. Tomorrow we’ll drive through ol’ Cheyanne,where the smell of gunsmoke lingers in the twilight beer runs in old pickup trucks. Today was a quiet,fine drive. A few scattered snowcapped mountains framed Salt Lake City. The Interstate follows the plains and basins between the giants. We’ve taken the northern route into Rocky Mountain National Park since the route through CO would add an extra 5 or 6 hours. This unfortunately also has the consequence of driving through the rolling hills of Wyoming rather than the switchbacks and elevation shifts of the Rockies. Tomorrow will bring us back into the folds of the Rockies,thankfully. Where I may stay. The pool is full of freaks and degenerates,which I’d normally join,but not tonight… I’m too exhausted with anti-motion sickness and overwhelming lack of visual stimulus in this hotel room. I’d prefer to do just a few laps and force myself asleep,but with this crowd something tells me that plan will fail.

Oh my god this television show is ill. Fear. This is Larry King’s replacement. Interviewing Losing Limbs,Surviving Deadly Car Wrecks,and Random Accidents with various inspirational messages and Overcoming of Odds. Motivational Speakers. The interviewer is speaking to these people as if they’re children. She sets them up… "You ARE a champion!" "I’m not going to wake up and complain anymore" sure sure. This can’t be the same America that I left back in Yosemite. Was it there,under teh surface – hiding in the cabins and tents,waiting for the kids to grow up on Fox News and Booze and Conservative Parents? This lady interviewer just said "play some of that footage,of… what do you call it? Music Video?"

Reflection on the Cumberland backdrop… a little autobiography might be appropriate? Are small towns the same all over? Probably. Some with more or less drawl than others; most with backwoods/backfields/foothills with a case of cheap beer and whisky… a little grass and some high school girls just for fun. Americans just flirt with the dark side of human desire; all of them… the ones that deny themselves are most likely to finally snap and twist,diving over the edge in a full lapse of reason and humanity. But it’s too late for that sort of terrible journey. It’s time for sleep,time to play some quiet thinking noise on the laptop and drift off. Dream of other,different terrible fetishes too lucid and clear to deliberate now.

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9:26am MT,Thursday,June 30,2005
Evanston,WY

More violence between Jewish settlers and Israeli troops in Gaza. President prepares for G8. 7h and 45m to Rocky Mountain National Park. "Empty Symbolism" for aid by US,bush doens’t like the UK plan. The internet connection here sucks,but there’s about six wifi networks available (all suck). Do not disturb. Lebonese insurgents combating Israeli troops… Spain passed a billa llowing gay marriage yesterday. War on terror: remain vigilant on 4th,round the clock surveilence… Interest rates spike up 2% on student loans – the largest ever cost.

out of sync,out of sync. Still considering staying in the Rockies,buy a gun,hide. It’ll be a while until they come. Find some outback cash work for alcohol; hijack some connection. High pressure continuing over the mountain plains,clear skies,heat. Let it come. The TV talks about the ethical edge,possible shiavo investigation into the death… Fear and control,The Moral State of Things. Sky blue,open terrain and high speed is what we need now. Get to the mountains before They do. Take in the high rolling hills filled with green. ORange rock formations protrude through the vegitation,and grass tumbleweed scattered across open ground. Serious cattle range country out here… These people are their own character. All that space goes to your head,I can feel it now waiting for me,outside the hotel room. The itch to get back on the move,and I’m runninng low on film again.

I don’t think mum is up to the spirit of serious travel. Motion sickness and odd sleep patterns plague her. Reluctant to climb back into the vehicle and get up to speed. She maintains a positive attitude,probably still out of motherly instinct more than anything.

A new study says that radiation,even in small doses,may cause cancer… Ah well,my forehead is doomed. Cancer’ll eat us all anyways. But not before I make this run.

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5:19pm MT Thursday,June 30,2005
Estes Park

http://www.scorecard.org/env-releases/state.tcl?fips_state_code=56

The trip: Southwestern Wyoming is owned by petro-chemical industries. Basic Electric. Multiple coal mines. Sinclair. Cheap gas. Spartan Chemical Co – hazardous site. Pounds of Toluene-equivalents. Kidney toxicants,endocrine toxicants,neuro/cardio. Immuno. CMA – US Army Chemical Materials Agency. GBT? Cant’ recall at the moment. dirt road access,each plant with smokestacks peircing the otherwise open blue sky. From our view here in the motel,the sunlight is about to reveal itself behind a gaint thunderstorm to the high rockies some few miles away. Distance and time move slower here. This is uh,somewhere around 8500′. Blue skies beyond the grey-black booming butt. Several lightning strikes touchdown on the hills in front of the not-so-distant peaks. The gunlit thunder blasts across teh vallies,echoing here and far… Now sirens; trouble. We left Utah and it’s wildfires a couple days ago . Today we tracked crucifix transmission poles providing power to the various petro-chem plants off on the wild Wyoming plains. Sinclair refinery is here too. Out in cowboy country… The first hints of sunlgiht to the north hit the snow face mountain. A second peak is struck by light; pockets here and there now.. Blue illuminations behind the white and black jagged horizon. The rain’s slowing; trickling down. Mist/haze fills the valey below the mountains… just a grey-green unsaturated landscape contrasts the white marbled distance. Still waiting for that light to appear.

Concrete grey-blue hue,green pines,a brown telephone pole and black transformer divides the mottled white/black peaks,and beyond the blue on blue sky strip below the silver lining of the grey-black butt moving overhead.

As the blue sky gains ground on my buttcover,the mountain peaks contrast increases.. blacks envelope themselves and the whites shimmer back at the atmosphere.

Steam comes up off the blacktop pavement. Rising… more lighting strikes; a last effort to balance atmosphere and ground… the rain has stopped. moments pass,then the boom…

Ah,buffalo. Here I am,the white man,enjoying hte red man’s staple diet in the most obscene way on the red man’s blood soaked old territory. And why not? They were savage paganistic ritualistic demons; did you hear about the things they did? Nightmares… We won that war,too. But that was the old America,this is the New. And we all know how that works. Fox News is wondering why we glorify and lime lite serial killers on a program about the Son of Sam,and perhaps there are very few white men who can’t help but see the glaring contradiction. The red man didn’t have this problem of mass media political idiocy. "You cannot go astray," says the publisher of the Son of Sam book. Indeed. "Nobody is innocent here",says the interviewer – how true. "How come veryone finds religion behind bars?" Oh,her name is Nancy,the interviewer. Pure insanity on television,everyone at all hours. Dear God,the New America. Twilight is falling behind the mountain horizon. Contrast is leaving; the white snow fading to greys. Two nights out here in the mountains. Some serious drink and a few guns would be required to truly avoid that New America around us… Tomorrow we drive up to 12,000′ pass. At 12,000′,you have the high ground,absolute defense.

Back from a quick swim under the rockies. Brisk; cold. Took a few minutes to raise the body temp before jumping headlong into the cool Colorado chlorine. Breast stroke a few laps,take a breathe,notice the the stars coming out one by one above. Take note; a few more laps straight before losing oxygen and taking another tally of the fading skylight. But the serenity is short lived; I know the time is approaching where the old grizzled caretaker will come shoo me off without even a sweet goodnight or chance to dry off. Ah well,catch my breathe in the hot tub one last time,take note of Venus which was hiding off behind the neighbors… steam and heat rising and fleeing of my skin.

Nope,the serenity is over,put on some forceful music,get down and make sense of this place. Ritual Dance,there’s an answer out thereinthe cool night air beneath god and creation. It’s all right there,out the window… Tomorrow will be key – at the highest point overlooking the state of hte nation,I’ll have to be accountable for it all. Focus,focus,get connected. No good,I won’t be able to research here. I’ll have to go on blood and soul. Stay sharp,the turns get narrow and they dont’ see fit to protect you from decending rapidly and uncontrollable – no guard rails to fall back on. It’s just you,steel,and 12,000′. Fear holds you steady before it becomes euphoric bewilderment: you gaze off into some God-all Thing and the next thing you know you’re feeling the tingle of vertigo as the car lurches back away from the drop… True Physical Fear of Death! Oh,how you refine experience!

"I’m taking back America."

One day we’ll drive up to the peak here at Rocky Mountain National Oil Reserves,though several National Security Service men with heavy weapons and gates. We’ll show them our National Identification,pull out one of hte several travel insta-sample vials of our DNA for verification. After much noise and questioning the wife will be searched for Illegal Substances due to what I’m writing right now – this will inevitabely lead to strife and resentment between wife and I – and we will be on our way up the switchbacks: concreate four lane byway enclosed on each side by 8′ rebar walls for your protection; no stopping unless in designated viewing areas. We’ll stop at 12,000′ at the last stop and step through the mental detector and walk to the window overlooking some drifting,lost American Colorado… A state that could be any other state. See the high-lane Interstates lit up with traffic lights refracting off the dense butt of exhaust – even at 11:00am at the highest altitude. To the right,you’ll notice the 13.5 billion high-altitude low-oxygen refinery burning off excess petrol recyclables. How beautiful is the sunlight shifting through the haze splitting into purples and reds,basking the mountainside in human development….

The night has taken out the view of the mountains,but the window is still open,and I’m still looking out at the slightest hint of horizon from the nearest peak. I know tomorrow will come as will the peak and the Heavenly View,and just as soon as it will come it will pass on into a broken aging memory. Photos will document hte American Decent,and will trigger those loose fragments of the things my mind will takein tomororw,but only in blurry still corrupt images and thoughts. A significant icon in reality only; nothing will bring back the religious,spiritual,mental and physical enlightenment,fear,and exhileration that is in store for tomorrow. Maybe driving off the edge will permanently fix the state of mind into the physical brainmatter… for whatever permanence is left after piloting a motor vehicle into the earth off the hightest peak in America… But no,I’ll simply live Carpe Diem,take photos,and continue back with dreams already fillign my sleepless mind.

America is the Entertainment Industry. There are precious few things unplugged from the great amusement lifestyle machine. Television,Cable,Hollywood – the National New Reality Multiplex. The Interstate connects us together to vast spaces for our own personal distraction from boredom. Spaces like Yosemite… under constant construction and improvement for ease of use,quick ingestion of the drug. Paved highways cut through high mountaintops and pure vegitation valleys. Cabins,tents,all available for some price with the unfortunate annoyance of the black bears which are now hooked on Lucky Charms,candy bars,and pizza boxes like some drug crazed lunatic looking for his next score.

Loud talk and yelling,the pizza adn booze,teenage sex,star-crazed kids barely notice themselves or eachother even at the most intimate moments and honest instants under the crystal starlit above. It’ll be there tomorrow,and the next day,and the next… And all I could think of was purchasing another whiskey or seducing and ravaging some dejected young girl away from her professor; dealing with neither the next day over some long climb in some far off place. And why not,we’re all in on this one,and it’s all in. There’s no one else,there’s no way out. We’re plugged in now. Even at the top of the Rockies,ther’es a paved road to commerce accepting all major credit cards with little oxygen to the brain to butt any kind of old-style disconnected rational judgement that came from living day to day life meant living on the edge of Death. The old Cowboy and Farmer way that created the explorers who came up here on horse and foot. Postcards with an image of the view behind you… but which to choose? Four for Three Fifty… tshirts,shot glasses for when you come down later,bottled water from some factory spring in Canada,furry things made in China by the entertainment labor market by promising young anti-communist terrorists.

The view fills the body and mind with such ecstacy that the whole scene simply seems unreal. It looks like a perfect picture! Like something you’d see on television,or no – in a Movie! a Big Budget thing with CGI and Style! But there it is,in front of your eyes with nothing in between but very thin atmosphere and distance… Simply unreal. It burns into the mind such vastness and uncomprehensible awe; no memory will ever do it justice. I hope to see it in a movie someday,so a professional can Truly capture the experience and I can purchase it on DVD.

Ah,well,I’m paraphrasing overheard conversations in my head,now,of course. Or did i actually HEAR that?

Thousands upon thousands decend upon Yosemite Valley every month,driving in,staying,hiking,taking pictures,driving the commerce and economy for DNC who apparently hires the most useless,apathetic,and ignorant 19 year olds I’ve ever seen,who probably get laid on such a regular basis rendering any malignant feeling on my part to pure jealousy. But at minimum wage and awesome setting,I would have much incentive to give two shits about you or me either. You and your family can go pretend to be unplugged for a week or so; you’ll just ignore the teenage apathetic youth-violence and multiple digital tv satellite dish network wires and cables next to your "rustic" cabin,with pizza for the kids and booze/ESPN for you and yours 500 feet away (for after the kids sleep and you’re too old to fuck anyone including yourself anymore).

This is turning into a terrible terrible diatribe now. The automobile lights outside flash inconsistently into the room,as the window is still open though the horizon is long gone. Just blackness… no stars,just the pool light (which apparently doesn’t shut off at the time the pool closes). What I wouldn’t give for a few good drugs,some bourbon,and a friend or two to ransack that pool light and have a good,REAL nighttime swim under the colorado eventide… Plug in good and hard,and make everyone else Pay – jam the channels,fuck with the reception,force them back upon themselves like a broken safety pin or jack-knifed trucker. Could my pasty bare ass running around the pool,doing laps while attempting to sing the blues underwater,possibly acheive all that? Possibly… worth the attempt,I imagine.

But now sleep is setting in. Not much more in me tonight; just a few retrospective thoughts to myself and… Well,let the body go… the mind will follow suite; down… Tomorrow’s a big day. Carpe Diem. Put on some Chris Isaak,calm the nerves,abase the mind.

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9:58am MT,Friday,July 1 2005
Estes Park,CO

Daylight. It’s getting late in the morning,and I’m itching to head up there. My mind is preoccupied with this anxiety of leaving. Not much use this morning for deliberating thought. The TV isn’t even on. No current newspaper in the room. Apparently my kitten misses me so much she’s taken a piss on the floor. Ah well. Time to flee.

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11:58pm MT,Friday,July 1,2005
Estes Park,CO

A long start to the morning which ended with a terrific breakfast of corned buffalo hash and eggs overeasy with sourdough toast served to us by a beautiful and warm french host – complete with accent. Maybe she was a thicker bulid,but her face was near perfect. We ate over a balcony which looked out on the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park,and the switchbacks on up ahead. We finished out meal and I bought a few more rolls of film for documentation. Then,we accended.

The chevy grew hot in overdrive,so I took it down to 3rd and pulled off at a pleasant stop overlooking the valley where the french waitress was back working the afternoon lunch crowd. I fidgeted with the fstop and attempted to find compositions matching the open environment and hot blacktop highway with a few SUVs climbing at high speeds avoiding stops and passing the tourists.

This went on for some time until we reached Rock Cut,not quite the highest point on the highway… But which had a trail out to a bit of rock situated on a peak at 12,307′,which WAS,in fact,the highest point you can reach without a permit and mountain climbing gear and a certain disregard for Death. At that point was an official looking bronze marker,indicating lattitude,longitude,altitude,and a map of the surroundings,plus distances and elevations of landmarks across America. Here it was,I thought. I took two trips: I left the final roll of film in the chevy. I was out of oxygen,the brain was operating on basic broad movements of walk-climb-balance,but I wasn’t out of breathe anymore – the lungs had adjusted and I’ve been studying cardio for a while. I thought on that second climb to the marker that I had finally managed to sever that connection,perhaps. There I was; isolated and overwhelmed at the panoramic surrounding me. Had I achieved that final cut from everything? I finished the final roll of documentation on the marker. And I couldn’t help but think that here I was,on top of America,feeling disconnected,content,relaxed,and I was documenting some old human achievement amidst the natural order around me. I meditated for several minutes. I put my cheap,worn,broken cowboy hat knockoff back on as the wind revved up to some 50-60mph from the far-off valley below up over the peak; cheap hawaiian shirt blowing behind me. I hadn’t disconnected from anything,I thought. But I gave that umbilical cord one hard rip.

On the way down – with hat secured atop my balding scorched forehead and hawaiian shirt flowing back in the wind – a slick LA girl with long,blond straight hair looked up away from her parents to give me a wide-eyed smile of shock. I smirked back,and remembered where exactly I was,and remembered I was heading back to that American Pavement some few hundered feet below.

There were other peaks,but none had the real hold of the marker. There’s commerce atop the highest paved highway point,complete with kitchsi crap mirrored down here in Estes Park and horrible chilidogs for the real New Americans who raced their SUVs up the switchbacks passing the tourists around curves. They eyed me with oddity and uncertainty. Was I some asshole wannabe cowboy? But what about that shirt? He looks scruffy,terribly burnt… hair’s all a mess… Maybe he’s retarded… Smile,move on…

Noise outside; Friday night. I could use a bit of the old entertainment. I’ll need a dose when I return. Tomorrow I drive to Rapid City,SD,and end the day at Mount Rushmore for some Dead Presidents carved into stone. I was there once before when I was a wide-eyed child. It doesn’t bring much interest to me now,but since it’s nearly directly in the way between here and Rapid City,there’s not much point in missing it intentionally. Maybe in this grim political context it’ll have some new resonance,but something tells me the kitschi is unavoidable. Much like the stores of downtown Estes Park,which is custom tailored for wealthy,upper-middle class overweight wives of SUVs. Tshirts,kitchsi,expensive kitcshi,and candy/ice cream parlors. The odd steak joint adds appeal to the American Men who,for a few hours,get to pretend they haven’t sold their testicles to the standard social prospects of marriage,sometimes referred to – mistakenly – as "love".

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8:25am,Saturday,July 2,2005
Estes Park,CO

Terrible nightmares of dejection and exclusion; jealousy and sickness. What brought these on? Depression set in early on before I wake,and I felt that empty bottom drop out of my soul. I was conscious enough to remember that little thing about jerking the wheel right over the peak after it was all over… premonitions,perhaps? We’ll find out in another 3 days of high speed; though the flatlands of SD,heat,and finally the familiar dull terrain of Minnesota and Wisconsin,and then on into MKE to face the fears. I’m still tired,the nightmares didn’t wake me,though. Heavy eyelids,slow reflexes… not a good combination for a long drive,but we’re not heading into mountains anymore,just straight through up to Rapid City and beyond into safe terrain. Get up; get some caffeine,watch the news,drown out the other emotions…

Open the curtains,damn you! Let this bright mountain light shine in. ahh.

I’m currently writing upright on the bed. Watching some entrepanuer saying "… taking a bite out of the American Dream" on CNNTV. I’m wearing army green shorts,topless. The sunburns over my body make rediculous patterns: I have a red spot on my upper right chest,and my right arm is bright red; the left remains pale white like some indian war paint. The right arm’s nerves are sharp and alert. My upper forehead is peeling away the dead brown skin finally,creating a truly horrific vision. Ha ha! The neighbor girl walks buy and is shocked to see this freak typing away. Did she realize I,and the other guests connected to her suite,had heard her fucking a couple hours earlier? Maybe so… now she’s thinking of this horribly disgusting freak laying no farther than 3′ from her own bed listening in on the moans of intamacy. If I had only kept the sunglasses on,and kept he shorts off. Vomiting into the lamp on the floor… Horrify her into a coma,unable to orgasm ever again without thinking of this crude,crude man sitting just on the other side of whatever wall.

That was probably the trigger for the nightmares; the harsh reality of my less-then-erotic life. O hell. Right,back on the road,quick. Quick! This is getting deranged out here,and people are going to hound me for not having any sort of storyline or theme. This is just a goddamn bland journal.

Such visciousness on a fine clear blue sky morning. I’d apologize,but I’m too ramped up for the road and another 8 hour run. Perhaps I should find some more corned buffalo hash and eggs at the foot of the mountains; find that french waitress and leave her my long distance number,or hell,inviter her along for the ride. See what happens. I wonder if she’d like my daily diet of buffalo and shark.

This news broadcast on CNN on the missing girl in Idaho is useless. Long pauses,poor questions for an intervewee that has no information whatsoever,expecting the American public to hang off every pause and answer,looking for their own clues. Americans can all become deeply empathic experts when it comes to news,especially over hyper-dramaticized heart-tugging Moral Issues concerning Consumers. The girl’s alive,found in a resturaunt at 2am,perfectly fine other than hysterical. She was eating,… I dont’ know if they let her finish her meal before they shipped her off the the hospital. I wonder who’ll pick up that bill. Maybe they’ll leave it on a low-interest rate credit card that she’ll receieve when she turns 18. A special,below-rate card. As a gift.

Alright,time to Get Ready and Prepare.

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1:47am CST,Sunday,July 3rd,2005
Pierre,SD

A fresh morning drive ot the Rocky Mountain National Park Trailhead Resturaunt where the french girl from the day before caught my eye. Unfortunately,she was not our hostess/waitress this time,but she did notice we had returned etc. Our new waiter was non-existant. Regardless,the mountain view with the river below the balcony where I ate my corned buffalo hash and eggs overeasy was an appropriate way to leave. It’d be a relatively uninteresting drive to Rapid City,SD,since we’d be backtracking along Interstate 25 back up to Cheyenne,WY for about an hour.

We departed the Interstate somewhere,and took state highway 18/20 east towards… nowhere. Empty roads,empty fields. Cumulus butts spotted the sky,but remained out of the sunlight’s path to our vehicle onto my sunburnt right arm. Note: Someplace called "Samgee" or "Samphree" – population 2 – is the Nexus for Rail Freight; mostly coal. Some 10-12 locomotives backed up,stopped,reversing,moving forward,and all with only 2 tracks.

We stop at a local American roadside gas shed. Somehow it also happens to be the Nexus for Trucks and Trailers; a line had formed inside consisting of about 33 people for the single register manned by a gruffy old beast in overalls. He was yelling at a younger sort to find "Jeffrey",and "tell em’ tuh git his ass up he-ar."
"He’s on break."
"I don’t care! Git his ass up he-ar!"

True American Grit. The Sobe fridge was filled with minnows. Bare corregated aluminum for walls,rusted fan ventilation every 12′. No film. Lots of chaw. The walls are lined with fishing detris hanging from nails and homemade hooks. Yelling; chaos. Pay cash,lay low,smile. They haven’t kicked the shit out of me for my dilapidated cowboy hat and California plates – the place is packed and they haven’t noticed just another white man. I notice the abandon motel behind the shack establishment with random junker vehicles parked and salvaged; rusting.

Lusk,Wyoming. Coming in on approach at 80 out on the two-way local highway,the lone car in front of me hits the break lights hard and I ride up behind. "Why in Christ are we hitting the speed limit of 35 directly at the sign?!" No matter,we’re within limits now with nowhere to go. Into downtown main street Lusk. May as well be Cumberland,smalltown America,conservative values,quiet town,keeping our own pace. Ah,I see now: The Elks Building,a huge looming brick structure directly West on Main Street…. just down the block from the second-tallest building in town: City Hall. On cue: a gruff kid riding a fourwheeler down mainstreet just in front of a local cop – the third we’ve seen in town. Suddenly the massive halt from 80+ to nailing the 35 at the sign makes sense… This Honda in front of me has BEEN here before… I didn’t catch the color of his/her skin; but I dont’ know if it would have mattered,not in a Honda,and surely not with California plates.

From Lusk we press on to our next destination: the "Shrine of Democracy" – Mt. Rushmore. FAces of the Old Guard,Old America. The place had been renovated since I was there last,some several years back. It’s all Modern,Shiny & New. Busy as hell,given this Fourth of July weekend we happened upon out here in Wyoming/South Dakota. I notice that today we’ve simply been riding the Moral Value Nerve along one of it’s geographic axis,and we’re simply caught in the wave of reflex. Mt. Rushmore,filled with overweight kids and parents attempting to find their Patriotic Duty as Good American Citizens,but the parents end up being just as bored as the attention deficiet disorder children they’ve raised on Television replays of planes flying into buildings. "Now aren’t we scaring ourselves?"

Rapid City,our stated destination. We cruise in again at 85+ on highway 16 up from Mt. Rushmore and "small" towns of under 1000 people packed with motels,gas stations,cabins,cheap resturaunts,suvinier shops that all couldnt’ possibly be run by a force smaller than 5000. Sturgis,the great motorcycle gathering,is just north of RApid City by 45 minutes or less… After a cruise through town on 16,we find our motel. But this time,nothing goes to plan. A massive storm looms over half teh city,black butts consume the horizon and 3/4 of the sky above. The motel has no rooms; a lot of telephone calls occur and our choices are to drive back where we came – back towards Lusk – for a reservation at $199/night,or head east out on Interstate 90 and take our chances. A heavy toll,indeed,but I needed food to calculate. No problem; remain calm. There’s no more damage to be done here,just eat and something will surface.

I depart the hotel in search of a fine resturaunt with good service,somethign we’ve lacked today.

And I drive… drive…

Some 20 minutes later,we’ve circled most of the city around St. Patricks St.,Main St.,Hwy 16,backroutes and alleyways attempting to find somethign that isn’t a Subway,McD’s,or Denny’s. Cirlcing,driving,searching. Hotels are omnipresent,all with the same refrain: "No". They don’t want us here. Hundreds of hotels and motels,and not one resturaunt sans grease anywhere. Soon I’m driving the wrong way down one way streets and getting in the left-hand turn lane on a two-way street with two lanes – light turns green and I aim directly for oncoming traffic. This concerns me very little at the moment. Very few places have such hellish zoning policies and layout schemes. Rapid City,SD is one of them,and Milwaukee is another. Only in these places could you drive around for 30 minutes without somehow running into some sort of resturant in the downtown area. These places are evil and should be handled with extreme prejiduce. And the storm is darkening… threatening..

Alright,Pizza Hut it is; grease be damned. We need food to think. Get the atlas and hotel book,initiate logistics. MAke some phone calls. From the other side of the window I see the thumbs up; we’re finally in business,and the pizza suddenly tastes better. Alright,Pierre,SD is our reservation. Two and a half hours a way,I calculate – a far cry from the three and a half according to the hotel clerk on the other end ofhte phone. Caffeine,and speed,if necessary. Mum’s a little concerned,but I reassure her that she’d rather not know how bad it COULD get. I notice that while this has all gone on,4 families of 10+ people have come in. There are no small families here,just giant get togethers for the fourth. I overhear a conversation by one entire family:
"Did you replace the hydrolic fluid?"
"Yuh,I checked it!"
"I had to replace it Wednesday…"
"… burnout fluid … gas tank fell off,but it didn’t explode!"
"skidded down the street"
laughter

It’s about high goddamn time we get the fuck out of Rapid City,SD. No signs. One ways. I go on instinct that 16 runs into Main St.,and Main St. will EVENTUALLY run into Interstate 90 Eastbound,come hell or high water. But still… no signs… Ah,there’s… one: Go left. Drive. Up into residential speed limits and more backroads,and again no signs. "No" continues the repetitive bassline. The bastards don’t want us to stay here,but they’re not about to let us leave. They’re closing in,spiraling into some vortex of backwoods Elk lodge ritual. Good christ! Look at this place… Pawn shop,fast food,pawn shop with guns… Casino… over and over,rythmically in tune with this dissonant escape. No signs,no signs. There! finally,Interstate 90… but no East/West declaration,and Orange Icons indicating Confusion taking place,reduce speed,fines double. I weave in and out,around,over the I90,make some turns,and ed up on – at least what I THINK is – Interstate 90… but which WAY? No sense in questioning now,just LEAVE. Fast. Screw that evil black butt somewhere overhead,hidden in the late twilight sky.

A few minutes and we’re at Box Elder and out of Rapid City’s grasp. Get a grip; holding very tightly onto the wheel with BOTH hands,pedal down,accelerating up passed 80 again and into nominal speed out in the dark. I’m now chasing down the storm looking for retribution. Lightning strikes the horizon point down the Interstate,and quick,sharp blasts of light to the Northwest,North,Northeast,and directly in front of us. Butts are back-illuminated and I can see rainfall in the distance,but the stars are clear and bright directly above. I gaze back down at the Interstate,and at the storm fleeing out ahead of us. Scream at top speed; get into it,fight it. No music now,just the sound of heavy wind shoving hte car south and thundering in my ears. Keeping me awake and alert,working in tandem with the caffeine mind buzz.

Cross into CST. Exit on 83 North,to Pierre. Run it down,dont’ be taken by these lunatic SD cities anymore; keep your head on a swivle for any possible confrontation at this point. The caffeine’s got ahold,the crash will come anytime now,and the mind is simply a low electric hum. But Pierre is not like Rapid City. We come in on 83 North,cross the Missouri,and there’s the hotel,right where I expect it. Room’s ready and waiting. No more nightmares,this time,I hope. Walls are concrete block – not much to look at but they get the job done. At that’s about all I care about at this juncture in time.

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10:54am,Sunday,July 3,2005
Pierre,SD

Fox News – Iran’s leader is a Professional Terrorist! His denials of anti-american sentiments "are spin" according to Fox News: an interesting technique,claiming "lies" as "spin" to protect what REAL spin is,which isn’t simply denial or lie,unless it’s in coordination with MISINFORMATION… Then The Hotel Informertial. Money back! Christ,this goes on and on and on. Fox News is having army kids say "Happy 4th" – making sure that fox logo is Right up there in front of his mouth. Republican Texas senator John Cornan Head of Senate Judiciary Comittee interview upcoming on Fox – Supreme Court Fear and Loathing,apparently. Fox saying that the Capitol is a rumor mill,which can only mean this was deliberate and expected by those who Know. Fox News wants you to call in who should replace O’Conner: O’Reilly? Rove? Bush is preparing for a new appointment. Firestorm,be careful,ugly,forces on both sides,"fair and dignified but not likely" "with vote on senate floor",liek to see "someone woh sees what role the judge is in society,not a policy maker or making it up as we go along"," traditional jurist","mainstream nominee".

O’Reilly factor weighs in on whether deep throat who brought down a presidence is a hero or villian? Dear Jesus God…

Justice Stevens wrote majority opinion on imminent domain for private economic development – who did this evil shit?

Dont’ knw where we’re going today. Just driving,heading home. Not much else to see on this trip: The oppresive,awesome emptiness of the flatlands aren’t here in SD; they’re further north up in ND. Pierre is Eau Claire transplated. SEveral thousand of these average meager middle-aged towns with little danger and safe entertainment. No visuals. Smoke a little grass once in a while – nothing dangerous,everyone does it,but keep it illegal,we don’t want The Kids to start,it’d be a bad influence,etc. I don’t think a real photograph would document the underside between the lines; the mental picture is accurate and horrific enough.

Holland sends three F16s to Aruba to aid in the search… Egyptian diplomat to Iraq was kidnapped by armed gunmen,probably from Rapid City. Wounded recovered in Afghanistan – 1 of 4 special forces.

Infomercial.

ITching to leave again. No coffee this time,and no corn buffalo hash and eggs overeasy. It’ll be a rough day. We may reach southern Minnesota,which may as well be a repeat of Wisconsin – too familiar terrain,slow speeds,highway patrol count increases exponentially. Two days left. No real terrain. Just cold hard drive; stare down the Interstate,aim and accelerate. The dull setting in…

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8:37pm,CSD,Sunday,July 3,2005
Albert Lea,MN

Breakfast in Pierre,SD: No tourists. Not many people travel up 83 from the East/West artery of Interstate 90 for 30 minutes unless they’re there for a reason. As we were: crisis,shelter,sleep. The local gas station diner was filled with real aged cowboy types,not so interested in style as much as just what’s expected. Cowboy hats,jeans,and big belt buckles. Big families,from young to elderly at one table. These are the people who don’t deal with problems outside of the farm. Negros,gays,hawaiian shirts – these things just aren’t done and don’t exist in Pierre. They have Values there,and they’re decent,friendly simple folk. I can actually taste that organic flavor of farm in the hashbrowns; the iron from the well in the water – rather than lemons. A round young waitress waits on us – slight buckteeth and a general sense of shallow bubbliness for no reason at all. The hostess is an older lady,happy and smiling,hunchbacked,and wearing an American flag scarf around her fragile neck… Sensing the subsided under-breath abating of a long-instilled fear of anything that’s not Pierre. We parked in an adjacent lot,avoid suspicion. Indy is on TV,Budweiser on the wall. Faux wood paneling and faded,worn dull blue accents that everyone finds "nice".

This is the land of Big Americans. Those who aren’t Texas-style farmers are Large Politicians working for the working man; the khaki pants and straight button-down tough fabric shirts,and the look of a Straight Shooter. Slick,tips well,well-liked. Their kids are rambunctious and dirty – dirt on their out-of-style shorts and plain tees. There’s a few misplaced: the suburban small family that comes in en route to Sioux Falls or Rapid City for shopping: cheap khaki and tennis shoes,tacky tees and/or shirts,wide-eyed and unsteady. Their kid or 2 kids are dressed well and clean. They don’t know anyone here,they simply eat quietly and move on.

An older cowboy,large white 10-gallon hat and bluejeans,walks in from the other room. He’s carrying his grandchild in his arms who’s quietly asleep and peaceful. He’s gently rocking the child back and forth,acquiring empathy and comments from his well-known community. These are the good people,the decent people,who’ve never been exposed to… well,anything? These people treat us well,smile,and talk. Could they extend the same courtesy to an Arab? Would they be welcome in Pierre,SD? They eat their pancakes,work the fields,go to church,deal with Arayans all day without thinking about it. Perhaps it is an undercurrent of fear just below the conscious mind of these people – a deep rooted fear of things they dont’ deal with. The television shows them the real diversity,but … well,television is a thing for Entertainment. The 2D images leap forth and engage,but the figures are characters and special effects; not real. They’re outside their sphere of what they consider other humans. Like the blacks arabs jews etc,they exist,sure,but not HERE,and if you never interact with a type of person… well,it’s hard to believe they’re REAL.

Patrick Leahy,Democrat,nominee for replacing O’Conner. "Unite the country". Reagan nominated O’conner. "Someone for the whole country not just partisan".

Southern Minnesota is the same soft rolling cornfields as Wisconsin – these next miles will be tedious and dry repetition of the landscapes I’m already familiar with,like those people in Pierre. I’ve spent the last week running through hostile land; now that we’re on the safe home stretch things are quite lackluster. The oxygen and atmosphere is thick here,and surprisingly humid even for the Midwest. Difficult to breathe down here. It’s difficult not to turn the car around and head back for the high ground. Purchase some fine high explosives for cheap on the way. Gasoline,too.

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10:07pm,CST Sunday June 3rd,2005
Albert Lea,MN

holy Shit,Karl Rove is under microscope for revealing the name for the times article. Could he go down?! Who would he take with him? What would Bush do?! He was in communique with the author of the article by email a couple times prior to the publication. Rove’s laywer is speaking for him. Omninous vibrations. I wonder where he’s hiding out currently,and if Bush can even get ahold of him. Where’s Cheney? Did you check under teh desk? Out in the West lawn naked and screaming up at The Office? "Run! Flee! To the mountains of Colorado George! They’re on to us,and we’ve got to regroup!"

Perhaps just excitement and agitation,but I require something to keep me going. One last burn left. One shot,5h 35m from Albert Lea MN to MKE. Then,home. I have a mix of relief due mostly to the mindless terrain,and depression knowing that yesterday mornign I was still up in the Rockies. Also a bit of regret that I hadn’t taken photos documenting the things I’ve been writing about. But,this was an experiment anyways. Next time.

Ugh,News Entertainment. Shitting down the Throats of Respectability. Good night.

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10:30am,CST,Monday,June 4th,2005
Albert Lea,MN

Only DeCaf in the room. Dont’ waver in yoru support. "Always held firm. Certain truths. Freedom is meant for all men and women and all times." Applause. "The proper response is not retreat." Heat pouring on the nation for the fourth,god’s vengeance? state tax,vanity tax,bo-tax har har – NJ 6% tax on appearance modifications (outside of sales?). Article on Aruba says exactly what every person in the age ranges between 35 and 16 have known for years – the spring break crowds in places like Aruba or Cancun are mass alcohol/drug orgies. The parents are simply too scared or too ignorant to accept what goes on in those places,or possibly envious. Dredger on the loose,had to be sunk,wouldnt’ give up,in muddy waters. Slow news day. Scotland is up in arms in Edinbourgh for G8 coming in tomorrow. Clowns with military uniforms,drums,circus – deranged behaviour by youth. Virgin Atlantic representatives,rip off your ties from your thousand dollar suits in faux revolt of Big Goverment that’s given you so much. Secret backroom handshakes and deals – more Rove Operatives.

Waiting to leave now. Anxious,ready. Caffiene sinking in slowly,steadily. The only trick will be avoiding the Highway Patrol that seemst o ahve increased exponentially now that we’ve entered left/dem territories of MN/wI. Keep the travellers safe by slowing them down,pulling them off,weeding out the Bad Drivers from the Safe and the Slow. And today on this holiest of holy days,we’ll want to support our troops by driving slow or paying A Tax for Speed. At least here the limit is 70,down from 75 "suggestion" out in the cowboy lands. WI will surely bring back the 65 crawling pace once we get into 94. Shatner on the classic episode of Twighlight Zone. We musten’t frighten the passengers… Of course! of course… youv’e seen him too? You can stop now. You can stop now. I won’t say another word. I’ll let us crash first! Seeing is Believing,Mr. Shatner. Stay the course. Take the pill,drink it down now. The drug acts quickly. We need speed. Ah! he spots the Gun.

Back to the mountains,bring the firearms and the whisky! Auxiliary Exit – Hurry!

Sigh. But no,we’ll head East. Quietly and softly,but with speed. Storms will evacuate MKE by the time we arrive. no matter. The streets will be packed with thousands of Incoming for the fireworks. No place to park downtown. But I’ll need time to adjust to the lack of speed and distance. America is born. We’ll arrive. Fear and Loathing will set in. Tomorrow will bring back in the afterbirth of this nation,and we’ll be mired in it once again. At this point,I can’t focus long enough with enough mental energy to make sense of where I’ve been for the last 10 days. The mind is preoccupied with the word "home",which still evokes a sense of depression and fear more than relief and comfort. I know somewhere bcak in the brainmeat that I have work to do when I reach that endpoint – it’s hazy at best,but it’s "work" that must be done which will keep me pointed East.

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6:02pm CST Monday,July 4th,2005
Milwaukee,WI

Wind blown left arm,face and scalp – worn down and numb. Vibrating mirror images blur.

Decompression. Tired. Sleep. Deep stops at regular intervals in heavy oxygen atmosphere of WI. Turn on the TV,too tired for food,or for deep thought or writing. At some point this evening I’ll be let out of the chamber… Until then.

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Conclusions,Wednesday,July 6th,2005 and after.

None,as of Yet. I can’t make sense of this terrible trip,and am currently looking for serious chemicals to aid in the process. Until then,I must continue to meditate and revive memory…

These are not good times and numbers for McCain.,Re: These are not good times and numbers for McCain.

Every number that I see right now seems like an outlier: double-digit leads in PA by 5 polls,7 and 9 point leads in OH,12 in NV,7 and 9 in CO,5 in FL. Statistically speaking,these all can’t be outliers… Realistically speaking,this just says McCain hasn’t closed anything and has lost ground in more battleground states,leaving Obama fairly comfortable for yet another day. The idea of buying 30 minutes on 7 national TV stations seems a bit much to me,but I’d rather have a candidate talking about normal campaign arguments than an hour long Swift Boat lie-epic brought to you buy Fox News,for Fair and Balanced hypocritical bullshit.

I was skeptical about 300+EVs for Obama until this morning; now it looks like a safe bet.

McCain’s staff is talking about this race being "functionally tied",but if it contained any plausibility,no one would be prefixing the psuedo-scientific term "functional" to a tied race.

McCain’s attacks against Obama have been tried and true base Republican arguments of taxation,government spending,and big business. The fundamental problem is that the tried and true Republican is blamed for our current economic problems,not to mention Bush’s bottomed-out approval rating. Anything that smacks of traditional Republican is suffering hard now. McCain hasn’t campaigned hard enough as a maverick to be immune from an unpopular government. It almost seems he’s been on the attack more than he’s been on message. This is Wrong. Obama struck a nerve with the early excitement,built his ground game,and stayed on-target this entire campaign. It is showing in the turnout numbers,where new voters are supporting Obama more than 2:1 over McCain.

Oh,Jen asked me what to tell someone who asks why Obama didn’t take public funding,and I didn’t have an answer at the moment. The answer is 527’s. McCain wasn’t quite willing to denounce 527s in the general election,so Obama decided to keep his piles of money to counter any Swift Boat shit that might come up outside of the McCain campaign. I do remember Obama saying he did not want any 527’s putting up ads; though I don’t recall whether moveon.org was one of them (I want to say they released an ad early on and Obama wasn’t pleased…)

Frankly,giving up those piles of money would have put his judgment – and sanity – in question.

There’s not much McCain can complain about. Obama had to fight Clinton for the entire primary season while McCain had the nomination locked up early on. Where was his fundraising at the time? Obama had to pay for a long primary season. While this probably kept his fundraising operation out in front of his supporters,McCain certainly had enough time to realize what this would mean once September rolled around. Foolish and Doomed he remained. His party is disheartened,conflicted,and stagnant,and his campaign is stuck in the mud because of it.

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