31 August 2006


Boston, MA
1:05 PM
(Eating an overpriced salad and stealing wi-fi from somewhere.)

I awoke at five am this morning to begin the fourth stage of this season's travels. Morocco in June, Spain in July, US Cross Country in August, and now Maine in September. I am keeping quite a pace, but it feels right.

This afternoon I catch a train to Portland, Maine, where I'll meet up with my boss and head up into the woods. I will be working for the next month at West Branch Pond Camps, something of a rustic bed and breakfast outside of rural Greenville, Maine. (see the website at www.westbranchpondcamps.com)

My duties are as yet somewhat vague, but will basically include cleaning, washing, waiting tables...Pretty much everything that needs to get done. But it should be nice, getting away to the woods for a month, hiking atop hillocks to make phone calls, reading and writing as time allows, and engaging in simple and mindless labor.

Stay tuned for updates, which I will post as often as possible.

I hope that all are well.

30 August 2006

Home for Real

We have finally arrived home, after 950 miles (16 hrs) of driving. There are still some tales to tell, some photographs to post. The blog has, however, reverted to the original name of "Peripatekitos" and will now generally feature details of Chris Bond's travels (as compared to the last month' adventures of Jason Weinstein and Chris Bond).

Please visit often, and stay tuned for more photos and details of the final week of the Cross-Country trip.

29 August 2006


Unfortunately, there is no more time (for the moment) for any games of catchup. The trip is nearly over.

After somewhere near 7, 600 miles, we find ourselves in St. Louis, Missouri, around 950 miles from New Jersey. We plan to be there this evening, which promises to be an impressive driving feat.

Yesterday we drove from Denver to here, stopping as little as possible, drinking a great deal of coffee and carbonated lime green beverages. The trip was 850 miles, and we made great time, thanks to the insanely flat, straight, and fast Kansas roads that took up the bulk of our trip.

We spent the night here with Jason's college friends Will and Kaitlin, who are here studying for a Law degree and an MBA, respectively. We ate some delicious Lebanese food down the street from their house, in the Washington University section of the town, and then we headed home.

Over dinner, one topic of discussion had been genealogical research, something that Jason has recently wished to begin in regard to his own family. Chris has been doing such research for a while now, and we had the exciting experience the other day of visiting Las Vegas, New Mexico, which is a town that figures rather prominently in his family history. More on that another day soon.

There is little time now. We are charging up IPods and taking showers, drinking coffee and rubbing eyeballs. The drive awaits and the day begins, here at 6:30 am in St. Louis, Missouri.

27 August 2006

On The Road

6,127 Miles
17 States
11 Nights Camping
6 National Parks
4 Bags of David's seeds (2 jalepeno, 2 BBQ)
4 Car repair visits
2 Books on tape finished
1 Visit to Taco Bell
1 Overheating incident
Many bottles of mountain dew

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Just a quick note to let all know that we are alive, well, and in Santa Fe. Finding internet has been spotty and expensive, and so the blog has suffered recently.

Our apologies.

We hope to post an update later today or tonight about our recent activities, including San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, The Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, and whatever exciting events occur today.

We hope that all are well.

21 August 2006


Northern California is sort of a weird place, man.

We have driven through a number of towns just today that seem to be completely populated by weirdo hippies, strange hippie-type shops, and little else. The employment opportunities and draw of these towns are not immediately obvious. The towns, at least at first sight, have little "draw" to them--no University, no major industry--nothing but a couple of shops and cafes.

The only answer we can come up with is that these towns have developed around the local Humboldt County "produce" that brings people to such places.

We have spent the last few days, last night not included, in relatively civilized conditions. A few nights ago we stayed in Seattle with our friends Alex, Matias, and Robin. The drive across Eastern Washington was fascinating, rolling out before us after crossing the Idaho border. Our first introduction was a drive-through espresso stand in Spokane, followed by the ubiquitious free coffee at Washington rest areas. Sleep the first night in Seattle was wired and fitful for some of us.

We walked around Seattle the afternoon of our arrival, checking out the strange depths of Underground Seattle (one can take a tour through the old, now underground portions of Seattle). In the evening we enjoyed some dinner, drinks and dancing around town at an interesting place filled with ridiculously dense clouds of fake-smoke. The Seattle bar scene we saw, mostly in the area called Capital Hill was interesting. It seemed less consciously hipster and slightly more daring than a Brooklyn style, but we've been told that it is equally conscious, just better disguised.

More than three weeks of traveling was supposed to allow for in-depth probing of places in this land when we felt appropriate. We would explore weird places, immerse ourselves in local culture. But there are just too many things to see, too many places to go. Instead, the trip has become a "tasting menu." We have interacted mostly with service people and fellow tourists, occasionally speaking with locals at our frequent haunts - gas stations and campgrounds. We have adopted Hemingway's writing mantra of always leaving a bit in the ink-well, so there would be something to come back to. We have left much ink in the well. This "tasting menu" of America does not allow for probing if we wish to reach even a small number of the flavors available. This is not to say that merely being in these places, experiencing these lands is not teaching us much about this country, but there is so much more.

We woke in the morning after our night of '80s dancing to begin what would become a two-day, apparently Pacific Northwest, Road Trip Tradition. Alex brought us to a delicious breakfast place, where he ordered a portion of "biscuits and gravy" for the table. However, a short while later the waitress brought out a small platter of oatmeal. Some discussion and probing ensued and it was revealed to us that the oatmeal was in fact a concoction of butter, cream, corn starch, copious amounts of sausage and lord knows what else and was curiously dubbed "gravy." Needless to say, such a potent combination was enjoyable, but heavy on the stomach. Somewhere within the oatmeal, biscuits existed, but their taste remains a mystery to even the most sensitive of pallets among us.

We left rather late and headed toward Portland to meet up with our friend Adam, who has been living in this beautiful Oregon town since the early part of the summer. The weather was hot but welcoming when we arrived, and we enjoyed a bit of hard core porch "settin" before heading off to play some bocce ball. For dinner we finally enjoyed a big-old buffalo burger, which while delicious, sort of tasted just like a normal beef burger.

In the morning we got into Adam's van and drove downtown to the weekly farmer's market. An entire section of the municipal park, a thin swath of land that runs the length of the city, was packed with stalls serving a variety of organic and local foods. Beautiful vegetables, brilliant flowers and local cheeses delighted in their scents and sights. After taking a loop of the stands, we made a beeline to the most important stand of the morning--the biscuit and gravy stand.

The Biscuit Stand (known as Pine State Biscuits) is owned by a couple of Adam's friends. This, unfortunately, seems to mean nothing, as the biscuits and gravy were just as pricey as always (five bucks for a moderately-sized plate, seven if you add a fried egg). They were pretty good though, the biscuits this time stood proudly and prominently and were scrumptious, but our now professional tastes suggest the gravy could have used less onions and more sausage, though a bit of paprika added some new excitement.

Portland is a charming town that seems to offer a healthy and balanced life. The rent is cheap, the people seem relaxed, and the whole town is surrounded by brilliant spots for hiking, climbing, and swimming. It was tough to leave, but the tasting menu is relentless and allows for little leeway. We spent a while cleaning out our car, reorganizing (twenty four hours later it is once again a total mess) and vacuuming in preparation for Yellowstone, where the bears are said to actually rip the doors off of cars that smell of food.

Our plan for last night seemed simple when we left. We thought that we would drive down Route 5 and head straight for Redwoods National Park. The drive was meant to take about four hours, which would have put us in the park around 8 pm. A few silly decisions, however, put us onto Route 101 (the coastal road), following our motivating desire to finally dip our toes into the Pacific Ocean. This turned out to be a beautiful but shocking cold experience. As night fell, we realized the coast on a Saturday night was no different here than in Seaside Heights, NJ, and our motel choices were close to nil. And so, we drove over nine hours, late into the night, searching frantically and futilely for a place to stay. We grew bitter as we read one sign after another turning us away from a place to rest our weary bones.

"No Vacancy" seemed the most normal of the signs, but some said "Sorry", which just seemed a bit weird, and to our bitter minds, somewhat sarcastic. And "No" struck us as just plain rude. After hours passing these signs, we finally found a campsite and settled in to sleep. As we had arrived in the evening, we had little chance to see the place.

We awoke in the morning to a mysterious, foggy air. The ground was drenched with the moisture of the temperate Redwood forest. Peeking out, and finally stepping out, we were greeted by a hearty call of "Howdy! You drink coffee?" Shaking cobwebs from our heads, we responded in the affirmative and went over to join our rather odd neighbor for a cup of "cowboy coffee" ("some might call it mountain man coffee," he told us).

The man, to describe him gently, was a freaking slob. His campsite was graced with two tents, both opened, one spewing forth a strange collection of clothing and garbage. His picnic table was strewn with open boxes and cans, books and papers, all sopping with water. Even his fire was a smoky, disorganized mess. Oddly, outside his tent sat a gleaming, brand-new mountain bike with front and rear suspension (as he would later proudly tell us). The man himself was dirty and hairy, in his early 30's. He was dressed in sweatpants and wore a pair of bent, wire-framed sunglasses.

He talked constantly, and about the strangest of topics. letting us know immediately that if we needed anything in town, he would be happy to help us out.

"Just pick your poison," he told us. "I personally am a pothead. But you let me know what you need and I can get it for you. Give me one day, and I can even get you an ounce of Columbia Gold." He looked at us over the rim of his battered sunglasses, eyeing us up to see if we understood the depths of his abilities as a procurer of illegal drugs.

"Really?" we politely responded.

"Yeah. Oh yeah."

Over the course of the next hour, we sipped coffee with the strange man, hearing of the time he had supposedly spent living around the country, of his time as a champion bull-rider (recording on the way) , of his girlfriend, his suggestions regarding the finest of California's wines, and of his record-breaking eight hour drive from San Diego to the Oregon border. After about an hour, we quickly and politely took our leave from this strange, generous, and apparently lonely man, leaving him with his sodden, messy campsite and a gift of a bag of rolling tobacco.

And today, a whole lot of driving, broken up by an overheating engine (now rectified), a Salmon Festival on an Indian Reservation, and numerous coffee breaks in strange hippie towns. All just snippets of so much more underneath the surface, but they will have to suffice for now.

(Note: This was written yesterday and published today--We are now in San Francisco--more to come soon)

17 August 2006


We have made it to Seattle. It only took us 3800 miles in Malibu Stacy to make it across a country that is supposedly only 3000 miles wide.


We spent last night in a hotel--our first time back in "civilization" in a week or so. It was nice to take a shower, and I am sure that all of our friends on the coast appreciate it as much as we do.

We left Yellowstone a few days ago and headed north, as we wished to check out Glacier National Park, in Northern Montana. Planning our usual long drive, we assumed the legendary Montana roads would carry us on a chariot of speed to the northernmost reaches of our country. Not so much. Our timing was also hindered by a blown tire, grocery shopping, and a purchase of a new digital camera, all in the same Montana drive.

Annoying road construction, steep highway passes, and, yes, even slow Montana drivers kept us from reaching our planned campground in Glacier National. Instead, we followed a random sign to a state park in the middle of nowhere. Fearing we might be leading ourselves right into the hands of a Montana axe murderer who preys on late-comers to empty state parks, we instead found the last tent available tent site, which happened to be right on the shores of a beautiful mountain lake. The night was spent eating and drinking on its shores and the morning found us taking a refreshing swim.

Taking said morning swim was not an easy decision, as we feared the frigidity of the alpine waters. With a bit of prodding from Jason, however, Chris was convinced to take the plunge. Once in the (beautifully temperate) water, we discussed the importance of enjoying such events, and Jason reminded Chris that, "whenever in doubt as to whether or not to do something, think of our dear blog readers. We must do it for them."

We left the lake, refreshed, clean, and ready for the drive to Glacier. We entered the Park and followed Going-to-the-sun road through the park toward our chosen campground. The drive was exhilirating and frightening, pure mountain pass and switchback, hairpin turns and dizzying drops into deep canyons. The road was tight and small--so much so in fact, that a couple we met had knocked off their side view mirror against the rock face.

We spent the whole of the drive peering up at the peaks of the tall mountains, straining our necks and eyes trying to find a glacier that would fit into our mental framework of a "glacierness".

We found nothing.

The glaciers are small and mostly unimpressive. Sadly, it has not always been this way. The glaciers are quickly melting--another victim of global warming--and it is said that by 2030, the main glaciers will be completely gone.

Nonetheless, the Park is truly beautiful, and the mountains are grand and inspiring. The whole of the land is criss-crossed with hiking trails and peppered with strange Swiss-style chalets, a result of early Park planning for "civilized hikers."

After spending the entire day driving through the park, we finally settled down in our campsite. The sky was ominously dark and rain seemed sure to come. Using our combined skills learned in sailing, Boy Scouts, and the MacGyver television series, we rigged a tent fly, creating a large covered under which we could sit, protected from the storm.

A few drops fells and then the sky cleared. Eating our delicious dinner and cooking up smores on the campfire, we half-lamented the lack of rain, sad that our careful preparation had been completely useless.

And then, in the early morning, we woke to the sounds of a hellacious rainstorms. Fat drops fell onto our tent, and a river formed in the middle of our site. Sitting beneath our carefully constructed rain-free area, we dryly considered our options. Suddenly our protection had become a mammoth pain-in-the-ass. Biting the bullet, we left our dry oasis and spent a very wet twenty minutes dismantling our entire construction.

We left the area, driving as far from the scene as quickly as possible. After changing outside a gas station, we got back in the car and headed off, back on the road west.

And here we are. Pictures to come soon.

14 August 2006



Smell the pine, breathe deep (but not too deep) of the sulfur, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Walk through the forests and along the alpine lakes, stroll amongst the herds of occasionally hostile buffalo. Gaze upon the geothermal wonders, taking care to avoid the "thin crust" that lurks in innocent looking meadows, barely covering scalding, poisonous waters. Cook your meals on open fires, smelling the fresh wood smoke. Just take care to clean up immediately, lest grizzlies and black bears pay you a visit.

This place is crazy. Beautiful and wild.

We arrived here yesterday, after having spent the night in Sheridan, Wyoming, home of overpriced motels and little else. We spent twenty five dollars that night to sleep in our tent on a patch of grass next to a dumpster. Luckily, the showers were hot and the wi-fi was fast, providing us with both cleanliness and the chance to provide all of you with a glimpse of our adventures.

The drive from Sheridan to Yellowstone was beautiful. We passed through miles and miles of ranches, watching cattle graze feet from our speeding vehicle as we ascended six thousand feet (up to 9000 feet above sea level) in less than an hour. The air grew thin, and the views beautiful.

At one point in our drive, we came upon a man sitting beside a trailer on the side of the road. A sign beside his trailer offered free samples of buffalo jerky, and as is apparently customary out here, free restrooms. We immediately responded to the challenge. After an earlier jerky incident at a Wyoming gas station where a request for a recommendation elicited - literally - a steely silence and a turned cheek, we slowly approached the man and carefully said hello:

Us: Hello!
Jerky Man: Hello!
Us: We heard you got some free jerky here.
Jerky Man: I sure do! Wait! Check this out! (At this point the man pointed to his pant leg, indicating the bumblebee resting there, clinging to the denim fabric.) He's been sitting here for about ten minutes. I just figured he'd stay until he felt like leaving. (Speaking to the bee) Isn't that right, little buddy?
So, which jerky do you want to try? We've got all these kinds, three different animals--buffalo, elk and beef.
Us: Well, we'll try all of them.
Jerky Man: Well, I would do the same, seems like a good idea.

We tried the varieties of jerky, moving down the row of hanging samples. We reached the end, impressed, but not exactly inspired by this man's jerky. We listened to the man talk some more with his bumblebee friend.

Jerky Man: You're a cute little guy, aren't you? Oh yes you are....
Us: So, uh, how much do these bags of jerky cost?
Jerky Man: Seven, Seven, Eight, Eight, Nine, Ten, Ten, Eleven...

He reached the end of his price list. We were "sticker shocked", to say the least. In our most diplomatic tones, we explained our lack of economic resources, watching his face grow increasingly crest-fallen as we spoke...and then we got the hell out of the place.

We moved on, rising in altitude and then coming back down, curving our way down the mountain. We reached the bottom, still very high in altitude now, and sped along the road toward Yellowstone, making a short stop in the cowboy/backcountry-dude town of Cody, Wyoming (home of Buffalo Bill) for a haircut and a quick search for the butane canisters necessary to continue using our new stove. Failing on the butane front, we left Cody, and by 4 PM had reached Yellowstone.

It is hard to explain the immensity of this park. At 3,472 square miles, Yellowstone is one of the biggest (and is the oldest) National Park in the world. The Park is packed with examples of extreme geothermal activity, and steam rises from the ground in the least expected of places. The sulfurs and steams create colorful abstract expressionist works against the canvas of rock and salt deposits. Interestingly, we learned from a garralous Harley rider at a lookout point and confirmed during yet another educational video, the Park is actually the remnants of a huge active volcano. Granted, the volcano has not erupted in thousands of years, but it theoretically could, and would likely lead to the death of much of the Earth's ecosystem. This possibility has also lead to the creation of at least one terribly cheesy novel being sold at the gift shop.

The numerous bubbling springs and jagged mountains give life to the fact that these hills are younger than their Eastern cousins. The landscape is constantly pockmarked with fire-scorched fields of trees, with new growth coming up beneath them. The earth is literally alive out here as it bubbles, burps, and constantly regenerates.

Of course, we watched the obligatory Old Faithful spouting, which was impressive in the sheer quantity of boiling water and onlookers.

The Park is also home to a ridiculous number of animals, many of which we have seen. Driving down the road, one must be careful not to run into any lumbering bison or elk. And while these animals seem sweet and tame, the signs around the park constantly remind us that these bison can weigh 2000 pounds, run 30 miles per hour, and sometimes get very pissed off.

Most of our time here has been spent driving around the "Grand Loop" (or as the French say, "La Grande Loop") of the Park, stopping at all sorts of bubbling things, seeing nice views and gawking at wildlife with some of the other visitors (approximately 30,000 per day in the summer season). We have camped both nights and cooked some delicious dinners, making sure to change our clothes before sleeping to avoid mauling by bear. The days have been very warm, but the nights have been surprisingly and terribly cold--below freezing in fact.

Today we are leaving the Park, moving North to pass through Livingston, Montana, before heading to Bozeman, and finally up to Glacier National Park, which promises to be absolutely frigid but fantastically beautiful as well. After the cold weather of the last few days, we just hope we won't have to spend the night in the car with the heat on.

More soon.

12 August 2006

Playing Catch-Up

We have compiled a sort of play-by-play of some of the more interesting moments from the last few days, as a means of filling in certain unavoidable gaps. Unfortunately, this puts us slightly out of sequence...but so be it. Please be sure to enjoy the podcast in the post from late yesterday.

P.S. The photo above was taken during one of the strangest storms that we have ever witnessed, let alone driven through. The storm was in Central South Dakota.


First Night of Camping

Our first night of camping (in Minnestoa, just outside of Winona) was hindered a bit by our inability to read AAA directions literally ("Off I-90" apparently means that the campsite is off I-90). We ended up a little short of our intended campground on the banks of the Mississippi, and instead found Beverly, a nice old woman who had plowed under about an acre of her field and put in water spouts, electrical hook-ups, fire rings and picnic tables. As we were the only campers there, we asked Bev if she would turn off the rather large area light shining on the camping area. Giving us a real taste of the Midwest, Bev replied, "Well, sure, I can turn off that light. But I usually try to keep it on, you know, just in case anyone else comes by at night needing a place to camp. Ok, well g'night."

A "no" without ever saying "no." Beautiful.

It's worth noting that Bev's register revealed we were the only people to come through her campground in the last week. Regardless, we cooked a delicious dinner of black beans and turkey kielbasa on our handy $25 Cabella's stove and had a nice fire going before bed.


Super Wal-Mart

Somewhere in South Dakota, we decided it was probably a good idea to get some food for dinner. We decided to give Super Wal-Mart a try, and with more than a little bit of an ironic spring in our step, we entered the cavernous produce and housewares jungle. We now understand why Wal-Mart is the greatest shopping force in all of America and possibly the world. For a mere $7.85 we outfitted ourselves with enough food for two nights of dinner for two people.

Granted, we aren't making duck confit, but we bought a pound of ground turkey for $1.48, and saw beautiful pieces of beef for under three dollars.



The Native American word for Badlands is apparently that rare straight translation. They considered them "bad lands."

Coming up out of the prairies in the middle of nowhere rise these dark mud spires streaked with inexplicable red, gold, and green bands. They end 50 or 60 miles later just as abruptly, and one can't help but get the feeling that if evil spirits are flying around, they may very well sleep in Southwestern South Dakota.

We took a deep breath and slept there too, cooking in a whipping wind and watching the clouds burst with lightning flashes to the East.

11 August 2006

Spamtown, USA

Well, as we mentioned in our earlier post, this day, annoying as it could have been, has turned out to be a Godsend. Running around the country in Malibu Stacy with powerless laptops and no wifi, blogging has been difficult. Our original plans to learn how to create podcasts have been stymied at every turn.

Until now, here in this small town in South Dakota, our car in the shop and time on our hands.

Listen here to the very first Bond and Weinstein Malibu Stacy Audio Production:


We hope that you enjoy and that all are well. More soon.

Some Photos and Update

Down and out in Spearfish, South Dakota, waiting for the guys at Queen's City Tire and Alignment to fix up Malibu Stacy.

It could have been much worse. When the car started acting up, we found ourselves in the midst of 500,000 Harley-Davidsons at the Sturgis, SD Harley Rally. Insanely cool, but not the place to find an open service station. When we stopped at the next available town, we figured it would be similar to the last 500 miles, which have been sparse, to say the least.

The travel gods seem to be smiling on us however, as our current stop seems to be the hippest town we've come across in a while. We have even found a coffee shop cum mountain climbing gear store to charge our laptops and phones. Life is never perfect though, and although wi-fi was promised, posting has been rather difficult.

Please stay tuned for the soon-to-come Podcast and more posts on the last few days.

Below are some photos of the Chicago Beach & Cityscape, as well as us at Cereal City. Enjoy.

08 August 2006

Second City?

*As usual, photos are presenting us with quite the challenge. Stay tuned tomorrow for photos.

One of the tenets of this trip's "planning" has been that a lack of any plan would allow the freedom to explore. Today we made our first real detour into the unknown.

After a quick stop at the Salvation Army for some $2 cutlery and pots, along with some amazingly cheezy cassette tapes for $.79 each, we left Ann Arbor and any previously known roads behind. Passing Battle Creek, Michigan we saw a sign for "Cereal City, USA." Battle Creek, as we were to learn extensively, was the birthplace of the American Cereal. It was a must-see.

Driving down Main Street, Battle Creek we were bombarded by images of Tony the Tiger and foundations bearing the Kellogg name, apparently devoted to the advancement of people of color and/or mental retardation. We eventually came upon the Cereal City, a museum of sorts, dedicated to the history and explication of Kellogg's Cereal. Much to our chagrin, the admission fee was a hearty $8. Not one to be dissuaded, Chris immediately began to sweet-talk the young ticket-seller, asking about "teacher" discounts and producing his Fordham ID. As he spoke, he slowly morphed into a story about how he was doing research on popular culture (not really a lie) and that he might want to bring a group of his young acolytes to this very museum if Kellogg's would merely spring for our admission fee. When Manager Mike came over, he happily obliged at the prospect of a future group fee. Jason stood by respectfully throughout the machinations.

Upon entering, the museum whisked us up a stainless steel escalator to a floor filled with ridiculous oversize cereal boxes and admiring "suckers" alongside us. Taking this all with a healthy dose of irony we were happily amused taking a picture with Toucan Sam and competing (poorly) in a Kellogg's cereal knowledge quiz. Our irony became as stale as corn flakes before the invention of wax paper sealant. We wandered through the history portion of the tour and became fascinated by the fight for cereal supremacy waged on the shores of Battle Creek River (actual name). Edging our way into a tour of a simulated factory, we joined wailing children and their smiley parents, mouths agape as we donned our 1950's soda jerk hats and learned the process of corn flakes production.

Although technically complicated, we were amazed at the relative simplicity of production of this pre-packaged foodstuff. Take some corn kernels, peel the shell (now it's a grit), put on some flavor syrup, cook it, press it between giant rollers, flash toast it (1 min. @ 500 degrees), spray it with vitamins, and seal it in wax paper. Eh, voila, Corn flakes!


From Battle Creek, MI, we forged onward to South Bend, Indiana, home of the famed "Fighting Irish".
We have decided to limit our description of the city to two words:
It blows.


It's the end of the night and we've spent the remainder of the day on our feet as opposed to on our buttocks, so fatigue is setting in. The picture speak quite loudly about Chicago's hipness, but the best thing we can say is that there seems to be an entire city still left to explore. We've already recommended to multiple friends that they move here and questioned our own living environments.

The town has beautiful architecture, great lakeside beaches (replete with bars and volleyball nets), nice restaurants, and streets packed with people. There is something slightly different about this city, something about it that keeps on making us forget that we are still in the United States, leaving us saying things like, "Oh, they have Barneys in Chicago too?"

And the pizza is pretty good.

Good night.

Everything Old is New

Ann Arbor, Michigan

For me, (Jason) driving from New Jersey to Michigan is mostly old ground. We went on the same roads and stopped, surprisingly, at many of the same rest stops. But not being in a hurry, we noticed very different landmarks. At a truck stop in Western Pennsylvania that I'd stopped for gas at at least twice in the past, we enjoyed their self proclaimed "world's worst apple pie," a delicacy I'd never before realized was available. A sign above us proclaimed that "faith is a higher faculty than reason" attributed to the apparently lesser known scholar "Bailey." Although I wanted to begin the journey with a conversation with other patrons about this thought, the trucker next to me eating a giant BLT and mashed potatoes with gravy scared the crap out of me and I kept my mouth shut. My attitude will have to improve in the future in both having a more open mind to different ideas and not being such a wuss.

It is amazing to me (Chris) how much the country can change over a few short miles. By the time we had arrived in Western New Jersey and Eastern PA, people's waist sizes had gotten larger and teeth had become a valuable commodity. On the positive side of things, saluations had become much more effusive and serving sizes had become much larger.

The day was tiring, though we did little besides drive and listen to right wing religious and political commentary on the AM radio. We ate the road like ravenous monsters, passing through Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and finally arriving in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Shortly before arriving at our final destination, we made a quick pilgrimage to Cabela's, which had been sold to me as the "Costco of the Great Outdoors." In truth, the place was a huge monument to American Bigness. Big were the prices, big were the people, and big was the "campiness" of this large camping and hunting store. Animal heads and mountains rose among the camo clothing and gun racks. A shooting gallery manned by a talking deer graced the back wall. The workers all seemed to be ex-marines, and said things like, "Gentlemen, how can I be of service to you?" and "To get to camping, head straight back, bear right at the mountain, and climb them stairs there." The place was, to be sure, a bit of a disappointment, but we did have the chance to take some extremely cheesy "thumbs up" photos.

Luckily, due to the generosity of certain family members and friends, we have tonight bedded down in a fine hotel. The beds are large and comfortable, the WiFi internet is fast and reliable, and the air conditioning is Arctic.

Tomorrow we head for Chicago, Illinois. The path to the West lies wide open before us.

04 August 2006

Back Home

I have made it home. After a long plane ride and a long bus ride and a short car ride, I am back in my parents' place. I am going to rest for a few days, see some friends, and then I am back out in the wilderness.

On Monday morning, I head off into the great unknown with Jason Weinstein. We will be traveling by automobile, and plan to travel from coast to coast (and back again) over the next month.

We hope to be creating a regular podcast from the road, so please stay tuned.

I hope that all are well, and thank you for reading.