The Long Awaited Next Update

So, it was brought to my attention today that I haven’t update this in about a month and a half, and as such I feel I should let you guys know what has been going on…

First of all, everything is going super well out here. Wolfgang and I are working for Verizon, and having a blast with our new jobs. Blue landed her dream job with an AV company, and is over seeing events at several Hotels. Satan has gotten his licensure issue resolve, the required courses completed, and has been painting like crazy. He has even applied for several art shows. And to on top of all that Chami is here now, and has gotten a job at the University of New Mexico.

Now… how about a run down of events for the last month or so…

Wolfgang, Satan, Blue and I attended a Hot Sauce Convention where sampled many extremely spicy but delicious sauces. We bought a ridiculous number of bottles of things, and our pallets have been thanking us.
-The next weekend I flew to Dallas to meet Chami on her road trip out to Albuquerque. We wandered around downtown Dallas,  ate at an awesome little diner and then spent the rest of the time lounging in our hotel room with wine.
– We drove back from Dallas the next day, across central Texas. We stopped in Roanoke, TX for donuts and coffee, then got pulled over a few miles later. Apparently in Texas it is ticketable to drive in the left lane there. The trooper was quite nice, gave us a warning and sent us on our way. We made it to the Sandia Mountains just outside of Albuquerque right at Sunset, and got to see a sky filled with beautiful color.
-Over the next few weeks things were pretty basic, just working and hanging out. We went to eat at several diners, had drinks at bars, and watched a lot of films.
-Meanwhile, Wolfgang and I were making new friends at work. About a week ago, we had a cookout where several of them showed up, we’ve attended movie events with them, Wolfgang’s been going to casinos with this one new friend Nate-the-Great.
-We all went to a coffee & chocolate convention, and we were joined by several work friends. Like the Hot Sauce one, we came home with some amazing eats.
-We have also started out with a young woman named Rose and her boyfriend James. They’re awesome and recently moved here from San Francisco. He is a bassist, and a damn talented one at that. He actually played bass on Tom Waits’ last album. Rose is a hilarious former bartender, filled with amazing stories.
Nate-the-Great has become a regular with us. A video – game and poker fan, who’s favorite musicians are Nine Inch Nails and Alice in Chains. Cool dude.
-We’ve now gone to a few of James’ shows, and holy crap, he is talented
-Outside of that, I have been working with NonEntity and Audecide about various writing projects.
-Let’s see… oh, Chami and I just bought bikes, so’s we can starting biking around the city, in an effort to be more physically active and also more mobile.

That’s really about all that has been going on the last month or so. Nothing too terribly exciting, just life starting to get itself together.

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Forward Momentum

Since the last update on here things have gotten much better, at least from my vantage point, regarding the stress levels. I did in fact get that job I was after, it has now started and is going well. Soon, I will have completely reestablished myself in my new city, and will have done so in 2 months. Wolfgang works with me, and the two of us thanks to the job have been meeting all kinds of new people.

Satan‘s licensing is moving forward, and Blue has heard back from some of her contacts, so hopefully their opportunities will unlock soon. And at this moment we around a few days from Chami starting her trip to Albuquerque, and a little over a week from her actually being here. She’s going to spend a few days in Austin with her sister, and then I shall be flying out to meet her in Dallas, before the long drive across the desert to Albuquerque.

Outside of the job situation, and thanks to Wolfgang purchasing a car, we are getting out and about town a lot more often. We’ve eaten at a few cool spots, local flavors if you will. Had a lunch at the Rt. 66 Diner, and have had dinner at Lindo Mexico. For fast food we’ve experienced more than our fair share of regular fast food eatery’s (Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr–Hardee’s in Virginia–and so many more) as we have been poor. But I will say, I have thoroughly enjoyed Bob’s Burgers, and Blake’s Lottaburger–two New Mexico chains, where all the food is covered in chiles. And then of course, I reintroduced myself to the wonders that are Weinerschnitzel, Del Taco, Filiberto’s, and Whattaburger. I feel like that’s enough about food.

We’ve started finding locations, and things around town that we plan to do as time and money become more under control, but in the meantime we have taken great joy in the Sandia Mountains. A couple weekends ago, Wolfgang and I were driving around, just exploring, and found our way into a neighborhood at the foot of the mountains. The house were huge and gorgeous, amazing architecture that I would love the chance to tour. And then in that area we discovered a hiking trail. The trail went into a canyon, surrounded by enormous foothills. The Sandia foothills are all nearly the size of the mountains back in Virginia. We explored this canyon, it’s trails, and even got to watch an idiot scale the rock wall with no ropes. We helped a lost kid and his dog find his Mother, and watched a large fire to the West near the horizon, as it’s smoke poured into the sky.

Then next weekend we went back to those foothills, this time with Blue and Satan joining us as well. We explored the area further and went deeper into the canyon. Blue found herself a nice area more her style to explore, Wolfgang did his own exploring, and Satan and I scaled a steep mountain side covered in sliding rocks to get to a peak. Wolfgang had started with us, but his shoes were not cut out for the climb. We all made mental notes that next time we should wear better shoes for the climbs. At the top of the peak I was taken back by the breath-taking view before me. It was absolutely beautiful, so much so that there are no words I could say that could do it justice.

So, in the coming weeks there will be more new adventures, and I will try bring you an update about some of our new friends, and maybe work adventures–at least, what I can say about my work adventures. Until then, I hope this holds over as an update.

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That Stuck Kind of Feeling

Alright, so it has been a few weeks now since the last update or post, and I apologize for the delay, but I must be honest and admit there has not been a great deal to write about. The last few weeks have been just one stressful waiting period after another with little change or eventful things to discuss.
I potentially have a job, the offer has been placed, and I am currently waiting for the background check to go through. I say waiting, but it has felt like fighting. I am fighting a “beast” in this labyrinth that has taken the form of a school that has been trying to screw up my life now for almost five years. I just want so desperately for that to be over, and move on, but they continue to cause me problems.
So, as my potential new employer started my background check the school has created a hiccup, and one I am not sure I can convince the employer to get around. This in itself is the root of a “stuck” feeling that has been lingering and building within me for weeks.
Should I somehow convince the employer to ingore this, to hear me out, etc. I shall be set to move forward and continue to improve my life, but until then I am stuck, waiting and hoping. Fingers crossed so tightly that they ache. If it doesn’t come to be, it should prove okay in the end because it just wasn’t to be and I will move on as I always do. It is just that I’d like this period of not knowing, of waiting, of sitting idly by to be over.
In other news Wolfgang has found himself a job at the same employer, after having been through some trying times with his own background check, and somehow convincing them to look passed the issue. Blue has booked a gig loading and unloading a show, which brings her great relief and allows her to meet the neccessary people to hopefully lock in a permanent role in the field in which she is trained. And then Satan, who continues to do the work he did back in VA, he continues to paint, and he has taken some classes that will ensure his certification in the state of New Mexico to practice his massage therapy.
For myself, I have continued to apply to more careers, and have been writing. New ideas have been croping up in my mind with rigorous speed, and I’ve been revisiting a lot of old ideas during this waiting time.
Hopefully, the next time I write a post I’ll have some more good news… but until then just know that beyond the job hunt, life is still wonderful here in my new home, and come the beginning of next month when the love of my life joins us out here, it will become that much better.

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Connections

Considering Albuquerque is a much larger city than my hometown, yet also noticeably smaller than Los Angeles where I went to Film School, I have been blown away by how quickly we have been able to begin building connections, and networking here. It has been almost a week since Wolfgang, Satan, Blue and I arrived at our new home, and we have been blessed to meet, or come into contact with, many wonderful artists.

On Friday this past weekend, we ventured for a walk to find a local tavern. We ventured quite far, nearly 4 miles, on foot before finding a place that caught our attention. That is when we found O’Neil’s Pub on Central Ave. We stopped in for a multitude of reasons. 1) It is a pub, and our regular spot in Roanoke was also a pub. 2) There was a fire-pit outside in the patio area, which allowed us to hangout around a fire. 3) The music was wonderful: Arcade Fire, Black Keys, and more. 4) Decent prices with an excellent selection of drinks. 5) We were all tired of walking at that point.

We sat, enjoyed our drinks and had a conversation with a laid-back bartender named Karl. We then stepped outside to finish our drinks around the fire. As we were talking we were joined by others. They were part of a large group that had been inside. The group, we had noticed, was singing and having a wonderful night together. The two now seated with our group began talking amongst themselves, but we could not help but overhear. Blue and I noticed the use of the phrase, “Tech Week.” A theatre term, and that opened the door. Blue started talking to the woman seated next to her, who turned out to be the stage manager of a theatre production currently underway down the street. They were apparently celebrating their opening night on that particular evening, for the show “Little Shop of Horrors.” The second person, a young man in an interesting jacket, turned out to be a musician working the show, and began to converse with Wolfgang about working in music in the area.

We all walked home from the bar that night feeling satisfied, like the doors of fate had opened in our favor. It was the first of many great things to come.

The next day we decided to attend an event I discovered in the independent paper called, The Alibi. It was an open house for an art studio space, where you could meet the artists and see their work. So we 4 made the trek, this time by car, back to Central Ave. and entered Chroma Studios completely unaware of what was about to happen.

We met the wonderful Paula Manning-Lewis, an Albuquerque based working artist. Her artwork was beautiful, and we ended up striking up a conversation with her. We explained that we are a musician (Wolfgang), theatre tech (Blue), painter (Satan), and filmmaker (me), and that we were new to the area. She immediately took to us, and jumped on board to help us network in our new city. She friended Satan on facebook instantly, complimented one of his art pieces on his page, and then later that night for the rest of us on that particular social media sight. While still there at the open house, Paula introduced us to two more amazing and welcoming artists. Again, we returned home with our spirits raised.

Little happened in the days that followed, as the addition of internet increased the amount of time we each set aside to submit job applications. But then today, Paula took to facebook and presented us with ways to connect with and contact nearly 45 Albuquerque artists in all fields. Presenting us with so many opportunities to find work in our respective fields. It was an unbelievable surprise, and I for one am grateful to have met someone like her, and that she so quickly took to us, and showed faith in us.

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Why Albuquerque?

I have now, along with three friends, relocated to Albuquerque, NM from Roanoke, VA and the biggest question from everyone back East has been, “why Albuquerque?” It proved a difficult question to answer before arriving here. The answer was usually something like, “well, it’s not Roanoke,” or simply “there are opportunities out there.” What kind of opportunities I wasn’t sure, but there had to be more than my hometown had to offer. I had gotten a taste of the South West in college, and missed it greatly, so I made the journey.

Ten minutes after arriving in Albuquerque the answers to the question, “why Albuquerque?” began pouring in. There was no doubt we had made the correct choice. This is a beautiful city filled with beautiful people. I am overwhelmed by this wonderful place, and honestly I have seen little more than the block I live on, a few surrounding stores, a mall, and a street near the college containing lots of bars and homeless people. The only people from Albuquerque I have had the pleasure of more than one conversation with so far are my landlord and his wife, and they were incredibly nice and welcoming.

We have met some of our neighbors, and encountered many people in stores and public areas, and it still stands that everyone is incredibly nice here. Unbelievably nice, in fact. I don’t know how to react to it sometimes. I cannot believe how hospitable and happy everyone is, and I love it. So, why Albuquerque? Because no one here has questioned the move. In fact, they all love that we chose to come here and have offered to help us adjust to our new home.

The four of us have made two major outings into the city so far, and both have been fruitful. The first was a 2 hour walk that we were not expecting, but ended up at an amazing pub. We knew we had found the right bar, by the fire pit they had outside. Inside, we drank and chatted with the incredibly informative bartender. Only to outside, find ourselves talking with and networking with members of a theatre’s tech crew, and orchestra. Their theatre is currently putting on a performance of Little Shop of Horrors which we will be checking out soon. The people we met that night solidified to us that we were moving in the right direction.

The next day we decided to hit up an event I had seen in a local paper. It was an opportunity to meet some local paints/visual artists, see their studios and work, and ask them questions. I almost insisted that we go, and so we did. We get there, and meet three wonderful women, who were extremely talented. They were also, as most in Albuquerque so far have been, excited that we had moved here, intrigued by the fedoras we were wearing and offered to help. One of them found us on facebook that night, and wants to get the networking ball rolling for us. She’s a painter, her husband is a musician, and her kids are involved in film. Perfect for us.

So, why Albuquerque? Because we have been here 4 days, and we have already made contacts in the art community. We have already seen opportunities present themselves. We have a chance to not work in retail pay-check-to-pay-check forever.

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The Third Leg: Elk City to Albquerque

The third day of travel began a little after 10AM central time, after a free breakfast at a sort of Denny’s knock-off. Satan and Blue climbed into the car, and like much of the day before Wolfgang and I were in the truck.

The first album for the day was selected, The Doors’ first album, and we set off on our journey to the end of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma in daylight is a wholly different beast than Oklahoma by moonlight. It was unbelievably beautiful. The browns and yellows streching miles into the distance across the Earth in all directions, and meeting at the horizon the boldness of blue skies. I don’t know to acurately explain that the sky is bigger out West, but it is true.

We passed a home where the yard was filled of port-o-potties, and then another home where they kept horses dressed as superheroes. The people were starting to become ever more eccentric as we moved further and further West.

Somewhere around Erick, OK I received a text message from Satan informing me that the first tumbleweed of the trip had been spotted.

Just before the Texas state line–and I mean, just before, there’s an exit about 20 feet from the border crossing–Satan called again. He informed me that the brake lights on his SUV were on. His SUV was on a hitch being towed by the moving truck. So, Wolfgang pulled the truck over at that last exit of Oklahoma, and we four stopped for a moment to figure out the brake light mystery. Turns out a CD case had shuffled during driving, and was now resting on the brake pedal. Crisis corrected we moved on. Needless to say, but said regardless, we crossed into Texas.

I made the second music selection of the day; choosing Dredg’s Catch Without Arms.

Driving through Texas, I found the ride most enjoyable, despite my general “eh” feelings about the state. Honestly, noting was going to bring me down from my high that day. We would be in Albuquerque by early evening, and that excitement was building up in each one of us. That, and, Texas was having a spectacularly beautiful January day just like Oklahoma. I took a ridiculous number of pictures.

We entered Gray County, then a different county (started with a “D” by I didn’t bother to write it down), then we reentered Gray, then again the D one, the yet again Gray, and then once more the D one. It went on that way for a while, not sure how their county lines are drawn, but from the 40 it appears odd.

Saw two giant rest stops outside McLean, TX that support the theory that things are bigger in Texas. Shortly after we saw a giant cross, which was across the highway from a water tower that had apparently been drinking spirits all day.

Satan and Blue spent most of this portion of the trip discussing how in the event that the world comes to an end the people here would never know.

Next, for the music, I played the song “Jesus Built My Hotrod” by Ministry, featuring the lead singer from Butthole Surfers. I followed that with the song “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers.

We drove by a building that looked alarmingly similar to the place in The Cell where the serial took the women to bleach them.

We stopped for gas, and there was a sign saying Albuquerque was 310 miles away. We all exuded joy.

Back on the road I played the album Rubberneck by the Toadies.

Amarillo, TX was much larger than I remembered it being from my last two cross-country drives. I spent of good deal of time there laughing at the Polish Restaurant, well what was once a polish restaurant anyway. The sign was still there, but the building looked like it had been destroyed in a war. I remarked that the Germans must have visited. Nazi humor, with the Jewish born Wolfgang next to me.

Between Amarillo and the state line we saw endless Windmill famrs. Initially they reminded me of the film Seven sparking Wolfgang and I to recite the “What’s in the box” dialouge. But honestly, as they continued for some 45 miles, spread sparsely across the many fields, they appeared like some giant had walked by strewing Windmill seeds.

The next album we put on was Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon.

I started to faintly smell, and excuse me being frank here, cow-shit. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, as I did not see any cows. Ten minutes, and still smelling it, later we spotted the cows. Thousands of cows. So many cows. Crammed into the little pens. It wasn’t a pleasant sight or smell. This was one of those places you see pictures of in PETA pamphlets. Still, though, I wanted a burger or roast beef sandwich. I was getting hungry.

It became evident that we were getting closer to New Mexico, as we began to see bautiful mesas all around us.

We arrive in New Mexico, and I was so excited I found I suddenly had to pee. So we stopped at the state welcome center, where I rushed to the men’s room. After my little bit of relief, we all hugged and danced with joy in the parking lot. We had made it! And now we’re in Mountain Time, two hours behind our old home, whilst simultaneously three driving hours away from our new home.

Back in the car, the next album played was Dave Matthews’ solo album Some Devil.

Driving through New Mexico for the most part was visually uneventful as far as storytelling goes. Beautiful mesas and valleys between them. Driving up and down the plateaus and mesas. Crests, peaks, valleys. One after the other.

We played the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and then the song “Zero” by the Smashing Pumpkins.

We stopped in Tucumcari for Arby’s (got my roast beef!) And gas, per the recommendation of our friend Griffin. There were hitchhikers and vagabonds everywhere. Some were walking through the drive-thru. What a wild little city. There was one, we’ll call him the Harbinger who called out Wolfgang on being from the Floyd area of VA. The Harbinger then told us we’d all die in Albquerque, and finally called out Wolfgang for having his zipper open. Leave left right after that.

Back in the truck, I played the song “Joker and the Thief” by Wolfmother while I selected the next album. The album turned out to be Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppellin. After that came Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf.

We made an emergency gas stop, as the Mesa climbing killed the truck’s gas mileage, at an expensive little tourist trap store that was essentially a Native American pawn stars place. My first thought walking in was that I strongly wanted to destroy everything in it with a bat like in the film Zombieland. I did not follow through on that, but come the zombie apocalypse I now know where to go.

The rolling hills continued and continued. However, we started to notice more and more buildings, homes, trailers, and stores among them. We were nearing Albuquerque. Queen’s Greatest Hits I was selected, as were unbelievably pumped up. Songs like “Don’t Stop Me Now” fit perfectly in their moments. We made the twists and turns on the highway around the snow-capped Sanida mountains in the setting sun. It was beautiful, and then we came through the mountains and entered the city of Albuquerque. We had arrived. Wolfgang‘s face looked like that of a little kid on Christmas morning as he drove us into the city that we would now call home. We got off at our exit, drove a few more blocks and reached our home. It was 5:30 PM Mountain Time.

We get inside the house, meet our awesome landlord and his wife, see the place for the first time, and hug a lot. The pictures on Craigslist did not do the place justice. We unpacked Blue‘s car, and enough of Satan‘s SUV to make room for it to be driven. The SUV was taken off the hitch, and we all went for dinner at Filiberto’s. Twas great. We got back home, celebrated with a shot of Whiskey each, and then unpacked enough of the truck to get everyone’s beds out. Turned out to be most of the truck.

And we then, for the first of many nights to come, fell asleep in our new home, in a new city, under a different sky. New stars, old stars in all new places, more color, and more life. Just like each one of us.

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The Second Leg: Nashville to Elk City

I woke up at 7:30 AM Central Time next to a grand piano. I was on the floor of a room in Satan’s parent’s home in Nashville, TN. I immediately rolled out of bed, carefully trying not to wake up Wolfgang, but he woke nonetheless. I hopped into the shower, and got to enjoy some awesome peppermint scented soap.

After the shower, I joined everyone in the kitchen for an incredible breakfast. Chocolate Milk, English Breakfast tea, an egg casserole, toast with apple butter, fruit salad, and orange juice. They were so incredibly hospitable to us.

We step out of the house and into the 7 degree weather, and luckily find the storm that was supposed to hit overnight turned out to be a simple dusting. We get to the truck, and after having to nearly break-in due to the lock being frozen, climb inside. Satan and I secure ourselves into the truck’s cab, whilst Blue and Wolfgang take to her car. Given the cold weather, I selected Baroness’ Blue Album.

We navigated our way out of Nashville, and found the 40 again. It was 10:30 AM.

As we ventured down the highway through Western Tennessee, I chose the greatest hits album, The Legend of Johnny Cash, as we would be passing through Jackson, and several other places mentioned in his wonderful music.

We stopped briefly for coffee and gas at Dixon, again using the affectionate truck stop. We got back on the road, and the song “Man in Black” came on, just in time for us the pass a lonely black billboard. Satan and I were greatly amused by this.

We had a long conversation about how places got their names, after having passed a town called Bucksnort. “Before the highway you could hear them bucks snorting from miles around!” exclaimed Satan.

After passing another eye-catching town name we also remarked about how we’ve been road tripping around the world in a way. So far we’ve been through Dublin, Memphis, Sparta, Damascus, Milan, Canada (twice now), Palestine, Stuttgart, and London. Again, great quote from Satan: “Jules Vern would be jealous… We made a spiral over 7 continents in 2 days.”

Another CD change was in order, this time I opted for Monster Magnet’s Power Trip.

Shortly after that, I realized that the milk, plus alternating between extreme cold and extreme heat equaled an unhappy stomach. Needless to say, we made a brief stop at a rest area.

At 1:00 PM we reached Jackson, TN.

The next CD change came up, and the selection this time was King Crimson’s Three of a Perfect Pair.

I noticed a great deal of frozen swamps, and near frozen lakes throughout the last hour or so of Tennessee.

We pulled off exit 42 for lunch, which turned out to be the worst exit ramp in history, followed by the worst road, and the worst parking lot. We ate some Chester’s Chicken. It was okay, at best.

Henceforth the arrangement would be Wolfgang and I in the truck, and Satan and Blue in her car.

We made our way across the Mississippi River, and surprisingly—or luckily, rather—it was not under construction this time. So, for the first time, out of my three trips across it, I was able to fully enjoy it. And thus we arrived in Arkansas.

Uggh… Arkansas. Although, I can honestly say the bad taste I had for this state was not as strong this time. Maybe it has something to due to a lack of locust hordes this time of the year. Last time I drove across this state, with my old roommate Audecide we were attacked by a swarm. This did not happen again. It was a little more bland then it was last time, though, with the cranberry fields being simply barren plots of land.

To ease the “meh” feeling of Arkansas, we put on the album Babel by Mumford & Sons.

At some point we hit construction, which turned the interstate into 1 lane going either direction, and made it quite the tight fit for the trailer. Especially, in the case of the many bridges we had to cross.

There’s a duality to Arkansas that is discomforting. You can count on, out of every five billboards at least one being for porn, and one being for Jesus. They love porn and Jesus in that part of the country.

The Weiner Mobile passed us.

We stopped to get more gas in the city of Palestine. Wolfgang—who is technically Jewish—said, ”I might not be safe here…” Turns out he was right. An abnormal number of Middle Eastern people were at the Truck Stop there. By abnormal, I mean… we’re in bum-fuck Arkansas, and there were at least 15 to 20. They were not working, as one may stereotypically think. No they were shopping, or driving poor enough that they almost hit our truck with their van, or wandering the place begging for gas money. Seriously, a whole family—Grandmother, 10 year old boy, 7ish year old girl, and an infant approached us, in the 22 degree weather. The same family even asked me for money twice, it took all I had not to ask them if all white people looked the same.

Somewhere after that Wolfgang and I noticed a lot of birds flying in the distance. When we got closer we saw a large field (the size of two football fields) filled with thousands upon thousands of seagulls and crows, just sitting there together. The field was peppered with black and white. It was a bizarre site. Alfred Hitchcock would have felt the hairs on the back of his head raise, had he had any.

We passed Bobby Henry’s Tire Service, which immediately prompted a text to ObiWayne and Dudley because I knew they would get a great laugh.

Album change again, this time I chose The Shins Port of Morrow.

I spotted a somewhat familiar billboard, as it had sort of burned its way into my memory during my trip with Audecide back in 2008. It is a large billboard about Adultery. “Adultery is sin. Jesus is ashamed of you. You should be ashamed of you.” There’s a XXX Super Store about two miles later. Seriously, Arkansas has some issues.

We entered Pulaski County at some point, prompting a “Noooooooooooooo!” from Wolfgang, as that’s the name of the county in Virginia he is moving away from. Apparently all Pulaski are miserable looking places, with lots of meth.

It became time for another CD, and so we put on A Perfect Circle’s Mer de Noms.

We entered Faulkner County, which made me start thinking about some of the people I had worked with at my job just prior to leaving for this trip. There are far too many of you to name here, but I do miss you guys.

Not much happened for a while, and so the inevitable music change time arrived. This time the choice was Black Holes and Revelations by Muse.

We drove by a state park named Toad Suck Park. Welcome to the second installment of “How the Hell do Places Get Their Names!”

We entered Pope County, and started laughing at the name. Only our laughs were interrupted by a passing tow truck. The truck was towing a large wooden crucifix, with a statue of Christ. Satan: “Hey, that’s good someone gave him a lift.” Or Wolfgang: “That’s cheating, Jesus had to walk it!” We all found this image equally disturbing and delightful.

The Mars Volta’s De-Loused in the Comatorium would prove to be the next piece of music selected.

We stopped in Russellville, AR for some cheap gas, as the sun set around us. We hit the road again, only to find ourselves for 5 miles in 1-lane construction mess once more.

It was somewhere around here we saw the crazy billboard that claimed all Democrats were Communists. It even had a picture of the Soviet Sickle.

Around Knoxville (Déjà vu?) Arkansas we started to find some black ice.

Pretty sure we saw the truck from ‘Joy Ride.’ It had obviously gone rouge. A renegade truck, all the company logos and phone numbers had even be spray painted over.

Entered Franklin, County, which looks like the Franklin County in VA if it were flattened.

Satan informed us at the last stop that he and Blue had been jamming to Men at Work. So, Wolfgang and I chose to do the same for our next music selection.

We arrived in Oklahoma, just as the Men at Work songs ended. Kings of Leon’s Come the Night was next for us.

Just outside of Muskogee we changed the music to Black Keys’ Brothers, because the previous stop was playing “Lonely Boy,” which I know is on El Camino and not Brothers, but I felt Brothers would be better at the moment.

Pretty sure Wolfgang and I drove through some sort of strange phenomena. A random extremely bright light flashed across the cab 5 times, and then vanished. We never found its source.

We all laughed about “Lotawatah Lake” for at least a few miles.

The area around Eufawla, AR smells like a campfire.

There really is a buffet place in the world named ‘Chair Crushers.’

Getting tired, so we needed music we knew all the words and everything to, so we could sing loudly as we barreled down the road. The choice was The Beatles’ 1.

The moon looked amazing. A truly beautiful and bold Cheshire Smile, but it was so bold and distinctive against the sky that it honestly looked like I could just reach up and grab it.

There’s a lot of inconveniently placed cell phone dead zones in OK. Most notably they occurred every time I needed to relay information to Satan and Blue.

A large sing in Shawnee told us we were allowed to play with fire.

The next album I chose was Arctic Monkeys AM, which was perfect as we drove through Oklahoma City. I love OKC, it is awesome. And unbelievably beautiful at night, so much color.

Next album: Foo Fighters Wasting Light.

Drove by Roman Nose State Park… 3rd installment of the name game.

There’s a town named Hinton, OK kind of near Red Rock Canyon. Made me think of my family. There is also where I first spotted signs for Historic Route 66.

Realization struck that we drove a little over a third of the country in one day.

The next album: White Stripes – Elephant as we were starting to get delirious and sleepy. Fortunately, just as the album ended we arrived at our hotel in Elk City, OK. We all came into the room, and immediately crashed. Twas a big day.

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