Jake and I leave tomorrow, finally. We’re driving across America, to get Maeve and scoop her up from rehab to take a little vacation. I was running low on funds, but my new roommate generously gave me his half of the rent early, so now I have $300 to spend this week on Spring Break. Super Pumped!
Jake is supposed to pick me up from my parent’s house tomorrow, early afternoon, but first Teddy, Alex and I are going to have one last hurrah here in Charlotte. Then I head out for an epic transcontinental Road Trip…Jack Kerouac, here I come… I think I just heard Teddy and Alex pull-up. Gotta go! Party time!
Whew! The last few days have been a whirlwind! Where to start? Jake and I are in Shreveport, Louisiana now, headed straight down Highway 10 through the heart of America! I can’t believe today marks six months since The Towers fell. You can still feel the raw emotion of the attacks on American soil. The flags are everywhere, and there’s a question in everyone’s’ eyes. What’s gonna happen? Where are we going? No one knows…but Jake and I are headed West!
We left yesterday after Teddy, Alex and I went to a crazy party at Melanie Bryant’s House. Melanie’s the first girl I had sex with in High School, so I was kind of hoping to hook up with her sometime in the night, but what actually happened was even better…because her younger, thicker, hotter friend, Brittany was there, apparently they both wait tables together at Carraba’s…Anyway, Brittany and I hit it off, and after Brittany had a little pow-wow to make sure she wasn’t offending Melanie or breaking “ Girl Code” by going off with me, Brittany and I went and had a tremendous night of wild sex all over someone else’s bedroom in Melanie’s house. I don’t know what happened to Teddy and Alex, the last I saw of them I think Teddy was trying to steal a few beers and maybe some of Melanie’s roommate’s CD’s…typical Teddy…The next day, which was yesterday, which was Sunday, I’m trying to keep my days straight and I plan to use this road trip journal to help with that…The next day, Brittany gave me a ride back to my house, we kissed in the driveway, in the late morning sunshine of Spring, and then as soon as Brittany pulled out, Jake pulled in. Fortunately, I was already packed, so sans shower, still smelling like fresh sex, I grabbed my bag, and jumped into Jake’s 4-Runner and we were off!
Hold On…Jake’s ready to go eat dinner. I think we’re going to this Mexican Restaurant across the parking lot from the hotel, we’ll walk, immersing ourselves in the spirit of the West…I’ll be back… Jake’s getting grumpy, I think he’s hungry and maybe not super-thrilled that I didn’t chip in for the hotel…but hey, he’s the one who wanted to stop, I was down to drive straight through the night…Ok I’ll be back!
Monday 3/11/2002 After Dinner
Oooh dinner was good! That might have been the best Mexican I’ve ever had! Delicious smooth refried beans with the melted cheddar cheese on top, a nice side of mixed dirty rice and then a big old sloppy taco with yummy seasoned ground beef. Ooh I had to make a run to the bathroom before I even finished it, but it was worth it…that’s the best meal of the trip so far…which isn’t saying much because Jake and I have been traveling light and living cheap, on a diet of Red Bulls and Beef Jerky…Jake’s ready for bed so I have to cut out the light. It’s better to keep your road companions happy…I’ll check in tomorrow…We should be in Las Cruces by then. Jake has friends there he met selling books door to door one summer, and I’m excited to see what that part of the country looks like…Louisiana is dirty, real dirty, but tomorrow we’ll be in Texas! Yee-haw!
We’re in Las Cruces!!! Holy Shit, 14 hours in a car is fucking exhausting. Jake and I were ready to kill each other by the time we got to his friend, Tyler’s house. I’m in New Mexico! It feels like a different country here, the desert and the mountains, the muted pastel color palate, the yards don’t even have grass here, they all have sand and this weird red rock, and the mountains in the distance aren’t lush and green like the Appalachian Mountains back in NC. They are taller and more condensed and sharper and all rock. The desert is huge and there’s a white sandy dust on everything and the kids here talk different too They all look white, but they all talk like Mexicans, which is kind of trippy, like when you see a Chinese person with a British accent, there is a cognitive disconnect for real…We just got in and everyone has gone to bed, Tyler made us some fresh tacos and we shared a “box of stones” what they call a case of Keystone Lights. I’m sleeping on the couch in the front room. It feels like a beach house, all the sand, and the open layout, and the floor is all terra-cotta tiles. I can’t wait to see what New Mexico has to offer. We’ll be here for two days and then we head to Arizona to meet up with Maeve…I would love to meet some New Mexican girls in the meantime.
So let’s see, yesterday started with Jake and I getting up a little late. Then we went to the closest gas station and got a few of what’s called “Deer Hunter Breakfast Burritos”, which are deer meat burritos sold at the gas station with delicious seasoned eggs, cheese and these phenomenal New Mexican green peppers…it was awesome and as we were standing out by Jake’s car with our sunglasses on drinking Gatorade and eating Deer Hunters, man I felt like a local. You could see the construction and electrician and landscape guys coming in and ordering the same things and I felt an amazing connection to them, like we were all part of the great American Experiment out here on the edge with the Spirit of the West. Then we went to the liquor store next door and I got us a few more bottles of Jack Black and another “Box of Stones”, and we went back to Tyler’s House, where I immediately cracked a beer and went out into the sandy backyard to catch some rays and try to get a little half-assed workout in while Jake stared at the sky and we pontificated on life and what Maeve would be like when we saw her again. Jake and Maeve used to date but they broke up a while back and then she started seeing Jason and that’s when her drug use got out of control, and that’s why her parents sent her out to rehab in Arizona…that’s all I knew, but we were on our way to see her. Then Jake told me about the party at Tyler’s House…. whooo-hoo!!!! That was a blast…. hold on, Jake wants me to drive for a while…see you in a few hours…
Thursday 3/14/2002 After I drove for 6 Hours
We made it to Arizona…I drove the rest of the way while Jake slept, which I didn’t mind, even though I got zero sleep last night, because like I said I was staying on the couch and there was a party last night still going strong this morning as Jake and I pulled out onto the road to pick back up with our cross-country adventure. I’ll be good with an hour nap here in Phoenix while Jake and I wait for Maeve to get off work. I wanted to get this journal entry in though while last night is still fresh, so I’ll try to hit the high points.
All of Jake’s friends are pretty awesome, we drank and freestyled and laughed and clowned each other, and then the girls came! I ended up with Tyler’s sister Shannon…or was it Stephanie…I think it was Shannon. Anyway we met around the bonfire and soon enough we were over in a little more private corner of the yard talking about life and sharing our souls…she went to the local community college where she studied Veterinary Training and she was telling me that she had spent the day jerking off horses to help them breed, husbandry I think it was called, and she said she really liked it. And I liked the curve of her hips in her low riding jeans. The next thing you know she was showing me a few tricks outside in her car. Afterwards we walked down the dark desert road together I was so full of life and happiness and Jack Daniels that I was looking at the stars so fresh and sparkling in the night sky, on fire in a way we don’t see back east, the atmosphere here crystal clear and devoid of any humidity, me quoting Khalil Gibran and feeling the deepest sense of connection with the rebirth of the earth on this Spring Break…and then by the time we walked back to the house, the sun was coming up and Jake was ready to leave. I kissed Shannon good bye and we left. Ramble On!
Maeve got off work late last night, the plan was to pick her up after her shift and disappear into the night. But I’m getting ahead of myself…before we even saw Maeve, as soon as we got to Arizona, we checked in to our dumpy hotel, and Jake took a little nap while I went and explored some nearby stores.
After roaming around Frye’s Electronics for a while, I grabbed a Cherry Coke and walked back to the hotel. Jake was up and taking a shower. We had about an hour before Maeve got off work. So I crashed, and the next thing I know Maeve is on the bed jumping up and down, laughing and yelling my name! Apparently Jake picked her up while I was asleep. After my nap I felt like a million bucks, except for that weird displaced feeling you get when you take a nap at dusk and you wake up to full night in a strange place. But being on a cross country road trip and knowing that you don’t have shit to do for the next few days, except enjoy hanging out with great friends, man that’s a good feeling! So I got up… showered and we went and grabbed some hibachi under the purple Arizona night.
The last few days have been a blur. I drank a little bit too much…continuously…We drank Jack Daniels by the handle over ice in Arizona, and that’s when we decided to drive to LA. Our choices were the City of Angels or Lake Tahoe. And we decided unanimously on LA.
A. Because it sounded more epic. B. Driving to LA would definitely check a box for me, an ardent Jack Kerouac acolyte, and driving all the way to the Pacific Ocean sounded like the best way to follow in his footsteps.C. I really wanted to see the Ocean.
I’m writing this from a beach on the Pacific Ocean sipping on a vodka drink I made for Jake and Maeve and I. We got the booze from a giant grocery store on the iconic Highway One. You can buy liquor in the grocery stores here! They have the bottles in aisles just like milk or laundry detergent! MMM! That’s good!
We ate at “In N Out Burger”today, sitting there in the LA Sunlight, there’s something about the LA Light that’s magical, it makes the whole world seem golden like anything is possible. There’s a reason California is called the Golden State. It’s where dreams are manufactured, where they sell “the American Dream” to the rest of the World, and we could all use another dose of that dream right about now.
You might be wondering why I seem to be in such a good mood?
Well, let’s see; Jake and Maeve and I were leaving Arizona to drive to LA…I’m not exactly sure how far that drive is, but what I do know is that I was sitting in the back of the 4Runner, letting the world roll by, watching the country unfold like I’d never seen it before, each of us in our own minds in the Spring Sunshine of a new Millennium. I was fueling my reveries and deep thoughts with a bottle of Jose Cuervo I picked up in Arizona. Sipping a little here and a little there and drifting in and out of the sweetest afternoon naps I ever had. Not a worry in the world. Well, I wake up, a little discombobulated and a little scared because now it’s dark and Maeve is driving all smooth and slow behind the wheel, with Johnny Cash crooning a “Boy Named Sue” so I took another pull or two from my tequila bottle and drifted back off into dreamland.
Next thing I know we’re rolling through the California Hills. And there are giant windmills churning in the near distance. It was the first time I’d ever seen windmills like this, they looked like something out of a sci-fi novel, like something made by NASA but left on Earth. I was in awe, especially for a kid brought up in the 80’s, reading Ranger Rick, watching Fern Gully and Captain Planet, I’m all about implementing sustainable energy, so for me this was like glimpsing the future. It’s 2002, I’m 21 years old, and it’s Spring Break in California. So much potential, so much possibility. So I took another long pull of tequila and howled at the moon like a coyote stoked on dreams of the West.
Around 5:00 am we pulled into our Hotel and I tipped back the bottle of Cuervo polishing off the last swallow. We walked into the Hampton Inn, and there she was, this thick chick, blonde and beautiful. Ooh weeh!!! Now, remember I’d been pounding tequila for at least the past 8 hours, I see this curvy California girl and right away I know. It’s on! In our room I tell Jake, I’m gonna try to take the front desk girl to breakfast, and I thought that was such an original proposition, to take her out, but not to dinner, to breakfast…I left Jake and Maeve, hoping to give them some time alone together. I grabbed my room key and a grip of condoms and headed to the hotel lobby. I was glad there wasn’t a security guard or maintenance guy or janitor or even another guest there. I asked the front desk girl her name and if she’d like to go out to breakfast? She said yes, and I knew it was on. She told me to go wait by her car, an orange Altima on the side of the hotel. She came out five minutes later. As soon as she got near the car, I kissed her on the lips rubbing her bountiful booty and savoring the taste of her lip gloss mixed with coffee. Sometimes you wonder how you get so lucky. I was wondering if we were going to Denny’s or what. But she just pulled a joint out of her glove box, lit up and the next thing I know we were in her house in LA, making love in her creaky bed. We had some great sex. Smoked another “J” and then she drove me back to the hotel. And just like the trip started, with Brandy, we made out in her car, I thanked her for the ride, and then I stepped out of her life forever.
I strolled back into the hotel room smiling, jumped in the shower with ten minutes to dry off and get dressed before check out, and then we were gone.
We spent the rest of the day driving around LA, listening to a mix of Aquemini and Illuminati… “2live and Die in LA”. And I couldn’t believe I was listening to Tupac driving around LA after just getting laid and it wasn’t even noon yet! California Dreamin’.
We ended up here on the Pacific Ocean. End of the line. Jake and Maeve are playing in the cold waves and I’m sitting here writing, looking at the breakers, the hills, big as mountains in the distance. It feels like something is ending…the vodka drink is good but I’m starting to get hungry. I’m going to fly home tomorrow. Jake is handling my ticket. He said I can just pay him back when I see him again, whenever that’ll be. Jake took this semester off to find himself, and he’s gonna keep driving…” til the money runs out.” he’d said. I forget what Maeve’s plan is, she might stay with Jake, I think they’re headed up the California Coast and then back east by way of Colorado and St. Louis. The wind is getting stronger and the night is getting cool fast. I’m gonna head in. Jake and Maeve headed to the car, they probably want to hit up that seafood restaurant we passed on our way here…I said I would treat. It’s the least I could do for the best Spring Break I’ve ever had. Hands down!
I’ve been waiting for this trip, my whole life.