Out of Denver, Back to the Nile
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Last night I got to see what all those cows were hanging out in that big stinky pen for…in the form of a delicious Denver hamburger and some beers with my old buddy Tristan.
Townes Van Zandt told this joke:
Q: What’s white, sticky and crawls up your legs?
A: Uncle Ben’s Perverted Rice
I meant to post this at the beginning of my sojourn, but I was still learning.
Idaho would be a great name for a dog.
Rocky Fountain of Youth
Out of Portland, I followed the beautiful Columbia River for a long time. I didn’t get started until the afternoon, so it felt like the sun was behind the big hills all day long. I’ve been listening to one of the tracks off of the new Arcade Fire album a lot. It starts out with this guy wasting some chords on a mandolin—like he was using a thick discarded toenail as a pick—and then screaming “TAKE ME DOWN TO THE RIVER…TAKE ME DOWN TO THE RIVER…” etc.
After a bit, I came the end of Oregon. I saw a perfect smoke ring shoot out of the treeline ahead. Jim Bridger would have seen this ballistic halo as a sign that he had made it to the west. I saw it as a harbinger of the end times. Maybe this was the sign telling me, “there’s no turning back, Barton.” And another smokey band shot into the twilight. And another. Finally, I came around the bend to see the pride of Ontario, Oregon, the Ore-Ida tater tot plant. There in the middle was the magic smoke stack, belching smoke rings to impress all the newcomers.
Idaho was a sweaty expanse of bloated hills. The little Ford Focus can’t handle steep grades too well, so I come to remember the enchanted lands of beautiful views and slow-going the best (I’m looking at you, New Mexico). Sunset in the Tater State was beautiful. Though I couldn’t see the sun for most of my drive, the sky twisted from blue to orange to red and finally falling over itself in a purple funk at the end of the day.
By the time it was night, the views were gone and everything smelled like dying cow. In the dark, I could barely make out the figures of black and white bovines just off the interstate. But I opened the window and they mooed. And they continued to smell.
I bedded down in the car at a rest stop near the border between Idaho and Utah. There were a couple signs that advertised a lake that used to be around tens of thousands of years ago. My car was too short for me to stretch out, but outside there was some fearsome wildlife picking off truckers on their way to take a leak. All I’d hear was the plodding of sneakers, the clicking of claws on asphalt, and a scream that could have drawn Lassie out of a coma 50 miles away.
But Lassie wasn’t around that night, so I stayed in the car and ate garlic beef jerky.
Chupacabra from the bridge,
The Last Days of Judas CraigRIOT
Portland, I love you
It’s been a bit since my last blog post, I shouldn’t have left you. Craig’s gone now. He sulked his way back to Seattle and I’m pretty sure his father has made him cut his hair and his beard by now. I’m out on the road by myself now.
Back in Portland I saw many wonders. Tattooed youth ride fixed-gears through the hilly streets in what seems like a perpetual parade of unflappability. I can’t decide if Austin or San Francisco has an edge on the Pacific Northwest in the row for the hippest apple, but I will say that Portland had some pretty cool cats (literally) and that Milan was living in a duplex with 14 other people.
Every day has yielded some new breffas delight. Ever since Jesse took Craig and me to Cafe BananaCreamPie, I’ve really turned over a new leaf re: the first stuff I stuff down my pie hole for the day. I Got a sunny side up egg on my sandwich and it erupted into my toast when I squeezed it, igneously intruding. Also, I hadn’t ever been privvy to a scramble until recently. Seeing that I have a problem with omelets, deconstructing the characteristics of an omelet into a scramble could have beneficial outcomes for future breakfasts.
Portland has been a good host for this rolling stone. Milan’s house has a balcony and it’s full of cats and nice guys and dolls.
Luck be a lady from the bridge,