This page contains the entries from my journal. When I decided to sell everything and move to Oregon, I started entertaining the idea of keeping a daily journal. I never really thought about keeping a journal in the past, but it seems like it will be a fun thing to do. As a going-away gift, my thoughtful friend Annette gave me a nice leather journal and a funky Cross Ion pen. Now that I have my journal and implement in-hand, I have officially started with my regular entries and my adventure has officially begun. If for some reason you are actually interested in reading my rambling, scattered thoughts, have a ball.

Please note that the entries are in decending order by date. The first entry is the most recent.

Click here to see the June journal entries.
May 31, 2004 - 9:09 PM Pacific Time

Apparently I've been slacking. I haven't written a journal entry in a couple of days. I didn't have Internet connectivity during that time, so I guess I just lost interest temporarily. I'll just write a lot in this one. It's been a fun three days over the long weekend. It's not really a long weekend for me, being that I don't have to go to work on Monday for at least a year, but I'm still trying to relate to working people so I don't lose touch :-) I'm finally in Oregon. I loved traveling across the United States, but I'm excited to settle down somewhere. This is my 9th hotel room in 2 1/2 weeks. I want a home, at least for a little while. I'm in Newport, Oregon. It's absolutely beautiful. I have the sliding glass door in my hotel room open and I can hear the waves crashing while I write this. I have my tripod and camera all setup on the balcony. I'm waiting for the light to get just right so I can shoot the Yaquina Head Light, which I can see from my room. It's breathtaking. I'm free. When I first saw the Pacific Northwest coast, I was coming over the top of a hill just north of Redwoods National Park in California. I thought I was looking at clouds at first, and then I quickly realized that I was looking at waves. Miles of coast line with layers and layers of breaking waves and massive, jagged rocks busting up out of the water. I was stunned. I actually got emotional. I've never seen shore line that looks like this, and I get to spend a year living on it and photographing it. When I arrived in Oregon I stayed in a small town just over the border named Brookings. It was a nice town. The coast there is absolutely amazing, but the town is just too far south and it's too far from the parts of the state where I want to spend a lot of time. I forgot that it was Memorial Day Weekend, and when I started looking for rooms, I quickly realized that Brookings was apparently a vacation spot for many, and all of the hotels were booked. I went to three places and no vacancies. The woman at the third place suggested an apartment rental. She showed me pictures and said that it was only $100 a night. It was a nice little place. I took it. The guy that owned it showed up in his truck and I followed him to the apartment. When we turned on to the street where the apartment was, a dog fell out of the truck that was ahead of the guy I was following. I felt so bad for the dog. It was hanging over the tailgate of a pickup truck, and when the driver took the turn, the dog just slammed down onto the street. Oh, I hate seeing shit liked that. The dog got up, shook it off, and ran after the truck. Cool little dog. I don't recall the man's name that rented me the apartment, but he was a seemingly nice fellow in 50s. He was really tall. I enjoyed my stay there, although there was no phone. It was within walking distance of the beach. I walked down into the port and ate at this restaurant down by the water. As soon as I sat down I heard this one women's loud, grating voice. I couldn't focus on anything but anything but her voice. It was one of those raspy voices where there are high and low pitchs overlapped. It sounded like she swalled a broken kazoo. I wasn't paying attention to the woman when I sat down and I sat down with my back to her. I listened to her to talk to her son, husband, and mother the entire time I'm ate. She knew the answers to everything. If she wasn't stating incorrect "facts", she was putting someone down behind their back. It was horrible to listen to. The only thing that kept me sane was trying to figure out what this woman looked like. I know that everyone else in the place could here her, too. When I got up and started to walk out, I almost forgot to look. I stopped, faked like I forgot something, and looked back quickly to sneak a peek. It was an extremely obese woman in a pink sweatsuit. I felt bad for her husband. Poor, weak soul. He couldn't get a word in. This morning I left for Coos Bay, about 100 miles north of Brookings. I was happy to have such a short ride to my next desitination, although when I arrived in Coos Bay, I realized that it wasn't what I was looking for. I decided to head to my next stop, Newport, another 100 miles north. I'm glad I did. I'm getting anxious to pick a town and I don't want to waste time in a town that I know I'm not going to consider. The people in this region seem to drive really slow. I got stuck behind a guy for a few miles on 101 that was going at least 10 miles under the speed limit. He had a bumper stick that read, "Real men love Jesus!" That just made it even worse. Real men drive the speed limit and don't display their beliefs on their bumpers for the whole world to see. I watched Jaws last night. The rogue guy that the town of Amity hired to kill the shark said something that I've never noticed before. He said, "Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women." What the hell that does mean? I've given it a lot of thought, and I can't really come up with anything. Is it better swimming with bowlegged women? If so, in what way? Are they more proficient at swimming? Is it sexual? I just don't know. If anyone knows what this means, please send me an email. I lost my circular polarizing filter. That's the filter I use the most. I reduces harsh reflections in certain scenarios, and it can also be used to keep blue skies blue. It also cost me a $100. Oh well, I've had it for at least 3 years now. I guess it's probably all scratched up anyhow. I was walking down the beach after the sun set one night. I passed a guy and girl that were playing with those fire chain things. I'm not sure if they have a name, but they are chains with some sort of fuel-based torch at both ends. You can swing them around really fast, and the flames keep burning. I've seen Slymenstra (the funky chick in the band GWAR) use them in concert. She'd also breath fire and you could feel the heat from the flames if you were right up front. Anyhow, I stopped and asked them if I could photograph them. They complied, but the light just wasn't light and I couldn't pull it off quickly. I didn't want my car to get towed and I just didn't have time to get set up with my flash. Last night I was shooting sunset on the beach in Brookings. I met these two nice guys. I think they were in their early twenties, but I suck at judging someone's age. They were from Canada, although I didn't hear the name of the town or region when one of them mentioned it. They are biking all the way from Canada to Mexico. That's cool! There are a lot of people here doing things like that. There are tons of people hitchhiking and biking up and down highway 101. It's very different from the east coast. I just left the shutter open on my camera for the past 5 minutes. I think the shot is going to be a bit overexposed. I think I missed the light I was looking for. Oh well. I drove right over a squirrel that was crossing the road today. I've avoided this a handful of times over the past couple of weeks, but I could not avoid it today. It ran out at the last second and there was nothing I could do, especially in a full-size SUV. Swerving when you're doing 60 in an SUV = flip. I could see it all squished when I look rearview mirror. I don't like running over animals. It guess it's not as disturbing as slamming into a buck, which I've also done.

May 28, 2004 - 10:43 PM Pacific Time

I love driving in San Francisco. It's so much fun. Even when you're doing 35, it feels like you're driving fast. There are lots of stops and starts, and it's awesome driving over the top of steep hills. If you've ever driven up and down a street like Lombard street, you know what I mean. This is my third time in San Francisco, and I'm still stunned when I see the cars parked on Lombard street. It looks like they're all going to slide down the hill. I guess it's a good thing that it doesn't snow much here. I saw a guy on the beach this evening with nothing on but a shirt. I did a triple take. Sure enough, no pants, no underpants. He actually stood there and watched me as I walked by. I kept a wide berth as I passed, believe me. Later I saw the same guy doing curls using a bag filled with who knows what. He also did a bunch of push-ups. I walked so far on the beach tonight trying to get a good shot of the Golden Gate Bridge with the waves in the foreground. It was incredibly windy tonight and all of my shots were ruined by sea spray. I tried to keep the lens clean, but it was useless. I was setup on the rocks for one shot, and then the tide came in and a huge wave smashed into the rocks and got salt water all over my camera. Salt water and semi-fragile electronics don't mix. I decided to head across the bridge to Marin County to shoot the bridge from above once the sun was fully set. Standing at the edge of a cliff at night, with a complete view of the bridge and the city, is absolutely awe inspiring. San Francisco is simply an amazing city. I am making it a point to photograph this city many more times in my life. Now that I'm officially living on the west coast, it should be easy to visit here one or two times a year. Speaking of this great city, I am leaving tomorrow morning. I'm a bit bummed, but I'm excited to get to Oregon. After 1 1/2 months of planning and preparation, and 15 days of travel, I will finally be in Oregon tomorrow. Think how many sunsets on the Pacific that I now get to witness and photograph. Life is good. I am lucky. I'm finally going to watch Lord of the Rings. In fact, it's been running the whole time I've been typing this.

May 27, 2004 - 10:35 PM Pacific Time

I'm listening to Lewis Black's HBO stand-up comedy special. I can't see the TV right now because I'm typing this sentence, but I can hear it. He is one of my favorite comedians. I love angry comedy. I've already listened to Brain Droppings, the George Carlin audio book, twice in 2 weeks. I too am amazed and frustrated by the stupidity exhibited by people, including myself, each and every day around the world. I didn't really do much today. I felt kind of lazy. I woke up around 7:30 and worked on the web site for a little while. Then I went down to IHOP and had a big, nasty breakfast. I had some meat lover's omelet that was absolutely huge. I must hand it to them, they get a lot of meat and other stuff into what they call a single omelet. I didn't even eat half of it. I actually thought to get a side order of hash browns. I had about two bites from the hash browns. The short-order cook tried to pick up the two women sitting next to me at the counter. One of the women had a gold cap on her right front tooth. I'll never understand the desire to get a gold tooth. They look so unsightly to me. I should talk. I thought that inserting metal rings and posts all over my body was attractive at one point. I'm sure others did not find this attractive. I suppose that my tattoos are unappealing to most folks. Oh well, I still don't like gold teeth. I was looking for a post office or Fed-ex store so I could ship a backup CD of my photos to my parents. I found a Barnes and Noble, so I decided to go look for new issues of photography magazines because I'm a dork. The summer issue of Nature Photographer was out. Nature Photographer is a mom and pop magazine that is published quarterly. It's a little on the low-budget side, but they seem to have a decent distribution. I can usually find a copy in Borders or other major book stores. Anyhow, I had sent a bunch of images to them a few months back. I hadn't heard from them, so I when I saw that the summer issue was published already, I assumed that they didn't use any of my images. I was bummed. I decided to leaf through the magazine quickly to see what they did choose. I was excited to see that they did use one of my images after all. They used the shot of the Osprey with the half-eaten fish in its talons. I'll have to contact them. I think they owe me some money, damn it! I walked around before dinner looking for homeless folks or street performers to photograph. I found a couple. I give them $5 and ask them if I can photograph them first. Even though I have their permission, and I've just given them money, I still feel uncomfortable photographing them and I can never really seem to relax and just take my time. I decided to photograph the Fine Arts Palace tonight. It's a beautiful building that has big Greek columns. It's bordered by a pond and the outside of the building is illuminated at night. I was waiting for the light to get just right when some guy came up to me and asked me to take his picture with his digital camera. This always happens. Just because I'm an avid photographer, it doesn't mean that I'll be able to just grab someone else's camera, quickly figure out how it works, and take an award-winning photograph. Besides, it was dark out. I'm using a tripod, cable release, and graduated neutral density filters to deal with the difficult lighting situation, and he wants me to take his tiny, $100, fully-automated digital camera (not that there's anything wrong with that) and work magic. He was disappointed with his pictures. He even deleted them right in front of me. Go take your own picture you pain in the ass and leave me alone. Or at least have the decency to pretend that you're pleased, since you've just taken up 5 minutes of my precious time, and walk away with a fake smile on your face. That's what I'd do. I'm going on a tour of Alcatraz at 9:30 tomorrow morning. It should be fun. I hope I see a ghost.

May 26, 2004 - 10:11 PM Pacific Time

I just got back to my room at the Fisherman's Wharf Radisson in good ole San Francisco. I'm sitting here typing this and sipping on some Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine is good. I love this city. It's so diverse and unique. I even dig the wacky weather. The trolley passes just below my window. I love the sound of activity outside while I'm safe in my room for the night. I photographed the Golden Gate Bridge tonight. The park just below the bridge closes at sunset, but I needed to wait for 30 minutes to get the right light. A cop drove by twice with his lights on. He had a loud speaker that he used to communicate his verbal warning repeatedly. I must admit that he had a very authoritative speaking voice. After his first warning I was going to leave, but then I thought, "What could possibly happen? There's no way they could get a tow truck out here fast enough to nab my truck." I only needed another 15 minutes. Well, I waited and I'm glad. I got the light that I was looking for and I got my shot. It was really windy and it was tough to get a 15-second exposure without blur from the camera vibrating in the wind. I couldn't block the wind because it was coming straight at the camera off of the water. Anyhow, I quickly packed up and rushed towards the truck, which was far away and not visible from where I was. I'm such a spaz. I always get so paranoid. I was worried that I waited for too long and that my truck was getting towed. I walked as fast as I could. I probably looked like a tool, walking really fast with my butt cheeks clenched and my arms swinging. I should have just ran if I was so damn worried. No, somehow I thought that speed walking like a hyper soccer mom was more masculine. This is why I get all of the ladies. I wasn't in the city for an hour before I fell for my first scam. Of course I got roped into some guy's scheme despite my academic understanding of how these things work. I know how these guys get you to stop and talk to them, and I've heard it a million times. But no, I'm far to nice and/or stupid and I fall for it about once per city that I visit. It was harmless, but I certainly felt stupid nonetheless, especially when I was standing there getting my hiking boots polished. Yep, the guy actually polished my hiking boots. Actually, to be more specific, he polished the little rubber patch at the front of each boot. I then proceeded to walk down Beach Street with a shiny pair of hiking boots. Just what I needed. I'm trying to decide whether I should sleep in or get up for sunrise tomorrow morning. It's supposed to be cloudy tomorrow, so there may not be any direct early morning light. I'll think I'll sleep in. I may extend my visit here another day. I want to enjoy to city before I head to Oregon. Should I watch Kill Bill or Lord of the Rings? I just don't think I can get myself to watch Kill Bill. I know a lot of people liked it, but there is just something about it that makes me think that I'm going to hate it. I can't watch Lord of the Rings. It's probably 4 hours long. Maybe I'll just drink some more wine and scroll through the movie menu until I fall asleep.

May 25, 2004 - 6:32 PM Pacific Time

I decided to sleep in this morning. I found that wedging a pillow under my lower back when I sleep really helps. Even when I laid on my side I made sure that the pillow was under my lower back. I felt much better this morning. My dad found a pamphlet on lower back strain last night. He scanned it and sent it to me in email as a PDF file today. Isn't that cool? What a great dad! I woke up at 7:30 and went to breakfast. I headed into the park around 9:00 and I stopped at the visitor's center to get some recommendations. I decided to head down this short trail that went to the river. The trail was steep and overgrown. I know that rattlesnakes usually avoid humans, but I was still freaked out climbing down the rocks and putting my hands in between the rocks to help steady myself. Rattlesnakes are really common in the foothills. They won't kill you, but I've heard that the bite is extremely painful and that the venom can cause significant tissue damage. There was also poison oak all over the place. I thought for sure that some of it rubbed my neck when I slipped trying to get down a tight spot with my pack on. I was so paranoid. I went to the bathroom in the parking lot when I finished the hike, but they didn't have any soap. Anyhow, I stopped worrying about it and headed to another trail. There is construction going on in the park and I had to sit for 20 minutes, twice. They make all of the cars stop so they can do work, then they will let one lane of cars drive through. I'm sure they have no viable alternative, but it still sucks! A notice was left on my car by a park ranger because I had some food visible in the car. You're not supposed to do that in these parks. Bears smell the food, then crave the human food, then approach people or try to break into cars to get food, then as a result become brazen in the presence of humans, then they attack humans and have to be killed. I just wanted some beef jerky and nuts to munch on when I was driving in the park for 4 hours. My bad. Well, at least I didn't get a citation. I think it was just a warning. Anyhow, after spending half my day in the park, I decided that I'm not really in the mood for hiking around wilderness and driving for hours to search for pictures this week. I decided to cancel my reservation for tomorrow night at this hotel and the reservations at Yosemite. I got a room for three nights down at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. I'm in the mood for some city life. I want to photograph the Golden Gate bridge again because I've never been happy with any of the shots that I've taken before. Maybe I'll go on a tour of Alcatraz. I heard that it's haunted. Maybe I can get some creepy B+W shots. I better get some batteries for my flash. When I leave San Francisco I can get right on highway 101 in Marin County. I'll take that up into Oregon, right along the coast. I'm going to look at many of the towns all the way up the coast until I find one that I want to live in.

May 24, 2004 - 11:45 AM Pacific Time

This entry is technically for yesterday and today. I just didn't feel like doing anything last night, so I skipped. I thought that the shower at the Utah Best Western was the weakest. Nope. I was clearly wrong. The Three Rivers, California Best Western has the weakest shower. It also feels like I'm showering under a watering can, but this time the can is 20 feet above my head with a strong wind. I actually had to bob and weave to catch drops. Well, I managed to screw up my back, although not from the bobbing and weaving in the shower. You would think that moving or hiking with my pack would have screwed up my back. Nope. I hurt it squatting down in a stream to look through my view finder. I stood up and felt that classic sharp pain. I knew it immediately. I've done this 2 or 3 times this year. The pain was marginal that night, but all it took was a good night's sleep. When I got out of bed on Sunday morning, I could barely straighten up. Luckily the mattress at the Cider Mill Cafe was firm, because my back wasn't as bad as it could have been. Once I checked into the Best Western with the super soft mattress, my back really started to hurt. I went out shooting yesterday, but I only got one shot I that I like. Although these two parks are amazing and wild, I'm not too crazy about them at this point. The road into the park is a pain in the ass. I decided to drive further into the park yesterday and it took me 4 hours round-trip. This park is perfect for backpacking and camping. I'm just not comfortable going on 12-mile one way hikes by myself. In order to get to views of the jagged mountain tops and lakes, you to need to hike from the eastern side of King's Canyon, which is about 65 miles from where I am currently. 65 miles on a mountain road takes about 3 1/2 hours. The town of Three Rivers is cool. It's small. About 2,400 people total. It's at the base of the park in the foothills of the Sierras. Three forks of the Kaweah river meet here. Although the town is small, it has a certain sophistication about it. It's definitely rural, but also cultured. There are no fast food joints. There are actually a couple of nice places to eat. It's very laid back here. You can tell that a lot of young folks live here because of the hiking, camping, and whitewater rafting opportunities. I ate lunch at this lounge/restaurant yesterday. A bunch of bikers were there. They just kept showing up. I like watching bikers. They seem so free. Oh, what the hell do I know? They're probably miserable just like everyone else. The waitress has an interesting gait. She walked with her chin up high, her lower back arched, and her chest protruding. She looked like the proud winner of a cock fight. Perhaps this was a physical problem beyond her control and I'm going to be struck down by lightening for having pointed it out, but based on her demeanor and the bits of conversation that I overheard, I think she was just the proud sort and her gait was indeed deliberate. I loved watching her zip around the restaurant. What a spitfire. I broke down and bought a pizza last night. I ordered a cheese pizza with extra cheese. I know mom, I didn't really need the extra cheese. :-) Extra cheese is what I ordered, well extra cheese is what I got! When I opened up the box back at the hotel, I was startled when I saw the shear quantity of cheese before me. You could see a faint pattern left behind by the pizza cutter. Attempting to slicing this pizza was futile. The cheese must have been at least 1-2 centimeters thick. You can go through the act of rolling the slicer through, but we all know that hot cheese in this quantity will simply settle and recombine instantaneously. I think they forgot the sauce to boot. I lifted up the cheese and it looked as if someone had mixed 2 parts water with 1 part sauce, and then lightly brushed it on like a cop dusting for finger prints. I should have just ordered a block of mozarella instead. I'm not quite sure why I felt the need to go into such detail about my pizza. I guess I spent a lot of time trying to chew the cheese, thus I had a lot of time to think about it. I finally have Internet connectivity again, so I'm going to spend the day catching up with the web site and my email. I'm trying to watch Walker, Texas Ranger. Am I missing something? How has the show managed to avoid cancellation for all of these years?

May 22, 2004 - 8:05 PM Pacific Time

I'm lying on the couch in my cabin at the Cider Mill Cafe. I thought I had reservations at the Best Western, but apparently that's not until tomorrow night. I'm glad I found a room. The guy at the Best Western recommended this place. It's a strange, quiet little place. You would never know they rented rooms. Julia, the owner, showed me the room and checked me in. She was very pleasant, but I must say that she was a little odd. It felt like I getting a tour of her house and the room that I was going to board for the summer. She claims that celebrities frequent her establishment because of its peaceful atmosphere. I don't believe her. I didn't bother to ask which celebrities have stayed there. I have my own private garden that contains many odd things, the least of which is a nasty little pond. I think there is a gondola car in my garden. Whatever it is, it is a big metal cube with glass windows and doors. There are tons of spider webs in my garden, but I couldn't find any readily visible spiders, which is good. There are many other, as yet unidentifiable metal machines/structures in my garden. I will pay more attention to them tomorrow. I drove into the park today. What a park! It is diverse and very wild. The road into the park is steep, narrow, and as curvy as a road can get. In fact, I thought I was going to puke on the way in. The ascent into the park is impressive. The sensation of being up high is almost overwhelming. I've never gotten dizzy in a car while I was driving. My mom (the best mom in the world I might add) is like me, easily disoriented from cars, planes, trains, and amusement park rides. However, my mom is also frightened of heights. She should never come here. :-) I only drove a portion of the way into the park and it took an hour to drive out. I smelled a strange odor that reminded me of my childhood. It smelled like that green slime stuff. Do you know what I'm talking about? It was basically a snot-like slime in a can. I used to hate its odor. I remember dropping it in the dirt, which pretty much killed it. It's tough to play with slime that has bits of dirt and gravel in it, you know? I know what you're thinking. Does a bear crap in the woods? The answer is yes. Well, they at least crap in meadows. I didn't know where to go in the park, so I just picked a parking area and decided to go for a short walk. Within 5 minutes I stumbled upon a black bear in a small meadow. I saw it poop. I spent some time shooting it, and then I saw two more. One let me get within 15 feet of it. They must be comfortable around humans in this area. I think two of them were somewhat young. At one point one of the bears seemed to get agitated by my rumbling through my camera bag while behind a tree, out of the bear's line of sight. It charged at me and then stopped short, about 5 feet from me. Fortunately it was bluffing. Besides, it was one of the younger bears. I could have taken him. :-) Actually, I would have used the bear spray if I absolutely had to. From now on I'll head early warnings that the bear is getting agitated. The sequoias are absolutely mind-blowing. It's hard to describe what it's like standing alone in the forest among them. It feels like they are watching you. It made me think of those tree creatures in the Lord of the Rings. Sorry Lord of the Rings nerds, I can't remember what they were called. Anyhow, the sequoias are only found in this park. No where else on the planet. They don't die of old age. The only thing that kills them is to be felled by man, or to topple due to an unsupportable trunk-mass-to-root-depth ratio. The oldest trees in the parks are 2,200 years old. The biggest (not tallest) tree in the world is in the park. They can weigh up to 2.3 million pounds. The bark gets up to 3 feet thick. I ate at the Main Fork Bistro tonight. It's a nice little place with good food. The hostess, who was this hot girl, maybe in her early twenties, came up and talked to me 3 different times. What a cute girl. She recommended places for me to hike. I'm eating there again tomorrow night. :-)

May 21, 2004 - 8:57 AM Mountain Time

This is my last day in Utah. It's cold in my room, but I don't feel like getting up to deal with it. So I shall sit in my cold bed. Speaking of cold, it was really cold in the park this morning. It got as low as 25 F. There was a lot of smoke in the park from a prescribed burn that took place over the past two days. It's bad enough climbing hills with a 60 pound pack at 8100 ft. elevation, but then taking deep breathes of smoke to boot. I saw a bunch of mule deer trying to cross the road in the park. On the other side of the road, about two feet past the guardrail, was a 30-foot drop-off. I got nervous watching the deer run towards the guardrail. Did they know about the drop-off? One by one they jumped over the rail and abruptly stopped in the two-foot patch of safe land. Each one of them looked surprised, I think. I won't claim to be an expert at interpreting deer facial expressions and body language. Not one deer fell. I was amazed. If I was a mule deer, and I attempted to blindly jump over that rail, I would have fallen to my death. However, I am not a mule deer, which is cool. I saw three pronghorn antelope in the prairie on my way back from the park. They were all male. Two of them sparred for a while. They let me get close. I could hear them grunting. I love nature.

May 20, 2004 - 7:10 PM Mountain Time

There are two teenagers outside of my hotel room practicing their lasso skills, apparently. They are lassoing a metal structure that resembles the shape of cow. It is a different world here. Most men own a Ford and wear a cowboy hat. A guy walked by me today wearing spurs. Spurs! I was waiting in line at a restaurant today. The guy in front of me had absolutely insane eyebrows. They looked like wings. Each hair must have been 1 1/2 inches in length. There are lots of German and French people here. French guys look like wimps. I passed a hitchhiker today and I didn't pick him up, of course. I saw him give me the old jack-off gesture as I passed him. What a dick! I was only going 2 miles down the road. Next time I'll pick up the hitchhiker, only to stop 2 miles down the road. "Well, it looks like this is the end of the line buddy. Glad I could help, dick!" I went hiking this morning. It was cold. Something strange just happened in my car. My cell phone cannot get a signal where I've been able to get one all along. My radio started freaking out. First the volume turned all the way down on its own. Next, the radio station changed on its own. Then the stereo started freakin' out, changing functions rapidly. Solar flare? Sun spots? Alien intervention?

May 19, 2004 - 8:50 PM Mountain Time

I'm waiting for Adobe Photoshop to load so I can work on some pictures. I got up at 4:30 AM today and drove to Sunset Point in the park. Sunset Point for sunrise shots, huh? I was by myself, taking in the pre-sunrise serenity of the canyon... not for long. A "fellow" photographer set up right next to me. He would not stop talking. He was such a know-it-all. "You're not shooting vertical, are you? No man, horizontal is better." "Are you using that filter, I like this filter." I wished his head would pop like a pimple. That would have been great. Oh well, I only had to endure his babble for 30 minutes. What was worse than his babble was his wife and mom babbling in the background. Which babbling should I focus on? I wish I was Vargish and could just tune people out. He is gifted in that regard. I hiked down into the Canyon on the Navaho Trail. This seemed liked a good idea, until I reached the bottom of the trail and had to hike back up, an elevation change of 500 feet in just 1/2 mile. With a 60+ lb. backpack and tripod, and at a 8000 foot elevation, I struggled to say the least. What a workout. I took a long nap and then explored a little. I ate a very bad dinner at some lodge. Then I hiked a little ways into the Fairyland Trail to shoot the canyon just before sunset. I talked to two nice guys that happened to be from Oregon. They love it there. I'm drinking a King's Peak Porter. It tastes great. I'm getting sleepy.

May 18, 2004 - 3:30 PM Mountain Time

I'm feeling much better today. I feel dehydrated. I feel like I can't get enough water. I'm in Panguitch, Utah, a small town about 25 miles from Bryce Canyon. I'll be here for four nights. I can't dial out here. The hotel requires pre-paid calling cards for long distance calls, which I need because the closet access number is far away. I bought a card, but the line quality is so poor that the modems cannot establish a connection. I'm lost without my Internet. Now I'm roughing it. :-) I took lots of pictures today. Red Canyon is amazing and Bryce rules! I'm going to work on my pictures now. I'm getting up at 4:30 AM to photograph the park and go for a healthful hike. I just learned, after listening to George Carlin in the car, that "healthy" is a condition and "healthful" is a property. A carrot is not healthy, it is healthful. My mom is healthy because she often eats healthful foods. I'm not healthy, because I'm a pig.

May 17, 2004 - 6:46 PM Mountain Time

I'm at the La Quinta Inn in Moab, Utah. I'm not feeling well. I knew a cold was coming on yesterday. I shouldn't have worked out last night. I tried to sleep it off last night, but it got the best of me. I just drank a bunch of NyQuil. I'll be out soon. I drove through Colorado today. It was an amazing drive. I'm too tired to write. I'm going to bed. Hopefully I'll be back on top of my game tomorrow.

May 16, 2004 - 5:00 PM Mountain Time

Today was a long day. I'm really tired. I just ate dinner at this little restaurant in Stratton, Colorado. I'm at the Best Western. There's only one or two other rooms rented besides mine. No problem getting a room. Three people were sitting a table in the restaurant. I sat down and I didn't hear them talk for 15 minutes. Just silence. Interesting. I had "Cajun Chicken Breasts." They looked like pork chops and kind of tasted like chicken, I suppose. The green beans were canned. I know that canned green bean taste anywhere. No one's pullin' the wool over these eyes. The waitress bumped something in the kitchen and said, "Bang boom pow, and then you're horny." I don't know what to say. She used to work in a prison and the chef went to culinary school, yet he works in the kitchen of a tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere. I gave the waitress a $5 tip for a $9.75 bill and she acted like I won the lottery and gave her half. It was really windy today. I saw lots of tumbleweed. I felt like a high plains drifter, except I'm not a cowboy and I wasn't riding a horse. Someone stole my license plate from the back of my truck. They ripped the plastic screw clips right out. I don't know how long I was driving around with no rear plate. I was pulled over on the side of the road, taking pictures down in a ravine. I looked up and saw a state trooper peering into my windows. I ran up to the truck and he said he stopped because I had no tag. I couldn't believe it. He was a nice guy. He told me that taking the plate from the front and putting it on the back would suffice. I found a town 66 miles away that had an auto store. I bought the clips and the attached the remaining plate. What a pain! I saw a dead cat (not domestic) on the side of the road. It looked like a small Mountain Lion, but it was in Kansas. Perhaps it was a Bobcat??? I saw a cool storm form over the prairies of Kansas. I got caught in it because I kept stopping to photograph it. It started hailing and I thought my windshield was going to crack. I sped up and got out of the storm quickly. I'm going to do my sit-ups and then I'm going to bed. The Simpsons are on. I just took the weakest shower ever. It felt like I was showering under a watering can.

May 15, 2004 - 5:00 PM

I'm in Kingdom City, Missouri. I just ate an early dinner at Gasper's Truck Stop. The waitress was real friendly... NOT! I ordered the chef's salad with Ranch dressing on the side. She walked over to the salad bar and just prepared it herself. She gave me a full bowl of dressing. Classic. I've never had a waitress make a menu salad from the fixins at the salad bar. Well, it's practical I suppose. I drove 600 miles today. Lots of driving. It rained all the way through Ohio, Indiana, and most of Illinois. I saw a dead coyote on the side of the road. Lots of fields filled with yellow wildflowers. I saw the St. Louis arch and I missed my turn in the city because I was trying to drive and photograph the arch at the same time. Lots of billboards that say, "Jesus." I saw a small, deer-like mammal in a field. It looked too small to be a deer on it's own in the middle of a big field??? I listened to some of the audio book Prey, by Michael Crighton. I've read the book, but I tend to forget the details of books that I read after a while. I love the story. It's a fictional story about the convergence of Nanotechnology, Software Engineering, and Biology. We're going to destroy ourselves. No sunrise pics today. Maybe tomorrow. It smells like urine in the motel hallway. It doesn't smell like urine in my room, which is good. I'm watching Mad TV and drinking light beer. Gotta watch that belly.

May 14, 2004 - 7:00 PM

Well, I'm free and clear. I settled on the condo sale this morning. I went to the condo after working out. Patty's realtor and Patty's friend Crista were there doing the walk-through. Patty's father died this week, so Crista was filling in. She had a nice figure. She's also an FBI agent. That's hot! I wonder if she had a gun in the car. I passed a girl in shorts and a tank top riding a motorcycle in the rain. I couldn't help but think how horrible it would be if she crashed. Last year someone crashed doing about 45 right next to my car on 495. I think he lived. I'm in Cambridge Ohio right now. Seinfeld is on, which is good. I'm going to shave my neck and then I'm showering. It's been a long day. I'm going to bed early and then I'm going to hit the road by 6:00 AM. Maybe I'll get a sunrise shot.

May 13, 2004 - 5:00 PM

I'm laying in bed at the Fairfax Hyatt, sipping on some wine straight from the bottle. I worked out at the hotel this morning, which is good. I need to eat well and stay fit. I've gone from 216 to 200 lbs. in the past 5 weeks, but I still have a gut. A man named Paul came today to pick up the leather couch and chair that he bought from me. He was a cool guy. He is in his 60s and is ex-military. He was nice to talk to. I finished packing for storage and I brought the last load to the storage unit. It barely fit. I'm going out with Lori for dinner tonight. That will be fun. Tomorrow morning I pack the truck and then I head to the closing. After that, I'm gone.

May 13, 2004 - 9:15 AM

I'm only 27 hours from being on the road. I can't wait to leave. I settle at 11:00 AM on Friday. I got drunk and watched Bad Santa last night. What a classic! I just did my sit-ups, ate 1/2 of my $13 Hyatt breakfast, and I'm off to the gym and then to the condo for last minute packing.

May 12, 2004 - 6:30 PM

I'm finally done with the movers. It took 8 hours with all of the stops. We saw a big apartment building burning when en route to one of our stops. You could see the smoke for miles. I got my camera out, but we never got close to the fire. I really wanted to lose the movers and photograph the fire and firefighters, but alas he movers are $135 per hour and I didn't want to waste time. I was bummed. I'm tired! I just checked into the hotel. I'm meeting Suresh and Srikanth for dinner at 7:30.

May 12, 2004 - 10:30 AM

I'm sitting on my couch waiting for the movers to finish packing my furniture for storage. I'm running a virus scan on the laptop that I bought yesterday. I just spilled an entire glass of water upside down on the keyboard. What a schmuck!!! I had to borrow a blow dryer from Pat, my neighbor, to try to quickly dry the laptop. It seems to have worked. Tonight I'm staying in a hotel. I stayed in a hotel last night, too. I thought the movers were coming at 9:00 AM... I was wrong! I ordered breakfast at the diner, but I had to quickly leave when the movers called. I gave the waitress a $1 tip for my 1/2 glass of OJ.

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