i don't care if you're a dreamer, a sports lover or just someone who loves a great show. watch field of dreams. let it inspire you to dream, let it encourage you to play harder, or allow it to entertain you. regardless...watch it. it's full of hope, imagination and love...three of my very favorite things. plus, if i watch it with my dad, we can bond, because it's about sports. and i like that.


home again home again, jiggidy jig

my journey has come to an end. i am now back home in jacksonville, florida. i'm very glad and very tired. it's been a long trip, the second half of which seemed to take forever. here's the recap. (it should have been in two parts, one on wed. and the second on thurs., but i didn't have any internet access at my two final pit stops. so it's now one, fairly long entry...but i think you should read it. it'd be a confidence booster for me if you did. so why not help a brother out?)

part one:
i left el paso, tx around 9am on wednesday morning. now i know i said earlier that the 75 mph speed limit in arizona was the greatest invention ever. well, i was wrong. the greatest invention ever?

that's right. 80 miles an hour. how i love you texas.

forty-five minutes outside of el paso, i noticed something about 200 yards off the interstate. this old bus:

i also noticed a dirt road that would allow me to drive out there. i wanted to take some photos of the bus, so i got off the interstate at the next exit, turned around and headed onto what was most likely private property. which was most likely inhabited by a crazy loner mole-man who had an affinity for junk. i took my chances and grabbed some great shots of the bus (to be shown later). as i was leaving, i noticed another dirt road that would take me back to the nearest exit without having to head west on i-10. again i took my chances...

then i came upon this patch...

i knew i could possibly get stuck as the sand looked pretty deep, and very fine (just like my future girlfriend), but for the third time in ten minutes, i took my chances. and i got stuck. the incline on the opposite side was steeper than i thought it was, and my tires quickly dug into mother earth. i threw the truck in reverse, and then back into low...no good. i tried again. still no good. i began to freak out. i was in the middle of nowhere texas, my truck was stuck and at any time mole-man was likely to spring up from out of nowhere and man-nap me, keeping me prisoner in his hovel. i took a breath and prayed. i asked God to get me the hell out of there. after another four or five minutes of throwing the truck into reverse and then into gear, i finally made it up the hill. i was thankful not only that God got me out, but also for having spent four years in south carolina learning how to drive a truck off road with my college buddies. i never though i'd see the day where redneck knowledge would help save my life. i vowed not to take any more dirt roads for the remainder of the trip.

it was a beautiful drive and a beautiful day. and for those who've never met, i'd like to introduce you to texas. texas, everyone. everyone, texas.

needless to say, texas is almost as flat as my 7th grade girlfriend. but the weather was perfect and i was content. towards the middle of the state i began to notice some interesting rock formations...

i found these natural formations incredible. impossible even. i was further amazed when i realized that there was always just enough space between them for four lanes of interstate. it sure is lucky they're there. otherwise i'm not sure where they would have built the road.

eight or so hours into my day i came upon san antonio. it was getting dark, and i forgot to take a photo of the skyline...but i did manage to grab this shot...

it's an exit sign for the alamo. i was simply doing what i had been told to do since second grade and remember the alamo. or at least, i tried.

then it was onto houston. it's a good thing i went through at night, otherwise i would have stopped and spent the next two days exploring the budweiser brewery. after crossing all 880 miles of texas, and driving about 25 miles into louisiana, i stopped for the night in the quaint town of sulphur. and by quaint i mean craphole. i made my second vow for the day; i will never again stop in sulphur.

part two:
the next morning i left sulphur and it's namesake stink behind ready for my fourth and final day of travel. turns out louisiana isn't just swampy in the movies, but in real life as well. for a stretch of about 15 miles the interstate is elevated over the bayou. it was slow and crowded driving, but the scenery was really something.

fifteen miles or more of this...

the bayou...

the rest of the state is swamp and trees...

a couple of hours later i found myself in new orleans. on the eastern side of the city signs of katrina's destruction were everywhere. it really caught me off guard. i wish i had the camera ready when i drove by an entire neighborhood in ruins, however, all i managed was a shot of the skyline. my bad.

after that it was onto and through mobile, alabama. real exciting.

an hour east of mobile put me across the state line and into florida. pensacola greeted me with open arms and a beautiful sunset over the water...

the only problem was that i was supposed to be somewhere in that direction. i accidentally exited off i-10 onto i-110. (quick note: i-110, i hate you. when the sun glares off your exit sign, you look like i-10. please stop being a jerk and causing copious amounts of unnecessary trouble. thanks.) so i spent an extra 45 minutes driving through the city, over a bridge, only to have to turn around and come back, finally making my way onto i-10 once more.

i began to get reaally tired, and wouldn't find myself in jacksonville until after midnight. i decided to stop in tallahassee, and stay the night with a buddy. i was back on the road this morning with just under three hours to my final destination. and around one o'clock this afternoon....i was back in jacksonville. it was beautiful...even more so than my previously mentioned 7th grade girlfriend.

it was over and done. my truck and i had done it. it felt great...and i really had to pee.

here's the truck that drove from oregon to florida...

and here's the guy who drove the truck...

sadly the castro beard was heavily trimmed this afternoon for a job interview.

final total:
3108 miles
50 hours
8 states
1 dead bird
and a trip to remember

and now dear reader, if i may indulge for just one minute more of your time, i'd like to present the roadies, the america's favorite cross-country road trip awards.

The Roadies! (da-da-da-daaaaaaaa)

The "Ridiculous" Award goes to......Texas! Texas, you are ridiculously and unecessarily large. you proved you're more of a man than i am.

The "What? ANOTHER Construction Zone!?" Award goes to....Louisiana! Louisiana, the amount of construction on i-10 in you is stupidly large. having road construction every 4 and a half miles is absurd, and quite frankly a little offensive.

The "I'd Marry You if it Were Legal to Marry a State" Award goes to...Arizona! Arizona, you have beautiful eyes, i mean sunsets. you treated me with love and you have exquisite curves, i mean mountains. how do you feel about vegas?

The "Awwwww, Roadkill" Award goes to....Mississippi! Mississippi, you have incredibly dumb birds that fly in front of toyota trucks going really fast. i don't appreciate you causing me to tear up slightly when i nailed that little guy. though i do appreciate the incredibly entertaining style you have of sending that bird straight up after coming in contact with my bumper, only to be hit yet again by the semi-truck behind me as it fell back toward the ground.

The "I'm Sorry I Didn't Really Get to Know You" Award goes to...New Mexico! New Mexico...you seemed nice enough. maybe we can spend some more quality time together in the future. how do you feel about vegas?

The "My Younger Brother Lives in You" Award goes to...Alabama! Alabama, my younger brother lives in you. also, that tunnel in mobile had a really great echo.

The "Crazy Driver" Award goes to...California! California, you seriously let people drive like that in l.a.?

The "Bittersweet" Award goes to...Oregon! Oregon, you're more confusing than talking to girls for the first time. some days you gave me were great, and some were terrible. i grew to love you, but we both know it would never work out between us. i will cherish the memories we have and wish you the best of luck in the future. also, you have some incredibly, incredibly delicious beer.

The "I Know I Don't Deserve It" Award goes to....Florida! Florida, i know i left you high and dry a couple of months ago. i told you i may never be coming back and i thought life would be better without you. i know i don't deserve to just come back to you after having said those things. thank you for taking me back anyway.

well friends...thanks for joining me on this great american adventure. thanks for your prayers and well wishes as i traveled across this great land. i hope you enjoyed the journey as much as i did. stay tuned for more photography from the trip coming soon!


this land is your land...

...so i'd like to say 'thank you' for allowing me to cross it from one glorious coast to another. i just finished my second day of traveling back home to florida, and now that i have free internet access, i'd like to share that journey with you.

i started early monday morning in the beautiful state of oregon. there was a lot of snow, and not a lot of snow driving experience on my part. however, i persevered through the trials and tribulations of driving through a mountain pass in the pacific northwest in the middle of winter. and it looked a little something like this...

as you can see...beautiful, but dangerous. like a lady of the night.

however, once i moved into the golden land of california, everything cleared up nicely.

i made it to los angeles in roughly eleven hours, and stayed overnight with my second cousin. i think she's my second cousin...i never really learned how super extended family works. maybe she's a regular cousin twice removed...or once removed...or nonce removed. who knows? regardless...she gave me a warm bed, a warm heart and a warm belly full of food.

i departed early in the morning hoping to make it into texas by the end of the day. i won't spoil the surprise of whether or not i achieved that goal...but instead will invite you to join me on the journey and discover the answer for yourselves.

here's what the hollywood hills look like at 7:15 in the morning.

and here's the capitol records building at 7:28 in the morning.

california treated me well, and handed me over to arizona, where i spent most of my day. it's also where i encountered one adventure after another. for starters, i came across some really weird, really interesting trees. i'd never seen anything like them. i managed to grab a shot, despite being completely dumbstruck.

a few hours later, i came across some more interesting plant life. a cactus! i wasn't sure if i'd ever seen one before, so i took a photo, just to be safe. it looked exactly like this:

but mostly arizona looks like this:

after enjoying all this scenery for hours...and hours, i began to get a little hungry. before i could even begin to think about where or what to eat, exit 63 provided me an answer. in-n-out burger. the best burger joint in the world. the last time i was fortunate enough to sink my teeth into a slice of heaven was an in-n-out burger five years ago. actually it's more like four years and eight months...but who's counting? i cannot stress enough how amazing this place is. it's so amazing, they even have a SECRET MENU! also, the employees are always really friendly. especially the guys who took my order and made my burger. the picture says it all.


after lunch i was back on the road. and before long, i noticed something out of place. this:

what's wrong in that photo you ask? that 'police' truck is actually a border patrol truck. so, why is that a problem? well...the border was hundreds of miles away. AND he was speeding....but not towards the border. come to think of it...he could have been off duty. or it could have been an illegal immigrant with a wonderful sense of irony who stole the car.

after that, i drove through phoenix. it looks like this (though it's far less exciting in person)

the sun began to set, and as it did, i realized i liked arizona. and during a sunset it's beautiful.

i then made it into new mexico. and at the end of the day...i found myself (i guess it's find myself...) in el paso, tx. i had done it! i was in texas and one state closer to home. one ridiculously large state. a state i don't think i can cross in a single day. and now i'm going to bed. more to come over the next couple of days. thanks for joining me on my travels. it was great riding along with you. goodnight.

p.s. this was my attempt to take a shot of the 75mph speed limit sign (which is the greatest invention ever), but for some reason it took a 30 second exposure, providing me with this (a combination of head lights, brake lights and my feet):


travel update #1

i got snowed in. i got about 15 miles out of town, and the snow was getting worse and worse. i didn't like the thought of having to cross a mountain pass in about 2 hours, which was getting even more snow than around here. so i turned around and came back to the house. i checked the weather/highway report before i left and decided to disregard the severe weather warning, which stated: Through the Siskiyou Pass, snow will increase over the region through the morning as another potent winter storm enters the region. A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow... Sleet...and ice are expected or occurring. Strong winds are also possible. This will make travel very hazardous or impossible. Hazardous or impossible?...neither of those seem good.

I just checked the highway camera up around the pass and it's pretty nasty.

Check it out:

Unfortunately, there really isn't any other options as far as alternate routes go. And since chains are currently required, and the road is under a couple inches of snow, it looks as though I'm going to have to wait until Monday once the warning is lifted and some sunshine is expected.


you can never go home again...

...actually, that isn't true. i've been back home once (from china) and am doing the same thing again, this time coming home from oregon. the plan is to leave in the morning. the only thing that might mess things up is the weather. i might get snowed in for a couple of days, so we'll have to wait and see what the conditions are in the morning. currently, while taking the interstate through southern oregon, the requirement is to at least carry snow chains, which i don't have. and even if i did, i have no idea how to use them. my knowledge is centered more around flip-flops and beer.

regardless, i will be home at some point in the next two weeks. oregon is a great place...just not for me. at least not right now. i'm looking forward to being back amongst family and close friends. i'm going to try and do as much photography along the way as possible...maybe updating when i stop at night, maybe waiting until i'm home.

i'll keep all you readers (which is about three of you) posted on the travel schedule. for anyone in oregon, it was great being a part of life out here. for anyone at home, i'm looking forward to being a part of life there. for anyone anywhere else, i'm glad to be a part of life on the internet.