A wild, wet and wacky week-long escape from the bleak Arizonan landscape which spanned the whole of Spring Break 2001. Yes, while all the rest of the college kids I knew were driving to California and Mexico to spend a drunken week trying to get laid, I was heading up to Vancouver, BC, where apparently alcohol, pornography, American apples, juggling chainsaws for money, left-hand turn lanes, and everything else you can think of (besides weed and public nudity) are strictly verboten.

What's that? You heard that there were five people in that motley, Canada-bound crew? And you claim that Jeeves and I only constitute two? Well, first of all, if I were to have listed all five people in the title, I wouldn't have been able to make such a culturally significant allusion. And finally, the other three (nikka, Kasefrau and Delvan, if you must know) aren't really noders in any serious sense... just because there's a single dead corpse in your freezer, that doesn't make you a "murderer" -- it's just something you dabbled with back when you were younger.

But enough of these trivialities. My present plan is to type up the contents of this here trip journal, but I may split them up into seperate nodes later on, depending on whether or not I feel like it. Yes, that's right, you'll be reading the unadulterated, highly personal thoughts and words of a person you've probably never seen. (edited for content, language, crimethink and length, then compiled by a panel of monkeys with typewriters to make sure the letter patterns were sufficiently random).

Background: The Arizona Five set out at around 1pm on Saturday, March 10, 2001, heading West on I-10 from Phoenix, AZ. Upon reaching California, the navigators became horribly confused as a result of all the radon in the air in Blythe, and made a series of foolish decisions. As a result of all the chaos, it didn't occur to me to bust out the journal until Monday morning. But you're not missing much... mainly Bakersfield and the evil, evil Temblor Mountain Range.

3/12/01 10:19am*
Events of note that took place in the past 21 hours (in no particular order):

  • LDS Temple in San Fransisco - After about half an hour of driving aimlessly along the side of the mountain (looking for said temple), I remarked that maybe we shouldn't hope to find things in large cities that we don't have maps of. And sure enough, we managed to stumble upon it a few minutes later. The nice lady at the visitor's center reminded me of the way people act at Toastmasters, as did everyone else I saw there. She pressed a button on a remote control and the Jesus statue started talking. Then she put us in a room with astral pictures and mirrors, and a voice told us that the Church would show us our meaning in life (nothing against the Mormon church or its members, but this whole thing seemed very hokey). Then we went outside and walked around the Temple proper. Very expensive looking. For some reason, I couldn't get the song "Opiate" out of my head. I called my parents collect and let them know that we hadn't been in an accident yet.
  • Getting out of San Fransisco - This was, quite honestly, a fucking nightmare. I'm not even going to think about it right now. (What happened was, we spent about an hour trying to find an on-ramp to "either 80 North or 80 West", since the portion of the I-80 we wanted headed northwest around where we were. Unfortunately, what we really wanted was the 80 East, so we spent another hour crossing the Oakland<->San Fransisco toll bridge twice)
  • The Beach - This was the high point of the journey so far. Granted, lots of other things have been nice to look at, but here I got to interact with the water and sand, and see natural processes at work. (the beach in question was somewhere off the Pacific Coast Highway, roughly in between San Luis Obispo and San Jose, and was relatively free of people)
  • The Barbeque - My dad would've been so proud. At the campsite, I built a grill-sized fire and made hot dogs for everyone. (said campsite was at Castle Crags, about 40 miles north of Redding, CA on the I-5. Snow on the ground, lots of trees, and working showers!)
  • 20 Questions - Annikka seemed bored, so I started up this game (you know, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral) to pass the time. To the best of my recollection, the objects were: lettuce, lettuce, windshield wipers, telephone, metronome, the letter J, and a rock shaped like a head of lettuce. A grand time was had by all, and my diabolical final object kept everyone busy for the last 40 miles into Redding.

3/12/01 12:34pm
Based on my interpretations of the words of Jerry Mander, Bill Hicks, Maynard Keenan and Timothy Leary, the concept of a belief system is now analogous in my mind to mental masturbation. "I know the reason why things are the way they are, and I'm going to use that knowledge to live happily, and I'm going to try to make others believe the same thing, and I'm going to be further rewarded by ______ for my righteous deeds."

Am I already an atheist? I tell myself I believe that someone must have made all this stuff interconnect so perfectly...

And it's not even a crisis, but merely musing, wondering what way it will turn out, how my brain will decisively arrange this particular series of connections/associations.

It just occurred to me that Nietzche** said long ago that "religion is the opiate of the masses." Was my statement at the top of the preceding page a conclusion I drew independently? I've heard the quote perhaps a dozen times, but wasn't thinking of it when the other thought occurred to me. How much inspiration/plaigarism am I not aware of?

It's probably a moot point anyway, since Nietzche inspired Tool, and to varying degrees, the rest of the others whose words drove me to the thought patterns I experienced 20 minutes ago. Indirect inspiration from the nihilist, at the very least

Good guy/bad guy projections, the root of some of my biggest interpersonal difficulties, was imposed on me by Ninja Turtles, Mario Bros, Tom and Jerry, Inspector Gadget, and various other fabricated, non-sensical mini-realities. (I was reading Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television throughout the trip, hence some of the word choice in the past two entries)

Alright, less philosophizing and more event recording. Our stop in Eugene, Oregon was by far the nicest experience we've had in any city so far. The first thing we did was pull into a gas station, where Jeeves was politely asked to get back inside the car while an attendent pumped our gas. For some reason, it seems to be full service here, and gas is also somewhat cheaper. We next stopped at Wendy's, and I was shocked when I ordered a 99 cent menu item and only had to pay (gasp!) 99 cents. There's no sales tax in Oregon. I ran across the street to buy a map of Portland at the 7-11, and stopped on the way back to buy some flowers from a guy on the median, since we'd discussed wanting to have gifts for our hosts.

3/13/01 5:31pm
We stopped at another Mormon temple, and are now about to get back on the I-5 North, to drive back through Portland, and onto Seattle and eventually Vancouver sometime to-night. Famed noder P_I is in the navigator's seat, telling Annikka about his voting philosophy.

Portland is a great city. One more visit might convince me to move there after college.

3/14/01 10:50am
The minutes of the HE2PC:

for your convinience, this part of the log is listed here

3/14/01 6:57pm
We've spent the past seven hours tramping around Vancouver. Things of interest:

  • Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant
  • Chinatown
  • Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Park
  • Landscape Architecture, generally
  • Stanley Park
  • Seagulls, Canadian geese, swans, two herons

3/15/01 4:05pm
On I-5 South, heading back to Portland. The windshield wipers keep coming loose, so Jeeves chewed up some gum and stuck that to their ends (we discovered later that someone removed and threw away the clips that hold them in place).
We went the the Chinese bakery this morning and bought some very tasty baked goods. We also went to the "world famous" ice cream shop in Vancouver's industrial sector, which has 188 flavors. These included wasabi, three varieties of durian, purple yam, granny smith apple, and wood.

3/15/01 8:30pm
Since it got dark a little over an hour ago, I examined the Portland map for a while, but have since then just been letting my mind wander, miscellaneous sounds, images and words flowing through my mind, few recorded in my memory. Alone in my room, the surroundings are dull and lifeless... here, I have moving silouhettes and vehicles, and varying sounds resulting from air friction and tires speeding along the asphalt. kind of similar to tripping, actually... I just don't need a foreign substance in my brain to make things seem more interesting. Meditation? The kind of state talented artists achieve when they create? The natural state of man?... not focused intentely on silly things brought to have importance because of other men's $100,000-a-minute influences during the formative years? I can't see what I'm writing, so the beginning of a sentence is lost to it's end.
We're now in Oregon.

3/16/01 9:26am
We're driving away from Portland, east on I-84, which will take us to Boise, then to Ogden, UT before we have to change freeways. I read a poem by Ogden Nash at ideath's house on Monday that I actually "got" to a certain degree. I heard very cool indie music at her house both times, and made a point to write down a list of band names last night so I can expand my horizons a little more.

Dream-like hallucinations: "Someone's talking to Jeeves" "A town named Jeeves would call you something. They'd probably throw you away."

I've been becoming more aware of the nonsensical, freely associative images and words that enter my mind prior to sleep lately, and I now occassionally try to produce thoughts like these on purpose to speed up the process of falling asleep. But I don't want to fall asleep now, because Oregon is a wonderful place for me. We're driving between two mountain ranges alongside a river, with light rain on and off.

"(muppet show) "Yeah, those people in the audience all spoke.... where are you all from, Canadia?"
"The muppet show's not two hours, is it?"

/me starts shaking his head IRL before realizing he is responding to a hallucination

I only got some 3 hours of sleep, due to an interest in watching Kenny look at the van's tape deck last night.

:Kevin receives a phone call, and reminds the other person of the party there had been at his house on Friday

Ay, I'd best get some Z's

3/16/01 5:38pm
I've been pondering ideath's reason for giving me this box of Pop-Its, temporarily considering the idea that she had a reason worth pondering. Initially, I just figured, "Hey, this cool person I recently met is giving me a toy and a memento... cool."
Oops... I fell asleep and now it's dark.

3/17/01 5:42pm
On I-15, heading back to Phoenix. We put in Kathy's tape, and after getting pissed off once, the tape player has been behaving for about three hours now. Problems do have solutions, you know. The traffic in downtown Salt Lake City sucks rocks, and I was very happy to have music (particularly, the album OK Computer) for the 30-40 minute lag in getting out of town. It's supposed to be a 14-hour drive back to Phoenix, which would put us there by around 4am, so Jeeves is trying to make up for it by going 90 down this middle-of-nowhere-ous freeway.
Salt Lake City was relatively boring for me... big buildings and artwork without interpretable, metaphoric or hidden meaning do no particularly impress me much.

6:26pm After a week with next to no music, songs I've gotten used to take on a certain novelty... as if my music-listening mode is out of practice. The first few songs off Aenima seemed much longer than usual, and the details and words stood out more. I may start taking musical sabbaticals... or perhaps spending time only listening to songs that are new, every once in a while.

And then, we finally rolled into Phoenix at around 3:30am, after getting pulled over just once for speeding, and stopping another time in Junction, UT to buy some food at a Subway.

And that's all she wrote. And I hear you musing, "Is that really all he wrote about Vancouver? It seemed like that had been the main reason for the trip, and yet he barely talked about it. What's up with that?" And the sad truth is, I was too busy while I was there to have much time to take notes... and when I did have time, I was busy recording the events in Portland before my ever-diminishing memory reserves knocked the details out the top of the stack. What's more, I only ended up taking one picture the entire time I was there.

But I just see it as incentive to go back eventually. And if you really want to know what it's like up there, you'll have to go yourself.

* Most times are given in Mountain Standard Time, making them an hour earlier than the times perceived by any accomplices who joined us along the Pacific Coast. But some times might be PST as well.

** Pseudo_Intellectual has informed me that it was Karl Marx who made the following statement... so now we all see what a buffoon I truly am. My apologies to the memories of both men.

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