Posts tagged "America Fuck Yeah!"
In a way, America feels like it was immersion therapy. But no. That’s not quite right. More like the instinct that I had been honing, less quietly than my friends might have liked maybe, the instinct for impermanence and one long, seamless road folding into the horizon, it was right. It was what I needed. I needed weeks of waking, driving, sleeping, waking, driving, sleeping. An automaton set in one big loop. And then the piles of people on the drive down the west coast, two then three then just bodies everywhere in Jean’s one bedroom apartment, and the dinners and lunches and parties, and the talking and connecting: it breached something in me that would have remained inaccessible had it not been preceded by weeks in the desert, the mountains, the nowheres. I took Seabas with me, and we were almost completely silent some days, which I know was harder for him than it was for me, but that allowable silence, the sadness I was feeling, the plans I’d made for change once I got home - it was that exact combination that tripped some kind of wire. I feel like the darkest period of my entire life is behind me now, and it sounds so cavalier to say it, but if nothing else I’ve come to understand I need to expect, I need to trust. So, I’m trusting that by some strange alchemy, the therapy, the driving, the togetherness broke a year long (at least a year long) drought.
I still need time alone; I will always need to be alone for greater or lesser periods of time. I still spend hours reading meta analyses of popular culture. I still get awkward. I still look not like I want to look and can’t seem to quite get the momentum up to fix it. But I missed having a voice, and I missed my friends, and I missed using my body, and I have those things back, a little, hopefully more and more, and it’s not day-to-day anymore. There are plans and there is distance and there is everything I could ever need, just waiting to be taken, I’m just waiting to figure out how to take it. I need to just write more. I need to write more directly and not mistrust myself so much. I need to be awake more, I am both more awake and awake more than I have been in years. It’s not endless giddiness, it’s interest in life again, in the mindlessness of it, in the tomorrow of it, the next week, the next year.
The Specific Northwest
SHUT UP, IT’S A JOKE TITLE OK.
I left you in Seattle, all starry-eyed after the Chihuly exhibition. Seattle held a bit more drinking, the amazing Ace hotel (designed for and by hipsters, but in a good, clean way - stay there if you can), and headed south toward Oregon, and the alarming Mt Rainier. It sort of appeared suddenly as we turned a bend, and I didn’t know what it was, and it felt incredibly disorienting. This isn’t my photo, just from the googles, but look at this thing! It was shrouded in creepy, Middle Earthian fog also. I’ve since researched it and it’s apparently one of the most dangerous volcanos and is basically going to shoot it’s wad like any second. So. Enjoy the vista while you’ve still got eyeballs unsinged by molten lava, Washington.
Idaho to Washington via storm clouds and alcohol
I think I lost where I was up to, in terms of recording this trip. Twin Falls, ID was surprisingly waterfall-y. I didn’t realise it when I booked the hotel, it was just a place to stop on the road from Wyoming to Washington.
We had a good night that night, I went for a walk and Seabas got some time to himself, then he went for a walk and I opened the windows, put on Mazzy Star and read Craig Schuftan’s Entertain Us, which I want to make out with like Dobby wants to make out with Sirius’ dad’s pants.
We went over to Shari’s 24 hr diner around midnight, ordered teensy baby hamburgers and a PIE SHAKE, oh my god, they just put a piece of pie in a blender with ice cream and then you cry for hours because PIE SHAKE.
I took some photos this morning of our awesome hotel in Evanston. I put them on Instagram and the general consensus was somewhere between PORN!! and PSYCHO HOTEL!! But we really loved it, and there was no porn and certainly no dead mothers kept in locked rooms, so all’s well that ends well I suppose?
Anyway. Today we drove from Wyoming, through Utah and through to Twin Falls, Idaho. Annoyingly it was no stopping by the Welcome to Utah and Welcome to Idaho signs. I was devastated. The drive was trippy. Utah and Southeastern Idaho were so beautiful, it was like being underwater. The clouds and the long grass were pulled the same way, sort of casually, softly. A bit like jellyfish, a bit like floating, none of it seemed real. None of the photos really got it, but it was a dreamy drive. I had Fear of Girls on by Bluebottle Kiss (which Seabas wasn’t a fan of, but oh well), and it was all so submersed. Old and familiar.
Also, I wasn’t aware that that Twin Falls was a descriptive name - there are actually two waterfalls here, of which Shoshone Falls is the bigger. It’s 50ft higher than Niagara Falls, but smaller in every other way. It was really loud and really beautiful.
Our hotel in Twin Falls is really cute - we just went for a long swim, and a spa, and a sauna, because we are trying to live like John Travolta as much as possible.
Yesterday was a day of driving, so I didn’t get the chance to take many photos, but boy was it a relief watching desolate, terrifying southwest Wyoming (and all the things I’ve attached to it, and our awful hotel) start climbing into mountains and fresh air almost as beautiful as Colorado, and end up in the sweet town of Evanston, in a hotel that is super well-maintained but straight out of Mad Men. Will have to take some photos of the totally swinging lobby before we go.
We went a little ways into Bear River State Park yesterday, saw some buffalo (pictured :D), didn’t see any bears though. Did an obligatory Walmart shop because, duh, it’s Walmart and it’s amazing. This town has bright flower beds between every shop, buildings old enough to house colonial ghosts, and seriously the freshest air yet. I think the Rockies were a little too high, I was more light-headed than refreshed up in the alpine skyline, this town was running at a pleasant 70 degrees and the air is like water if that makes sense. It’s crisp like the air around our Easter, but remote enough to be entirely uncluttered with heavy city toxins. I like it here.
Today we begrudgingly tore ourselves away from Santa Fe and headed north to Colorado. Specifically, Alamosa. A tiny, tiny town on the Rio Grande, but it seems very sweet. We’re in a Comfort Inn on the literal edge of town; the view from our window is dust and the highway west. There was, however, an unexpectedly awesome pub/diner called the San Luis Valley Brewing Company. It was totally yummy and the menu was a newspaper. How grand!
Tomorrow is our big drive through the Rockies to end up in Fort Collins, CO. I wanted to detour to see the Shining hotel at Estes Park, but I’ll see how stabby I feel after that long a drive.
We stopped at the border of Colorado and New Mexico and took a bunch of stupid photos, like the one above. It was so, so, so windy. And lovely. 8000ft up, things get windy I guess.
Yesterday was Winslow, Arizona (the guest services book in our room listed the lyrics to “Take it Easy” - I was standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see - CLAIM TO FAME YO), which was a terrifying/wonderful itty-bitty Route 66 town. We had dinner at an honest-to-god small town diner called the Brown Mug Cafe. Red vinyl booths, a picture on the wall of Harrison Ford from when he ate there in like 1987, suspicious looks from the locals when we sat down. It was so tasty. But there was also a guy sitting in a plastic chair just down the street holding a board that said “Repent or Burn”. So. Oh but then there was a wedding, the bridesmaids of which wore cowboy boots with their green dresses and GHD curls. Amazing.
On the way to Santa Fe we drove through Bandera to see the Ice Cave. It’s part of a collapsed lava tube, from the neighbouring volcano. We didn’t have time to hike up the volcano, but we did venture down to the Ice Cave. It was like walking into a meat freezer, descending from 88 degrees down to 31 (fahrenheit, you do the math, I don’t know) in a matter of steps was really creepy but refreshing. I took one photo and it just turned out as a red screen, so I’m not entirely certain that wasn’t the work of a pissed off Ice Cave monster, but I’m trying not to think about it :\
Then through to Santa Fe, where we had booked massages because we fucking deserve them ok? Back off. And Santa Fe is amazing. For some reason I was picturing a town of skyscrapers and business - no idea where I got that idea from, because this town is AMAZING, tiny and amazing. Narrow streets, more art than you could ever even want to see, little villas everywhere, attractive people, and EVERYTHING IS COLOURFUL. SO much colour! Our hotel is the Luxx hotel, and it’s so comfy and well designed and lovely. And only like $20 more expensive then a shitty chain motel. Having said that, Santa Fe is ridic expensive. America in general is hell cheap, but this is like Sydney prices. Ew. Sydney.
That’s about all really. We had japanese for dinner and it was BABEIN TASTY, and we’re saving the yummy New Mexican feast for lunch tomorrow (it’s a short drive tomorrow, to Alamosa Colorado). Currently sacked out on the comfiest bed watching X Men. Yes we explored the town after dinner, we didn’t just come straight back here to watch X-Men ok.
We set out just before 4am today, determined to - for once - live up to Beverley’s GPS expectations of our traveling time. We needed to be in Page, AZ for our Canyon cruise by 7am, a 2.5 hour drive from Flagstaff where I’d (heh heh) accidentally messed up the dates and booked us.
It was felicitous though; watching the landscape change from pre-dawn to dawn to daylight, across the eerie Mars-fields and Moon-fields of Nowhere, AZ (not a real place, don’t google it), the windy plateaus of plaited long grass, the sheer cliff face of the backs of mountains, hunched away from us, the one road dead-on, the abandoned art stalls, the unlikely drop of houses miles and miles apart…watching all of it emerge from night and into that really fine morning light was so beautiful.
The boat cruise itself, on Lake Powell, a man-made lake that flows through Glen Canyon across Utah and Arizona, was sunny, creepy, quiet and weird. Imagine the Grand Canyon filled with water, then imagine snaking down a side corridor, slow enough to leave no wake, to not disturb the wildlife that isn’t even there, and eventually come to a cove of surrounding smooth rock cliffs, red and orange and white. There were large bass fish, actually, but that’s it. The short hike up to Rainbow Bridge was tiring but worth it. It’s a gigantic, natural bridge of rock, tall enough to fit the Capitol done under, wide enough to fly planes through, and entirely sacred to the Native American people.
Today we found the sea in the desert. Technically (I’ve since discovered) it’s a “shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault”, leftover from a flood in 1905. But it’s well salty, and huge, and has a beach. So. We found the sea in the desert.
Three hours after leaving the airport in Inglewood, and peeling south-east toward Yuma through the hazy summer’s day, it was a distant glimmering that caught Seabas’ eye. After a few wrong starts (on one I managed to pull up alongside the only feature for a kilometre or so, a giant beehive), we found a road that lead down to the water. It was at the end of a long, narrow road, bordered by run-down motor-homes and fibro tenements, cars parked but no people at all, signs erected but to things that I don’t think had existed for many years.
After poking tentatively at the wire door of a dilapidated restroom block in the middle of an equally dilapidated car park, which seemed to hold an awful lot of empty paper towel rolls on the floor and muddy footprints and ok that’s as far as I go, I realised there was actually a shop back near the car. I went to check it out while Seabas braved the murder toilets, and as I stepped in about 14 heads swivelled on necks away from the television and set their 14 pairs of eyes (not unfriendly, just surprised) on me as the door bell rang - flushed and unsure, not to mention tattooed, pierced and alone.
They were fine, though, the lady behind the counter directed me to the much less SVU-location-scout’s-dream toilets down the back. When I came back I asked where the beach actually was, and was told it was just at the end of the carpark, and with a smile was warned to wear shoes if wading into the water, because there were thousands of bones. I pulled a fairly epic “oh! if you think about it, that sounds rather ominous!” face, which seemed lost on her (fair enough really), and away we set, down to the water’s edge.
I cannot describe properly the sense of dislocation at standing on the shore of what smells like the ocean, a not-insignificant one that stretches past the horizon and everything, after sweating through the desert outskirts of south-eastern California, and soon we would skirt close to the border of Mexico, from stark shrubs to honest-to-god sand dunes and the unending black fence of Border Control. It’s just not where it should be.
I ended up driving for about 9.5 hours today, after shopping trips and desert beach stops and lunch and traffic and Beverley’s (our GPS’) unconventional approach to “fatest time” route planning (take a note, Beverley, driving for half an hour on a parallel service road with a speed limit 20 miles slower than that of the Interstate you took me from and can still see is not going to win you my heart). It was too much for the first day; not stress wise (pharmaceutically unstressful, actually), just distance. There are a couple of days like this, but not too many thankfully.
So we ended up at the resort, which is a two-apartment affair with two bathrooms, two televisions, a private patio with a hot tub and like 12 phones. It’s incredible. I want to take photos but they’ll look lame. I popped a hip trying to climb aboard this bed for god’s sake, it’s fantastic.
Tomorrow we are headed for Flagstaff, but not until after the massages, spa treatments and other general 1% behaviour.
Today we were all awake at 7, bodies still adjusting I guess, though it’s 3am now and I’ve already been to bed and woken up again so. Maybe not there just yet. We sacked out in front of the TV for a while and drank Jean’s pod coffee, had breakfast…it was nice.
So it’s pride weekend in LA, and the parade started outside Jean’s house and went up along Santa Monica Blvd. This seemed as good a reason as any to start drinking Champagne at 11am…Jean’s lovely friends Hayley and Elizabeth joined us, so we went to have a look at the parade, did $1 jelly shots, laughed at the four lonely jesus freaks protesting, walked to Elizabeth’s house and met The. Most. Incredible. Dog. In. Existence. Lola is a Pyrenees I think, and the kindest, funniest, most opinionated dog I’ve ever met. I’ve met people less interesting and sweet than her. I swear to god, it hurts me that she’s not mine.
Anyway then pub lunch, stroll home, nap, then off to Beverly Hills for dinner at Pink Taco, a super yummy Mexican restaurant, and to the cupcake ATM for dessert, which is exactly what it sounds like. Believe me, a half hour wait in a queue to buy a peanut butter chocolate chip cupcake from a machine in a wall is A GOOD WAY TO SPEND TIME.
Tonight Jean introduced us to the wonder of Battlestar Galactica, which quite frankly I can’t believe I haven’t watched before.
I dunno, this isn’t particularly amusing, but then writing on an iPhone at 3am isn’t really the most conducive set-up I guess.
Tomorrow is shopping day and exploring Hollywood while Jean’s at work. Yay holidays!!!!