The Civic's Last Gasp?

Trip end July 18, 2006, 3:15 PDT. Final location: Hayward, CA (end trip). Log continues here.

Time traveling: 19.5 days (includes time servicing car)
Miles driven: 9400 - 200 (car repair detour) - 60
New North American stores: 150
Recognition ratio: 70/142
Visual recognition: 10
Coffee consumed: (X - 12) * 4 + 12 = 564 oz + 12 oz French press + 4 DoubleShot + 1 Americano
Spent on coffee: $18.28 (includes 1 Gloria Jean's)
Spent on victuals: $282.68 (excludes 8 cases of Tradewinds)
Spent on gas: $772.75
Spent on tolls/parking: $33.95
Car repair/maintenance: $861.90 + $11.88 (motor oil)
Medication: 6 fake Excedrin, 7 allergy, 6 cold/flu, 1/2 yellow

June 28, 2006

Starting mileage: 226706

An offer of a job in California was imminent, and the comics I was listing on eBay were fetching paltry sums, so I decided to relieve the tedium of having been in Houston for a week by setting off for a Scrabble tournament in Albany. This would allow me to clear out many of the Starbucks in the eastern half of the country in case I ended up working on the west coast for half a year or more.

I left about 9:40 on Wednesday night with the intention of arriving in Albany on Saturday morning for Scrabble.

June 29

Forced to abort the trip to Albany because of the clutch, I debated what to do while I waited 24 hours for my car to be fixed. Had lunch with my friend Howard at a new Cafe Brazil, a local chain that seemed to be taking over the city. Talk about following the Starbucks model.

Howard droped me off at Enterprise near the Hondew Shop, and then things got interesting. The Enterprise shop next to BMW didn't have any available cars, so I was driven up about half a mile to another branch. At that branch the manager told me that she couldn't rent to me for two reasons--I did not yet have my permanent drivers licensed with my new name, and even if she accepted the court order indicating the name change, the name on my credit card would not match. I called somebody named "Lance" at the corporate office, and I had then drive me back to the Hondew shop to pick up that court document. Then I walked up Central to the Budget office. I immediately showed the Budget branch manager the court document, my old (cut-up) licensed, my new temporary paper license, and all my bank cards. After some puzzled looks, he agreed to rent me the car, but when he punched my DL number into the computer he said it was declined. I had never experienced this, and when I called the DMV with the reference number I learned that Budget would not rent to me until October 19th because of 3 or more moving violations with 24 months. The inanity of the corporate mentality never ceased to amazed me.

The manager had a shuttle drive me back up to the original Enterprise location, and there I learned that the manager of the other branch had called around to all the area offices and told them not to rent to me, referring to me as a "suspicious renter". That pissed me off. I called the "loss prevention" department and spoke to "Joe". Despite a lengthy explanation and faxing over copies of my documents, he still would not authorize the rental. But he did say that the staff should not have used to the term "suspicious renter" and that he would address that issue. Whether he was just saying that to placate me, who's to say.

One more try, Hertz, but they had no cars, so I walked about 45 minutes up to the Campbell & US-75 store and called over to the Whataburger to see if the Scrabble club was still meeting. One of to players drove over to pick me up, and after club ended another member put me up at her spacious place.

June 30

Around 10:00 my benefactor drove me back to Campbell & US-75, where I hung out until it was time to walk over to the DART station and catch a train down to Spring Valley, from where I walked over to Hondew.

I decided it was time to make a detour to Eastland. By the time I left Dallas, it was too late to reach the store before sundown. Conveniently, there was a Wal-Mart Supercenter less than a mile from the store. Upon arriving, I immediately went inside to find something to sate my mighty thirst, a thirst that demanded flavor. I discovered a new product Earthbound Farm brand oranic lemonade. It was pretty good, albeit stronger than I like it. Of course, that's easily fixed with some water.

The air temperature at 10:30 felt only slightly warmer than the night before, but during the day the back of my car had absorbed a lot of that Dallas heat. I sweated for a while, and then I decided that out in the Wal-Mart parking lot I was far enough away from vegetation (and stinging insects) to risk cracking my windows. That helped, and the car cooled enough that had to close them back up and even pull out a blanket during the night.

July 1

Nuts. I should know better than to hesitate. Half I sleep, I made the mistake of looking up the route to Austin on my map before taking a photo of the Eastland Starbucks. In those 60 seconds, a yellow convertible pulled into a parking space and ruined my shot. I waited about 10 minutes, but the convertible was there to stay. And I got bit by a mosquito!

A big ol' can o' soup. Not what I'd expect to see out in nowhere, Texas, so far from New York City.

From Eastland my map showed two shortest routes down to Austin. I figured Highway 6 would be faster, so I took I-20 one exit west to pick it up. Along the way I stopped for a to-go breakfast at the Highway 6 Diner.

Dammit! I had intended to take US-281 to SR-71 to the Slaughter & Escarpment store, but I zoned out in Lampasas and failed to realize I needed to make a turn to stay on 281. Instead, I ended up on US-183, a route I had already driven.

I reshot a couple of stores in northwest Austin/Cedar Park, and then I caught up with a massage therapist from way back. Then I remembered that I had to have my car inspected before I left for California, and I drove around looking for a place. I finally found on on South Lamar, with only an hour wait, but when I went to the car to retrieve my insurance card I couldn't find it. I looked all over the place, and I tried feverishly to remember what I had done with it. I had had it as recently as June 6 when I renewed the registration on my car. Had I thrown it away by mistake? Had the agent forgotten to return it? No way to know, but that didn't really matter. I needed to get that card by Monday at the latest. My local insurance office was of course closed on Saturday, but I was able to get ahold of customer service for Farmer's, and they were able to fax the renewal certificate to the auto shop. Whew!

Meanwhile, the car had developed a rattle that seemed to get worse. I called Hondew and learned they would indeed be open Monday. Of course having to wait 'til then would cost me time off my trip, plus the miles to detour back to Dallas.

I headed over to visit Slaughter & Escarpment, which I discovered is only the second "green" Starbucks in the country. When I left I could have taken Slaughter all the way out to I-35, but when I reached Loop 1 (Mopac) I noticed it continued south (not on my map) and I got curious to see if it looped all the way back around to I-35 yet. Nope. I drove several miles only to see the road turn into SR-45, also not on my map, and had to turn right back around.

I visited the four new stores in San Antonio before the sun set, and then I headed downtown to see if I could find free parking so I could spent some time at the Hear Music store. I drove around the block looking for parking, but I found none, and I wasn't surprised. Didn't want to pay for parking just to check out the second floor of the store, so I continued eastbound to the interstate.

About forty miles later, my jaw dropped. Un-fucking-believable! Earlier, while looking at my San Antonio photos to see which stores merited reshooting, I noticed some mislabeled photos. At least that's what I assumed, that they had just been mislabeled. But the truth was the photos for San Pedro & Rector and Northstar Mall were missing. I distinctly remember taking the photos before traveling to a Scrabble tournament in Salado, but I had not idea how they could have been lost. I had taken a photo of the New Braunfels store immediately after those two, and that photo was still on my computer. So how did I screw up those other two???

Holy shit what the fuck was that??? Scared the shit out of me! Thankfully the SUV in front of me saw it first, swerved, and gave me some advance warning, and gave the creature time to get out of the way. It wasn't a deer. Too low to the ground. Some kind of wild cat is my best guess. Do they have those along I-10 east of San Antonio?

I stopped at a picnic area, and I had to wonder just how many people actually used it for picnics given the distinct urine smell (that I was contributing to), at least out by the road. Maybe out in the grass it wasn't so pungent.

July 2

I reached Houston about 9:00 and spent the next 8 hours packaging comic books, importing CDs onto my hard drive (because I decided to travel to California without them), and fishing around for anything else I meet need for the duration of my contract. I finally left the house around 5:30, relieved that I was still able to reach new stores in League City and Galveston before sunset. A brief stop at a Shell along I-45 near Spring to deliver some comics to a guy who lived nearby, and then I was off towards Dallas. I surprised myself by being able to drive the whole way despite fatigue. The primary reason for my stop in Dallas was to have the shop fix the rattle noise coming from my engine, but I also needed to stop at a drivers license office to see if they could remove the "NONE" from my license or put something more meaningful, like NO-LAST-NAME. The office that opened earliest, at 7:00, happened to be near a Starbucks I needed to rephotograph, at I-30 and Broadway in Garland, so I headed over there and parked along the street next to the apartment complex where I had parked during my previous visit.

July 3

Despite my level of fatigue, once I noticed that the sky was light, shortly after 6:00, I found myself anxious and decided to get up. At the forefront of my mind was whether I had wasted time and given up sleep for nothing, or whether I would find a DPS agent sensible enough to put a more meaningful last-name placeholder on my license. No luck. I got a dottering old lady who insisted over and over that I have to have a last name. I kept telling her according to a judge in Texas I didn't. She would not make a change without calling tech support, which didn't open 'til 8:00, so I left and headed over to Hondew. Turns out Hondew didn't open 'til 8:00 either, and I sighed and wondered whether I could sleep for 30 minutes. Then it occurred to me to try a different drivers license office, the one in Carrollton, to see if I'd have better luck. I raced over there to find a good-sized line. But I never had to get in that line, because at the information counter a state trooper had me explain my situation, and he looked at my court order and went back to talk to another staff member. They discussed it for a while, and I overheard that most of the single-name cases involved a last name with no first name. For those cases, a code exists, FMU, FNU, FMNU, or something like that, that causes nothing to be printed for a first name. So I asked them if they could do that, and thankfully the trooper didn't get into the specifics of whether the court order specified a first or last name, and they went ahead and changed it.

That whole ordeal illustrates an important principle. When dealing with government bureaucracy, the letter of the law or rule is not the only thing that matters, because who you deal with can make a difference. And if one person tells you "no", go ask somebody else.

Usually 180 miles in the middle of the day wouldn't be a problem, but the missed sleep was taking its tool, and I was really struggling on the way to Shreveport. About 100 miles west I had to pop half a yellow pill.

Finally! At 5:35 CDT I left Texas and entered Louisiana! Not that it was great to be in Louisiana, mind you. It's just Texas is so large that leaving always feels like achieving a milestone.

As I approached the first store my radio picked up a Christian music station. The song sounded pretty good, and I instinctively began to add my own elements. As good as the production on Christian pop/rock usually is, it's even better peppered with heavy base and hip-hop tinged "YEAH!!!" and "UH-HU". Need to get Dr. Dre in on that action. Have him produce Amy Grant.

Finally got sick of driving around with no tunes, or sucky music, in between cities, and replaced my Belkin Tunecast.

I could have driven farther, but I figured I might as well catch up on sleep, so around 9:30 I stopped at a rest area about 80 miles east of Jackson, and there I had a revelation. While shifting around a box of comics I still needed to ship (awaiting payment), it occurred to me that I could put it between the front and back seat to try and extend my sleeping space. It worked. With the two pillows, I didn't feel uncomfortable at all, and I was able to stretch out completely! I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before. I'd been mention to people for two years how the Civic was great except I needed a couple more inches of sleeping space, and I could have had them all along!

July 4

Got rolling at 6:35 after waking from a strange dream, a first for me I think. I was in a stock car race and doing so well that I could afford to let cars get a head start just to make the race seem competitive. I wondered what had triggered the dream. Was it having seen the movie Cars the previous week, or was it a reference to Talladega in the news, or was it the trailer for Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby? I sure hoped it wasn't the latter, because I would prefer not to have silly Will Ferrell movies insidously worming their way into my brain.

What a coincidence--there's Talladega right on my map, near Oxford, AL, where I need to visit a Starbucks. Is there something significant that is supposed to happen to me in Talladega?

Another coincidence, while I sat at a Starbucks outside Jackson I received a mySpace message from a hot chick who purported to be in Memphis. I figured it was spam, but I responded anyway with my phone # and said I could be in Memphis, just up I-55, in a few hours. Needless to say, she never called, and I continued east towards Birmingham. On the way I debated whether to detour up to Hunstville and possibly Nashville before Atlanta, or down to Columbus and Macon. What finally determined my decision was that the Perimeter Mall store was closing at 6:00 because of the holiday, and there is no point detouring to visit a store if that's going to mean missing out on a closer one.

As I approached the new Birmingham store, I realized I had miscalculated. To reach the Perimeter Mall by 6:00, I'd have to maintain 80 MPH for 153 miles and spend just a few minutes at the two stores in between wasn't going to happen. So I figured after Oxford I might as well head down to Columbus. The route would take me off the interstate, and I hoped I would find a good local place to eat that was open during the holiday.

That feeling of freedom, woo hoo!!!

My chances for good food were looking slim so I stopped for victuals at the Wal-Mart in Roanoke. I spotted something new, "value pack" of five Power Bars. But when I checked the price, I noticed that the five sold for a whole two cents less than buying them individually. What a bargain!!!

I pulled out from the Wal-Mart onto the highway just in time for a Roanoke cop to catch up to me. I had to sweat it out for a couple of miles, eye constantly in the rearview mirror, until the cop finally turned off. Cops. Grrr...

When I finally reached I-185 to Columbus I worked out the distance to Macon and realized I would barely make it by 9:00. I made up some time following cars doing 80-90+ MPH, but it was still looking iffy for Macon, so I called the store and spoke to the manager. Fortunately he had heard of me and was going to be staying late anyway to do some organizing. US-80 moved pretty quick in between towns, 55-70 MPH, and I was right on schedule with minutes to spare, until I reached Macon that is. The small one-lane streets that I needed to take to reach the store were busier than I would have expected. Holiday traffic, I guess, and I didn't reach the store until 9:02. But they were still open, so all was good.

At the other Macon store one of the baristas asked me if I accepted followers. I assume he meant he wanted to become my disciple. I really need to put together a holy text that I can give to people who are interested.

July 5

Around 6:46 I felt completely zonked and wasn't sure why because I had been in "bed" for nearly 8 hours (if not sleeping the entire time). Since I was going to hit Atlanta rush hour anyway, I tried to go back to sleep. My mind wandered for 15 minutes, and I suddenly remembered the time change. That's why my body felt zonked. Duh!

Out of curiosity I asked about a shower. $9! Two dollars higher than the last time I showered at truck stop. At that price, it was hard to justify unless absolutely necessary. For $10 to $15 more, in some places, a half-hour massage could be found, with the shower free.

Reports of traffic delays (of course), so I detoured to reshoot the second Fayetteville store, which happened to be the first I ever shot with my D-50.

Starting to smell pretty ripe though, especially my shirt. I had only worn it since Sunday night, and not even most of the time, only when entering a Starbucks or other business. But because of the heat it was already smelling mighty gamy.

It was just before 9:30 when I left the new Douglasville store and headed back east towards the city. About 9 miles west, approaching the Perimeter, traffic was still pretty heavy. Surprise, surprise.

Before breakfast I had to make a unusual stop, at the AIDS Survival Project, for an HIV test. I had already had my regular test 2 months prior and was not worried, but I had had brief, very brief, like 1/2 second, contact with a girl who decided she didn't want to go that far and then became worried about the possibility of catching a disease. In my mind, the chances of catching something from a 1/2 second contact, even if I had not tested negative just two months earlier, were pretty much nil. But the only way I could assuage her was to promise to send her the results of a test, and so there I was.

Finally, my mandatory Flying Biscuit breakfast!

As I was leaving the Piedmont & Sydney Marcus store, which I would later learn is Atlanta's 100th, I waited at the light and saw an attractive young woman walking towards the intersection with a roller suitcase. Suddenly it seemed like she looked at me and said "No, thank you,", which was puzzling because I hadn't said anything. I had made a motion with my hand, bringing the potatoes and eggs to my mouth with my fork, but it didn't seem like she would have noticed that. They I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a man in a green BWM-ish convertible. I decided he must have offered her a ride, not realizing, like I had immediately concluded, that she didn't seem like the type Piedmont store, girl got off shuttle, suitcase, type of girl that probably won't take a ride from a stranger, but the in the nice car (BMW?) behind me, wearing rose-colored glasses, asked her anyway.

Hell yeah, 88.5 college radio, fly beats!!!

Called my cousin Francisco, but he was busy at lunch with a friend. I explained that hadn't been able to call in advance because I really had no idea when I'd be rolling through the city.

Before the new Alpharetta stopped to reshoot Old Milton Pkwy. Had an e-mail from the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported who had previously gotten in touch with Bill. Spent about 20 minutes on the phone with her, and by the time I left for the new Alpharetta store I knew I'd leave Atlanta much later than expected. Heavy traffic along SR-120 out to I-35 delayed me even further.

The new Greenville store, downtown, was in a building adjacent to a riverwalk, still in progress. Across from the Starbucks was a bridge that I was told is unique because it is suspended only on one end.

Had been looking forward to my return to Stax's, where I expected to find a hearty meal at a good price. I was not disappointed. The selection of vegetables was different, pinto beans instead of great northern, but along with creamed (not mashed) potatoes and sliced tomatoes, the glazed ham tasted mighty fine indeed. The cornbread wasn't as good as what I've found in soul food restaurants, but it warn't nothing to complain about neighther.

I sat at the counter, one seat over from a man, 30s maybe. White, of course. The entire place was lily white. Wait... wait... yeah, behind a column there was a flash of dark skin. Anyway, the man started chatting with me. With his glasses, tan shorts, and red polo shirt, he kind of reminded me of a more slender Brian Cappalletto. I wondered why he chose to speak to me. Didn't seem like he was gay, nor particular lonely, the two primary reasons that a man will talk to a stranger. The staff seemed to know him. I finally decided he was just being friendly, maybe trying to represent for his southern people.

Finally finished The Grapes of Wrath. How about that last scene. Powerful stuff.

Crap! Forgot I needed to reshoot Greer. Could have gotten there from Greenville along US-29 instead of heading tto the interstate. Oh, well, they tell me more stores are going up in Greenville, so I'll get another crack.

As I headed towards Charlotte I started working out logistics. The stores were spread out, with one right near I-85, four to the south along I-485, and one up north. I wasn't going to be able to visit them all that night, plus I wanted to take daylight photos in the morning anway, and this meant I might get caught in rush hour traffic as I headed from the south to the north along I-77. I finally decided my best bet was to skip the Wilkinson store, the closest one, and head directly to the south to try and visit as many of those four stores as I could at night, thus allowing me to get underway quicker in the morning. I called the first store Northlake Commons, to see if the southwest segment of I-485 between I-77 and I-85 had been completed. The barista said it had, but she seemed to think it would be quicker to take a different route. Her words didn't make sense to me, and we went back and forth until I finally zoomed in on the dot and realized it had been misplotted. Way misplotted. The zip code was wrong, and the store was actually clear across the city, on the north side. That was actually good, because that meant I only had three stores to visit south of the city.

I was in and out of the Carolinas Medical South store quickly, but just as I was about to speed away I ran in a small problem. The car wouldn't start! NOOOOOO!!! Without missing a beat, I quickly lowered the window and started pushing the car backwards up a slight incline. When the incline leveled off I managed to pick up some speed, and just to see what would happen I hopped in and tried to bump start it in reverse. It worked. I'd never before done that.

I made it to the next two stores with nary a minute to spare. I left the engine running at Ballentyne, but at Blakeney I just pointed it down an incline. On the way it had occurred to me to check the oil, and, sure enough, it was really low. I added a quart. It started!!! Yay!!!

I went off in search of a new neighborhood. That last Starbucks was on the outskirts of the southeast side of Charlotte, and so I figured there would be expansion construction. I parked in front of a house-in-progress on a cul-de-sac and slight incline. Perhaps because of my previous NC experience, I found myself a little anxious about cops. Every light I saw in the distance I imagined to be that of a resident with his fingers on 911 at that very moment. I even imagined that one light was coming closer to me, like a flashlight, but after I drove down the road to check it out, I realized it was a tree branch that was moving, not the light.

July 6

Around 5:30 I decided that since the Starbucks was open, I might as well head over there and avoid any hassles with early-morning construction crews. The neighborhood was like a maze, and since the streets were new and not on my map, it took me about 10 minutes to find my way out. A few days earlier I'd heard a report about how ants find there way back to their nests by keeping track of steps and direction. I guess I'm not as good as an ant.

Bah! Waited until morning to reshoot the three stores I had visited at night, and what did I get... rain!!! It had started out light during the night, but then intensified, and with the sky overcast I had little incentive to deprive myself of sleep to take photos. Didn't get up until 7:00, and, hearing about traffic delays on the radio, made no effort to get underway quickly. I was going to get stuck in traffic regardless, and I did.

Didn't think I would find a massage before leaving Charlotte because it was so early, but I lucked out, and just minutes before I was to get on I-77 and head north from the Wilkinson store, I got a call back from "Amma". More luck, Charlotte Massage & Bodywork was just minutes away, and she was able to take me . Only saving grace was that the shower facilities were good, with body wash. shampoo, washcloths, and a good towel.

AARRGHH!!! NOT AGAIN!!! It's got oil, so what's the problem? Battery? Alternator? Damn, almost broke arm (felt like) pushing the car back from the parking space so I could let it roll down the rest area.

The exit shown on my map from the interstate to the new Greensboro store no longer existed, so I got off at at Elm-Eugene. There happened to be a Wal-Mart Supercenter, so I had the battery tested, and the technician reported it was good. I asked about mechanics, and he said there were some on the parallel street over. Went ahead and got the oil changed. Went over to Merchant on Randleman Road hoping it would be an import place, but it was just a generic tire/auto shop. I asked about a Honda/import specialist, and a customer recommended the Z Shop on Battleground Ave. I headed up there, and the technician told me they wouldn't be able to get to it right away and recommended the Honda dealership on Wendover. I didn't find it, but even if I had I doubt they could have replaced the starter by 6:00, and Greensboro is not where I want to spent the night without a car.

I finally made it to the Starbucks and e-mailed an update on my schedule to a fan who wanted to meet me in Jacksonville. Next stop was Burlington, and then I had to get off-interstate to reach Fayetteville and then Jacksonville. I passed up my exit and took the next one. Saw a sign for Dockside Dolls, and decided to drop in and see if the action was better than the last time I visited. But the place was closed, with a sign that said "temporarily closed for renovations". What was amusing, however, was that in the same parking lot was the Life Fellowship church. That's a new one one me.

I worked my way over to the correct highway, SR-87, and not too far down I passed another strip club, Paradise. I figured it would be a dive, and, boy, was I right. Nasty smoke smelling, and the one dancer at the bar had bath teeth and possible some fuzz on her upper lip. While there I asked about Dockside, and I was told they got shut down, and an amusing story about how the church members would picket the place and try to get people from going in.

Farther down 87 I had, while not quite a close call, a bit of a scare as a deer, or some deer-like animal, lept across the road in front of me.

Meanwhile, I kept seeing signs in front of Biscuitville advertising the return of corned beef!

I thought I would have to skip Jacksonville and disappoint my fan, but when I called the store I was surprised to learn the store closed at 11:00. That gave me time to reach Jacksonville in time, but just barely, because of the slow highway. It was only 100 miles, but I had to slow down many times through towns. I also had to watch my speed, because just east of Fayetteville I had a close call. I was trying to follow a pickup, but I had to focus on not spilling my spaghetti. I finally decided to try and catch up, and just when I started my burst of speed I saw movement off to the right in the grass, and then a patrol car pulling out onto the highway. I very quickly slowed down, and a few seconds later the cop took off after the truck. Whew!

Arrived at the Jacksonville store at 10:45. No Thomas. Guess it was too late and he went to bed. Nothing I could do, except plug in all my electronics. And sign autographs. Many autographs. The staff's reaction was unusual. At first they didn't seem to care much, but then when I returned from the bathroom everybody seemed to know who I was, and even the manager seemed pleased by my visit. In fact, as I was leaving the store I swear I heard one of the baristas, one of the cute ones, shout out "I LOVE YOU!" Wow. That was a first, and completely unexpected.

Since it was almost 11 and I was exhausted I figured to stay in town and photograph the store in the morning. A Wal-Mart Supercenter was conveniently located about a mile away, and cool air, presumably comign from the sea, contributed to a good night's sleep.

July 7

Forced myself up at 6:15 with the idea of geting to Virginia Beach in time to have Honda look at my car. Still, I had to make the 16-mile detour to Greenville to reshoot those stores--no telling when I'd return to that part of the state. I was glad I was making the drive in the morning. The weather was great, mostly sunny, but it had not yet gotten hot. Great for driving.

I rolled into Suffolk much later than I had hoped, By the time I reached Virginia Beach it was already so late, around noon, that I abandoned my plan to have Honda look at the car. I didn't think they'd be able to finish work quickly on a Friday afternoon, and even if they could it was probably better to wait until Monday in case they screwed up the work or damaged something else. I was also anxious to get to DC ASAP in case any of the new stores closed early. Traffic was no help ther, as I saw a significnt delay getting across the tunnel to Newport News.


Wawa!!! Wawa!!! Wawa!!! Hadn't seen on in forever.

Fatigue taking toll, very sleepy on way to Richmond.

Holy McSchmumblish! I never realized it, but the interchange from I-64 west to I-95 south is not a proper one--cars have to briefly exit onto a surface street before entering I-95!!!

Grrr... should have gassed up back in Newport News. More expensing in Richmond, and only going to get more expensive as I head northeast.

Grrr... lost time in Richmond when, after having gotten a somewhat satisfactory shot of the store, I accidentally deleted it. I was still in the parking lot, but just when I realized my error two cars pulled into parking spaces, and I had to wait for them to leave.

Bound Beverages!!! Must remember to get to Philly before they close Saturday night and stock up on my belove Tradewinds!

Finally reached Potomac Mills, a mall that I figured would have gotten a Starbucks long before 2006. The manager recognized me from DC, which made getting my sample easy Good, because I was in a hurry to reach two DC stores by 7:00. But while in the mall I needed to take care of a couple of things. Jeans, definitely, because the patch job my grandmother had done on my single good pair of 501s was starting to come undone and render me indecent. And also a couple of new pairs of running shorts. It had been five years, maybe, since I had bought some, and my mother kept chiding me about the condition of my two remaining. I went to Levi's and Nike first, and then took my photo, in case security chased me out of the mall.

Traffic northbound on I-95 was okay, and though heavier when I exited onto US-1 to reach a couple of new NoVA stores, it still looked like I was going to reach DC in time. But once on I-395 into the city I was brought to a near standstill. 3rd & D was just a few miles away, but 20 miles 'til 70 turned into 15, then 10, then 5, and finally I entered Washington DC. But I took the wrong exit, and that was that. Missed that first store by minutes.

I went to 500 New Jersey instead, then thought about it and decided to head out to three stores southeast of DC. Traffic outbound, at least in that direction, had mercifully eased, and I would have made it to Edgewater (after it to Clinton and Dunkirk) before the sky darkened completely had it not been for a couple more wrong turns. Grrr... I was exhausted, and I would have liked to just sleep there and wait for a good photo in the morning, but Michelle had offered me place to crash back in DC, and I didn't want to turn down the couch and shower. And the possiblity of better food back in DC than what I'd find at the late hour in Edgewater.

Finally! Scored the summer shirt.

Once I finished up in Edgewater and on the way back towards DC I called Michalle. She was waiting for the train in Silver Spring, so we agreed to meet at Union Station. My 30-mile drive was quick, and when I reached the area and called her she was still in Silver Spring. That was okay with me, because I was famished and getting a headache from the hunger. I had to drive over to 14th before I found decent food (not fast) that was open. A place called La Villa, but no parking. Risked the hydrants and ordered some yuca and chicharron to go (the 1/4 chicken was out). Circled around the block twice before I found parking. Dug into my food and just started heading back when Michelle called. Crazy confused turning (because of my fatigure) to get in and out of Union Station and turned around on Massachusetts, but we soon reached her new place. Pretty nice. Rented from a roommate who was usually away. Couch worked mighty fine, and I slept soundly.

July 8

Around 7:08 I could see sunlight, but I still need more sleep. At 7:28 I didn't feel great, but better, and I forced myself up. I took a second shower, and it was gooooood, and when I finished I felt okay to head underway. Said my goodbyes to Michelle and

3 & D next to a subway station. As usual, careful when photographing to avoid attention and questioning.

Even though it was the weekend, it still took me forever to visit International Square because I couldn't find parking. After circling several blocks, twice, I finally took a risk double-parking and gave the puzzled barista my spiel in rapid-fire manner. In fact, I think I might have been illegally parked at all four of the stores I visited that morning, and I considered myself lucky to get away without a ticket.

Stopped at Au Bon Pain for a bagel sandwich. As far as I could remember, it was my first time in Au Bon Pain in the United States, and I noticed something different. They required customers to mark their orders themselves. Unusual.

On the way to Baltimore I started calling stores to see who had opened up, and I learned that the Bedford, MA, store would open on Monday morning. I mentioned that I might be the first customer, and the person on the other end of the line asked me who I was. "Winter", I said. "You mean the Winter?" she replied. Wow. She knew who I was and had even thought of sending me a personalized invitation.

AARRGHH!!! Dallas & Main in Houston opened last Friday!!! I could have visited on Sunday if they had answered the phone!!!

Was able to see Jill, then up York to the only new Baltimore store. During the drive I listened to This American Life, a rerun, I think, about a black man convicted of murder despite lack of any real evidence against him. An excellent show, and an excellent example of why the legal system must be abolished.

As I crossed into New Jersey to wondered which route was best to Rio Grande. I considered exiting at US-40, but when I saw a slew of cars taking that exit I guessed that, with the casinos in Atlantic CIty just having reopened, many people were rushin out there to get there fixes.

Needless to say, I switched my dial over to XPN, and I heard a song from the the Dixie Chicks album for only the second time on the radio, which just goes to show that most American radio sucks.

Back in New Jersey, and the state had a whole new significance for me now that I had started watching The Soporanos.

Somewhere between the turnpike and SR-55, Mullica Hill maybe, I passed a neat-looking building housing a restaurant called Naples Pizza. I stopped for some spaghetti, and when I got it out to my car I realized the plate was huge. It was all I could do to finish (and not spill it).

That was weird. I glance over to the side of the road and thought I saw a kangaroo. But it was just a piece of construction equipment.

AAH!!! big insect in car--what is it what is it???

Chilly out near the New Jersey coast. Felt great!

As I headed towards Rio Grande I felt myself sniffling more and more. I wondered if I was starting to get sick, probably from a combo of sleep deprivation and lack of food. I should have listened ot my mother. I took an allergy pill, but I had no e ffect. By the time I reached Somers Point my nose was running like a faucet. I had to rush to the bathroom as soon as I entered the store to wipe, blow, wipe again, getting sick? lack of sleep? food? take allergy pill, but by the time I reach Somers Point the verdict is clear--sick!!! shoulda listened to mother

ATC Haven Brothers mental note pushpin

8 cases tyradwwinds, rerpack car

The sky was light enough to visit Huntingdon Valley, but not Warminster and North Doylestown, so I decided to try to get as much sleep as possible. Up Street Road, at US-1, was an entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276), and less than a mile a way service plaza where I had stayed before. Convenient, but not entirely, because in the morning I would have to drive 7-8 miles to the next exit and then a couple of miles to turn around and get back on the turnpike, then 8 miles back. Still, I wanted undisturbed sleep, and the service plaza was the best place for that.

Chilly for July, two blankets!

July 9

Around 6:00 sun in sky move car to shade. Shortly before 7:00 I felt my head starting to hurt, and what I thought was muscle ache. My eyes were dry. I forced mysyelf up anyway.

A kindred spirit? My future, in 30-40 years?

The mystery of the half cold pill in my back pocket. My greatest fear is that I will die without ever finding out how it got there.

The Jayhawks broke up?

Once again miffed by the lack of knowledge disseminated to Starbucks baristas regarding nearby stores. In this case the store in the JP Morgan Chase building on Park Avenue, which I suspected is licensed but wanted to confirm. Licensed stores... EVIL!!!

Having slept instead of visiting those thre PA stores on Saturday evening had its price. Sure, I felt better, but I reached NYC later in the day, around noon, and thus had to suffer through traffic, traffic, traffic.

Early afternoon, cold pill must have worn off, yet no sniffling or headache. Sleep must have allowed immune system to recharge and kick in.

As I photographed the Smith Haven Mall store I thought I heard a passerby say "Private investigator?". That was a first.

Uh-oh, hunger. Must... not... ignore! Don't want to get sick again!!! Settled for rotisserie chicken sandwich on a roll from a no-name deli off route 347.

Well, screwed again by Microsoft Streets & Trips, which said I could get to Roosevelt Island from the 59th Street (Queensborough) Bridge. Like Lex to Lois, WRONG!!!

No surprise, delays continued in Manhattan as I circled around several of the new Starbucks in search of parking, usually having to settle for an "extralegal" choice. Thankfully, as in DC, I emerged unscathed (unticketed, that is).

At one of the five new stores, I had to endure scornful/suspicious look from a barista whose gender was not altogether clear. She (?) did not fill the sample cup, and I waited for her to attend to another customer so I could ask for more. But she ignored me and went back to stocking some supplies. I asked the other barista, and then I realized that this person, too, was awfully masculine, for a woman. I know that Starbucks likes to recruit from the neighborhood, so is that, like, the transgendered part of Lexington Ave? Finally, in my state of confusion I almost forgot the photo.

As I walked down the sidewalk towards the 56th & 6th store I passed cute girl wearing an Italia soccer jersey, and I commented that it must be a good day for her (b/c Italy had won the Cup). She followed me into the Starbucks, and she overheard my spiel to the barista. She seemed really amused and interested to know what I held the record for. I regretted that I had to leave the city, so there would be little point in trying to chat her up or get her phone number. I could only hope that she'd find my story interesting enough to Google me and send an e-mail.

Since I had to wait until morning to visit Pearl & Hanover I had some time to kill, so I went to a couple my usual haunts. First, a massage from a place on 8th and 18th, preceded by a shower long enough to get me glance from the owner when I exited the bathroom. I also got puzzled looks when I asked if they had a refrigerator. When I first asked, the owner grabbed a short stool and put it in the bathroom. I kept saying it over and over, having trouble believing she didn't understand the word "refrigerator". Finally I pulled out my bottle of Tradewinds and said "make cold", and she got it. Puzzlement continued to be the theme as, during my massage, strange sounds eminated from behind the adjacent curtain. First a hard-to-identify shuka-shuka-shuka sound, and then repetitive spitting. It sounded like first the masseuse would spit to show the customer how, and then he would do it. And they would repeat. Over and over. I had absolutely no idea what kind of treatment/procedure was going on. Weird.

La Nueva Rampa was nearby. The Latin American food there is not great, like in true Hispanic neighborhoods, but still passable. I struck out, though, by trying something new, white beans with sausage, rice, and plaintains. The mixture included onions and green peppers, which I don't like, and turned out to be hard to eat while driving. I ended up spilling much of it in between the passenger seat and the floor.

I headed downtown to camp for the night and await the opening of Pearl & Hanover in the morning. After cleaning out my car a bit, I headed over to the store to see when it would open in the morning, and I was shocked to see lights!!! It was open!!! AARRGHH!!! I had called and called on Friday, and because I did not get an answer I assumed it was a downtown store that closed early and shut down on the weekend. Instead of killing time, I could have visited it and been in Tuckahoe already and possibly Connecticut. AARRGHH!!!

July 10

A little past 5:00 I noticed enough light for a photo, but no real reason not to keep sleeping. At 6:05 a car's parking behind me woke me, and though I could have slept until 7:00 I figured might as well get out and avoid traffic which was sure to increase expoentially, even heading out of the city. 6:32 before I got on FDR north, and southbound it was bumper to bumper. I was relieved to get out early.

During the drive to Tuckahoe I noticed some discomfort up in my head. Not quite a headache, although when I reached the Starbucks and leaned forward to plug in my stuff I did feel some pressure and pain. Unsure if the cause was lack of sleep (I thought I got about eight hours), caffeine withdrawal, dehydration, or something else.

Had to take a few minutes in Tuckahoe to really look at my map and figure out the best route through New England. It wasn't clear that I would be able to visit all the new stores without doing a lot of backtracking, which would cost me stores later on my trip, but after I worked out the distances I decided it wouldn't be that much extra driving to get them all in CT, RI, and MA (skip NH and VT).

Gloria Jean's, pretty good, I'm switching!!!

Nearly 2:00, and only a bagel sandwich--I was famished. So I settled for Boston Market. Bah.

On a WSG recommendation, I took a brief detour between Fairfield and Stratford at a place called Pleasant Moments. Bah.

Oh, wow. Excellent. A sign along Boston Post Road in Milford, approaching an entrace to I-95, reported a 3-mile delay between exits 41 and 44. Gotta give credit where credit is due. That's cool!

But here's something uncool. Looking at a delay, and with no other routes to Old Saybrook, when I spotted the Ginko spa I figured I might as well see what they had to offer. A very cute masseuse, and I thought about staying. But in my experience, most Asian massage parlors use baby oil, which I hate, and so I went back to the car to get my own. When the lady saw it, she said, in broke English, that they could only use their own oil. In all my massage experience, this was the first place ever that insisted on using their own (crappy) oil, I was very curious what the heck she was thinking. But her English was too poor to explain, so I had no choice but to take my curiosity, and my money, and keep driving. Only later did I wonder if she had perhaps mistaken my bottle of Tradewinds (that I wanted put in the fridge) for the oil and just thought I was weird. So I continued on Post Road up to where it hit I-95 at exit 43, one mile short of where the

Swift kick

Before heading down to North Dartmouth I went in search of the Haven Brothers Diner. An NPR report from a few days earlier said that Haven Bros. was in fact the very first diner in the country, dating back to the 1880s. I first tried to go where my mapping program had indicated, but I got lost. I pulled in front of Borders and googled the place, and the address given was the same, 72 Spruce Street. I finally made it over there, and after sprint down Spruce and speaking to a host at a pizza place and then a valet parking attendant (who was suspicious of why I was looking for Haven Bros), I learned that 72 Spruce was just where they parked the truck when not in operation. They did business in front of City Hall. I began to worry that I wouldn't reach North Dartmouth in time and decided to abandon my dinner plans, but by coincidence my route out to the interstate took me past the truck. So I was able to get a hot dog and fries and check out the historic place.

Everything was looking good for reaching North Dartmouth by 9:30 until I approached the bridge into Fall River. One lane closure. No, two! Traffic slowed to a crawl, about 8:50. The minutes ticked away, and I barely moved, and finally the clock reached 9:20. I wasn't going to make it. What was worse, that particular mall store would not open until 9:00 AM, and I juyst couldn't afford to wait. Grrr... So I turned around in Fall River and headed back up north to a picnic area just before the RI border. I saw no prohibition on overnight parking, but around 1:30 I drove up to Providence anyway to check my e-mail and drive around, finally ending up near downtown in front of some apartment complex or condo.

July 11

Shortly before 6:00 the lightened sky woke me. I looked at the time and was a little surprised it was so early, despite knowing full well how early the sun rises at the higher latitude. It was too light to kiwi discretely, so I had to go ahead and drive the 12 miles to the Lincoln store. I had been told it opened at 6:30, but it had actually opened at 6:00. I went ahead and entered and got my sample coffee, and I considered starting the drive towards Boston. But I didn't want to feel like crap all day from lack of sleep, so I found some shade from the sun that was already, at 6:20, high in the sky, and slept until 7:30.

The big local news story was about how chunks of concrete fell from a tunnel connecting I-93 to I-90 around Logan, and how this was creating a traffic mess up in Boston. Great. I didn't have to go all the way to Boston, but I fully expected the delays to affect me. Expecting it to be a while before I reached the Starbucks and/or found breakfast, I went into the Super Stop n Shop for fruit. I noticed the Noble brand orange juice at $3.99, a whopping $1.46 more than at Wal-Mart.

I-295 to I-95 towards Boston was fine, but then I exited US-1 at the urging of Streets & Trips, and from that point on I was hemorrhaging time.

Passed the Talk of the Town Diner advertised the "best breakfast in New England", so of course I had to stop. Down the street, and old man ran a car into a tree. No biscuits, but the eggs, bacon, and potatoes were decent. The toast was weird, though, already sliced into four pieces and wrapped in plastic. And too dark.

But as much of a pain...

Despite my own traffic woes, I found myself giving directions out to Worcester to some poor bastard who had started out at the airport and been affected by the tunnel closure.

I finally made it to Bedford, where the manager was enthusiastic about my arrival. Before entering the store, I gave in to an impulse that had been growing and growing for weeks--nay, months! I put on the pillowcase and perplexed the partners with my entrance. But it was hot, and I had to take it off.

Great! Severe thunderstorm watch with hail for Worcester, just where I needed to go. Had to cancel Leominster reshoot.

I finally made it back to the Westfield store, that I had missed because of a delay in opening plus a snowstorm. While the reception was not as ebullient (is that the right word) as Bedford, the manager was nonetheless pleased, and wanted a photo. Unfortunately, she had the really really cute barista take the photo instead of being in it, so I did not get a chance to wrap my arm around her (my whole purpose for doing this project).

Aw, bummers!!! They closed Between Rounds, this cool bakery deli I had found near the Westfield store during my first attempt! But open anew along my route. Hmmm... cream cheese muffin! AAH!!! I DROPPED IT ON THE FLOOR!!! Ugh. Gritty taste.

The manager in Bloomfield had already heard of me, and it's all I can do to keep the chat short and get back on the road. I'm running out of time to reach the Allentown store by 10:00. I still need food before I get on the interstate, and so I stop at the the only place I pass that looks decent. Not sure of the name--Whitney Pizza Grinders I think. Turns out a grinder is like a sub. Local name, perhaps?

As I approach New York on I-84, and the point at which I have to decide on my route, I calculate that reaching Allentown by 10:00 is going to be iffy, so I go ahead and detour to Wilkes-Barre. The drive is pretty quick, except for some rain in the city, but thankfully it doesn't last long. Still, by the time I get to the service area on the turnpike down to Allentown, it's 11:30, and I cross my fingers that the rain and/or cloud cover continues into the morning so I can sleep longer.

July 12

Around 7:00 AM there is enough cloud cover to block the sun and allow me another 45 minutes of sleep. No point in depriving myself, with five days to go still. Don't want to get sick, either. With some 40 miles to Allentown, I needed food. I thought I was going to have to give in to the force of evil, McDonald's, but thankfully there was a small faux-gourment coffee shop inside where I got a scone and juice. "Baristas", if that's what they call themselves, were cuter, too, than the McDonald's employees. That's a general rule.

Make great time down to Allentown, in part trying to stay ahead of the crazy trucker that is doing nearly 90 MPH. I'm thankful when an SUV finally gets ahead of the truck and passes me, so I can cruise along behind it.

Macungiefusion, but I call and find it. Chat with manager for a good bit, then take photo. Can't afford to spend that much time at each location or I'll never make it out of Pennsylvania today. Running out of time, will have to make a beeline for Hayward soon.

Gee, thanks, SUV lady with two kids. Pulled in front of the store just as I was about to take my phot and cost me nearly minutes waiting! Minor revenge, I freaked her out by pulling out of my spot quickly as soon as she pulled away. Oh, no!!! It's the evil Arab terrorist out to kidnap her kids!

crazy dump truck 911

Hmmm... Bolthouse Farms orange juice! Expensive but heavenful.

Ooooh, gas $2.69 in York! Sooooo beautiful!

Randolph Park, seven straight recog

Heh. I got yer hot Texas Weiner right here!

Something indescribable about driving with the wind in your face and great music in yourr ears, a sense of joy and satisfaction that, for a moment, puts me at peace with the troubled world.

AAH!!! Fly!!! Get away, get away! Stop rubbing your legs tauntingly in front of me!!!

Possible contractor or building owner or management at Union Square. I wisely moved my car well away to take the photo so he couldn't question me. He got out of his truck as I snapped, so I might have made him suspicious.

Aw, dude. XPN also on 88.1 in Harrisburg. I did not know that!

Rosanne Cash, "Nothing Left to Lose".

Aw, streak ended at eight stores.

Sheetz, chicken, mac cheese chili, not good, not the worst, but car smelly rest night

covered bridge, Bridges of Madison County, tearfyl scene

As I neared Johnstown, I spotted another one of those Sheetz billboards depicting an attractive woman serving up food. I wondered if those billboards had had anything to do with my decision to give the Sheetz food a try.

couldnt afford to spew


"Gourmet snowballs"... ooookay.


reverse pray urination

Pittsburgh Eastside 9:59 barely!!!

July 13

6:30 go was face then remember Eastwood Mall which I was going to skip. If I slept another hour and then got breakfast, groceries, oil change, and if store opened early might be able to visit store without wasting much time, which had become more precious after all my delays. Only at 99 stores, might not even reach 150. But I wasn't able to fall back asleep, and after 5-10 minutes I gave up. I took the time to do some rearranging in my car and add oil, and then I finally I had to get on the road. It wasn't but a few minutes before I saw the exit to I-680... cripes, I was closer to Warren/Niles than I thought. I was going to be way early.

I took US-422 from I-680 all the way up, past some sketchy areas. I finally reached the general area on my map where the Starbucks was supposed to be and started looking around. I spotted a Best Buy and figured it was over in that direction. Then, to my left, I spotted a seedy-looking massage spa (you can tell when the windows are blacked out). Surprising, in such proximity to the Eastwood Mall. It wasn't even 8:00 yet, and all the oil change places I'd passed were closed so I figured I'd kill some time there. Bah. Worthless. Even the shower (table) sucked, but at least I did feel a little cleaner. Waste of money though. Only about 8:15 when I left (got cheated out of my 30 minutes too), and I resumed the search for the Starbucks. Finally had to call and get directions.

At least four more Asian spans farther west on US-422, probably equally worthless,

A town/village called Center of the World.

Hungry Euclid construction

FAKE!!! FAKE!!! FAKE!!! Fake Starbucks at Goasis in Ashland. Big honking sign off the interstate, but not listed on the web site, so not in my database of licensed stores. AARRGHH!!! Had to stop for gas just to confirm. Blast it! Caguchanga!!!

Remember reshoot Mansfield. Still need better system for plotting stores to reshoot.

Mother-bitches!!! I was hoping to avoid traffic in Columbus, but some local dungwangiks closed the on/off ramps to I-71 at Polaris Parkway (where the new Starbucks is), and what should have been a 5-minute stop turned into 30!!!

Something unexpected in Indianapolis, at the 38th & Gemco store I spotted some guys we Powered by Ethanol guys (

Reached Noblesville 10:30 sbux just a few miles away, but when I spotted Wal-Mart Supercenter I decided that given my fatigure and headache there was no way I'd reach Chicago that night.

July 14


Odd. Drove About 400 miles but oil is not low. Still haven't figured out

original Noblesville by mistake

blazing along towards Chicago, and then blam!!! Mile 163, traffic standstill. Blast it.

Finally reached Homewood at 10:10, with the goal of visiting 9 stores and getting out ASAP ASAP ASAP!!!

No direct freeway route from Homewood to the Chatham neighborhood on Chicago's south side, so I had no choice but to drive 12 miles along Halsted and hit damn near every light along the way.

BBC report about the new use of the word "gay" among British schoolchildren, a topic relevant to me because that

I get on I-94 to Lawndale, but construction renders it hardly better than the surface road. It has to be corruption that keeps these @&^%$ freeways in a constant state of disrepair. Some local politician/contractor really needs a bullet in the back of the head.

Cute. An eletronic sign that reads "NIGHTTIME IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR TRUCKS". Doesn't seem like too many trucks are taking that seriously.

SON OF A BITCH!!! At 11:30 AM, well after the rush hour, I really needed I-290 inbound to be clear, so I could zip out to Lawndale and zip back in. But nooooo, there was to be no zipping that day.

The Chicago Loop was, as usual, CRAZY!!!

New traffice enforcement personnel in downtown Chicago makes it harder for me to just stop the car anywhere. Had to drive around several times and find a loading zone. Asked the lady just to make sure I wouldn't be ticketed. Line inside the first new LaSalle store, so I didn't even bother introducing, just bought a DoubleShot so I could get out faster. Wasn't a waste, actually, because I would need the caffeine for the long drive west with no Starbucks.

Flash aunt lunch

by the time I got on I-94 west(north) towards Highwood

Radio reports heavy traffic all over the metroplex. Ya think???

Brian, blonde studying



Ouch! Tried to sweep some Jimmy John's crumbs from my dashboard out the window and ended up hittting my thumb against the frame of the car!

Ohhhhh, that hurt. Bent over sharply to grab some trash down by the brake pedal, and I crunched my nuts.

Traffic to Oswego too heavy, killed chance to reach Cedar Rapids by 11.

Fuuuuuuck... it was only 9:10, (10:10 Eastern), and my body was already giving out. I was having trouble seeing the dark road. Man, I was getting old. No rest areas through my exit, 36, to US-30, and I was truly worried about how I would be able to handle the smaller highway, less well lit. The lights of the oncoming cars were pretty disorienting, but I made it the 24 miles to Clinton (actually more because the US-30 bridge was closed). bikers wal-mart

July 15

5:50. I had fallen asleep right away, so I had slept my eight hours, all I had time for, but I still felt mgunglish.

Something unexpected in the Wal-Mart bathroom, faucets with actual knobs instead of electronic sensors. And something else strange outside. I went to gas up, and the attendant warned me the pumps were slow because they had just been turned on. She wasn't kidding! The pump was hardly moving at all at first, but I let it go since I still had some stuff to rearrange in my car and some notes to take. I also cleaned my windshield, and in my half-asleep state I accidentally splashed a lot of that nasty soapy water from the bucket into the side of my shoe. Ugh, yuck!!!

Still couldn't manage to blow through the two Cedar Rapids stores. A little time here, a little time there...

wiliams mgr four time records

How, how, how did I get bitten on the sole of my foot???

abrupt decisipn SD

Hmmm... 10:30 AM, black cocktail dress at a Starbucks

Aw, nasty!!! Outside Rockwell City passed a farm where dozens ofcows sat and stood in a brown muddish substance that I guess does not absorb the smell of dung like grass, because it smelled bad!

Wind farm(s) west of Early.

bikini clad girls

woo hoo, 2:45 CDT, July 15, 2006, I crossed into South Dakota, my 49th state, for the first time

Crap. Even in a low-population area like Sioux Falls, I was still losing too much time on the surface streets to visit three stores, and my window for reaching stupid Rushmore Mall in time was closing. Stupid mall, why close at 8:00!!!

Oh, crap!!! Almost forgot to get food! If I hadn't remember before getting on the interstate I might have blown my timetable! Can't drive 350 miles on a Power Bar!

Everything was going wrong timewise. Two routes from 41st & Louise to 13th & Minnesota, and I took the freeway route... WRONG!!!! Construction, exit closed, so I had to take the next exit and Aaaaand, the


Something unusual along US-77 in Nebraska. I pulled into a gas station just to buy some Gatorade, because I had a mighty thirst rhat warm (or even cold) water could not slake.

reach york just in time photo, race west see how far i can get, final douybleshot, puash past first area, then second, finally 44 miles struggle , music & speed helsp, max 5 hurs? or eight?

sbux web site flaking spill coffee spill water drop stuff close 2 blow top

July 16


shortly b4 6:00, 5:00 mounitain, headache, dehydray\tionb i hope

felt good back in colorado, summer not cold

oh... my... god... the high is supposed to be 103!!! I'm going to bake!!!

Holy shit, but this college radio station KCSU is slammin'!!! In just 30 minutes of listening I'd heard such amazingly good shit. Unfortunately, it's out of Fort Collins and I'm not going to pick it up in Dever. RATS!!!

Oh, man, noon, and the heat is oppressive. Have to have windows down, but get these lasts of hot air like opening an oven.

heat affecting phone, cover laptop

6 stores, starting to feel it

Mustard's Last Stand. Had to patronize them just on account of the name alone. But a pretty good dog.


Excited Colorado/Alameda beautiul grey-blue eyes.

AAH!!! Stupid Streets & Trip misplot Arapahoe Village going the wrong way closes at 8:00 not going to make it!!! Plus stupid I-25 construction why why why--kill the beast!!!

saving coffee, sucking down Tradewinds, cooled by ice from sbux, like no tomorrow

no time 4 parker

fuck, still head pressure sneezing

super blaze race

"Be water, my friend."

call idaho spebfs, tone fon't give fycj, 4th gear gard 7y0

goddamn bug attracted to my laptop LCD

despite 100+ heat, night mountain cooled off enough socks 2nd blanket

July 17

5:29, 5:59

coss into ut, eagles on highway sign

audi 90 i-70 utah

slow on much of 6

hot as blazes, heat wave in fact, mighty thirst, liking that organic lemonade, watered down, add tea

traffic buildup northbound I-15 already at 4:00, have to skip Riverdale yet again, for third time

definitely sick again

5:10, 750 miles 2 drive

115 mph to catch Intrepid in NC, not gone rthat fast long time

wells, starter fail sherrif push, bellas espresso hgouse diner club race car, mayo burger

elko, pizza barn no slice no getti, deli closed, sergio's chip bar decent flautas

8:40 rest area, car no start

July 18

5:25, car start, puzzling, engine heat?

what thee??? why sun in west? in the mornig. wait, no, it's in my rearview!! shine right in face, 1st time ever, oh crap now in side mirror too

On US-50 in Silver Springs, a sign, "CONGESTED AREA: DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS PROHIBITED". Now, why do people have to be told this?

dayton excvitement, legend, hgisyoric

passport arrived, wante mailed right away buyt decided to wait til arrive hayward confirm address

pass monnlighty bunny ranch, eden something, 1000 hour, 200 for 15 min minium, way too much, too close to airfare, plus sick

biscuits at Mom & Pop's this time, mmm good potatios

finally got 150th store, but cheated cuz Folsom is too close to HYayward

ah, squirt

historic us 40 by mistake, vop evade

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