Leaving Albany, hanging out with Heywood and Heather

Sunday, May 2, 2004: Took the kids to McDonalds for breakfast, spending my last $10 in cash. The hotel charged an extra week to my debit card which took my debit balance down to $14.00. They credited the weekly thing for me but it’s going to take probably 4 days for that money to appear back in the account. So I’m going home today and I have no money! I was supposed to drop off the kids around noon but nobody was home when we attempted that. So we hung around parks and the mall most of the morning, just killing time and waiting for somebody to get home. EvilCal was nice enough to send me $12.00 from his PayPal account to me. Then he made a post on the forums, demanding that everyone pay their hosting fees. Yauch immediately sent me $60.00 which I took out of the ATM for the kids’ lunches. The remaining $50.00 should get me halfway to Illinois.

After saying goodbye to the kids, I drove to Heywood’s house in Portland. Me, him and several friends of his drove all over the city being extremely immature for the rest of the evening. We hax0red all the computers at Circuit City, played on overhead intercoms at Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer (until they told us to stop) and videotaped the Dash For Cash prank at a few supermarkets.

My picture on a Circuit City computer.

Monday, May 3, 2004: Woke up at 7:00am after a night on Heather’s couch and left for Illinois. Decided to make a pitstop in Montana to see Mr. & Mrs. Spessa. So that was about a 12 hour drive. My GPS program instructed me to take Highway 4 to their house after I got off the interstate since it was the most direct route. After 30 minutes of Highway 4, most of it dirt, it ended in a big pile of snow. The “road” looked more like a dirt trail going up a mountain. Luckily I was only 30 miles off of the interstate so it wasn’t much effort to drive back to the interstate and find another route. I ended up at Spessa’s around 10pm or so.

Hanging out with Jack in Portland

Saturday, April 24, 2004: Woke up at 3am and started driving again. I reached Portland, Oregon at 8am. I started up Netstumbler to find a wireless connection. I parked in a Hollywood neighborhood to check my email and to see who was on AIM. I was hoping to talk to Heywood from messedup.net but he wasn’t online. He lives around Portland so I was gonna go bother him. Since my kids are gone for the day and I can’t see them until 5pm, I have all day to kill. I decide to track down my biological father who lives in a Portland homeless village called Dignity Village. I’ve only met him one other time before, when he hitchhiked down to Vegas in 2000 to meet me at Defcon. I get the address to Dignity Village from their website, put the address in my GPS program and I’m there in about 15 minutes. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love GPS?) I drive past it several times, not seeing it. A lady walking a dog waves at me so I stop and ask her where Dignity is. She says I’m there so I park and talk to her for awhile. She ends up being a resident there. I tell a few people that I’m looking for Jack and they tell me that he works at the Saturday Market on the weekends.

I drive to downtown Portland, park, get on the train and go to the Saturday Market. I spend about an hour walking through the crowds trying to spot him. They told me that he doesn’t run a booth there, he just helps set up all the booths in the market. I haven’t seen him in 4 years but I figure I’ll find him easily since he’s got dreadlocks. I finally end up spotting him so I start weaving through the crowds to try and catch up. After a few minutes, I say “Hey Jack!” He looks at me and says, “What’s up.” and starts to walk off. I try again, “Don’t you recognize me?” He doesn’t seem to. I tell him my name and that doesn’t seem to help. After about a minute I finally get him to realize who I am and he’s pretty surprised to see me. He starts taking me to all the booths and introducing me to everyone. Then he says to me, “There’s a demonstration downtown today. Let’s go beat up some cops and start some rioting!” So we do.

Well, not really. The demonstration isn’t too exciting. There are over 100 cops there standing around with the news crews and protesters. Everyone is pissed about a guy getting shot by a Portland cop. Jack stands there and points out all of the cops to me, seeming to know all of their names, interests and histories. We meet up with a few friends of his and head to a bar for awhile. The rest of the morning is spent walking around and meeting all of Jack’s acquaintances. Overall, it turns out to be a really interesting day. I say goodbye to him at about 2:30 and get on the train to find my car again.

I end up arriving in Albany at 4:00. I stop at a Fred Meyers to rip out a few phonebook pages of motels. I find the cheapest one and move my stuff into it, then I wardrive for awhile. I don’t end up seeing the kids until after 7pm and they decide to spend the night in my motel. Today is Emily’s birthday so she gets a few presents from me, including some FRS walkie talkies and the new Kim Possible movie. We don’t really do much since it’s late, just sit around the motel and watch cartoons on TV.

Freezing on my drive to Oregon

Thursday, April 22, 2004 Got up around 6am or so and worked until about 10am. Then I got my stuff packed and headed for Oregon. I’m going to see the kids for a few weeks! My original plan was to leave at about 6:00am and reach Salt Lake City by the end of the night. But I got lazy with everything and I had to work for a few hours before I left. I got on the road at about 11:30am and quit driving at about 2:00am just outside of Denver. It’s actually snowing here. In April. I’m parked in a truck stop for the night…

Friday, April 23, 2004: Didn’t sleep too good, mostly because it was freezing. I kept waking up and starting the car so I could have heat. I didn’t anticipate any 30 degree weather on my trip. When I left Illinois, it was in the 60’s so I’m wearing shorts and sandals. Apparently snow is odd in April even for Denver. The morning radio DJ’s are flipping out about it and there’s quite a few car wrecks. Got up at 6:00am (well, I guess 5:00am MST) and started driving. Drove pretty much nonstop all day, through Denver, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and finally Oregon. Once in Oregon, I still had 7 hours until I reached Albany. I drove for about 2 hours and stopped at a rest stop to sleep around 10pm PST.

2004 Trip to Texas

Friday, March 26th, 2004: Woke up around 6:30am and couldn’t fall back asleep. So I went ahead and loaded up my car and took off. I somehow managed to get slightly lost as I passed through Saint Louis. Then there was a thunderstorm that pretty much stopped all the traffic on the interstate. But I finally got out of Saint Louis at 10am. I drove all day without stopping except for gas. I brought my laptop full of mp3s to play as I drove, so the driving part went by really fast. I got into Galveston at about 1:00am. I immediately went for a long walk on the beach, then came back to my car at 2am and went to sleep in the front seat.

Back in 1991, the cops wouldn’t allow people to park their car on Seawall Blvd. (right on the beach) and sleep all night. But when I got there, I noticed RV’s parking all along the beach and setting up for the night. I saw a couple in a Bronco putting sleeping bags in the back to sleep for the night. So I didn’t get bothered by the cops which was nice.

Saturday, March 27th, 2004: The sun shining into my car woke me up at 6am. I actually slept pretty good. Had some breakfast at the Waffle House, then spent my morning driving around the island and being impressed with how much things have changed in the past decade. Hung out in the lobby of the Holiday Inn for about an hour, writing emails. Then I drove around and found someone’s wireless connection so that I could hijack their signal and send the email. (This is the first time I’ve ever done that so I’m impressed with myself.) I tried calling my old friend in Galveston but she wasn’t home so I left and headed for Cal’s house. 5 hours later, I showed up at his door. We ended up going to a bar, playing lots of Foosball and getting home at about 1:30am.

my laptop in my car, playing mp3swater splashing at mecell phones blow up gas stations

Pictured above: 1- My laptop, playing mp3s while I drive. 2 – While walking on the beach, I took a few pictures as the water splashed up on me. 3- A sign pictured above a gas pump, warning customers not to use their cell phones while pumping gas. Because, you know, the radio waves from a cell phone will surely make a gas pump explode. Everyone knows this. I was daring and used my cellphone camera to take that picture. It came out pretty blurry, probably because of all the gas vapors interfering with the singal.

Sunday, March 28th, 2004: Drove to Houston with Cal so he could meet some girl. Before we went, though, we stopped by a computer store and I bought a GPS for my laptop. I never realized how cool they were and it made the drive kind of fun, watching a little green dot make it’s way across Texas on my computer screen. I would have saved myself a lot of pointless driving in St. Louis the other day when I got lost if I’d had the GPS. I’m never taking another trip without this thing.

So we met this girl and Cal told me to get lost. So I drove his car to Galveston, which is about an hour away. I figure I can give my friend in Galveston a call and maybe end up having dinner with her. It’s all working out, right? Nope. As soon as my car crossed the bridge onto the island, Cal calls me and says to come and pick him up immediately. So I did. To make things worse, as I was leaving the island, my cell phone rang and it was my friend. Thanks, Cal.

Friday, April 2nd, 2004: This morning me and Cal went to some wildlife reserve thing. The coolest thing we ended up seeing was a 15 foot crocodile. Cal threw rocks at it but no matter how hard he tried, it wouldn’t swim over and eat us. I ended up leaving today at about 3:30pm. I drove up to San Antonio and attended the 2600 meeting for a few hours. Then got back on the road and made it almost to Dallas before stopping in a rest stop for the night.

I neglected my journal pretty much all week while I was in Corpus. Our week consisted of going out to eat a lot, going to bars, clubs, foosball tournaments and driving around a lot. We ended up driving by my old place in Corpus Christi (that I lived at in 1995) so we got out and filmed my house for awhile until a resident came out and asked us what the hell we were doing. We told him we were looking for Brad Carter but the guy there didn’t seem to know him. Here are a few random pictures from the week:

a pay phone with a very convenient TNI box next to itkicking Al's ass at some bar gameMe pretending I'm oldschool by getting a high score on Galaga.Cal kicking my ass at pool.

Saturday, April 3rd, 2004: Woke up today at 6:30am in the rest stop. I think I woulda slept a little later but the passing traffic kept waking me up. Ate a bunch of Nutter Butters for breakfast and drove all morning. I’m in aTaco Bell just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas right now, writing this on my laptop and getting lots of heavy stares from the other patrons & staff. Apparently they don’t have laptops in Arkansas. I’m hoping to make it into Illinois by 6pm. It’s noon right now…

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