mike (don_negro) wrote,

Settling in

First off, my apologies to everyone who knew I was traveling halfway across the continent, but didn't receive a notice that I wasn't currently being feasted on by coyotes behind some mesa in Northern Arizona with a roll of toilet paper in my hand and a bewildered look still on my face.

In short, I'm in Portland, and, with the exception of my brake pads (which, like Hemingway, I lost somewhere around Grant's Pass. At 1 a.m.. In the rain.) I'm intact.

The trip out was fun. First off, a 14 1/2 hour drive from Angleton, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where my friends Jim and Sherry live. Great hospitality and excellent conversation, as always. We ate dinner at The Plaza in downtown Santa Fe, which was a favorite hangout of Oppenheimer and the boys from Los Alamos, and I collapsed soon after we got back to the house. (Santa Fe is about 7,200 feet above sea level. Angleton is about 20. I gained roughly 500 feet per hour over 14 hours, and my mind was pretty much jello by the time 9 p.m. rolled around.)

The next day I got up, and after Jim made sure I had an enormous breakfast to keep me across the desert, we went to see the house they're building about half a mile from the Santa Fe Institute. Wow, is that place going to kick all kinds of ass. Crazy solar gain architecture, 14-inch thick pumice-crete walls (concrete made with pumice, rather than gravel, for aggregate), massive timber framing, etc, etc. Paula Baker-LaPorte is the architect, and you can google for her particular take residential perfection. All in all, very cool.

Then across the desert to Kingman, Arizona. An uneventful, if beautiful, drive. The next day, I took Route 66 over the mountains and into California, where I met back up with I-40 and headed into L.A. On the east side of Barstow, I called my best friend and left the cryptic message 'We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.' on his voicemail. The most ironic part of that anecdote is that Disney pays his cell phone bill.

This was the friend I was staying with in L.A. I spent three days at his house in Monrovia, visiting my family, hanging out with his family (especially his 2.5 year old Charlie, we had a blast building Thomas the Tank Engine tracks, painting pictures and picking lemons off the enormous lemon tree in their back yard) and going to Disneyland.

From L.A, I drove to Berkeley, to stay with stellarbaby and confuseme for a couple of days. There was much eating of good food and drinking of quality beer. The Cheese Board in Berkeley and Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe in Emeryville are especially recommended, as is the Triple Rock Brewery. I also slept a lot, I guess because the trip was catching up with me by then.

Then came the big push into Portland, which should have been about 11 hours, but ended up taking 14 because of a chemical spill on I-5 between Stockton and Sacramento. I finally rolled into Portland at about 4 a.m., and promptly collapsed as soon as I found the key royalbananafish had left for me and made it inside.

More to come, certainly. Right now, I'm off to get a haircut, and hopefully hear back from someone who I'm going to convince to give me a job. Life is strange, but good, and we'll see where it all leads.

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