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States Meme with Adventure Synopses - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Jan. 18th, 2004

09:17 pm - States Meme with Adventure Synopses

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Bold are states I've visited as destinations. Italics are states that I've passed through on a road trip to some other destination, strikethrough are states that I've never been to.

1) Alabama, 2) Alaska, 3) Arizona, 4) Arkansas, 5) California, 6) Colorado, 7) Connecticut, 8) Delaware, 9) Florida, 10) Georgia, 11) Hawaii, 12) Idaho, 13) Illinois, 14) Indiana, 15) Iowa, 16) Kansas, 17) Kentucky, 18) Louisiana, 19) Maine, 20) Maryland, 21) Massachusetts, 22) Michigan, 23) Minnesota, 24) Mississippi, 25) Missouri, 26) Montana, 27) Nebraska, 28) Nevada, 29) New Hampshire, 30) New Jersey, 31) New Mexico, 32) New York, 33) North Carolina, 34) North Dakota, 35) Ohio, 36) Oklahoma, 37) Oregon, 38) Pennsylvania, 39) Rhode Island, 40) South Carolina, 41) South Dakota, 42) Tennessee, 43) Texas, 44) Utah, 45) Vermont, 46) Virginia 47) Washington, 48) West Virginia, 49) Wisconsin, 50) Wyoming, and 51) Washington, DC.

I like to travel a lot. This is a good excuse to document some of my travel briefly, so here's some blurby details of why I've been to the bold places. What a strange wildly non-linear history of my life this turns out to be.

Alaska - I went to Alaska in the summer of 2000 to visit my friend Annie who was working in Denali National Park. I flew in to Anchorage and met Annie and her stoner buddies from the park there. We hitchhiked up to Denali, leaving our tent in the back of someone's pickup truck. We camped half-way, without a tent, in Talkeetna. We got a ride the rest of the way with some drunken newlyweds who had all their worldly possessions and their dog in their little hatchback and were headed up to buy a used school bus that they were going to live through the winter in. In Denali we did a lot of hiking around and hanging out with the stoners. I didn't smoke or drink at the time so I just watched amusedly. We made some pastels. Annie and I spent two days and a night in the wilderness section. Camping on the side of a mountain after hiking across miles of tundra and fording some streams without a road or trail of any kind in sight was pretty much one of the most awesome experiences of my life. Annie and I had had, for a few weeks, some kind of awkward semi-dating relationship before she left for Alaska and I arrived in Alaska not knowing where that stood, it was pretty clear that it was pretty much dead, Annie's interests wander rapidly. She's a wanderer. To some extent the feelings I related to my dad after getting back about the ambiguity of my feelings for Annie inspired some aspects of a song he wrote shortly after that.

Arizona - I went on two major road trips to The West with my parents and both of them took me through Arizona where we stopped and hung out with long time family friend Bryan who ran a small restraunt out there. On the trip that I remember best we spent a day hiking in the Superstition Mountains and saw some caves and such. Oh we stopped at the Grand Canyon on the way into the state. Very pretty stuff.

California - I've been to California a bunch of times. When I was very young we visited my Aunt and Uncle in the Bay Area. There was a Pride Parade that weekend and we saw the tail end of it. Apparently I was quite confused about why there was a grown man running down the street in a diaper (a loin cloth). I remember, as a kid, never having seen that much trash just strewn about in my life. I had two more road trips to visit the same Aunt in southern California (first LA, then San Diego). I remember going to the La Brea tar pits and thinking that was pretty cool. I flew to Los Angeles in high school for a NCSSSMST conference. I met four INSANELY cool people at that conference that I never spoke to again afterwards. Conferences are like that. We forged what seemed like the seed for a really intense close friendship. And then we never talked again. And yes, I had a serious crush on one or two of those 4 people. Wow. The most striking part of that trip was the Urbanscape tour that we took where we learned all the ways that LA is gross and smoggy and has no soul. Every major building has to spend 1% on public art and they all choose to spend it on water fountains. It's a desert and so as a show of wealth everyone has water fountains. That's so fucking evil. In sping or so of 1998, my coworkers at USGS and I flew out to San Jose for the Perl Conference. In 1998, I visited Julia once in the early fall and we road tripped up the coast road, through the redwoods to Eureka California in Humboldt County to see Ani DiFranco play with Utah Phillips. We basically didn't talk during the whole drive. We both knew the relationship was over but couldn't admit it. A few months later I flew back for Thanksgiving Break, broke up with Julia as soon as we got back from the airport, and proceeded to have an incredibly painful week of fighting, breakup sex, awkward (but strangly comfortable) dinner with her huge hippie family in Oakland, and finally sweet sweet departure. The brief interlude during which I visited Ben and sarpo during that trip was such a relaxing relief. I haven't been to California since.

Colorado - In high school when my family road tripped to The West we stopped in Colorado to visit old family friends there. We hiked in the rockies, drove to Pike's Peak, and on our way out of the state we saw some cliff dwelling indian ruins. I went running after our friend's dog while we were hiking in the rockies and I've never felt my heart race so fast -- thin air.

Florida - For most of my Childhood between the age of 4 and 18 I went with my Illinois grandma to visit my Florida grandma with my sister. Lots of beaches and seafood and cigarette smoke and tourist attractions and fun times. Recently I went to Miami for the FTAA protests and from there to Georgia and then from there back to my Florida grandma's place for Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving in Bradenton was the first time my dad had been down to visit there since 1979 so it was a big deal. Before thanksgiving I met my sister in Tampa where I sang Led Zepplin's Black Dog at Karaoke night after having 6 shots of jack daniels.

Georgia - I've been to Georgia for the SOA protest in both 2001 and 2003. In 2001 I stayed in Atlanta at the Amata Community (link, link, pic, pic) which was INCREDIBLE. This trip is where Heather and I really first started to realize we had sparks.

Illinois - I live here. I've spent much time in Chicago (where all the hipness is), Champaign-Urbana (where I live now), Northern Illinois (the nearest cool rural bits to where I lived), the Quad Cities (where Annie lived), Aurora (where IMSA was), The West Burbs (where boannan lived), and The South Burbs (where Julia lived). Haven't spent too much time south of Chambana.

Indiana - I visited the The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities with a group of IMSA kids my Senior year. We sat in on a few classes and has some discussion. I, once again, got a crush on some random girl there whose name I never ever got.

Iowa - Pam's Wedding was the most significant Iowa event I've been to. Visiting friends in Dallas City or the Quad Cities has taken me across the river into Iowa a few times before, and on our way to Yellowstone we stopped in Iowa City to pick up a friend.

Louisiana - My trips to New Orleans are all AMAZING sagas of fun and strife. First there was the INSANELY ill-fated trip with boannan and arun251 and Jared and Matt. We had...car troubles. For reasons that are a saga of their own (a story many of my close friends have already heard), that trip caused significant problems between Julia and I (only indirectly related to the fact that she was very specifically not invited). So, on the completely bogus presumption that it would help, Julia and I took our own trip to New Orleans a few months later in her new car. It was basically as boring and conversationless and indicative of our dead relationship as the above mentioned Eureka, CA trip. A few years later, after Annie got back from Alaska, she and I took a sleeper car on Amtrak down to New Orleans. I'd hoped that since she was back we could once and for all figure out our romantic standing. Sadly, the figuring was that she just wanted to be friends. Got that out of the way, I cried my brains out for a little by the river, got what I already knew anyway but hadn't accepted out of my system and then we proceeded to party down big time. I put her in charge of my drinking and got myself drunk for the first time in my life. The sleeper car gig on Amtrak is very fucking swank. The best way to travel.

Massachusetts - Boston/Cambridge was a destination of a massive summer road trip that Julia, my sister, and I took in 1997. We visited boannan and Julia's friend Margaret there. We visitted the world famous Club Passim and tried in vain to get my sister to play at the open stage. We actually picked up Pam in Anapolis on our way up there and we all went to Rhode Island for the Newport Folk festival. I visited boannan two more times at Harvard while we were dating. The first time I shared a ride with a random stranger from a local ride board and ended up crashing his car in the snow in Western Mass. The second time I took a greyhound bus for 20 hours which was an interesting experience. That second time I stuck around for several weeks which was fun. Got to really feel like I kinda knew Cambridge. Ate lots of good crepes.

Michigan - I've been to the Porcupine Mountains area of Upper Peninsula Michigan numerous times. The first time was a boy scout camping trip Of Doom that warrants a post all of it's own. 20 boys lost in the woods with an alcoholic tour guide and no potable water. I have very fond memories of it despite the fact that I was brought to tears at several points in the journey. It was an epic mythical journey and I came out alive. Since then I've been back with my parents a couple of times and just this year about 20-30 close family friends celebrated my mom's 50th birthday up there right on the short of Lake Superior. UP Michigan is my all-time favorite place to camp. I also had a brief road trip with some friends to "regular" Michigan to visit our friend MRW's family.

Mississippi - When Julia and I went down to New Orleans we drove up US Route 61 on our way home. This highway has many landmarks related to the migration of Blues music from the Mississippi Delta up to Chicago. We stopped in Clarksdale and visited the Delta Blues Museum which is just a few small rooms in an economically depressed town. Not at all a tourist trap. More of a mecca for blues pilgrams. It was cool. Really the high point of that trip.

Oregon - I've visited Jared and Rose twice and herbivorous once in Eugene, OR. It's a very cool and hip town. If I didn't live here, I might consider living there.

Pennsylvania - I've been to Pittsburg a ton of times. Once for a Student Pugwash conference at Carnegie Melon, a few times to visit Eric and Mia, and I've stopped through just for the hell of it on other East Coast road trips. It's really a beautiful city and I've had fun everytime I've visitted.

Rhode Island - On the massive summer road trip of 1997, Julia, my sister, Pam, Michele, and Edie and I all went to the Newport Folk Festival. Twas a blast. I got turned onto Janis Ian there. The Violent Femmes did an acoustic set and everyone danced in the rain. We got to see Utah Phillips and Ramblin' Jack Elliott and a bunch of other Red House artists play at a local hotel on Friday night. We went in the ocean. We bought lemonade at a lemonade stand. All very fun stuff.

Tennessee - Julia and I stopped in Memphis and caught some music on Beale Street and went to the Civil Rights Museum there on our way back from New Orleans. The Civil Rights Museum was incredibly powerful. I recommend everyone go there.

Texas - Visited some family friends with my parents on the second of our Western road trips in high school. Visited Austin when I was being recruited by Trilogy. Trilogy got us all wristbands for SXSW, the biggest indie music convention in the universe. Scores of bars with 5 or 6 bands playing at every bar every night for a weekend. I saw a lot of great music. I wasn't a drinker yet then so I missed out on using the FREE open bar that Trilogy paid for as well. And then I didn't even go to work for them. Score.

Washington - Just visited friends Gel, Brent, and HMatt in Seattle. Saw some theater at a theater fest, gamed with Matt and Jared, ate some Afghani food and got on a train home.

Wisconsin - My grandpa and step-grandma lived in Wausau WI so I've been up there often. I've got fun memories of some art's festival in Waussau that my step-grandma had paintings in. I've got an Aunt and Uncle in Baraboo and Eva and the_sween live in Madison and I went to party in Racine thrown by herbivorous's sister. My favorite thing is Wisconsin is Delaney's sculpture garden outside of Baraboo on Rt. 12. Lake Geneva, WI was also the destination of the famous 4 day bike trip that my rag tag group of friends embarked on in the summer of 1993. That was a magical summer with my closest friends in the world (duck2ducks, rolandkale, Dawn (we both lost our virginity on that trip, woo!), and Norm). Years later, boannan and I had to be rescued as we tried to hike around Lake Geneva and mis-estimated it's size.

Wyoming - In 2002, Heidi and I went to visit Annie in Yellowstone National Park where Annie was working. We saw a lot of beautiful stuff but then the trip was cut short as I got word from my parents that my grandmother (Dad's mom) had had a heart attack and was in intensive care. So we drove home without sleeping to visit her in the hospital. She passed away a little over a month later, never having regained consciousness.

Washington, DC - I've been to DC three times. Once on the aforementioned 1997 road trip out east. Then in 2000 or so I got a scholarship from the Sierra Club to go to a conference and lobbying day on Wilderness and Roadless public lands issues. In March 2003 when my friends Maciej and Christie suggested we take a totally random trip to see what stuff there was like with all the anti-war stuff going on. We saw the sights and chilled and visited the DC indymedia center and came home. It was an extremely pleasant and enjoyable road trip with two friends that I'd never really bonded with before. They live across town and we don't hang out together nearly enough.

I also spent 6 weeks in Europe in the late spring of 1996. 4 weeks with other UIUC students in Vienna, and the next 2 weeks traveling with Julia from Vienna, to Milan, to Barcelona, to various places in southern France, to Paris, to Brussels and home. While in Vienna, I took a day trip to Budapest.

Comments:

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From:folkyboy
Date:January 19th, 2004 09:33 am (UTC)
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i would love to go to the Rocky Folks Festival in CO. i almost went but for the amount of time it would've taken me to get to it, i would've needed more time off work...
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From:boannan
Date:January 19th, 2004 09:49 am (UTC)
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I may be suffering some serious amnesia here, but was it the two of us who had to be rescued from hiking around Lake Geneva?

Also, you should come to CA again to hang with your friends! After all, sarpo, jasunshine and myself are very centrally located. :)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 19th, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
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Ya know, this is horrible but I felt this pang right after I posted that of "was it really Michele that I got lost around Lake Geneva with?"

So. Weird.

If not you, I actually have NO IDEA who it was. You'd think that day would be cemented into my memory because it was so hilarious. If you don't remember it and my memory is hazy then perhaps it wasn't us.

I'm thinking that if it was Julia that I'd have a lot more memory of her screaming at me for getting us lost. I seem to remember the whole ordeal being pretty chill.

Huh. I'm very very embarrassed at my memory right now.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 20th, 2004 03:49 am (UTC)
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Sadly between Eugene/Seattle, UP Michigan, FTAA/SOA/Thanksgiving, and the NYE extravaganza, I'm completely out of paid leave between now and August.

However, I may be quitting my job sometime in the next couple of months if one or the other of a few leads I have actually pan out. In that case I'll become self-employed and highly mobile. Of course, I'll also be broke.

So...uh...maybe someday I'll come to CA. :)
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From:boannan
Date:January 20th, 2004 03:36 am (UTC)
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Oh and man that Chicago-New Orleans corridor is a pretty active one for you! If you ever get bored you should just get on that train and see what happens. :)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 20th, 2004 03:58 am (UTC)
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I've been thinking that if I become self-employed and have some money to spare, I'd like to take a tour of the country by the long haul train lines. I can get online with my laptop and my cell phone and the Amtrak trains have AC outlets in the lounge cars.

I'm pretty bored with New Orleans at this point though as the most striking thing of each trip was seeing that all the bars had the SAME bands playing the SAME sets and the street performers do the SAME schtick All The Time. So it's fun but it gets old.

I'd like to try to find more off-bourbon street fun that might be less touristified. We hit this awesome "Girls Rock" girl-indie-rock festival in the warehouse district outside of the french quarter last time and that was really cool. In general the whole town was cooler that weekend because it was Southern Decadence which is like Gay Pride meets Marti Gras.

Really I think the route-80 east bound corridor is the most active for me. I've driven that way so many times whether to Boston, DC, Pittsburg, or Philly (Oops...I left a couple trips off my list! The weekend trip to Boston for the Nader Super Rally in 2000 and the weekend trip to Philly for the Adam Brodsky CD release party in 2002. There's nothing like driving for 16 hours doing a day's worth of stuff and then driving home.)
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From:boannan
Date:January 20th, 2004 08:16 am (UTC)
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I think I meant more in the line of Chicago-New Orleans being a crazy romance corridor/point-of-convergence ;)

totally come out to CA once you quit your job/get a new one/get some free time! after all, we'll only be a partial excuse for a few more months....

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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 20th, 2004 06:03 pm (UTC)
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Heh. But only with you was it a GOOD romance convergence. With everyone else it was a relationship death knell. (And yet, strangely, fun everytime, and I do want to go back someday) :)

When are you moving back to Chicago? May? June?
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From:sarpo
Date:January 21st, 2004 03:22 am (UTC)
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Have you been to the clown bar in N'Orleans? I can't remember the name, but apparently all the clowns hang out there. Some friends and I found it randomly on a roadtrip through there.

There we were, in the attic of some restaurant, more than a little tipsy and there's this CD release party for "Shrekin' Hobo" (or some name like that) going on. The band performed, this cool fiddler fiddled, this hot topless girl fire danced to techno music played by a bald clown. The audience was all clowns and lesbians. It was the most surreal experience of my entire existence.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 21st, 2004 07:12 am (UTC)
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Wow!

The concept of a clown bar is a scene in one or two movies I've seen but I had no idea that such a place exists!
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