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The redwood forests were quiet this morning, and we walked softly on the spongy pine needles that wound a path through the dense greenery. The trees spanned distances that I didn't really comprehend and at their bases grew giant clovers, green on top, a surprising purple on their undersides. The fog made distant trees a ghostly gray and thickened the silence that was only broken by a far-off owl and the strange, staccato chirp of an invisible bird.    4:44:36 PM


We drove down Highway 101 as we passed along the coast from Oregon into California. Wide open, foggy coasts, a trail that was almost like night because of the tree cover, like a rainforest, moist, green and mossy. Then the beaches became redwood trees, and we ended the day pulling over to the side of the road to see sun beams stream through the rising fog among the trees. The hostel is right across the street from the ocean, and we'll be going asleep to its sound tonight. Limited time on this computer makes me cut this short, there's more.    9:07:04 PM


The Oregon coast lived up to what I hoped. It was foggy but sunny, the water got colder as we walked in deeper, stepping on tiny sandbars in order to near the huge rocks that lay offshore. One of them had tidepools on the side protected from the incoming waves. In there were amazing orangy-red starfishes that felt firm to the touch, and sticky purple sea anemones. The rock actually had a hole worn through it, and the surf would roar through as it compressed through the small space.

We arrived in Eugene today, and went to the Saturday Market where we waded through hippies selling flowy, colorful dresses and beaded necklaces. We also walked into a shop called Lazar's Bazaar. It was the sort of place that sells all sorts of marijuana accessories, t-shirts, bumper stickers... but strangely enough also skateboards and skate clothes. And even more incredibly, they sold skateboard shoes. As I looked at the shelves I saw shoes that hadn't been made in more than ten years. This included Airwalk Disasters - high top skate shoes that were almost entirely rubber. Also they had the first Salman Agah pro shoes, my favorite skate shoe ever (which I never thought I'd see again), and finally a Jason Lee pro model, before he left skateboarding and started acting in movies. I felt like I had found a window to the past of skateboarding, and while I ended up not buying anything, the shoes brought me back to times when skateboarding wasn't on television, and Tony Hawk wasn't a household name.     9:29:18 PM


Portland is wonderful. We got here a little past noon, and walked around a really nice part of town, far away from touristy (I presume) downtown. Lunch was had at a Japanese Bento place. As we walked in, the first guy behind the counter yelled "Happy!" then began telling us about the day's specials. After he was done, the guy next to him kept the rhythm going by telling us about the rest of the specials. When our meal's (and other people's) were ready, they would yell out the order. The funny thing was that the one guy was the owner, and the other one seemed to be sort of imitating him in the way he talked, but not in a mocking sense... it was great (that's what I'm falling back on because I'm not explaining this very well).

I have a good feeling about this town, it reminds me of Madison, WI in some ways (lots of hippies), and a lot of neat restaurants (we had a nutella and banana crepe for dessert), and other sorts of vintage-y stores. There was a magazine place which had back issues of some magazines going back 50 years, it was like a normal magazine store, but they kept all the issues of every magazine they ever ordered, so the archive it presented was staggering. I just bought a couple of old skateboarding magazines and marvelled at everything else.    10:35:37 PM


It's beautiful in Seattle.We're in Mr. Spot's Chai House (thanks Jessamyn), digging the beautiful Indian vibe and colored light coming through the windows. When you walk in here first, a tremendous spicy chai smell hits you, and it feels like a kitchen during christmas with all the wonderful smells.

When sitting in Zeitgeist (as in 'Spirit of the Times') a downtown artspace/coffeehouse, we saw an enormous fog come into the city, dampen the sunlight and quiet the street sounds. Painted on a wooden wall here it reads, "The best sweeteners of tea are love & scandal." It's quiet here inside, except for soft Indian/Classical music playing, and tomorrow we visit the coast and see tide pools and open beachs.    2:18:19 PM


The hills got larger as we drove into Montana, until they turned into distant snow-capped mountains. We stopped at a gas station and they were selling guns in the adjoining store. Briefly at part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we saw the Painted Canyons, topped in red, like a miniature Grand Canyon that spanned off into the distance. They were beautiful, with rolling green hills that made me want to take another trip just to hike here. At another gas station, we came across an old, but operating drive-in theater. In the mid-day sun, the little stands with the microphones that spanned across the dirt and stone lot looked so old, and the patched together screen was a beautiful whitewash white against the distant graybrown mountains. Tomorrow Spokane, Washington.    8:35:27 PM


We pulled over to take a picture of this pretty farmhouse, so while I took pictures of the barn, Char took a picture of me. The second picture what her view from the car and the amazing clouds.    6:28:10 PM

We sit tonight in our first fancy hotel, a Days Inn in Bismarck, North Dakota. The drive was long, but the sky kept it interesting. Being from New Jersey, I'm not used to seeing clouds span from one horizon to the other. I'm also not used to 70 mph speed limits. But the sky.. the clouds were large and puffy ('Like the Simpsons' Char said), and were sometimes dense and made the highway dark, with occasional streams of light. Other times it was mostly blue, and we could see the shadows of the clouds come from far distances.

Bismarck seems like a nice town, I got my hair cut, and found a pair of cheap synthetic skateboard shoes that haven't been made for two years. There's a large corporate bookstore here that looks just like the one near me, and a mall that has these huge indoor open spaces, and not too many stores. Tomorrow we drive to Billings, Montana.    5:41:08 PM


We're sitting in a sketchy cybercafe/coffeehouse type place in Minneapolis that's sort of empty. This city seems sort of gloomy and everywhere we walked downtown was full of exhaust fumes. Charlene remarked that people don't seem to be happy being here, and I think I agree, not even content.

Madison, Wisconsin, on the other hand, was wonderful. They had a great food co-op, an amazing coffeehouse, and lots of great skateboarding. We arrived in the middle of a gay rights rally/parade, and things remained interesting for the 2 nights we stayed. Lots of hippies live there, and there's a wonderful sense of progressive community that I love.

Tomorrow we begin our long drive across to the west coast. First, Bismarck ND, then Billings, MT, Spokane, WA, and finally Seattle and the west coast. Yesterday's driving here to Minneapolis was beautiful. I watched the rolling green farmlands slowly turn into great forests and lakes as the rain came down and the greenness of the land intensified.

Oh, and Charlene keeps talking about the hippie mafia. I don't know what she's talking about (I sense she doesn't either), but, the concept is funny enough to continue bringing it up in conversation. Oh boy.

    2:16:35 PM


12 hours through green Pennsylvania hills, then flat Ohio farmlands, then Lake Michigan which seemed too blue.

We walked around downtown Chicago, and it wasn't so impressive. The downtown of most cities is basically the same ('We've seen this before' Char said). There were large clothing stores (Old Navy, Gap, etc.), a certain ubiquitous coffee shop, and all the other dregs of consumerism that I did not travel 680 miles to see. Still, the area of our hostel is beautiful. The neighborhood is quiet, vines grow up brick walls, people plant beautiful gardens and trees shadow the street in the late afternoon sun.

Tomorrow we drive 150 miles to Madison, Wisconsin. I'm personally looking forward to cheese and cheese accessories.    6:06:44 PM


Finding out you have a leaking condenser (which is why the AC didn't work) one day before a trip across the country isn't so good. But, with Char's amazing work, it's fixed, and I'm settling down for 6 hours of sleep before the drive to Chicago. Updates from the road will follow. Good night.    7:32:15 PM


I'm putting together a postcard address list. Want a postcard from my trip? Write me.    8:16:18 PM


I got the best spam ever today:

This may sound irrelevant to you, but Hi-Jean Disposable Undergarments concerns everyone that is having their leisure time on holiday vacation, travelling, camping and especially for ladies on their monthly cycles or post natal periods. It is for the less inhibited who desire convenience and also great aid for unexpected overnight guests.

From just US$0.26 per day, you'll get fresh underwear everyday. Inexpensive Hi-Jean Disposable Panties and Briefs help you to get rid of tedious washing and drying, ensuring you of smoother daily routine.

Ps: We hope that you will share this e-mail with your friends, colleagues, relatives, magazine readers, churches, club/association members and the needy one, which may be, somehow benefit to them.

There was also some contact info. I've never had an unsolicited e-mail make me laugh out loud until today. And then it got me thinking, disposable underwear? That's a neat idea, except for the rampant environmental destruction this sort of practice causes.    6:48:00 PM


She says she's proud of me. I know I could not have done it without her, really.    9:03:40 PM

Today at the dentist they used this new pressure-washer thing on my teeth, and subsequently, on my face and even down to my neck. Later of course, this fluoride-mist stuff dried and left me feeling rather... pasty. And I just smelled my hands, which still smell dentist-y after repeated washings.

I had a professor last semester who told us one day about this fantastic dentist that he went to, and even recommended to his friend Jane Goodall (the woman who studies chimpanzees).

My professor had seen the dentist as being a relatively happy person, good at what he did, and making a decent living. As my professor was talking with this dentist about what he'd done in his life before he began teaching (setting up a national park in Sierra Leone and fighting to prevent illegal animal traffickers from bringing animals into the US) the dentists was astounded, and remarked that he hadn't done much at all with his life, he lived comfortably, but hadn't done much that was exciting.

My professor then asked us what path we wanted to take in our lives. He had lived a life that was hard at times, dangerous, but always interesting and inspiring. The dentist had lived a life that could be seen as successful-- he provided a service to society, but his job hadn't changed much from the time he started it, he did nearly the same things.

So that's the question, ideally one would find a job that was both challenging and monetarily satisfying, but if you only had to choose between the two, which would you pick?    1:16:08 PM


I contributed pictures of the DC cityscape to Jeremy's cityscape project. I feel pretty lucky about it, being able to see sunsets and the wooded area around the Potomac.    11:11:11 AM


In six days we leave for our trip. Today, we spent our time at hostels.com, making reservations, and actually figuring out how to get to each place and get everything done on time. Right now, it's a mad rush across the country, then three nights in Seattle, three nights in Portland, a night in Eugene, and three nights in Arcata before we head back. If anyone knows of anything good to do in any of these towns, please let me know.

I found this photo while looking through everything that lay on my floor. It feels like art- I see something very intentional about the way the cloud is laid out in that it seems asymmetrical but balanced at the same time.    5:53:38 PM


The basis premise: people with cell phones in public places tend to be rather annoying. One might sit complacently, stewing in anger, or one might take action.    11:08:10 PM

I'm amazed. With about 2 gigs of hard drive space, I could download the Human Genome.    10:56:11 PM

Tonight while skateboarding, I watched a car get followed into the parking lot I was in by a police car and within a matter of minutes, four more police cars showed up. As the cops gave the guy in the car a hard time, I skateboarded, about fifteen feet away from them. I was a little wary, in that my only ticket I've ever received for skateboarding was from the Berkeley Heights (NJ) Police Department, the town I'm from, and the town I was skating in tonight. But they seemed intent on directing their harassment exclusively towards this poor guy. I watched and skated, and it was surreal.    10:51:27 PM


In driving to Washington, DC and back in one day (and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (see above)), I'm confident that Charlene and I will be able to make the 14 hour drive to Chicago in one day. My summer plans change dramatically on July 12th, when we will set off across the country, with a destination of Seattle, then Portland, then Arcata, studying the anthropology of coffeehouses (as social meeting places). The trip is pretty large in scope, and should prove to be a very interesting endeavour. I'm looking forward to rainy Seattle mornings, Oregon coast tidepools and Northern California skateparks as well as showing the anthropology department at my school that it wasn't insane to give grant money to a computer science major.    12:01:04 PM


Forget graphics, tables, banner ads and frames, maybe the most important thing is color.    5:03:15 PM


Eight hours of driving brought me down to Washington, DC and back. As I was about to leave, an enormous thunderstorm hit, and I sat in a brick doorway drinking coffee watching people scurry around. In the air there was a heavy vanilla-ish smell, almost overwhelming, but it faded quickly with the rain.    10:09:22 PM

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