To DC: Still sleeping in a car – and it’s no longer a minivan
Day 3 on the road. Tired already – which is never a good sign this early in the trip. We left on Monday 26th, end afternoon. Many things weren’t ready so to speak, including ‘real’ work – that is, ‘jobs’ (both Redrik and I work part-time gigs which help keep us going, despite the ‘ever wished you left it all behind’ tagline initially conceived and appropriate for part 1, and which does remain true to an extent, more below – but Reality does catch up… sometimes.)
So many things weren’t ready, but we were. About time.
Went to Burlington, NJ, for a live radio show with Rik – a lot of fun, and the music was pleasantly melodious (it was a heavy metal show). Got out of there after midnight, drove South through Camden, where we decided we’d rather not get murdered inside the convertible this early in the trip (the pictures could have been good but survival instinct can and often should trump vocational flair).
Convertible? Oh, right – I have yet to explain how that happened. Well, last year I had purchased a cheap clunker (cheap to the point of breaking down after two days near Philadelphia, cheap to the point of having en engine heat gauge soar to the sky about half-way in the trip, cheap myself to the point of not checking on it and pursuing the trip, another 8,000 miles) – a 1996 Nissan Quest to be precise.
During the driving lessons, we had recently gotten four tickets – which also coincidentally gave birth to the ‘legend’ of Redrik – , had to fix the brake lights at an onerous fee, half the value of said car (and even that may have been a generous estimate). And there were so many other problems that remained: front signals worked haphazardly, the rubber on the tires felt like a glossy postcard, the engine was doing its own fiery thing, and so on.
So Redrik sweet-talked his family and Jolly Roger, and haggled a car out of it – which, granted, was not being put to much use anymore. And this car just so happens to be a convertible.
Man, quite a contrast. I set to the weasel-ish task of selling my clunker-love, taking in phone calls from nearly as weasel-y buyers. Part of me did not want to part with Fanta, the good, somewhat unpredictable, horse who had traversed the USA and back, and housed me for a half-year from rain and night.
But the day arrived: a cat from Ozone Park called, armed with virulent impatience, had cash in hand, wanted to see the car. Within a half hour I had to clear the trunk and car from the junk accumulated (read: scavenged) during the first trip: a yoga mat, a 50-liter cooler packed with cans and pans, handsoap, paperwork, rocks, a lock found on a barren day in Oklahoma – you get the picture.
I trashed a good share of the junk that I was unable to lug around. Walking around 72nd street, smack upper west-side poshness, carrying plastic bags, rolling a half-open cooler which spilled random items as it went – yeah, I thought it funny.
Left the cooler and canned food by a homeless person’s stash as they were looking the other way. I hope he got some use out of it.
The Ozone cat came with a buddy, drove around, poked holes here and there. He knew what he was doing. We settled. Bye-bye Fanta.
An entirely anti-climactic good-bye: that day, I had no idea whether to be happy or not. Part of me was sad. In the words of Chang: there was a rainbow in my heart.
Worse: I forgot and lost some things. Lost the lucky dollar I had saved since El Paso. A few other memorabilia. And last but not least: I managed to forget the only item of value in the car, amidst stress, heat and fatigue: my tripod. A symbolic mishap which I do not like: the implications about my (subconscious) awareness, this close before the departure, aren’t good.
Then again, if dreary omens are to be read in the flight of birds, line of hands and chicken entrails, so do I believe that life is full of august signs: keep looking.
A note about the approach: this second leg feels, and is, different in its approach. There is no doubt that in its scope, its length, its main objectives, by the fact that there are two of us rather than a ‘long lonesome road’ – and now with this new ride – there is no longer the same ‘poetic feel’ to it.
However, we are now focusing on building the documentary – there is less time devoted to the ‘holistic approach’, to the Way, to photos, but I do not believe this change of gears will lead to travesty. It is simply a continuation of the Voyage, a fruit begotten.
March 27th – Independence and Freedom
Got to Philly exhausted, parked in a side street for our first night – in the car. So it’s just like last time around, minus the leg room. And suddenly the weather got freezing – literally.
Woke up in the morning with clattering teeth – have yet to get a sleeping bag – Redrik was smug in shorts in his own SB. Coffee at Shot Tower, where we got to work, and especially got some blood flowing back.
Brisked through downtown Philadelphia – ashamed to say we didn’t even take the time to check out Liberty Bell, only see the standard brick building housing it. So got some pictures of that and Independence Hall, cradle of the Declaration, and off we were.
To D.C. !
Next up: The D.C. Diaries and Road Video, Travel Photos from North Carolina. We are now near Savannah, Georgia, and heading towards Florida. We love to meet people: please get in touch!
PS: We are currently seeking support on Kickstarter for the movie’s post-production. Thanks for sharing / liking the page – and possibly backing the project. Will be posting this reminder regularly, I apologize if it ‘gets old’.