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Saturday, January 06, 2007

The End Of The Road

The last time you'll see me in this car.

The Deathcab, finally passed away, on 12/31/2006;
two days after my 28th birthday, and just a few hours before the arrival of the new year. We were on our way to a New Year's Eve celebration at a friend's house, in Boone, NC. Sadly, I was to arrive to the party alone...

The Deathcab stalled out, one last and final time, at a gas station (Hess/Wilco Station #285, E. King St, Boone NC), just two blocks away from our intended destination. Though I tried my best to revive her, I knew the Deathcab's time had finally come.

Final mileage - 226,185
Total miles traveled since 9/15/05, the start of this trip - 29,015 miles

I was, and still am, rather sad by the loss of my longtime friend, car, and sometimes home; but also extremely relieved - relieved the Deathcab passed away rather quietly, and not in a more disastrous "blaze of glory". She gave me numerous scares throughout our journey together, and again, on the day prior to her death - stalling out as i was turning thru the middle of an intersection (US221/US421). We managed to crawl through the intersection, rather slowly, and fortunately, without incident. I then got out and pushed her to the side of the road, where i was somehow able to revive her, at least temporarily, for one more final day.

And now that day has passed...

So, what now? What do i do with my freshly, and finally, 'dead', Deathcab, that just so happens to be resting peacefully at a gas station in the middle of Boone, NC?

Well, I shed a few tears, and then give her the grand farewell she so justly deserves...

LAST RITES CEREMONY - performed January 06, 2007
Sliced and Diced at the Hess/Wilco Station #285, East King St., Boone NC
(Thanks for letting me borrow the saw, Uijin!)

The heart and soul of the Deathcab! You betchya', they're stayin' right where they belong! In Daddy's loving arms!

And i'm taking some other mementos too!

"Rough Bunnies Saved My Life!!"

I came back later on that night, with the intention of leaving some flowers, to honor the recently deceased Deathcab. Unfortunately, there were no flowers to be found anywhere in the vicinity. So, i used the next best thing...

A christmas wreath! that my friends (David & Michelle) recently discarded.
(We were thinking of throwing the christmas tree under the hood too, but then decided against it, for whatever reason...)

One last look before we say goodbye...
Goodbye my sweet Deathcab. I'll remember you always...

{Sibylle Baier - The End (mp3)}

*NO JOKE - My car (what's left of it), is being donated to Habitat For Humanity's Cars For Homes Program. To briefly explain this program - They tow the vehicle for free, and sell off the car and/or its parts, to help finance the building of homes for the homeless. In exchange, you get a tax right-off in the amount of the vehicle's worth (in my case, that's probably not going to be much). I found this to be a worthy cause, and somehow fitting, since i once, and for a rather long time, called my car, "home". Now, the Deathcab can help others in need of homes! Hurray!!


Friday, September 15, 2006

One Year Later

A year ago today, i left my home of boone, nc behind, for a life on the open road.
A year later, i find myself back in a familiar place,
if not wiser and a little happier, then completely broke, exhausted, and slightly hairier than i was before.

greetings friends! i'm back in north carolina, for the time being. though not exactly in boone itself. i'm in good ol' Fleetwood North Carolina! (20 min. away from boone). been staying at my parents' place for about a month now. As i recently told a new friend, who said he was "glad someone was out there living the dream" - "living the dream" has, perhaps not surprisingly, led to "living with my parents" to rest and save some money. it's really not as bad as it sounds though. i'm actually kind of enjoying being back home, relaxing and spending time with my family. especially after all the trials and tribulations (and also great times) of the last year spent primarily on the road. i may, in fact be, the only 27 yr old who is not only "not hating" living with his parents, but is also not embarrassed to inform people of such circumstances. as i'm fairly confident that if i say the following to a pretty girl, "hey, babe. my name is jamie. i'm 27 and i live with my parents. prior to that i was living in my car. wanna do it?" that i'll be going back home (that is to my parent's home) and "gettin' some."

gettin some what, i dont know? maybe some fudge pops out of the freezer, and watchin Lord of the Rings with my step-dad. but mark my words, i'll be gettin some.

hhum, i digress - not many people seemed to realize this - but a year ago, i said goodbye to boone, and CLINT NORRIS RD (the road upon which i lived the previous 4yrs), in a way only someone as, err... "special?", as myself could, and would.

by attempting to spell one of people's most favorite words (this was in fact the first post on the website)...
this proved to be more difficult than anticipated. not for lack of knowing how to spell "one of people's most favorite words", but because some road signs are deceptively taller than one might initially expect. it is actually quite difficult to properly deface public property (undetected at that), when you have to repeatedly jump in the air in order to do so. plus i had a minor buzz, which may have affected my aim with the spray paint.

but that was a year ago. i have since driven by my old street and CLTORRIS rd has unfortunately been changed back to it's original spelling.

but i've been trying to think of a special way to commemorate this, the 1 yr anniversary to the start of my crazy adventure. and the idea did strike me to once again attempt to properly deface CLINT NORRIS rd. but... i decided, it's probably best left to others more capable (that is, taller) than myself.

my next thought was, "well, perhaps i'll sleep in my car at the walmart in boone to celebrate this occasion." might as well, since i've slept at practically every other walmart in the country over the last year, right? but i again reconsidered, deciding that having slept at 20 different walmarts (in nearly as many states), was 20 too many for me.

instead of these harebrained schemes, i decided to commemorate this special occasion by doing something i haven't done in a long long time. which is...

buy some deodorant and shampoo.

and also relax and spend some time with my friends and family. you are welcome to join us in celebration. place = bar. town = boone. time = saturday nite sept 16th. which bar? dont know. small town. point being, you'll find me if you want to.

in other news, i wanted to let you know that's it's been a pleasant surprise, while also overwhelming and slightly embarrasing, to hear that many of you, who i hadn't seen in a year or longer, and also complete strangers, were keeping up with my adventures thru the website. i usually don't bring up my experiences on the road these days in person, unless i'm directly asked about them or i feel it's relevant to the conversation. but to answer what has become the 3 most commonly asked questions while traveling and since -

"what is yr favorite place you've been to?"
there's not one. fargo,nd. / columbia, mo. / eureka/arcata, ca. / eugene, or / olympia,wa. / san juan island, wa... are usually on my list. i'd also recommend traveling up the pacific coast highway at least once in yr life. beautiful.
"your least favorite?" simple. grand forks, nd. had major car problems there. i was actually asked this question during a job interview at a starbucks in birmingham, alabama (i needed money and figured since i'd been to every coffee shop in the country i might as well work at one). i answered grand forks, nd at that time too, to which the lady interviewing me replied "oh, i'm sorry to hear that. i'm from grand forks, nd." needless to say i didn't get the job. and what are the fucking odds that would happen?
and finally, all the guys ask "so, how many girls did you sleep with?" at least one in each state i went thru. it was one of my "rules." that's a joke. if it were at all accurate i would have only traveled thru 2 states... oops, i've said 2 much.

regarding the status of the website itself - it became very difficult for me to continue writing and updating the site as i got further along in my travels, and further behind in the updates. it seemed many people were living in my past while i was trying to get thru the present. but what i did manage to write and accomplish, i'm very proud of. and to all of those who have urged me to finish "telling the story (that is, essentially, the first 5 months of this trip)," i believe i shall...

and yes, you don't live in yr car for 5+ months and travel the country in isolation for a large portion of a year without discovering a thing or two about yr own life and the world around you. but more than anything, this
journey just reasserted or reconfirmed what i already knew in my heart and mind to be true, but for that alone, i am very grateful. i don't claim to have answers for anyone other than myself. but if i were to share anything that may be of help to anyone, it would be "dont be afraid to take a chance on something or someone, for your own happiness, no matter how stupid, impractical, or absurd it may seem to do so. follow yr heart regardless."

happy 1 year anniversary,
from jamie and the deathcab

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Cousin, Superman

i just met up with some of my extended family for coffee in NYC, rather unexpectedly. my aunt ellen, uncle jack, and cousins, jordan and brittany, are passing thru on vacation from Charlotte, NC. and, well...

it turns out, i'm not the craziest person in my family, after all.that honor goes to my cousin, Jordan, aka Superman.

now, why jordan shaved a superman logo in his chest hair? i do not know. i, honestly, didn't think to ask. i was laughing to hard. but i'm proud of my superhero cousin, who, himself, is very proud of his deeds.

i feel like this is something i probably would've done myself a few years back if i had thought it. fortunately, i didn't.

i think it's safe to say, the entire male side of my family has some serious genetic defect, or mutation. what else could explain our constant ability to do such heroic, yet, INCREDIBLY STUPID things?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Another Farewell To The Wang Of America

we had a great time at the beach, but it's time we get out of this heat,
and head back to birmingham, al (where it might be one degree cooler)."woo-hoo!! i'm leaving florida!! forever!! ...again!!"

A Day At The Beach Part II

A Day At The Beach

taken at various shorelines from Ft. Walton to Panama City Beach.

The Morning After

cindy at 7am.still sleepy & delirious, after a long, hot, uncomfortable nite in my car.
i guess sleeping in cars isn't cut out for everyone. she was a good sport though. even after i woke us both up, kicking and screaming from my re-occuring nightmare of someone breaking into the car again.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A New World Record In Absurdity

i wound up staying the rest of the week at cindy's in birmingham, al. fortunately, i slept in her apartment, and not my car, as temperatures were in the 90s for the majority of my time there.

when friday finally rolled around, we decided, rather spontaneously, to escape the city, for some surf and sand. we drove down to a certain place i swore i'd never go back to, after having previously sweated away 16+ years of my life there - FLORIDA!!! HELL!!!

we left around 6pm, and arrived in Ft. Walton Beach, FL by midnight. as fate would have it, all the campgrounds were booked, and neither of us had much money for a hotel room, so...

cindy and i spent the night in my car in my 20th different walmart parking lot - The Walmart of Ft. Walton Beach, FL!! Guinness Book of World Records, here i come!

it was uncomfortably warm, as you could probably imagine, and a little cramped, the two of us trying to sleep in the back of my car. her ass was in my face the whole night. literally. not that i'm complaining. but if she had farted...

needless to say, i'm grateful and lucky to have someone like cindy, who is, at the very least, equally as crazy as i am, and willing to sleep in my car with me.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Gravy Delight

by 7am, and after some much needed freshening up (done, as usual, in the walmart bathroom, and in the front seat of my car), i'm feeling more or less awake, and ready to get back on the road.

i continue my way, southward (to cindy in birmingham, al). along the way, i get extremely lost in memphis, tn, and quickly realize, memphis, tn, is not a good place to get extremely lost in. err...

eventually (after an hour or so), i get on the correct hwy, just to find myself stuck behind this truck.
at first glance, i didn't notice anything unusual about this truck, or its advertisement, but upon closer inspection, i began to wonder - why is a chubby-faced little boy, in this advertisement at all? why is he smiling with "GRAVY DELIGHT" over "BEEF FLAVOR DOG FOOD?"

i suspect most persons would get a mild, to extreme case, of the juicy poos if they were to actually eat a can of "BEEF FLAVOR DOG FOOD." therefore, i suppose, one could argue, "GRAVY DELIGHT," is actually a metaphor, for diarrhea, and the joy, it brings. yes? no?

perhaps, no?

hardly a threat?

another nite spent in my car, another nightmare of someone trying to break into it. i don't know that i can continue doing this.

i immediately jump from my slumber, upon the sounds of nearby footsteps, and panting. in my still-dreaming mind, i fear someone is just outside my vehicle, trying to break in. i blindly look out my car window, my eyes still suffering from sleep and extreme nearsightedness. my nose touches glass, before i clearly see what's in front of me.

someone is looking right at me!

i hide back down under the covers in the rear of my vehicle. after a few moments, the stranger passes. i slide into the front seat of my car and put on my glasses. i glance out my window once again, seeing the stranger off in the distance. and then i realize,

it's just an old man doing laps in the walmart parking lot.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

the last time? not likely

i travel thru the scenic waterways of the Ozarks as night falls. by midnight, i'm lost in pocahontas, ar and being pulled over, yet again, for my broken tail light (making it 9 or 10 times total now, with 0 tickets - woohoo!! i must admit i've gotten pretty good at talking with cops). coincidentally, he's pulled me over right in front of a walmart, where it appears i am destined to spend another night (if my math is right, that will make it 19 different walmarts i'll have slept at).

the officer and i exchange pleasantries. i explain i'm a little lost, and working my way to birmingham, al, but likely to spend the rest of this nite right here, at the walmart. by the end of the conversation, he's politely giving me directions and wishing me a good night whether i spend it at the walmart or elsewhere. making no mention of my broken tail light. nor of my broken rear turn signal, which i assume escaped his notice.

the last time, i swear

i spend yet another night, in my car, at the walmart parking lot, of columbia, mo. upon waking, i realize, "wow, i really don't want to spend another night, in my car, at the walmart parking lot, of columbia, mo."

so, around 5pm, i leave. i leave columbia and its walmart behind... for good? i head south, thru rural missouri, on my way to cindy, in birmingham, al. a couple hours pass before i finally give in to the temptation of previous trends-