The TechNomadic Lifestyle Experiment

the life of a web geek on the road

Thursday, May 15, 2003

10:01:00 PM

Ok, first, a bit about me and my situation. I'm a web geek living in colorado. I've been out of college a few years, i worked for a big corporation during the dot-com boom till the economy tanked, when a few co-workers and i struck up our own business. Things have been going well, but slowly for the last year or so, and the business has kept me employed about part time.

To fill in the rest of my time, i began working at an elementary school taking care of old ailing macs. I'm not the biggest fan of apple, (although they are growing on me a bit) but i like the teachers, and the job makes me feel useful and needed. They give me benefits, and a reason to leave the house on weekdays.

This strange path my life has begun to take has left me in a unique position. my primary employment requires no specific location (especially with the widespread acceptance of wi-fi). My employment in the educational system has provided me with a summer off with a meager paycheck and benefits. Combine all this with a guy who read a lot of Kerouac in high school, and has been reading cyberpunk fiction lately, and you've got (cue musical flourish:) The TechNomadic Lifestyle Experiment!

I'm going to take my life on the road. I'm going to take you with me. I'm going to try to spend one month driving around the western US essentially being a vagrant with a laptop.

Aaron 10:01:00 PM

Friday, May 16, 2003

09:38:00 AM

N 40.55610 W 105.14275

Last night was initial testing for the 'finding places to sleep' component of The TechNomadic Lifestyle. Really, it went pretty well. I think this whole thing will be a bit harder than I expect, but I'll get used to it. That's really the point. I spent a few hours in a wi-fi coffee lounge in Collins typing up that blog entry for yesterday then I drove out to the horsetooth dam by the stadium in Collins and found a place to crash. It was a really nice night last night, but there was a thick fog in the air that made all the grass wet and muddy, so by the time I found a spot to toss the bivy bag out my shoes and pants were soaking wet from all the water on the tall grass. It was about midnight when I began to set up in a little clearing just out of sight of the road where I parked the car. No sooner had I gotten into the bivy bag and gotten comfy than the first cop showed up. He cruised by slowly, shined his light in my carís windows, and cruised on. He made an even slower pass on his way back. I felt kind of silly laying in my sleeping bag in tall wet grass across the street watching him, hoping heíd move on. Donít know why, but cops always make me nervous.

In Sterling (the tiny town in North East Colorado where I grew up) the cops are bastards. At least when I was young they were. We used to get hassled about all kinds of activities back then that were perfectly legal. I think as a result I've grown a rather biased perception toward police officers. In the end, I was parked legally, so there was really nothing they would do. (although my sleep spot.. on the other hand was probably trespassing)

After the first cop, I was wide awake and gonna stay that way, sadly, so the second cop gave me something to break up the monotony of not being able to sleep. He got out, shined his mag light all around my car, most likely called in my plates, and went on his merry way. Ack, for test one that sure was a pain in the ass. Next time Iíll sleep where I can't see the car, so I can get some rest.

By now it was about 2am. Tired, but can't sleep. Worried about the car, worried about someone finding me. I assume eventually I'll get over that. I'm also worried about that damned gravelly noise! What the hell? Every couple minutes I'd hear what sounded (from within the bag) like a car, very close driving on a dirt road. My mind instantly begins looping through possible explanations, I'm thinking cops, I'm thinking deer or elk, I'm thinking bears. By 3:30 I'd come up with an explanation. It's rock slide! I was sleeping about an 8th of a mile from the horsetooth dam construction project. There were rocks falling down the face of the dam construction. They may have been started by animals, but at that distance.. I didnít care.

Sleep. Finally!

About 6:30 am I start hearing vehicles again. Construction workers apparently get early starts. The vehicle noise grows progressively larger as said construction workers change from consumer level trucks to larger and louder vehicles for grading, loading, dumping, etc. By 7:30 I take the hint, roll up the bivy and sneak quickly to the car. I hope I can learn to sleep better as this progresses. Otherwise these posts are going to become more and more strange due to deprivation.

Aaron 09:38:00 AM

Friday, May 23, 2003

10:37:00 PM

Ok, more of the research has begun. Above, you see a map of most of the states i wanna focus on. and that black mess o' dots is a bunch of pushpins that microsoft streets has marked as T-mobile hotspots. 1500 of them! (there were 2000, but 500 couldn't be pinpointed by address). T-Mobile has nicely wifi'd every Starbucks that side of Vegas for me, and they'll give me access to all of them for a month for $20!

So, without doing any war driving at all, I've got 2000 potential spots where i can walk in and get some work done. That's looking like it'll be a good thing, as we will probably have some real solid work this summer! Life is looking good. Now all i have to do is get up the nerve to go.

School's officially out. I've turned my attention to working on further plans for this strange trip, and working on 51 Seconds projects. (and playing games.. damned gaming puter)

I think one of the best reasons for me to do this is it will unplug me from all the timewasting things i do all the time. At least if i'm homeless i'll be wasting time outside.

Aaron 10:37:00 PM

Sunday, June 15, 2003

09:59:00 PM

Still doing more preparation. It's looking more and more like this will fly. I'm being kept pretty busy with work lately, but in my spare time i've been thinking about this project. One of the recent advancements was learning to pull the seats out of my car. I realized the Volkswagen Jetta has very modular seating that can be removed with only a leatherman tool. After removing the base to both the back seats, and the back of one back seat, i was able to flatten my passenger seat to the point where i can build a 5'6" platform for sleeping! I'll feel alot better about the trip if i don't hafta find a place to bivy every night. This way i can catch z's in a walmart parking lot if it have to. (Better yet, a starbucks parking lot ; ) One other thing i want to find out is whether they leave those connections up after business hours.

Aaron 09:59:00 PM

10:48:00 PM

As it turns out, they do indeed leave the connection up through the night. (I war drove borders this evening) Now, what do you suppose the law says about sleeping in a car in a cafe parking lot? The jetta's getting closer and closer to 'just like home'. Think i need a better wifi antenna though. Someone wanna sponsor me and get me a nice shiny roof antenna?

Aaron 10:48:00 PM

Monday, July 7, 2003

01:55:03 PM

Ugh, well, depending on what happens financially, the experiment may not even get off the ground. I was shooting for leaving just after the fourth, but i'm currently not in a financial situation that would get me 500 miles. I have a client that owes me money, so essentially the technomadic lifestyle experiment is dependent upon them paying their bills. I am continuing preparations in anticipation of everything working itself out, but this experiment is getting shorter and shorter by the day. (I need to be back in the school in the middle of august).

Aaron 01:55:03 PM

Thursday, July 10, 2003

09:03:00 PM

Hmm, so i wrote this thing in blogger, as it's supposed to be one of the most popular blog systems out there. It's being a pain in the ass, that last post didn't make it up till now, as ftp's been screwy. if it continues to misbehave i'll move this whole thing to another system, (or write my own).

Aaron 09:03:00 PM

Friday, July 11, 2003

12:40:17 AM

Ok, screw blogger. I just whipped up some quick and dirty blogging software. So, back to the strangeness at hand! Today, Eric (my business partner) and i built a sleeping platform for the jetta! It's pretty kickass if i do say so myself. With the passenger seat folded down and the platform in place i can stretch out from trunk to glove compartment.

After those pics were taken i took it home and covered it in upholstry vinyl. It's grey now, which matches my interior better and the whole aparatus looks cooler now. I'll get a pic tomorrow if i can.

Aaron 12:40:17 AM

Saturday, July 12, 2003

09:02:49 AM

so i tried out the coolass new JettaBed (tm) last night. (ambrose and company think i need trademark or (r) symbols next to the names of more of my whacky inventions.

Anyway.. couple lessons learned:

a. no one notices a half naked man sleeping in a car. generally, people see 'car' and their eyes stop there, if they're driving.

b. sleeping on the street sucks, because the angle is about 25 degrees to the gutter, and it makes you slosh into the door repeatedly during the night.

Other than that, i slept great, and it works pretty durn well. i'm psyched. (gonna just hafta shoot for level sleep spots from now on.)

my pop sleeps in the back of his truck quite often, and he has a little bubble level for it. I always thought that level of precision was a bit absurd. Not last night.

Aaron 09:02:49 AM

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

12:05:54 AM

N 38.84693 W 104.85396

Jetta's packed, i'm on the road. (it's really quite full, but still comfy) To start off i'm headed south, i'm currently in Colorado Springs, and I'll be heading down to Albuquerque to hang out with my dad for a day or two tomorrow. Till then, not much to write about.

Thomas (my brother) and i did a little work on things, (needed to fix an electrical problem with my battery charger) I'm going to do a bit more tweaking tomorrow morning, then head south.

Aaron 12:05:54 AM

08:31:42 PM

N 35.12437 W 106.71551

Not too much to report, first day of driving. Left the springs at noon, and got into albuquerque at 5:30 or so.

Hangin out with my pop for a day or so, then i'm off to the west.

A little bit of soldiering and the laptop power supply is ship shape. (this puter is starting to look more and more rigged and duct-taped together by the day)

I got paid today, so the financial stress is a little lighter. Still gonna need to be doing this project on the cheap though. It'll keep things interesting.

I have a couple goals, 1. I'd like learn to live on the road to the point where i could do it indefinitely. 2. I'd like it to cost pretty much the same as my normal life does.

Aaron 08:31:42 PM

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

07:58:43 PM

N 35.12437 W 106.71551

Still hangin out in abq. went to the store, and hung out with pop. Tomorrow should be four hours to flagstaff.

Today we worked on making some small shims for bed leveling. a couple 3/4 inch hunks o plywood and i should be ready for street sleepin again. (that white round thing is a bubble level i bought at an rv store.)

I also went to walmart and found some car tint. it's wierd stuff, it's made to be static clingy, like those static stickers. and it's completely temporary. So when i need it i can just stick it up, and when i drive i can just peel it off and roll it up. Not sure how well it's going to work. and in order to do all my windows i'll need to buy some more. I'm going to try out the stuff thats there for now.. then add more if it works.

not much more to say. are you bored yet? back on the road tomorrow.

Aaron 07:58:43 PM

Thursday, July 17, 2003

01:08:04 PM

rollin outta abq, on the way to flagstaff az. eta: 5ish.

Have a lat and lon of tmobile hotspot. Hope to see ya there.

Aaron 01:08:04 PM

07:57:44 PM

So, 350 miles later, here i am. the combination of tmobile's address and my map software led me far astray of where the wifi should have been. found it eventually though. so here i am.

drove through some strange country. Flat, open, scrubbly desert, with lots of casinos, reservations, and billboards that say 'stop for your free arrowhead!'. I didn't.

I also passed 2 strange towns.. one named 'two guns' and one named 'twin arrows' about 10 miles apart. strange neighborhood.

The grand canyon is about a hundred miles north. Thinkin bout a detour. ; )

theres some kinda music fest goin on down here tonite. i'm gonna go look for it.

Aaron 07:57:44 PM

Friday, July 18, 2003

09:09:36 AM

N 35.19481 W 111.63270

Morning!
So last night i unhitched the bike and rode around downtown flagstaff. Seems easier to check out a place from a bike, as you can cruise all slow and you don't block traffic. Found a nifty brewery, hung out for a while, then went to bed.

Starbucks parkinglot was not half bad. There were a couple people stealing shopping carts at about 3 am, and trucks and stuff coming and going. But eventually i got some solid sleep.

It's nice to have such solid internet access, but i'll probly trade it for a scenic view and more privacy in future.

The cantenna is performing admirably! It really is handy to sit in the car with the laptop below door level and an antenna just sticking out the window.

Think in the long term tho, i'd go with a unidirectional roof mounted antenna.

Right, so today i'm going to go see if i can find a rec center where i can take a swim and shower. Then i'm going to drive up to peer over the grand canyon. then i'll probly be back on the road on the way to northern LA. Probably won't talk to you till then, and i'm not sure i can do it in a day. So i may sleep somewhere between here and there.

Seeya at the next wifi!

Aaron 09:09:36 AM

Saturday, July 19, 2003

10:44:41 AM

N 34.26197 W 119.21245

What a long day!

I started off with my usual routine. I looked around for the rec center in the phone book and eventually gave up. (something i hadn't expected about the technomadic lifestyle would be how long it'd take to find everything!) So that's right people! no showers since albuquerque. I'm not smellin funky, but i'd really love a shower right now.

Anyway. Drove 100 miles north to the grand canyon with all the other tourists and peered over the edge. After finding that i cannot check my email there, i moved on. ; )

seriously.. it's really pretty cool. I'd love to go there some time with more people and hike down to the bottom. There's a camp at the base, and i could just make out people at the bottom (with 8x magnification). Very hot out there though. perhaps a fall activity.

Anyway, there were so many people there, i really felt like a tourist, so i hit the road again.

The drive was uneventful, that is, until i met arizona construction. Little did i know there would be about 10 'reduced speed zones' with a cop hiding in every one. I learned this information after accidentally speeding by the first one.

Basically there were cones eliminating the lane i was in, and a car going 65-70 next to me.. I accellerated to get in front of them before my lane dissappeared (a mistake, i'll grant) and in doing so found myself (according to the ticket) going 77 in a 45. It's amazing how fast a person can find themselves a few hundred dollars poorer for one stupid mistake. I'm thouroughly sad.

At that point, i put the ticket away, and tried to put it out of my mind.. (it just makes me feel sad and crappy) The strange thing about this drive, is i was kinda racing the sun. My gps displays the time of sunset where ever you are at any point on the planet. It also displays my eta to Ventura. So, as i drove, the time of sunset would creep forward (as i was traveling west) and my eta would fluctuate wildly. For most of the drive I actually thought i could make the ocean at sunset. Then i hit the western california hyways. In the end, i missed it by about 30 minutes. But i got to see the grand canyon and pacific ocean on the same day. I can't decide if it was a good day or not..

After getting a case of sandy-feet i got back in the car to search for a place to sleep. I was getting all cozy in a movie theater parking lot (unfortunately the beach has very stringent parking laws) when a rent-a-cop knocked on the window and told me i couldn't park overnight there. oh yeah. we're feelin like a funky beatnik now. ; )

Got back into the drivers seat and cruised around for another couple hours, finally settled in a residential neighborhood next to a park. I'm getting more and more comfortable with sleeping in the car. I'm kindof always worried about my surroundings though. So sleep is restless. If i'm not exhausted, i'm not sleeping. I kinda wish i had a bus or something with walls. There's a strange mental aspect to sleeping in a glass box that gets to a person.

Was pulling pictures off my camera and found this:

She's trying to lick my water bottle. I miss my family.

Aaron 10:44:41 AM

07:24:07 PM

N 34.92981 W 120.41817

I drove north out of ventura today. (don't really like staying in one place for too long. don't know why) anyway.. got on the 101 and found a beach. Shower's be damned! i've got the pacific ocean! I'm not sure if it left me with a fishy funk that's worse than what i had, or a freshly rinsed funk that's better. Oh well. No one's been acting like i'm a stinky leper, so i say, let it ride! What a strange trip.

Anyway. stopped off in santa barbara, and drove some of the smaller curvy seaside mountain roads there. That was pretty cool. Twould be a neat place to live. (not in the town mind you, which is all high class and pretensious at it's center) but the surrounding area seems nice.

After seeing the downtown, i decided to push on.. so i hit highway 1 and cruised (slowly) north. Made it as far as Santa Maria, and i've been sitting in a starbucks (gonna start hating these places) drinkin decaf and talkin to all my sooper supportive friends.

I was kinda down till i heard from them. Now, i'm feelin a bit better.

I tallied up all i spent so far.. Looks like i'm down $200 for the excursion as it stands. (obviously not counting the freakin ticket!) not too bad. $100 of that is gas, some is preparation and food. Think financial stability at this is doable, but i'd hafta stay in one place more..

Anyway.. i'm off. Think i'm gonna go to the movies tonite.

Aaron 07:24:07 PM

Sunday, July 20, 2003

12:34:27 PM

Went to see a few movies last night.. (johnny english, ugh. crap. but it was on at the right time.) and pirates of the carribean.. interesting.. don't know what to think.. was pretty funny.

slept behind a truckstop last night. That was probably the best sleep i've had in 4 days. I think because no one cared that i was there, and i knew it. My car was right in the middle of vans, trucks, and big trucking rigs, and all of them were doing the same thing i was. Sleeping in parkinglots and residential streets is too stressful.. I'll take the freakyness of a truckstop any day.

I think in future, i'll just remove the passenger seat of the jettaride. If i weren't hauling that thing around, i'd have all kindsa room for organization and storage, and i could lower the bed another 4 inches which would allow me to actually sit up on it without sticking my head through the sunroof.

You guys should really take a tour of the jetta.. it's pretty funny.

I've been sitting here catchin up w/ everyone on the internet.. now i think i'm going to go in search of a pool (again!) then i'm going to probably hit highway 1 to Arroyo Grande, (think i'll check out pismo beach, i've heard that name before)

Aaron 12:34:27 PM

04:25:31 PM

N 35.13607 W 120.62566

Ok, so i've been using qwestdex to search for public pools. (still tracking the elusive shower facility) Followed it to a residential neighborhood where qwestdex claims there is an 'aqua center' which turns out to be the jacuzi of some guy named earl.. (ok, i'm making that up. but there was nothing but a house there.) Grrrr!!

Ok, so you all don't think i'm sooper funky and disgusting, let me clarify. I've been using these old spice man wipes (i call em that because they are essentially baby wipes for vagrant wankers like myself. Really, (from personal experience and smell tests) they're quite effective. I would definitely recommend them to certain friends who shower 3 times a day. You know who you are. I also found a similar thing from clearasil for face cleany. What i haven't resolved is hair washing, etc. And i'd still like to find a freakin shower.

For some reason i can't find my coffee mug. WTF? I live in a 6 ft by 4 ft space. How does one lose things in that? I will look again, but eventually i may find that it is in santa maria, CA.

Oh yeah! forgot to tell you where i am now. I'm in Pismo Beach. Looks like a spensive seaside town. down by the beach there's lotsa fog. I took the bike down and went for a ride around. Nice area. There's a big sandy beach where there's lots of offroading etc. (this is southern pismo mind you, i'm going to go up north toward the pier soon.) Like every other beach i've found so far. it's VERY crowded, and there are LOTS of no parking signs and regulations. It'll probably improve once the week starts again and these people go back to work.

So I'm taking the bike off the roof, and putting on my camelbak pack (which most of you know as the dakine pack i take everywhere.) Anyway, i bend over to put on my cycling shoes, and i hear a trickling behind me.. i didn't know what it was.. i look behind me and i don't see anything.. but my ass is feeling wet, and as i turned, the trickling turned with me. I yank off my pack as fast as i can and pull out my camel bak bladder, and the pack has about.. 50 oz. of water dripping out of the bottom. (very slowly, as it's water proof ; )

The drinking hose that connects to the bladder had gotten loose and come off. I cut off the worn end, and put it back on.. then went for a ride with a soggy pack, and a soggy butt.

That's my story for the afternoon. Gonna head up the beach a bit and checkout the pier. Then i'll begin working on finding another place to sleep.

by the way, check out the terraserver map for today. (those lat and long coordinates at the top) Pretty cool lookin.

Aaron 04:25:31 PM

09:12:34 PM

N 35.26271 W 120.67610

I went up to the pier and hung out a bit. Watched the surfers for a while (i really wanna learn) and saw a pod of dophins playing around. that was pretty cool.

Guess what else i found? A public freakin shower!! I'm clean and shiny baby! Should be good for atleast another week. ; )

So I'm in San Luis Obispo now, (where their starbucks looks and tastes just like every other starbucks.. ack.) A friend recommended i check out the madonna inn..

forgot all about it till i came across this bigass sign.

I went in and looked around. it's very.. very... pink.. and heartshaped. funny place. wish i had the dough for the leopard skinned room. ; )

Not much else to tell. Having a blast at my 'cali 15 miles at a time' type trip. If the lack of contact is ok with business plans, i'll probably head up highway 1 (between here and san francisco) and stop to play alot.

I can't find any record of wifi in that area, so you may not hear the tale till SF.

Aaron 09:12:34 PM

Monday, July 21, 2003

10:18:39 PM

N 36.61661 W 121.90097

Sitting outside of a closed starbucks in monterey. no external outlets, so time before battery is drained is short. (damn i need a new one)

Drive up was really fun and interesting. hywy 1 was really pretty, and curvy fun.. but very cloudy.. almost socked in by fog.. so view was small.

went to hearst castle, whole nine yards. will tell all the stories tomorrow hopefully when i have more time.

Stopped to check out a kickass view, and a girl pulled up behind me. we started talking.. she's doing the exact same thing i am. very odd. We're kinda teaming up tonite. She's new at the car sleeping thing.

will explain all tomorrow.

strange day.

Aaron 10:18:39 PM

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

02:41:32 PM

So i'm driving up highway 1 from SLO, most of it is fogged in. So i didn't get the big cool views i was expecting. I stopped off at the Hearst Castle and did the whole tourist thing. That was kinda interesting. I was really more interested in learning bout references in Citizen Kane than in learning about what a great guy hearst was. (which seemed like all anyone ever really said)

I have a few pics of the place, but they didn't come out very well. No flash allowed inside, so the digicam took blurry pics. the Gist of it... That man had buttloads of money.

Anyway.. got back on the road at about.. 4 ish? and headed north. Stopped off at various 'vistas' saw sea lions.. Drove through fog most of the way though. Eventually the road climbed to about 700 feet and i was above the cloud cover. (jer, you would love this road.. curvey and slow.. but a very fun drive, like 100 miles of horsetooth hills.)

I stopped for a moment to dig an apple out of the trunk, and check out this view:

yeah.. those are clouds folks. all the way to the horizon. Felt like the top of the world.. very cool.

So i'm standing there eating an apple when a girl pulls up behind me in a boat of a car, and gets out and checks out the view. She strikes up a conversation, and i find out she's a 19 year old chick from Albuquerque who's doing the exact same thing i was. (sleeping in the car and whatnot) What's strange, is one of the first things she says is 'yeah, i'm probably gonna shower at truckstops and such.' i was blown away. (i know, the odds of finding other people on the road doing what i'm doing aren't that bad, but holy crap!)

Anyway, i give her my phone number and drive on. I drive north further, the sun is setting through the fog which is a pretty damned breathtaking sight. So i show up in monterey that night, and cruise down to the coast, where i find your average touristed out town.. I strap on the skates (jettadhingy 2.0 (r)) and cruise through town a bit, finally settling at a starbucks to catch up w/ the netwankers. Phone rings, it's the girl, says she's in monterey and bored, so i tell her were i am and we meet up for beers. (er.. beer. she's a youngin.) we sit around talking and debating strange philosophical points till the wee hours, then find a place to park cars and sleep. It was pretty fun. Good to know that meeting interesting people is possible on such an excursion.

Next morning, woke up, and parted ways. (she's planning on going north a bit faster than i am.) Twas quite fun. cut into the lonelyness a tad atleast. For a night.

So i got moving this morning, spent a couple hours downtown on a hotspot there.. and then i found a rec center!!! yes, at long last, aaron found lapswim and a warm shower. I am clean and shiny. (actually.. i'm still wearing dirty clothes that could use a washing.. next goal... laundromat.

Anyway. Now i'm back down on cannery row by the beach. and headed to the aquarium that is rumored to be around here.

later. Aaron

Aaron 02:41:32 PM

09:22:56 PM

in santa cruz. found the shangra la of geekdom. A bigass borders books with wifi and coffee. But i am cursed. No power outlets.

Having wifi and all my reference books in one place is a must. I could live here.

in all seriousness, santa cruz is more my kinda town. it's more collegy, and full of hippies. (as far as i can tell) think i'm clinging to that college town ideology. Theres a little indy theater down the street. may go catch a flik.

that is all.

battery.... draining... draining... whataworld whataworld..

Aaron 09:22:56 PM

Thursday, July 24, 2003

01:44:17 PM

N 37.83441 W 122.25008

Sorry for the posting delay people. I've fallen into the wifi sinkhole that is oakland. (just kidding.. it's as frequent here as everywhere. I've just been a bit distracted by more important things.)

So.. where did we leave off. I just checked my camera and realised i have no new pictures to show you either. for that i appologize. I'll find some whacky things to post.

So I slept on the streets of santa cruz night before last, no real problems, just found a quiet spot and went to sleep. That's a pretty nice town. It's kinda locked down though. (gotta get a freakin token to use the restroom in the borders) I think whenever your population reaches a certain density and vagrancy is commonplace, society clamps down which would make life hard. Makes me wonder why they stay in those places at that point. I've been to lots of towns that would be much easier to live in.

Its a strange system we've got. Some places are completely inhospitable without money. Food doesn't grow, staying in the same place for too long is illegal, and you can potentially starve in front of thousands of human beings that are just like yourself but with better support systems.

It never occurred to me how inextricably linked my life is to my bank account. does that bug anybody else?

I've always romanticised the idea and told myself that if i ever became destitute i'd wander off in the woods somewhere and live off of what i could find.

the woods have entrance fees..

Anyway... enough depressing talk.
I woke up in santa cruz, and went through the standard routine. (every morning i hafta reorganize the car from bed on wheels to rolling mobile command center of technomaddery) So i moved my stuff about, and went to the grocery store. Then I stopped off at borders, got online for a bit and read city guides of san fran.

oh! forgot to mention, i went down to the indy theater in downtown the night before and saw 'whale rider' that's a good film! I really dug it.

Anyway, i went down by the boardwalk, did some laundry and skated around a bit checking out prices on surf lessions. They weren't too expensive, (equivalent of 1000 jettamiles though) by the time i was shopping, it was too late to get a whole day in, and it was kinda cold, so i decided to skip it. I'll probably get another opportunity up the coast. If not, i'm coming back and i'm gonna learn. Looks really fun.

Feet got itchy. so i got back on the road and headed into SF. Twas getting late by the time i got there, drove around northBeach, (kinda looking for cityLights book store) Saw a sign along the lines of 'city lights book stores inc.' and decided if i found it i'd probly be depressed by the jack kerouac bobble head dolls and moved on.

All this time i was trying to call my friend celeste, who lives in oakland. She eventually called me back, so i went across the bay to see her. We hung out, talked of everything, went out for beers, and compared skipping technique on the streets of oakland (i'm faster, but she's got style). I slept in an actual comfy bed last night. (her roomate's outta town for a bit, hows that for timing?) and took an actual warm shower. I really did miss those. Anyway, in another starbucks now. The city's not particularly interesting, but the company outweighs that. I'll probably stick around here till the weekend. (or she gets tired of me and boots me out. ; )

Ok, i'm off.. gonna go findya some pictures.

Aaron 01:44:17 PM

Friday, July 25, 2003

11:36:18 AM

So thomas (my brother) says i'm like a reality tv show over at the colorado springs intel fab. ; ) good to hear i have some people following the strangeness.

Not much to report at this point. I'm still in oakland with celeste. She's working on getting today off so we can go play.

Yesterday i pulled tha jettaDhingy (c)(r)(tm) (er... that's my bike) out and went for a ride up to berkley. checked out the campus a bit, and rode around. Navigating traffic around here is a very stimulating experience. Adrenaline junky in me was pretty jazzed. I've always thought bike messenger would be a pretty cool (if short and painful) career.

other than that.. yesterday was pretty simple. (i promise i'll get back on the road and have more interesting stuff to talk about on monday.)

meanwhile.. my friends have been prodding me for more pictures... so.. here goes.

this is a john wayne airport shotglass. It lives in celestes house. I thought it was the most amusing thing i'd seen in quite a while.

this is a buncha redwood trees. they're in the middle of the campus. kinda cool. don't know how this pic turned out, as i'm on a laptop in sunlight.. sorry.

this is celeste, who is mad at me for taking her picture. Behind her, is the couch she got from a crackwhore.

I also had a request for more map graphics so ya know where i am. Here's the trip so far:

Microsoft streets and trips says that's about 1762 miles so far. Not baqd.

that's about all i have for now. gonna finish up on some more net wanking, then go out and play.

Aaron 11:36:18 AM

Saturday, July 26, 2003

03:14:41 PM

I'm still alive. having a great time. Will be sad to get back on the road.

Details later.

Aaron 03:14:41 PM

Monday, July 28, 2003

12:57:13 PM

So, what to tell. Life has a way of changing quite suddenly i guess. The nomadic loner has been hanging out in oakland since.. thursday, trying to spend as much time as he can with the most amazing girl before he has to go. The last thing i expected when i started this trip was to find myself in a long distance relationship with a girl in california, but here i am.

So, what have we been up to? Well, friday Celeste got half her workday off, so we went out to play. She used to live near a small creek with a walking trail by it, so we went out there and checked it out. We ended up taking the er... not so beaten path a bit. Celeste ended up with soggy feet.

From then on, of course she tromped around the creek finding all the water she could. She's the coolest.

Apparently the area used to be a public works project where they effectively buried the creek. This big long dark tunnel was all that's left over from that era, and the work to remove it is in progress. We couldn't help it, so we grabbed the headlamp and the digicam and went in.

This is Celeste telling me to take a picture of the tunnel. It was pitch black and I didn't give her any warning that she'd be in it.. Hence the deer in headlights look.

Ok, the strangest thing to find at the opening of a bigass dark tunnel, an old torn up poster of bruce lee! whoo hoo!

Afterwards we were walking back to the car and i had to get one good no parking sign for posterity. It sums up most of my travels pretty well.

Anyway.. that was... friday. Saturday, we hung around, went down to the beach and walked around, then went to the airport to pickup Celeste's roomate. After that we went and ate afghani food, and went to see tombraider 3.. which pretty thoroughly sucked.

Yesterday was Celeste's birthday. (officially entitled '25 II Electric Boogaloo') So Niki (her roomate) and i took her out to breakfast, and we went to see bad boys 3. (they're into action movies..) That was pretty good. Quite funny. After that we went to the bookstore and the 'lectric Washhouse to do some laundry.

Most of it doesn't make very interesting story telling... sorry bout that.. but i loved every minute.

Anyway... i'm still in oakland. about to hit the road north. (havent even pulled the map out yet.. don't even know where i'm going.)

Looks like along the way i will find very little well established wifi. So i may be on my own a bit. Don't worry bout me if i'm off for a day or two.

Plan as it stands continues to be highway 1 up the coast. I'll check in when i can. I may hafta resort to actual war driving and in tiny seaside towns i may not find much in the way of wireless bandwidth.

seeya there.

Aaron 12:57:13 PM

09:43:26 PM

N 39.44543 W 123.80498

So i headed out of Oakland about noonish. (had to spend some time online catching up with everything.) I headed north, got lost a bit, and found my way to the 1.

this is a bridge

The 1 is scenic as it always has been. And foggy too! I hardly ever see the ocean any more. It's a fun drive, but I'm also kinda feeling like i wanna just get above cali. We'll see how i feel tomorrow.

Anyway.. I had given up all hope of finding wifi up here.. when i cracked open the laptop and started war driving fort bragg. Surprisingly i found a little cafe with wifi spilling out into the street.. so i'm all set! whoo hoo!

Guess i'm gonna go find something to do now, and find somewhere to sleep.
Nite!

Aaron

Aaron 09:43:26 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

03:34:27 PM

been wifiless a bit lately. what follows was written offline and posted today.

Aaron 03:34:27 PM

03:35:52 PM

I started out about..11 or so.. and headed north on the 1 again. It was foggy and curvy, and kinda crowded. I found some construction, and they had traffic blocked in a few places with everyone lining up. What was funny, was all the touring motorcycles that bypassed the line and headed to the front. By the time it was our turn to get moving they'd formed a bigass gang. It was like sturgis! This would be a fun drive to do on motorcycle. (finding a lot of people doing it on a bike too thomas. something you should definitely consider. They have gear just like yours.)

There are some really interesting little seaside places and towns around. I'd love to make a trip some time (when i'm not being a loner) and actually stay around there. Looks nice.

Eventually the 1 curved inland quite a way, and got really fun. Today i remembered why i drove the jetta, and not a vw bus or winabago or something. I found the most curvy fast fun roads i've ever seen in my life! I had to stop for a bit to change the rigging of the car so it wouldn't be so sloshy around the corners.. strapped down the cooler, the laptop, put away all my stuff and hauled ass. It was really fun. I loooooove that car. (mom, if yer concerned.. and i know you are, 'hauling ass' was something like 30 mph. and i'm all kindsa safe and in one piece)

Eventually i found myself in 'huge freakin redwood' country. (that's the real official name.. i swear!) Kinda cool to see some reallly big trees.

Kinda not as cool to see a hacked down crosssection of one of those really big trees with a sign on it that says '100 years old' ....and no older... aparrently

before i became depressed about such things i saw a sign for the famous 'drive thru tree' I figured hell... photo-op. Then i found a freaky tourist trap with a tight tiny 1 way road leading to a booth where they charge ya 3 bucks for entrance. Sorry kids, it's a meal, or a picture.. But I DID bring you the sign. which has apparently been blasted with a shotgun of some sort.

Stopped off in the very poorly named town of eureka.. my ass.. no wireless to be found.

Aaron 03:35:52 PM

05:22:35 PM

N 45.48620 W 122.75713

holy crap! i just checked out the map.. and in one day yesterday i drove 440 miles. (streets says that's 8 hours or so on the roads i was on)

didn't really notice. I really should become a trucker.

right... so... for the second half of yesterday... (it's just sinking in how long it was and all the strange things i saw.) I stopped off.. war drove eureka, and, finding nothing, kept on driving. (whenever i'm indecisive, my first impulse is just to drive more) I did that all the way to Eugene OR, last night. Where i slept in a hotel parking lot by the highway.

Eureka did have some interesting stuff to see however, I drove down into the industrial sector where there were vast lots of:

being turned into:

I also drove out onto a peninsula (a very narrow one) where there were some sanddunes. Crossed a bridge that dipped down to marshy grassland in the middle.

this kinda reminded me of a painting i'd seen once.

Anyway.. I eventually got back on the road and kept heading north. (ever internet seeking) I soon found myself cruising across the oregon border which looked like this:

thats the point where stuff started just getting wierd.

Think it began with this:

yes folks.. thats a.. probly 3 story tall statue of paul bunyan, and babe the blue ox. wtf?! What i found particularly interesting was that that statue was in the parking lot.. and sitting out on the road looking rather sad about what has become of his woods was this fellow:

I continued north on my merry way when i was stopped by yet another oddity:

Right in the middle of southern oregon.. a strange place for swimming with tigers. apparently. I thought it was a strange concept. unfortunately they were closed.. or i woulda been playing with the soggycats.

The last thing i had to show you.. (lord knows how many strange things i passed under the cover of darkness) Is this wonderfully named gas station:

Aren't they just asking for it?!

well.. thats pretty much it for now... You may have noticed i'm not cruising up the coast anymore. I got a bit tired of seeing the ocean repeatedly at 30mph. and decided to just put some distance behind me. So anyway.. i'm in portland now, and i guess i'll head north more. at this point.. i'm really feeling like i'm in it for the drive more than anything. Everyone keeps telling me to check out the columbia river.. so i'm gonna make that my tentative goal. I'm thinking home is looming closer and closer. I miss it. and i've got a long way to go before i can get back. By my calculations.. i'm anywhere from 1200 to 1800 miles out. depending on the route.

Posts may get thinner and thinner.. as i prioritize movement over internet access.. Sorry. (i'm pretty much an addict though.. so i'm sure you'll hear from me)

Aaron 05:22:35 PM

Thursday, July 31, 2003

12:09:08 PM

N 47.61427 W 122.34231

Yesterday after i wrapped up the blog, and all the other stuff i do online, i packed up and headed back out to the coast. (everyone was telling me i should go out and see the columbia where it meets the ocean... so i drove out there. The drive was very nice, and i got out there about sunset. I'm afraid i wasn't in much of a picture taking mood. sorry.

So, anyway.. i cruised north more (back on the 101 again) and had a good time. Did alot of it in the dark.. but i was alright with that. That was when i met the deer... She was standing in the middle of the road.. (there were a few before her.. so i was cautious.) Anyway... the ipod slid from the jettabed all the way to the passenger side floor. This made me sad.. so i rigged up a solution.

remember the kid in iron eagle with the bigass 1980's tape recorder strapped to his thigh?

this is the 2k3 version. I rigged some thigh velcro. i was pretty proud of it.

Drove on in the dark up the 101 again.. to olympia, where i spend the night. Which happens to be the boyhood home of Nik Friedman! (by boyhood i mean... er.. college.. so he was probly 23 or so..) anyway.. seems like a nice town.. craploads of coffee shops.

Anyway.. stopped off at the safeway today... and the jetta registered her displeasure about being run so hard for so long. I was backing up and my bumper hooked on the curb (as jettas are prone to do) and a piece popped out.

I think she wants to go home.

Today i drove up to seattle, where i'm currently sitting on a downtown city street.. in skates.. camped out in front of a starbucks. (the vagrancy is in full effect now.. as i haven't shaved or showered in days.)

so i've wasted almost all of my parking meter time on this here blog, and talking to friends.. i'd better go.

Thinkin i'm going to head for home via montana soon.. I only have $350 and i have a $4-5 hundred dollar ticket waiting for me..

should be home in a few days.

Aaron

Aaron 12:09:08 PM

07:09:59 PM

N 47.66895 W 117.39668

one last hero shot.. ; )

well.. i'm in... Spokane WA. which apparently is the edge of the world as far as t-mobile hotspots are concerned:

So i'm either war driving montana (which given it's population would be a statistically difficult endevor) or i'm disconnected till about colorado. we'll see.

If i pop up again, i'll be very surprised.

It's looking like cell service is gonna be pretty spotty as well.

So i guess i won't be getting too many calls. I'll try to make some when i get to the little pink blobs on that map. ; )

essentially.. i'm kinda thinking.. mad dash for colorado.. the more i think about it.. the more i miss home. There is a possibility of checking out yellowstone while i'm up here.. we'll see how i feel.

guess that's it. See you kids in colorado.

aaron

Aaron 07:09:59 PM

Saturday, August 2, 2003

06:47:21 PM

Well, I'm back!

Lets see.. i left you in.. washington?
I drove on to missoula MT, and slept there. I left my cooler running all night. (wanted to see if the jetta could run it, as i've been having problems with spoiling meat when i turn it off at night) It ran just fine till about.. 6 am..

Had to get a jump from a guy at the gas station. it was strange, i woke up, realized my power was dead.. and rolled over to catch a few hours before dealing with it.

a second later, two guys roll up and park next to me. how convenient! they were quite nice and i was on my way.

From missoula i drove west through Billings, Bozeman, etc.. and it was all rather uneventful.. by the time i got to Billings, i realized.. hell! i can make greeley by 10pm! I was a man on a mission. 13 or so hours of driving.. and i made it home in time for a whole weekend!

Anyway.. I spent this morning gutting the technomadic gear from the jetta, and giving her a much needed cleaning. She's happy.

I just found a HUGE cellphone bill from a recent trip to puerto rico. Not looking forward to the bill for this trip. Financial fallout is looking long and painful.

more to come..

Aaron 06:47:21 PM

Sunday, August 3, 2003

03:21:33 PM

The Stats:
Total Miles Driven: 4027 miles (actually way more than that.)
Time on the Road: 19 Days
Average speed: 8.8 Mph (211 Mpd)
Fuel Cost: $413
Entire Cost: ugh. quite a bit more.
Nights spent on the JettaBed: 13
Showers taken: 7
Work Accomplished: ~ 0
Internet Connections found: ~ 15-20
Girlfriends found, despite previous 'showers taken' stat: 1 ; )

Stuff i Learned:
No one cares if you sleep in your car. But not drawing attention to it leads to less hassles.
GPS combined with good mapping software.. best damned travel invention ever. Allows one to roam randomly, and always be able to immediately get back on track.
The southern california coast is over regulated, and a pretty un-fun place to be a vagrant.
Life tends to change direction the second you've lost hope of it doing so. Let go. Things just work out.
I didn't miss my tv. i can quit any time i want. ; )
I DID miss my friends and family. It's important to be reminded of that on occasion.
I miss oakland. not the town.. but the girl in it. Someone find me cheap plane tickets.

Watch for TNLE v.2! i'm sooooo gonna do more of this.

Aaron 03:21:33 PM
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