Gone for a Few Days

I’m going to be in Ontario this week, with my newly extended family. Internet access will be intermittent. And my phone won’t work. My folks are at 519 986 1834.

The Train Loses Some Romance/Utility

A sad day: Amtrak is upping the security measures. There goes some of the joy.

old style amtrak security


My sojourn through the undiscovered south (undiscovered for me) is over, and I’m back in what I have to admit is a winter fairyland. Or was until yesterday afternoon, when it switched up into the standard Michigonian Inter-season Slushyland. I’m excited about the new term etc etc.

Hopefully I’ll write up some text on my trip, but here’s the short version:

New Orleans — very good.
Central Hill Country of Texas/Austin — very good.
Joshua Tree Park in California — very good.

You should go theres.

Most of my photos are still sitting on a laptop in LA or possibly Mexico, but that’s okay because I didn’t take very many good ones. Not because there weren’t good photos to take — Nola is probably ridiculously photogenic if I had got off my photographic ass and tried, I’m just either out of the habit or lost what meager skill I had. I’m voting for a blend of the two. And as for Enchanted Rocks and Joshua Tree, well, duh. Okay, I’ve lost my meager skill.


I’ll be away from the internet for a couple of weeks. Back in A2 on the 3rd. If you’re in NOLA, AZ, NM or Socal look me up.

And now I gotta run for the shuttle bus.

Hitchhiking In Texas

I was curious about chances for hitchhiking in Texas. Digihitch.com has info on “hitchhiking, rail & road travel”. Apparently this makes it the “site of subcultural movement“.

Hitchhiking in Texas can be very different, depending on what region you are in.
* West Texas is practically a world all its own, with long, open highways (I-10, I-20) and small towns. It is possible to get long rides all the way through if on the major interstate highways. Most hitchhikers have no problem standing on the main shoulder of the highway. It’s dry, hot land in the summer, and windy in most areas.
* South Texas (South of San Antonio and Corpus Christi) is also wide open. Getting rides will take longer, and will probably come from Spanish-speaking locals or ranchers in the area.

Or according to someone called Lightfoot:

Never had much problem with cops but had serious problems getting out of El Paso on multiple occasions. The other observation about Texas is that if you’re hitching off the interstate, there aren’t many places to camp because private property rights extend to the side of the road and there are high, unclimbable fences everywhere. It was difficult finding a hidden spot to crash. In the southern parts, there is a noticable Border Patrol and deputy sheriff presence, and they will stop and check you out. They’re not very laid back about it either. Texas people are very humorous and good-hearted but for me it was always a very arduous state to hitch through.

There’s also a google maplet showing truck stops in the various regions. Useful stuff.

update: After watching No Country For Old Men, I am now extra worried about hitchhiking in Texas. Like the man says, “not even a young man like yourself”. On the other hand, I now really want to believe that you can do stealth camping in some of those places. And if I find a bag of money while doing so, I will not take it.

My Boss Shall Ride the New Train to Tibet

My supervisor leaves today for one of his periodic trips to China. This time he’s going through the northwest, stopping in Urumqi and other points in Xinjiang. He’s also going up to Lhasa, and to get there he’s taking the crazy new Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Politically, culturally, it is as he put it “what it is”. As a train ride, it’s gotta be the coolest most train-fetishistic thing you can do these days.

Travelling Home from Home via Home

It’s been a summer season in Victoria, and anyone who knows Victoria or summer doesn’t need to be told that it was a good one. I had a final scooter ride around the weathery pacific peninsula that is a city and ended it with serial coffee drinks at the spiral cafe with my friends. Tonight I’m printing boarding passes, tomorrow it’s the ferry to Vancouver and the plane to Toronto and the car to my folk’s minifarm. Then the Kawasaki dealership is going to fix up my wheel bearings and seals and I’ll ride her back to Michigan in glory and, I’m told, humid heat. Should be in town Sunday or Monday, to sample the summer season in Ann Arbor. I don’t know what that looks like, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

“Life is never either or, its and and and and and.”
— Phillip Roth

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