Tag Archives: road trip

Anxieties of a Drug Trafficker

Madison, WI – One recent afternoon at the Brass Ring – a billiards bar on Madison’s east side – “Buddy,” a Wisconsin-based marijuana trafficker, talked the pros and cons of his business. He suggested that a rash of heroin-related high jinks across Dane County over the last year has stifled its growth as authorities step-up their interdiction efforts. “Anytime you get into a period like this – and I’ve noticed waves of it happening in the past – people become a little more insular about who they work with,” he said, nursing a Bloody Mary. “There’s no new faces and… Continue Reading

The Dark Beauty of the Badlands

Badlands, SD – Cruising along the meandering scenic bypass through Badlands National Park in southwestern South Dakota it’s difficult to ignore the supernatural inklings they evoke. Teddy Roosevelt, awed by the dark beauty of this region, aptly described the Badlands as “hell without the fire.” Indeed, this vast, jagged landscape is composed of eroded buttes and spires spread across nearly 244,000 acres that formed as a giant sea receded some 69 million years ago. Prehistoric animals likes mammoths, rhinos and saber-toothed cats once flourished here, making it one of the most fossil-rich areas in the nation, with some fossils dating… Continue Reading

The Town That Couldn’t

Lost Springs, WY – If you’re looking for a drive to get away from it all, I-25 north from Denver to US-HWY 20 east in Wyoming is about as remote as it gets. Two-hundred-and-fifty miles of beautiful nothing. You won’t see utility lines strung along as there are no towns along the way. It’s beautiful country, with large, rocky hills covered with prairie short grass. Wyoming is the nation’s least populous state and Lost Springs is its least populous town. Lost Springs sits on US-HWY 20 east. It’s a town that never really was. It’s population peaked during the mining… Continue Reading

Dude, Quit Pissin’ on My Van

The guy in the white plaid shirt in the background was one of four people I caught pissing on my van. Commerce City, CO – On our first day on the lot at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park, a tall dready I’d met prior to the lot opening pulls me aside to ask if I want to do a bunch of coke. “Not really,” I reply. He seems a little surprised, a little disappointed. “Mind if I duck inside your van for a minute?” he asks, like he really needs a bump. “Ah,” I say, “I’d rather you didn’t.” No luck… Continue Reading

The Benefits of Using a Uniquely Human Trait: Foresight

Commerce City, CO – When hashing out the logistics of big projects I can always count on one thing: forgetting something important. Halfway to Denver I realized I’d forgotten several important things. First was a jar full of silver change that I save to pay meters, tolls and other small expenses. Next it occurred to me that I’d forgotten the folding table, which necessitated us having to purchase one in Colorado. I also left behind our drink cups and shot glasses as well as our extra cooler. In all, my forgetfulness set us back $100. D’oh! These were small things… Continue Reading

Down and Out in Denver

Denver, CO – One of my favorite state crossings is from Nebraska into Colorado. The landscape changes almost instantly from endless acres of corn-covered farmland to a craggy-soiled moonscape dotted with tufts of sage and desert brush. Barbed-wire fences meander into the horizon, disappearing into a wide open sky. I love Denver, t00. As far as cities go it is clean, easy to navigate and the people are notably polite and helpful. I was called ‘hon’ more times here than in Hon Town, Baltimore and the bums say ‘thank you’ whether you give them change or not. No one in… Continue Reading

Nebraska Gothic

Gothenburg, NE – There isn’t much to Nebraska, at least along the I-80 corridor, which stretches clear across the state. Its sheer length and monotony is in and of itself a head game. Mile upon mile of flat, endless farmland that before long causes the eyes to go out of whack, as if you’ve stared too long at a fixed point. No amount of blinking or shifting around can bring the world back into focus. It’s nearly as bad as driving at night. Pulling over to stretch and gather your bearings is the only remedy. After fighting my eyes over… Continue Reading

Alcohol Saves the Day

Chicago, Il – The second episode of my food vending enterprise took me to Chicago, where the jam band Phish played three nights earlier this week at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion, just ahead of a three-night run in Denver that will cap the band’s 2011 summer tour. Following a lukewarm debut of Daisy Dick’s Donut Ballz at the Grateful Garcia Gathering earlier this month, I expanded the menu to include a few hardier food items. My sidekick and I also brought along a cooler full of dank Wisconsin beer and another full of bottled water. And, for good measure,… Continue Reading

Daisy Dick’s Draggy Debut

The band plays to a nascent audience. Black River Falls, WI – Ya gotta love salient coincidences, those ones that punctuate life in ways that might tempt you to ascribe to them some deeper more transcendent meaning. On Thursday morning, as we rolled into Black River Falls, we saw hanging above the highway a banner announcing that weekend’s Jackson County Fair, which last year I worked as a carnie for Wenzel Amazements, an experience that in part inspired this current endeavor. Like the Wenzels I was back in Black River Falls to work a festival, a different one being held… Continue Reading

Killing Time in the Dells

A wax depiction of a technique developed in ancient China where rats are encouraged to eat people alive. Wisconsin Dells, WI – Normally I’m not keen on tourist towns, with their bubble-gummy aesthetic and overpriced fare, but there are exceptions, of course. Wisconsin Dells, where I spent my Fourth of July, is one of them. And though I’ve visited dozens of times over the years, it still holds a secret or two. Located about 50 miles north of Madison, along Highway 12, the city, along with nearby Lake Delton, attracts more than five million visitors annually. Famous for its massive… Continue Reading
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