Monday, September 22, 2008

Arizona, New Mexico, etc.

We have been driving straight to Kansas for awhile. It's going to take about 27 hours. Instead of boring you with all the cows I've been counting, I'll give you more interesting statistics.

Number of times camped out: 2
Number of Jeep breakdowns: 0
Number of blackouts Lacy has had due to alcohol: 2
Number of times EGo has thrown up from being too full of beer: 3
Times pulled over: 2 (Lacy and EGo 1 each)
Tickets received: 1 (Lacy)
"Butt-chewings" received by officer of the law: 1 (EGo)
Parking tickets received: 2 (EGo)
Times we've wished we brought Rock Band with us: COUNTLESS
Miles traveled: Over 5,000

Okay, that's enough for now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rosarito, Mexico

Mark and I went to Mexico. AND IT WAS AWESOME.

When we got there, we missed the bus out of Tijuana to the hotel in Rosarito. Oh, great. If you've never been through the walk-through customs direct into Tijuana... Well, it's not really a place where you wanted to spend a bunch of time. Even during the day. There's not a lot there. Convenience stores are every other store, followed by Pharmacias. Did I mention you don't need a perscription? I did not partake, though. I figured I was going to be pumped on a lot of tequila.

So, after we wander around the streets of Tijuana, we wind up at an ABC bus station. Only problem is, the ladies selling tickets don't speak English. Well, fuck. One of them knows a little bit of English, but not enough to tell us where we can catch a bus to where we need to fucking go. So, we go back and take an over-priced taxi to Rosarito.

Well, shit, Rosarito Beach Hotel is a nice joint. We get there, and the room that they've given us is an ocean view. Fucking awesome. We didn't even have to pay extra. Then we hit the beach. The ocean waves were so intense that we couldn't even get out to a point where we could tread water. BIG waves, man. Would have been awesome if either of us could surf and had a board.

After being defeated by the ocean, we hit up a beach bar. After two drinks, we cruise on over to some ATVs that were parked next to the bar (nice placement, right?). I talk the dude down five bucks, then Mark and I go racing down the beach. We cruise around this crazy circle in the sand for half an hour; it was built with bumpy patches and whatnot so it was more fun to ride. Once our time is up, we tear ass back down the beach.

After that, we eat dinner (Mexican quacamole is THE SHIT), drink tequila, strawberry margaritas, more Mexican beer; we even get one of those dudes with the guitar who comes around to serenade us. Then we go and chill out in some hammocks by the side of the hotel. We tried to walk down the pier that was there, but it was locked.

But seriously, it couldn't have been more awesome an experience. My first time in a foreign country!

Carlsbad, CA, part IV.

Yeah, they're all blending together.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Carlsbad, CA, part III.

So today, EGo, Jon, Mark, Bryan and me went to Stone Brewing Co.. We were too late to make it to the brewery tour, but they have some awesome house bars there. So we drank there for awhile, until Bryan and I got antsy, and took off before the other guys to go get grub.

Before we left, Bryan and I climbed up a rock wall outside the bars. Down about 25 feet below us were a bunch of people watching a movie on the lawn of the brewery. I did this creepy arms spread, crouched down, ready-to-jump-on-some-prey move while Bryan took a flash photo from behind me. I hope a bunch of people looked up and were scared.

Anyway, we wind up at a bar/restaurant called Hennessy's Tavern. And what happens to be going on that night? Karaoke. Oh, yes. That's right. Once the rest of the boys showed up we commenced ruling that shit. House of Pain was first, then a bunch of other songs that blend together because I was busy drinking Jack and Coke's like it was my job. I know we sang some Eve 6, some Andrew W.K., Sum 41... And so on. Seriously, no less than four of us were up there at a time, and most of the time it was all five of us screaming into two microphones. Awesome.

And since we create our own party, eventually the rest of the drunk patrons of this bar joined in. after he had a decent crowd piling up the song requests, he stopped letting us up there so much. But, hey, at least we had a good run.

Carlsbad, CA, part II.

This place has changed my mind about the ocean. Mark and I went in today (EGo can't swim: he stayed in the shallow part), and there's literally NO animals. I won't lie, though; I did look up how to survive a riptide and an undertow, in case those did happen. It was awesome. Jumping through the waves, getting kicked around a bit by the ones that broke over me: at one point I wound up underwater entangled in Mark's legs. Don't ask me how.

The other thing that was eventful today was this mircobrewery/pizza joint that we went to, called Pizza Port. Decent beer; they wouldn't serve single slices of pizza after 3pm, though. That was dissapointing. But hey, we sat and played more asshole until the place closed down. The place is worth a visit.

Carlsbad, CA

The drive from San Francisco to San Diego only took about 7 hours. Took way less time than I thought it would.

Mark has an awesome apartment that he shares with two roommates. It is a block from the ocean. A BLOCK. Fucking awesome.

What's also convenient is that Jon flew into the area for business. And another one of our high school friends, Bryan, also lives in this area. So, it was like a mini-reunion for me, EGo, Mark, Jon, and Bryan. The first time in a long time that we've all been in the same place. Awesome.

We didn't go out tonight--we just sat around and played Asshole and drank a bit. Tomorrow, we'll go out and do stuff.

Berkeley, CA, part II.

We went out in Berkeley today and wandered around. There's lots of homeless kids near the campus. Or, not homeless, but kids who basically just travel around. They chill on the street and ask for money. And then the crazy, really homeless people also chill on the street and ask for money.

We didn't do much today... Just watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (which is surprisingly good and funny), went out for lunch, then went out for dinner. As we walked up and down the main drag, I gave some of my change to the kids who had been sitting on the street all day, and told them to get beer. When we were walking back from where we ate to go to Raleighs, a bar, I gave them more change and asked them if they got beer yet. One of the guys, after saying thank you, said, "First we get home; then we party!" Ah, kids with a goal. I'd have split the take and bought some liquor or beer.

Next: San Deigo! And my best buddy Mark.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

San Francisco, CA

Today I had my first In-N-Out Burger. And it was freaking delicious. I'm encouraging the company to move to the north east, please.Yulia had lab work to do for her grad school stint today, so EGo and I went and met up with my friend Bart in San Fran. Bart used to be one of my sales associates from when I was an assistant manager at a Hot Topic in Rockaway, NJ. Bart packed up and left when he was eighteen, and has been living in Cali for about a year and half, now.

We take the BART train to meet up with Bart (ah, funny how that works.) The BART is just like DC's metro system. I'm fine with that. It's clean and easy to navigate.

We meet up with Bart at an Oakland stop and then head into the city. San Francisco is totally a hippie/street punk town. We were in the Haight neighborhood (and yes, we did go up Haight Street, but on a bus, thanks, because all of us would have had heart attacks walking that steep-ass hill).

We get off once the street levels out, and there are shops galore. A lot of head shops, and a ton of tattoo/peircings places. I stop in one and get some 00 gauge plugs. I was right; my ears have stretched beyond a 0 because these doubles fit perfectly in my ears.

Bart takes us to get some beer at a corner store, then we go to Golden Gate Park. He leads us to a part of the park that's called Hippie Hill. People smoke weed and drink openly in this part of the park. And it's obvious that this is what happens and is the norm, because a few of the groups on the hill are doing exactly that. EGo and I bust out the beers, Bart busts out his bowl and smokes. EGo and I pass, but we sit, drink, and chill, talking to Bart until it gets too windy and cold for us to sit still any longer. Here's Bart and me, freezing our asses off:As we're leaving, Bart and I have beers in our hands. A cop drives through the park, clearly sees that we have open alcohol containers, and leaves us alone. I could get used to that.

We accompany Bart to his friends place in the Mission district. EGo flips a shit because the Hells Angel's San Fran chapter leader was killed by an MS-13 gang recently, and as such, a lot of retaliation shootings have been happening in the Mission. He turns around, pissed off, to go back to Berkeley, but once Bart convinces him that the house we're going to is half a block away, he comes with us. (No one is shot in this story, by the way.)

We chill at Bart's friend Jay's place. Jay is a nice dude; he shares a ton of Sapporo beers with all of us. In his building, you can get up to the roof by climbing over a railing and then up the side of the roof, so we did that.
The rest of the night was spent with us getting drunk, and Jay and another one of Bart's friends (her name is escaping me at the moment) playing guitar and singing in the kitchen. Harmonizing, everything. It was awesome.

Then we took the BART back to Berkeley, where I passed out on my sleeping bag on the floor. Beer for dinner made me sleepy.

Berkeley, CA

After we left Vegas, we had a ten hour drive to stay with EGo's friend, Yulia, in Berkeley.

I pulled over at one point for food and gas. We stopped at this place called Peggy Sue's, a fifty's themed diner. I had the best ice cream soda of my life there. Anyway, after we leave, EGo drives. Then half an hour later he realizes he left his cell phone at the diner. We turn around, get it, then turn around again. Small loss of time. I encourage him never to do that again.

After about a ten hour drive, we arrive in Berkeley. Yulia goes to grad school here, and has just moved into the neighborhood. So we walk down one of the main Berkeley drags to find food. We stop at Fat Slice, which is passable pizza for being on the West Coast. It was doughy but still decent.

Apparently that street is where all the protesters and activists will sit during the day and just scream out propaganda, their veiws on life, and that everything you're doing is wrong and terrible. I think I'll avoid that street during the day. At night, it was just one clean-cut girl sitting on a bunch of unfolded newspaper pages on the sidewalk...talking on her cell phone. That's the American way.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Las Vegas, NV, part II.

So I wake up with a hangover. Of course. With six hours of sleep. But I kind of feel okay, so I leave EGo asleep in the room and go down to the Circus Circus buffet. It was worth the thirteen bucks. However, I promptly had a worse hangover from eating. I don't know why my body works that way.

I go back up to the room. EGo is awake. We chat a bit, but then I pass out for a few more hours. Around five, I wake up again. EGo and I hit the strip.

Vegas is unimpressive during the day. It needs the dark and the blazing neon cutting through the night to be the crazy city of sin, sweat, bad decisions, brief highs, lost money, and broken hearts that it truly is.

We wandered around. I played about two bucks in the penny slots at Caesars Palace, which we went in just so I could see what it was like. Very classy. So was the Bellagio. We stood on a walkway over the street to watch the Bellagio's water fountain show. Know that end scene in Ocean's Eleven? The show is syncronized to music when you're there in person. It is very awesome. However, the music they chose to use for the show we watched was "Proud To Be An American." So, that knocked the class aspect down to almost zero. It also made me want to laugh hysterically when some lady next to me was singing along, very sincerely.

After that, we went back and spent the remainder of our time at Treasure Island. I'm a big fan of that place. The Black Jack tables were kinder to me that night, and I came out twenty five bucks ahead. Not a large recoup of my previous nights losses, but I'll take it.

I took no pictures at all in Vegas because I was very intent on losing a decent sum of money.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Las Vegas, NV

Oh. Oh, Vegas. My love for you is boundless.

So, the drive from Colorado to Nevada was long, but went fine. I had EGo drive the last few hours so I could stare at Vegas when it came up. I'm glad. The sprawl of lights was particularly distracting.

We arrived at about 10:30 and checked into Circus Circus. Then I immediately got into the shower. Being dirty sucks. Once I was clean, we hit the strip.

It wasn't as bright and neon-y as I thought it was going to be. There are lots of empty lots now. Also, the Frontier is closed. Other casinos are under construction. Other than that, though, Las Vegas lived up to my expectations. Some bums wandered the strip. There was a huge pile of empty beer bottles on part of a lot, right next to a cardboard box onto which someone had scrawled, "Jesus Loves You!" with a black marker.

EGo and I wind up at Treasure Island, which is definitely my favorite casino so far. (I do plan on going back to Vegas--maybe hit up the five dollar Black Jack table I hear exists at the Bellagio). Anyway, EGo goes to play Texas Hold 'Em, while I sit down at the Black Jack table. I proceed to realize that I've forgotten most of what I remember about playing Black Jack, but quickly start to pick back up the knowledge that I've lost. This table has a 10 dollar minimum.

Then, the free drinks happen. The waitress keeps coming around, asking all of us at the table if we want anything. I tell her Jack and Coke so often that I finally just tell her to keep them coming for every time she circles back to my table (it would take her about 10-15 minutes each trip).

I get drunk. (Not blackout drunk, but drunk.) I play badly. I lose. I go get more money out of the ATM. I lose some more. EGo comes back from losing at poker. We decide to go down the street to the Wynn to check it out. It's about, oh, four in the morning at this point.

I go and I find a table with a 15 dollar minimum; the cheapest I can find. I proceed to gamble some more. EGo then announces that he's tired (EGO IS TIRED? I stayed up longer than him? Where is my friend and what did you do with him???). He leaves to go back to the room and pass out. I stay until about six in the morning, when I'm at the ATM taking out more money, then realize what A BAD IDEA THIS IS.

So I go and lose fifty more bucks and call it a night. Except, when I walk outside the Wynn, it is daytime. I look at my phone to see that the time is 6:30am. I walk down the street, still drunk, watching people in running apparel jog up or down the strip past me. The bums are gone, the sun hasn't made anything hot yet, I've lost a lot of cash, but somehow, I feel just fine.

I make it back to the hotel room where EGo has fallen asleep ontop of the comforter of his bed. I try to talk to him to get him to go underneath the covers, and he yells at me to shut up; however, he does eventually get under the blankets. I go to sleep a much poorer woman, but first make sure that I have closed the curtains of the room tightly.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fort Collins, CO, part II.

Today has been a relaxing day. Dave took us out to breakfast at this local joint that had cinnamon roll french toast. I got that and a half order of biscuits and gravy. Then I managed to eat, uh, not a lot of it. Then we got back to Dave and Mandy's and I fell asleep in a food coma.

Tomorrow, we're off to Vegas! Twelve hour drive. We're staying at Circus Circus on the strip. I'm prepared to lose some money.

Also, go back through my old posts, from about Chicago up, because I uploaded more photos that I didn't have in there before, thanks to our lack of internet.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fort Collins, CO

In the morning in Wyoming, EGo and I wake up and beat it right out of there. I can't tell you how eager I was to get the hell out of that state. We didn't even stop to eat until we hit the Colorado border. I shit you not.

So, we get to Mandy and Dave's. Two of my friends from college, and I haven't been so happy to see friendly faces in all my life. We chill out at their apartment for awhile, then go out to buy sealant for the tent, stop at a Wachovia ATM, and get some other stuff for Mandy.

At one point Mandy is talking to her parents on her cell phone, so we drop into a local bar to kill some time. Let me tell you, the altitude here completely influences the effect of alcohol on your body. I had one pint, and drank it very slowly, and I was buzzed. Unbelievable. It's a bit scary, actually. I'm glad we're not as high up as say, Denver. I don't want to know what the effects would be like at that height.

We take Dave and Mandy's dog, Salem, to a dog park, which is actually fun (as someone who has never owned a dog, I really delight in stuff like that). When we get back, Dave makes some awesome five or six layer dip with guacamole for dinner (THANK YOU again for real food my god it's so good). They feed EGo and I some of the local beer that they have in the fridge. I think I had two more, and yeah, still feeling the effects. Craziness. Then EGo, Dave and I play some Halo 2 while Mandy laughs at us and hangs plant hooks. Also, they let us do laundry, which is awesome, because, well, I'm out of clothes.

More to follow about Colorado tomorrow.

Mount Rushmore, Wall, SD; and Casper, WY

Today we woke up and the tent had leaked.

Underneath the sleeping bags was wet, just barely, and the tent wall by our heads was soaked through. It had poured during the night, I remembered that. I also remembered being woken up by some screeching, owl-like noise. Then dog barking, which I thought was wolves at the time, then eventually woke up more and knew better.

So, yeah. I wake up, because shit is wet. I also wake up because twenty feet from our heads some piece of heavy machinery is dragging cut pine trees away from the campsite. LOUD AS FUCK.
So, we get up and go eat at a Pizza Hut, of all places, because EGo wants something familiar. Then we go to Mount Rushmore. It's actually very cool. I expected it to be a stupid and lame tourist attraction, but in person, it's incredibly impressive. I give it two thumbs up.The opposite follows for Wall Drug. It's about as touristy as a place can get. It panders to the public. I'm not going to lie: I saw Wall Drug on the first season of Road Rules and wanted to go and see it ever since. It's this huge, strip mall-like, hick tourist attraction. Here's me riding a jackalope.
We're driving about halfway to get to Mandy and Dave, who live in Colorado. TomTom, my navigation system, is taking us down county highways. There is nothing for miles. And really, I mean NOTHING. I thought I had seen nothing before this point in the trip and boy, was I ever wrong. I mean, nothing but fields and fields and road and road. Then it got dark. And then was there EVER nothing to see, except the blinding glare of someone forgetting to turn off their high beams. That's a real bitch.

So, we drive. Eventually we cross over the Wyoming border without even knowing it. We pass trains that are hauling loads of coal paralell on the road to us. Their lights are also blinding. We agree that once we hit the interstate we'll find a hotel to stop in.

After we get an idea of where a fucking hotel is in the godforsaken state from a gas station attendant, we stop in Casper, Wyoming, which is far too close to Laramie for my tastes. Remember Matthew Shepard? Yeah. This is no place for a lesbian and her Asian friend.

First hotel we stop at, a Super 8, has no room because, and I quote, because I asked, "There's a wedding and a rodeo going on." Holy. Shit. Second place, a Best Western, has a room; smoking, but thank god, there's a room. EGo and I go in and eventually go to bed. The place is packed with pickup trucks in the parking lot, and I can't wait to leave in the morning.

Somewhere, MN and SD

So, we spent the day driving from Jason's place in Wisconsin, through Minnesota, then through most of South Dakota. It was about a fourteen and a half hour drive. Two hours in, I had to switch with EGo because I hit the rumble strip on the side of the highway. I was definitely nodding off.

Basically, that's the most eventful thing that happened all day. Okay, sorta. Then we get to the campsite we're staying at. EGo had called before to make sure that they knew we were going to be there, and be there after the office was closed. They said that they'd leave instructions and a map posted on the office for the site where we could pitch our tent.

Of course, once we get there, there's nothing posted on the bulletin board next to the office door. EGo and I attempt to pull out his laptop for an internet connection to decide what to do next. Then, thankfully, once we get back into the car with the motor running and headlights on, this lady pokes her head out and asks if we're the ones who called about the tent camping. Yes, thanks.

She gives us the map and we drive about fifty feet up the road and pitch the tent in the glare of the high beams of the Jeep. This is me taking a picture when I should have been helping.Once we're done, we get inside. It promptly begins to rain. Fantastic. I worry about seepage and leaks. Then I fall asleep.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Milwaukee, WI, part III.

Today I was too hung over to even split the 12 hour drive to South Dakota with EGo, so we're leaving tomorrow. Today we played a lot of Wii. Went out to another brewery for dinner (Rock Bottom brewery; I did not partake). Then to a custard shop.

I like Milwaukee. It's a nice, moderately sized city that isn't overwhelmingly crowded, or complicated to get around. It's clean and spacious, but still has a city feel to it. And there are plenty of breweries and bars. Always a plus. Anyway, I'd consider living here, which is saying a lot for me, being as that this isn't a blue state. Heh.

I should be able to update tomorrow, when we get to South Dakota. The campground I want to stay at has free WiFi, as well as hot showers and other amenities. One of which is laundry. That's great, because I'm all out of clean clothes. I think I have one pair of clean socks left, and a pair of clean shorts. That would be it. I will be down for real camping when I have the clean clothes to do it in.

Milwaukee, WI, part II.

EGo and I went on a tour of Lakefront Brewery. It is the end all, be all, hands-down, BEST brewery tour you could ever go on. I almost never want to go on another brewery tour because this one was so great, I don't think it could be topped.I love microbreweries because they make no bones about just wanting to let you drink their beer. Lakefront had us pay our six bucks, gave us chips that could be redeemed for drinks, and then let us go to the bar. This place had quite a few different kinds of beer, and all of them were very good. They have a pumpkin ale that's wonderful.

So Jim, our tourguide, apparently started the brewery with his brother, then wound up selling his half, and now does the tour. While I was in the can, EGo was talking to him. Jim finds out about our cross-country plans, and when I get back he chats us up about where we're going. We place our chips down to get another glass of beer from the bar, but he pushes them back at us and tells us that the beers are on him. Woo! Here's us with Jim.Basically, we go on the tour, come back, have more beer, get more free beer. Lakefront also gives out tickets to bars that serve their beer. You can take these tickets and get another beer for free, just as long as you get to any of these bars before 6pm. This is us on the way to one of those bars. Um, drunks faces included.
So, we go to one of these bars after the tour (the name is escaping me right now). Out of the bars that we pick, who happens to walk in? Jim, our tourguide. We proceed to drink with him and one of the guys that works at the brewery. Jim buys us more beer. After an hour or so, the two guys leave, and we're left to our own devices.

These devices include me getting hammered and not remembering the rest of the evening, so I'll end this here. I need to stop time-traveling.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Milwaukee, WI

I don't exactly feel great today. No, it's not hangover-related, thank you. For some reason I'm just nauseous as all hell and my throat hurts. Can't get sick!

We're now in Milwaukee, which is an awesome little city. I'm just glad that we're not here for the brutal winters that Carrie was talking about. EGo's friend Jason also mentioned the horrific amount of snow that they can get. I'll pass, thanks.

But for now, this place is pretty awesome. Small, easily negotiable city on foot. Last night, Jason took us out to dinner at a microbrewery, then to this bar called the Safe House. You literally need a password to get in. If you don't know the password, than the "agent" at the front asks you to do something to prove that you're basically a spy that needs refuge.

Jason knew the password, but EGo and I were totally game to do whatever was asked of us, so we asked him to not to tell us what it was. So Jason gives the agent at the front the password, and steps back to let us do our thing.I'm not going to tell you all of what happened, because that would ruin the fun. I will tell you that EGo and I had to stand back to back, arms locked, and get a hula hoop off the ground and over our heads without using our hands. Once we succeeded, you're let inside in a very cool manner (again, something I won't say), and you're let into the bar. I WILL ruin that they have moniters for people inside the bar to watch what's going on outside--so when we walked in, we recieved a round of applause. Fucking awesome!

Ladies and gents, this is the best bar EVER. There are hidden passages and shit. There's the worlds largest mechanical puzzle. The drink menu doesn't list what's in each drink because it's "classified". Seriously, this is the best theme bar on the falce of the planet.

Also, we saw this on the way there, and I find it incredibly amusing.
Okay, I need to go because EGo and I are doing a brewery tour.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chicago, IL, part II.

I forgot that Illinois is a central time zone. I'm now one hour behind all you East Coast rockers.Today (technically yesterday; I'm writing this at two in the morning), I woke up at four, and was recounted the spectacle that I was last night by EGo. I cringe; I laugh. I immediately text Mike and thank him for being a wonderful friend and holding me up while I puked into his can. Then, I find and drink water. I also locate one of my missing plugs in the bathroom and put it back into the hole in my ear.

EGo and I then pull ourselves together and go to Navy Pier. Mike works as a pirate at the pier, which is possibly the best job ever. There are many tourists, I'm guessing because it's Labor Day. We missed Mike's show that they put on, which is dissappointing, but I like this city so much that I plan on coming back. So I'll probably see it at some point.

So, we go out and chill at Mike's friends house party. I drink some hair of the dog, which makes me (sadly) feel better. Mike does as well. I have to take the worst beer shit ever, so I go into the townhouse, and use the bathroom. Some guy is walking down the stairs as I exit, and looks at me funny. I ignore him and go back outside to converse with Mike and the co-owner of his restaurant, Lulu. Eventually I find out that the people who are throwing this party DO NOT live on the floor on which I used the bathroom. Hah! Ooooops.After the par-tay, Mike takes us to an awesome bar that he calls "the Brickskeller of Chicago," which is called the Map Room. Awesome, nice bar, huge beer selection. Not as big as Brickskeller, but still huge. We play pool, which is free, and I make sure to eat a lot of the bread that is out on the sorta buffet table (also free, and I'm guessing it's for Labor Day as well). Go to this bar if you are ever in the Chicago area. It's awesome.After that we bar-hop some more, see the above sign (I'm sorry we missed that) play some more pool, bar hop, bar hop: I make sure to only drink beer and not get hammered, then go to 7-Eleven for snacks, then crash at Mike's place. Tomorrow: Wisconsin! I'm so happy we're not going there during the winter.