The first day was relatively easy; drive down to
Until I got to the border.
I have to say to my American cousins, that your country is indeed quite safe from foreign intruders… if they put anyone remotely suspicious through what they put me, there is little doubt that they do catch everyone that has malicious intent.
It started with the usual… pull up to the border-guard kiosk… and the usual questions… ie, Where are you off to? How long will you be staying? The answers to those two questions must have rang alarm bells… Off to
Once over at the main interrogation… er, Homeland Security station, they asked for my keys, and sent me inside to stand in The Line. Which was quite short really; it only took about 15 minutes to be waved over by an unsmiling, humourless officer. I understand it is their job to be intimidating… certainly it’s not a smiling, welcoming face that the
Thus began the first of four different interrogations; where am I going? Who am I staying with? How did I meet them? Do I have a job? No? What do you do for money? Why do you have all this camera equipment in your car? (Punctuated by a balaclava-clad officer coming in from outside saying, “He’s got tripods too!”). I had one tripod, two light stands, and a couple of umbrellas. Big mistake. “Are you getting paid to shoot this wedding?” No… I take pictures of everything, and I like to do a good job. Yes, I do have model releases… no, they are not for-compensation model releases (I was impressed that they actually knew the distinction), they are TFCD releases.
No, I’ve never made a cent off of photography. The business cards? Well, I don’t have any for a company that I WORK for nowadays… so I printed some up on my home printer. No, I’m not a professional, though I am pretty darn egotistical about my own talent.
Do you have food in the car? Well, yes (I had put together a couple of care packages for Mike and Christine in Indy and
Fast forward 2.5 hours… this is where I’m on my fourth interrogator, who are all asking what are essentially variations on the same theme… I wanted to point out that yes, my story has remained consistent throughout the interview process, and yes, I know enough (probably from hanging out with certain barflies) to realize what they’re doing and how they’re going about it. But, I’m not a complete idiot… so I remained silent on means and methods.
Do I have any resumes with me? Well, I think there are some left in my computer bag from the last interview I did, last week. What was the company? What is their website?
Getting back to your previous trips to the
Finally, after I had pointed them to the website for the company I had last interviewed with, the website for the Bar (how I met some of the people I would be visiting), seen that they had also Googled me… and even pointed them to my photo portfolio on Flickr… Officer Jenkins looks up at me with level, cold grey eyes and says… Ok. Welcome to the
I thanked him, gathered up my passport, driver’s license, photography business cards, and the wedding gift for the girl that was getting married in
It was a bit of a shambles… everything had been opened… everything had been sifted through. I spent about 15 minutes repacking… after I was 30 miles down the road and could find a rest-stop.
Seriously dudes… you’re safe. Homeland Security has you covered. Never again do I suspect that I may be able to bring down large amounts of beer down to having a drinking contest with Shane, Greg and Maj. Doug. Ah well. Quit while you’re ahead, I guess.
I continued on my merry way… the drive down to Indy was anticlimactic… I tanked my first fill of diesel outside of Indy… 50+ mpg is the way to go, when you’re doing an epic roadtrip, I have to say.
Visited with MMike & Gail and their Progeny… had excellent ribs. Mmm… BBQ.
The next day, left bright and early… a theme that would be present throughout the trip. I’m a firm believer in getting a good early start… If I had my druthers on a trip, I leave at 4am, ish. ;-)
It started to rain. I don’t remember much of
Interstate driving leaves a lot to be desired… but hey, it’s fast, consistent, and easy.
Once I hit the Oklahoma Turnpike (and paid my $3.50 toll), I could really start to rock… due to the rain, everyone seemed to think they should drive slow, and fast lane was clear. When the speed limit is 75mph, that’s just a suggestion right? :-D
Thank gawd for GPS… took me right to The Quilly Mammoth Family Domicile in one go… easy as cake and pie. J
Had a great visit with Christine, III, and Jody (once he got off of work)…
The next day, it was on the road again, bright and early… (sense a pattern here yet?).
The drive from
I arrived in
The next day, it dawned clear, cool, and sunny with an awesome layer of snow on the ground. Where the hell am I?
I drove up to the
Unfortunately, after about an hour, a blizzard blew in… and the canyon disappeared. So, it was back in the car, and off to
The drive between
Once down in
The weather was gorgeous in
The wedding was good times, as weddings usually are. I behaved myself, drank not much at all, haunted the periphery, and generally made myself useful… at the end, helping to pack back the spare booze, and all the gifts…
The day after the wedding, George (father of the bride) and Patrick (boyfriend of one of the bride’s sisters) wanted to go shoot some basketball… and I, like a dumbass said sure why not?.
We were going up for a rebound, and Patrick and I collided; when I came back down, I fell onto my wrist. Ouch. Fsckity Fsck Fsck. I couldn’t tell if it was broken or not, but it hurt like all get-out, and it quickly started to swell.
I spent the next day and a half icing it down, but it didn’t feel like staying it’s normal size or colour, so on the Monday I went to the Urgent Care clinic. I ended up paying $229.00 for an xray and Dr. fee… tiny crack in one of my carpal bones, but mostly just a big-ass sprain, for which a brace was sufficient.
Basketball. Never again.
I could still shift gears, so it was off to
I had a friend who lived locally, so I didn’t have to do it alone… simply one of the best post-WWII airplane collections I have ever seen.
They even have one of the old Air Force 1 planes that Kennedy used. During the walk-through of which, you cannot help but think… I wonder how much time Marilyn spent in this bunk/aisleway/bathroom/cockpit… ;-)
After a few hours in White Sands, I drove the longest leg yet, from there to Austin TX via
I hit the hill country west of Austin REALLY late, probably close to midnight, ish. There were few cars on the roads, but there were certainly enough deer. I think that I counted 15 or 20 dead deer, and saw about 200 live ones, in herds probably averaging 7 per herd. On both sides of the roads. This meant that the top speed was in the 50mph range… I didn’t feel like visiting a body-shop while I was in the states… ;-)
The nice thing about
We went to http://www.louiemuellerbarbeque.com/ in
After a couple of days in Austin though, it was time to head back; I think I can only do about 2 weeks on the road, before I start getting antsy for more familiar locations. Or at least for having more creature comforts than you can fit in VW Golf…
I caught a wicked tail-wind from
Now that I’m back, it’s time to job-hunt with a vengeance, damnit (round 2 and round 3 of interviews start on Monday).