First Trip to Oregon; 3-12 to 3-22-05

So it starts off with me not being hungover Saturday morning--even though I deserved to be. We make it about 300 miles on the first tank of gas, a little into California. As we left the gas station, the car was not running properly anymore. Fun. I'm no stranger to roll-starting a car, but this is my girlfriend's car, and it's an automatic. It's weird; we have to get it rolling before the transmission engages. And then when we get up to 45 mph and above, it seems to run okay. Maybe the engine is revving a bit high, but it runs okay. And this all brings back thoughts of some of the "interesting" cars that I've owned in my life...and I've driven cars substantially more messed up than this one is right we decided to keep on going--maybe we'll get the car fixed in Oregon. Now; OF COURSE you would expect this kind of loopy stupid fucking mentality from me--I'm a basket case. But Static Girl also thought that we could still get to Oregon in her now broken car; hey, the only problem is starting from a stop--and I'm a champion roll-starter--there's no big problem here. I understand how she could get to this mental place, sure. And I'm sure that dating me for 6 years has dumbed her down measurably; this is merely proof.

Static Girl will be doing all the driving--it's her car, and it's broken; I don't want to fucking drive it. So we make a couple more gas stops; roll start away baby. Then we got lost near LA because I couldn't navigate my way out of a condom--yet she's got me over here in charge of maps, and highway switches. Sure. See how much more stupider she is now? She was smart when I met her. I need a fucking globe AND a "you are here" sticker, and I still wouldn't be sure where the hell I was. Roll-starting at a busy Los Angeles intersection, lost, was fun; I recommend it highly. I got flipped off 2wice; that doesn't happen very often. Okay; yes it does happen very often--but usually because I flip other people off first. Soon it's dark; we're tired, we're hungry, and we're ready to stop just a bit shy of Sacramento. We get off the highway, almost out of gas, and the only motel we can get into the parking lot of is...full. Fun. Now we can't get across the 6 lanes of traffic to the gas station either--we should have gone to the gas station first--when we got off the highway, but remember that Static Girl has been dating me for 6 years now; I doubt that she can even still tie her own shoes. So she's starting to get concerned now. A couple more birds get shot at me as I'm pushing the little red car onto the highway, and we're back up to high speed cruising. There seems to be much less stress at 70 mph than when I'm pushing the car from a stop; is that fucked up or what?

In a couple of more miles we found a Flag City little travel stop thing in Lodi, CA. Gas, restaurants, and a motel all in one big parking lot area. Sure. I'll be doing some pushing in this bitch. We limped, and I do mean fucking limped into a parking space at the Microtel Inn. Checked in, and we're debating showers and food now. Static Girl, the computer princess--bless her heart, she hasn't been anywhere close to a computer or her palm all day. She just wants to see the little glow of her palm, so she can feel more at ease. Not today sweetie; her palm is completely dead. No face, no light, no files of any kind. Nothing. I really felt bad for her, but what could I do? So we decide to just get some sleep, and get the heck back on the road early tomorrow. A fine plan. You do remember that this is Saturday night, right? Just checking. So we're up Sunday morning, car is all packed, we say our goodbyes to Lodi. Into the car, hey look at that; no reverse. Ooo, and no neutral either. We should have backed into the parking space last night when we had reverse, but remember that she's been dating me for years now--she has to wear slip-on shoes. So...we check back into the Microtel Inn, and I get on the phone to use my new AAA service. Except for the simple fact that it's Sunday--and the temps at the AAA office don't know dick about dick. So it's going to be tomorrow before anything can be done. Maybe. I am okay on the phone, right, so I get on the phone Sunday and start looking for something, anything. Like a car dealership; yes. Found one. They would give us a ride back if we got our car towed in; so we did. Came back to the motel, and "Supersize Me" came on Showtime. I'd been wanting to see that disturbing movie about where my best friend works. Stuck and stir crazy Sunday in Lodi now, and hunger hit. We headed for the mini-mart/Baskin Robbins/Wendy's combo place--both these food things were in that disturbing movie. Best Wendy's meal ever; I wrote the staff a note. Back to the motel for more crap tv. No Comedy; no Sci-fi. We'd be getting up early to bug the dealership. Crash.

Up at 7 am Monday to start calling the dealership; squeaky wheel seeks grease--you understand. They called back by noon to estimate $3600. You're waiting for the joke, right? There's no joke. More money than Gus cost--just to fix one problem on my girlfriend's car. She's okay with it, and gave them her credit card number, but I am not so okay. A few minutes later, a car saleswoman from the dealership called us back to try to sell us a car. She told us that the charges could be taken off of the credit card if we wanted to buy a car. That's it; now I'm fuming. It took work, but I convinced girlfriend that this was a complete scam. We need to get her car out of there, and fast. Back to the phones for me; some fucking vacation. We got some estimates, some explanations about rebuilt vs. replaced, ATRA certification, and some other stuff. Static Mom and Static Uncle chimed in, as well, and we decided to go with rebuilding the original and saving $1000. Since the car will be stuck in Lodi until Friday anyway, and WE don't want to be, we checked on renting a car. AAA helped, and we're picking up a car Tuesday morning. I still wanna go egg the dealership, and punch the perky bitch trying to sell us a car. Well at least we accomplished some stuff today. Eat at Rocky's restaurant; I had an I-5 burger (we're travelling on Interstate 5); Static Girl had a veggie burger. I feel pretty good except for the nagging stress cough that developed in my chest last night--right after my girlfriend's computer died. Did I mention that this is a fun vacation? I cough and cough. Sometimes there're lumps, and sometimes it's dry. My X-Files lungs with some new Twilight Zone cough. Sometimes the cough makes me cry; and we have to stop everything we're doing and hack for a minute or 2 sometimes. Great. I miss pinball, Caviar, and smoke of 2 types. I quit coughing for 10 minutes during snuggle time; guess I should be thankful for that. Then my 45 minute shower was amazing; there was so much to talk about! 2 possible writing ideas formed nicely, and then I shoved them down the gutter and did the "fuck you" dance on them. It's probably not a good idea to bitch at inspiration, ever, but fuck this shit. I don't live my life waiting for the next little nugget to bubble up anymore. Sure I used to. But I've been fucking dry for months; and now the muse wants to have a buffet with me while I'm sick, stressed, and on vacation? Fuck them. And yes; if this is the END of my writing life, then it is a disaster. Boo fucking hoo. But it just ain't that fucking important right now. I got out of the shower and purposely did NOT write--there's a first for my life. Sure I'll regret it later. And it should scare the fuck out of you idiots that I just shit down my own escape hatch. Really; it should. I mean, I've written commentaries about how important writing is to me. It's not so much anger as it is apathy. I used to pray to inspiration; now inspiration can come and fucking pray to me. She's got some explaining to do anyway. Where the hell was I? Not writing; yeah. So on TLC there's a show about the BTK killer who got caught a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps the most intelligent killer of all time, spanning 4 decades, my new hero and idol; Dennis Rader. I watched the tv show, drooling, and I did wonder why I wasn't at least trying to write. Hey maybe I'll write about this BTK guy; later, when I fucking feel like it, after little miss inspiration comes and begs me for some attention. I'm going to bed now. Hey; I used to stay up all night and write. Ha. Isn't that some funny shit now? G'night.

Up at 7 Tuesday to cab in to the...Pep Boys has a Hertz car rental in it? That seems weird. Maybe I'll WRITE about it later; ha! Our mid-size just became an upgrade; we are now going to cruise in a 2005 Subaru Forrester. I named it Sue; I do stupid shit like that. Oh and I am SO driving this mother. CD player, wipers that work, lots of room for all of our gear and a couple of dead bodies; nice. Went to check on the new guy "L" who will be fixing static Girl's car. L is cool; he lived in Phoenix for a couple of years. It should be ready Friday. No more 'stuck in Lodi' for us; we're on the road. Bought some cold medicine, took some cold medicine, then coughed back up the cold medicine; that's always fun. At least I wasn't driving for that; but I certainly cried some more. I am so damn masculine. Then I'm driving again. So I'm coughing, wheezing, sniffling, crying; I'm a fucking NyQuil commercial over here, zooming at 80 to 'Fragile' Nine Inch Nails. (March 27th, 2005, yesterday, I heard there's new NIN album coming in May. The new single is already on the radio; too bad I don't listen to the radio anymore.) Right; so we're already in northern California--which is beautiful. Farms and shit; wow. Eventually there would be steep mountains that Static's little red car never would have made it through. We shared a sigh of relief for that, and then I continued coughing. Oregon; yay! It's beautiful here, too. And gloomy; I like it. I can no longer breathe deeply; neither in nor out. And these mountains still make my ears pop; that's more sniffing. Sniff in, cough out; sniff in, cough out; blow a fucking blood vessel already--I'm done, I want to die. Hey, let's go 90 down the mountain. Got to Eugene at 6 here time. Found our motel in one shot; it's older, moldy and smaller; but it's cheaper than Lodi! Wooo! We took a short walk to check for vegetarian food for my skinny, non-smoking girlfriend. The first 2 bars had Golden Tee and pinball; I like this town so far. Decided to come back and order Chinese food to be delivered. Okay. Thinking that hot food might clear my sinuses, and I actually understand my own logic there, I ordered my food "hot". Not such a good application; it was too hot, my bites were too big, and I was crying again. Now my nose is running, I ate too much, and I'm still coughing. Coughing; on a full stomach? Why don't you just go sit in the bathtub now, Captain Spray-A-Lot? Whoomp, there it is! I puked on my first night in Eugene, baby (cough-puke; not drunk puke, but "puke" nonetheless). Oh I love this place already. Coughed up, and now puked up cold medicine in the same day; this cold medicine is killing me. Yeah; and now we're going to wheeze ourself to sleep--I haven't done this in years. No REM sleep for the old guy coughing.

Up at 9 am Wednesday; I didn't want to wake up, not on earth anyway, but we're here. Static Girl has charts and graphs for finding our apartments--let me be the map person. No. First we got some more cold medicine; I seem to be having trouble keeping it down. We head for the 2 different apartment places; I liked the first one better. Then it was cool indie single pizza lunchtime in the cozmic coffee bar. Yum. Then a walk found another Golden Tee and another Medieval madness pinball--priorities. Walked back to the motel, wheezing, to pick an apartment. She sided with me on the smaller townhome. Wow. So we went back and applied. Back to the motel to stay in. HBO movie "Big Fish" was good and weird. Wednesday evening snuggle was the best ever; we were totally into each other--I stop coughing to snuggle. Then I decided to kick my cough into the next stage by going to drink my first beer in Eugene. 3 beers, 2 bars; won on 2 pinballs. No smoking in Oregon or California bars; weird. Nice buzz, and coughed alot (just wait). Walked back to the motel, cleaned up, and crashed. Up

Thursday to...more coughing! At least I earned the burn for this morning; but why did I go to the bar sick? Apartments called; we're approved. Now we just have to go get a million $ to give to the guy. Got it. We like our new small place. On the drive back to the motel...wait for it...I had to stop the car, get out, and have a full coughing, cussing and crying fit; right in the middle of some quiet little neighborhood. A freak fit; I was trying to pop a blood vessel. Back to the motel room so I could crawl into the bathroom and have the REAL coughing fit that was brewing; another 20 minutes worth. This was good; heart-racing, lights flashing, freak sweats, and shiver trembles. This is me; this is what I do. Didn't think I was dying; thought I was already dead. Girlfriend was almost in tears when I came out. I had to take a nap; all that coughing wore me out. This is a fun vacation though. Got an hour of cough sleep. Dad called; I don't even know what we talked about--I'm sure I was witty and cheerful. Ha. Let the fun continue. So we walked to Subway and got great sandwiches. Thursday night was wild police videos and 3 Judging Amy's. Later I would lay in bed for 6 hours; not sleeping, not writing, not doing anything but coughing. But I didn't get up, except to pee. I'm sticking to my new guns; my terms, or no terms. Up

at 7 am Friday. We're heading back to Lodi to pick up the fixed car. She says that I've lost my motel room key. No way; I don't lose motel keys. But I'm too tired to argue; so...I lost my key. Man am I tired; it's like I laid in bed for 6 hours and did nothing. Cough cough. I'm driving first. Stop for gas and trade places. Ate my other Subway half, and promptly dropped one of cold pills down under my seat. Great. Then I sprayed myself with my spill-proof squeeze bottle. Did I mention that I'm having fun? Dozing in and out; I would wake up instead of die. Damn. We stop, and I found my pill, and then I'm driving. We got to Lodi by 4 pm to pick up the happy fixed car. No happy, no fixed. In fact, the thing won't be ready until Monday. We cannot get back to Phoenix before Tuesday night. Stuck in Lodi; round 2. We have to check into a new motel; one closer to the garage, closer to the car rental place. It's a Comfort Inn, and Mr. "K" is the best hotel manager ever. Digging for her plastic, my girlfriend motel key in her pocket; I'm still too tired to argue. We completely unload the rental car. I have to call into work from California and tell them I will be out for 2 more days--now I'm working Easter Sunday. The new motel is full because of a teenage girls soccer tournament--it's like a dream come true, but I'm too sick to do anything with it. Translation: I can't get any of them to talk to me. And the story is that the motel is already sold out for tomorrow night, and we might get kicked out of our great new room with the awesome shower. This stresses Static Girl out big time, and now she's started coughing, too. What a great vacation this is! It takes almost all I have to keep her from crying, and I'm pretty shook up, too. And we're hungry. So we go eat overpriced Mexican-made Italian food at Franco's pizza. Then we came back here for...snuggle. Wow; I sure didn't expect that. Our shower here is too nice; they can't kick us out. Staying up late, I got to watch Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. Good show. Then I laid in bed and had another coughing fit like the Eugene bathroom. More lights flashing, and colors, too. Then I ate more cold pills and a few Vicodins; I would be sleeping soon. Yes. Up

at 8:30 Saturday to try to keep Sue a bit longer; we did. Now for the panic and prayers for rain so that soccer gets cancelled and we can keep our room. There are hardly any rooms left in Lodi; we could get stranded--wouldn't THAT be fun? The rains came at 10:30; check out would have been at 11. We get to keep the room. Mr. K likes us, and knows what kind of hell we are going through; it's a good thing. So we go and eat at the Franco's buffet again. Back to the room for movies. As I get a tiny bit better, Static Girl gets sicker. "Murder By Numbers", and then the HBO movie "Sometimes in April". Last of the cold pills--since we're both eating them now, and double Vicodin for me. Zzzz. Up

Sunday morning in Lodi. Static Girl showers and coughs steadily. I feel better. I walk to the omlette shop, and then more rains came. So I got drenched on the walk back; it probably would have made me sick if I wasn't still a little sick anyway. Static Girl decides that we need to go see a movie at the Lodi 12 movie theater. Sure. With both of us coughing death like this, it should be...magical. Constantine is her choice; a dark Keanu Reeves movie. Certainly not a Matrix ripoff; that would be too easy. Well, the movie was a pure Matrix ripoff, but that's not my real problem. My real problem was in the game room lobby of the theaters. Sitting off by itself, in a corner, untouched, is the brand new Ripley's Believe it or Not pinball. It has fucking dust on it; I don't think it's ever been played. Nobody is even looking at it. I was in awe. This is the 2nd newest pinball machine on the planet right now, and it's wasting away in a multiplex game room in Lodi. There is no God; there is no plan. So we went and coughed through the Matrixtine movie; the crowd loved us. We left and came "home" (back to the Lodi Comfort Inn); I did not go say goodbye to the pinball machine. No writing, and no pinball; weird. Back to the motel for tv movies. Somebody's banging doors and walls; what the fuck is this shit? So I stomped around outside looking for the party, and the noise stopped. Good.

Up Monday morning. We're going to AAA to get some cell phone thing that my Mom recommended. These phones used to exist, but no longer do--big shock. So we have to go blow $60 at Wal-Mart for some emergency phone thing that my girlfriend already hates. Then we drop the wonderful Sue car off and get a ride back to the motel. L calls us before noon to tell us that the car is fixed; yay. He comes to pick us up and take us to the shop. On the way we pass a laundromat that had Jurassic Park pinball. You've got to be fucking kidding me. No; they're laughing at me. But we get the car back, and it appears to be running great. However, with girlfriend feeling sickly, we will be staying here 1 more night, and leaving Lodi on Tuesday morning. We did a load of laundry at the great motel, and I no longer remember much about this day. Wait; I think we walked and ate at Burger Burger. Then it was quiet in our motel room; pass on snuggle with girlfriend feeling so bad. I could be writing or playing pinball, but it's not happening right now. Fuck 'em. Up

early on go-home Tuesday morning to load up the car and go! We drove, and hey the car is driving great. It's so quiet, and it's getting much better gas mileage now. Neat. It's a long day of driving and listening to each other cough; big sandwich and veggie crunchies at a travel stop. We would get back to AZ in the dark, and in pain. Boy this was fun. It was like the bad-luck of vacations with my father as a youth; except we had less yelling and more coughing this time around. Fun. We should do this again soon. And I have to work early 2maro. Yes; I wanted to, but did not go to the bar. Ha.

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