Posts Tagged With: national parks

Oregon Trail: List of Follies 2


I am not bear meat. Seriously, I made it out of bear country alive even after all my unbelievable blunders. Those bears will have to go hungry this winter, I guess. Poor bears 😦

These last few days, I’ve felt so liberated. Not liberated in the ecstatic, transcendent, and joyous state of existence we normally associate with that word, but more “liberated” in the sense of being free of any sense of belonging and identity. Well, not quite, but I’m in the habit of brewing a mug of melodrama each morning I wake up along the cold, wet streets of Portland. It’s an existence that others would consider depressing, drab, and dangerous, but in many ways its not all that bad. I get to eat out a lot, spend time at the library, do a lot of walking around the city, live at a more leisurely pace, etc. It’s a bit exciting at times. More on this later.

How did I end up here, you ponder to your little self as you impatiently skim through this introduction for the “good part” in your pajama bottoms? I’ll tell ya’ eventually. In the mean time, my “List of Follies 2” is an excellent spark notes version for you internet-junkies. Consider it an instruction manual on how NOT to behave if you want to have slightly important things in life like a job, somewhere to live, and someone to love you.

What do you think: Did I fuck up more than I did during the first part of my journey? Have you made any of the same mistakes? Would you like to share or give your own two cents on the good life?

 

THE LIST OF FOLLIES:

  • Day 46: Touching the Oakland Inner Harbor without proper sanitary footwear
  • Day 48: Taking a beautiful, radical, poly chicana (who would later never respond to my friendly texts) out to an expensive organic vegan lunch.
  • Day 49: Buzzing around Berkley to find chili garlic sauce for the dinner I was supposed to make for my host in West Oakland two hours ago.
  • Day 50: Getting lost in the neighborhoods of Twin Peaks and subsequently killing my feet, freezing my ass off, and practicing my urine retention skillz.
  • Day 50: Not signing on as a “Sex Model” at Kink.com.
  • Day 51: While in a time crunch, taking two extra hours pondering life and justice at Alcatraz, an hour detour to Berkley for vegan ice cream, and taking the wrong exit/bridge back into San Fransisco during  peak rush hour.
  • Day 46-51: Driving up the curvacious CA-1 in sea mist at dusk (and well into the night) because of having miscalculated the free days I had in the Bay Area before spending two full days with an online friend.
  • Day 54: Passing up all the ancient forests of Redwood National Park because I became overly indulgent in the morning.
  • Day 55: Freezing-up in horror as a van engulfed in 10-foot high flames rolled in reverse towards Catbird and I.

The Era of Asshole-ness

  • Day 4/59: Freezing-up out of intimidation when my amazing date tossed my insinuated-kiss challenge back at me.
  • Day 5/60: Making up for the past night fuck-up by going with my heart (vs. ego or brain) to make a (successful) move on someone I would be living and working with for the next three months and hardly knew (even though I promised myself “never again” to living with a lover twice before)
  • Day 4-6/59-61: Polling friends on facebook for advice on and interpretation of my romantic life, (polling that reads a lot like obnoxious and inappropriate bragging and bro-ness)
  • Day 8/63:  Sleeping over at another person’s house less than 24-hours after sleeping with someone else for the first time.
  • Day 9/64: Thinking being open and honest would be a good idea.
  • Day 13/68: Inviting someone with whom I share mutual affection (a someone who is very insecure and also someone I cannot get a good nights rest with) into my bed to cuddle before going to sleep to wake up hours later.
  • Day 21/76: “Correcting” a sensitive someone by suggesting that she should use gendered pronouns for nonhuman animals.
  • Day 21/76: Asking someone who liked me when she was planning on leaving my bed with her dog, (a dog whom had just snapped at my face in her bed).
  • Day 27/82: Absentmindedly shutting a dog into his crate while another was already inside.
  • Day 31-32/86-87: Immaturely withdrawing because of someone’s lack of faith in my knowledge about tick removal, escalating a mutually infuriating conflict to the point of no return (or so we thought)
  • Day 38/93: My grandmother slipping on a sidewalk, hits her head, and does not return (not my folly, but a very sad, unexpected death)
  • Day 46/101: Returning to a hospital with a reputation for having dickhead doctors for a medical checkup.
  • Day 2011: Taking on an extremely ambitious project, procrastinating a year, and moving somewhere 20-60 minutes from an available library whose resources I can’t access because I am not enrolled there.
  • Day50ish: “Accepting [a film review] with major revisions” for an academic journal from an author who is not fluent in English.
  • Day56/111: Snapping at that someone for “stealing my fan” from the communal/study space for her cabin.
  • Day 73/128: The first time ever telling a woman she is “being a bitch” for unproductively (hostilely and sarcastically) referencing everything I’ve ever done wrong while I was chatting with a friend.
  • Day 86/141: Selecting a Thai restaurant as the venue for a date, only to read that “No meals can be made Vegan” on the menu immediately after my date arrives.
  • Day 91/146: Poorly anticipating how much cleaning up I had to perform before leaving the sanctuary.

The End?

  • Day 56/147: Forgetting to print out a map of Crater Lake National Park (where there is no cell reception) before I arrived at night (when the visitor center is closed) with no available campsites, and no cash for the Wizard Island cruise
  • Day 57/148: Forgetting to submit my payment for my Lost Creek campsite and possibly having my tent confiscated.
  • Day 58/149: Relying on a flaky stranger (who told me before he went to bed that he’d kill me if I touched his daughter) to host me for a night in Eugene, OR.
  • Day 59/150: Taking home a drunk young woman covered in chocolate vegan pudding into my new car.
  • Day 60-68/151-59: Prioritizing sex over Portland job searches.
  • Day 65/156: (Too stupid to even mention) on Alberta!!!
  • Day 69/160: Dehydrated and ill-fully bumbling around southern Washington.
  • Day 72-73/163-64: Inefficiently purchasing food and materials for my solo wilderness Olympic NP trip.
  • Day 77/168: Impatiently speeding to the Hoh rainforest and barely missing a bobcat.
  • Day 77/168: Temporarily moving in with my present lover until I find a job (even though I promised myself “never again” to living with a lover three times before [see day 60])… Oh, the heartbreak.

To be continued…..

With Love,

Dean

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Categories: Oregon Trail 2012 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oregon Trail 2012 Greatest Hits


On October 3, Oregon Trail 2012 “officially” came to an end.

In 85 days (plus another 3 months of work at an animal sanctuary), I had journeyed west across the great plains from Chicago to the foothills of the Rockies; I rode the undulating mountain roads to a Krishna temple in the Mormon Utah Valley and dove south into the ochre slick rock of the Colorado Plateau; I backpacked into the depths of the Grand Canyon and replenished my body with legendary Ronald’s vegan donuts; in a day, I touched the lowest point in the country and ascended 9,000 feet to the top of Yosemite; I  trekked from an infamous prison in the San Fransisco Bay to a raunchy porn studio in the Mission district; I indulged my mind, body, and spirit with an outstanding human being along California 101 and an insecure, bitter one in the Rogue River valley; I found an amazing relationship with another woman in Portland and brought together old friends in a messy triangle in Seattle; I ferried Catbird to the Olympic peninsula and trailed up into the sub-alpine meadows of Sol Duc where I camped in solitude for four days. Now I face the toughest challenge yet: acquiring employment in the PDX.

Updating this blog was much more difficult than I anticipated during my adventure. With only a smartphone, droid app, and unreliable AT&T access to data and wireless for the first portion, and all my non-work time researching and writing a paper, keeping in touch with friends, and managing an interpersonal time bomb the second, I did not fulfill my original writing goals. I do plan on continuing my entries on my experiences and reflections in between job apps, although, not in the same detail as before. In the mean time, I would like to share with everyone my favorite moments and meals.

May I introduce to you, Oregon Trail 2012’s Greatest Hits!

 

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

[0] Deliberating, planning, organizing, and coordinating an epic cross-country road trip (Chicago, IL)

[1-2] The optimism of the open road during the first two days leaving Chicago (IA and NE)

[3] New Belgium Brewery Tour (Fort Collins, CO)

[4] Hiking up to Nymph and Dream Lake through snow in sandals (Rocky Mountain NP)

[4] Listening to life insights and stories of my friend from Australia (Boulder, CO)

[5] Solo nightwalk through downtown (Denver, CO)

[6] Conversations about philosophy, love, and life with one of my best friends from college (Denver, CO)

[7] Reuniting with my best friend from childhood over a vegan potluck (Breckenridge, CO)

[8] Listening to Final Fantasy VII orchestrations while driving through the Rocky Mountains

[11] Meeting and hanging out all day with a local and total stranger (Salt Lake City, UT)

[12] Sunday Night Love Feasts at Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple (Spanish Fork, UT)

[18] Researching genealogy at The Family History Museum (Salt Lake City, UT)

[20] Listening to Ennio Morricone while driving through Southern Utah

[20] Driving along the Colorado River on 128 (Moab, UT)

[20] Entering Arches National Park at sundown (Moab, UT)

[21] Delicate Arch and Devil’s Playground (Arches NP)

Solo wilderness backpacking in Syncline Loop (Canyonlands NP)

[26] Sunrise at Monument Valley (Goulding’s)

[26] Monument Valley tour

[28] Walking the West Rim (Grand Canyon NP)

[29] Camping at Bright Angel at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with lovely strangers

[30] Driving at sundown on US-89 from through painted desert from Sedona, AZ to Zion NP

[31] Lunar Eclipse at Glen Canyon Dam (Page, AZ)

[33] Angel’s Landing and The Narrows (Zion NP)

[36] Driving all night to eat Ronald’s Donuts after 8-years of waiting! (Las Vegas, NV)

[37] Making out in the Rainforest and Venice, Italy (Las Vegas, NV)

[38] Mystère (Cirque du Soleil) at Treasure Island (Las Vegas, NV)

[38] First official couch surfing experience (Las Vegas, NV)

[39] Bad Water the lowest point in the US (Death Valley NP)

[40] Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley (Yosemite NP)

[47] California fruit stands on CA-580

[47-50] Staying and chatting with my scholar-activist friend (Oakland, CA)

[50] The SF Armory Kink.com tour (San Fransisco, CA)

[51] Amazing home-made dinner, wine, and dessert date at Callie’s (Arcata, CA)

[..] Driving at sundown in The Rogue River Valley (Ashland, OR)

[..] Tossing hay in The Rogue River Valley

[65] BDSM make-up sex (Jacksonville, OR)

[..] Taking care of dogs, cats, horses, pigs, and goats at an animal sanctuary (Jacksonville, OR)

[107]Party People at the Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR)

[..] Listening to audiobooks for the first time ever and loving it (e.g. The Odyssey, America: The Book, Fahrenheit 451)

[129-31] A weekend of wooing a (potential) lover who drove 5 hours to visit me

[136] Witnessing a man who drove two 18-hour round trips to adopt a dog he fell in love with, adopt said dog

[148] Sunset from the Watchman (Crater Lake NP)

[150] Hanging out with an old vegan-feminist friend from college (Eugene, OR)

[151] Driving through the Willamette National Forest

[151] Chatting with a favorite former student (now grad student and teaching fellow) who is inspired by me

[151-59] A week of sleeping in and dining out with the lovely Annichka (Portland, OR)

[155] Public sex downtown (Portland, OR)

[157] Kicking ass at Crystal Castles and Pac-Man Vs at Ground Kontrol with Texas friends (Portland, OR)

 

[162] Reuniting feuding friends from a New York animal sanctuary (Seattle, WA)

[165-68] Braving bear country by myself for 3 full days and nights (Olympic NP)

* Top 20 “Holy Moments”

 

DINING OUT

Tofu Scrambler Plate at Eklecticafe (Moab, UT)

Chocolate chip pumpkin muffin at Love Muffin Cafe (Moab, UT)

*Yelow Curry at Thai Sapa (Springdale, UT)

Green Curry at Benja Thai (St. George, UT)

*Every vegan donut at Ronald’s Donuts (Las Vegas, NV)

*Taco Salad at Red Velvet Cafe (Las Vegas, NV)

Inferno Mysore Dosa at Mint Indian Bistro (Las Vegas, NV)

*The Latin’tude at Pura Vida (Las Vegas, NV)

*Southern Fried Tofu (Catfish gumbo) at Souley Vegan (Oakland, CA)

*Gourmet Spicy Chicken at Golden Lotus (Oakland, CA)

Yasai bowl and Moon Garden rolls @ Cha-Ya (San Fransisco, CA)

Cajun Scramble at Golden Harvest Cafe (Arcata, CA)

BBQ Veggie Burger at Grilla bites (Ashland, OR)

*Spicy Basil and Tofu at Thai House (Jacksonville, OR)

*Tempeh Fried Steak Combo at Cornbread Cafe (Eugene, OR)

*Combination Mung Pao at Van Hanh (Portland, OR)

Taco Salad at Papa G’s (Portland, OR)

Buffalo Bomber at the Veggie Grill (Portland, OR)

*Sweet and Sour Chicken at Bamboo Garden (Seattle, OR)

* Top 10 “OMFG!” foodgasms

Categories: Food & Drink, Oregon Trail 2012, Review | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oregon Trail: List of Follies


I am not bear meat. At least not yet.

Hopefully my month-long absence didn’t keep any of you up at night, peering suspiciously into the eyes of the childhood teddy bears you secretly hide beneath your beds, right next to the boogeyman and crocodiles. I haven’t had much down time and computer access to do much blogging since my work at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, UT. I left you on Day 3 and now I’m practically on Day 50. I have a lot to catch up on! The good news is that I’ll be settled next week for several months in southern Oregon. The bad news is that my activist-academic obligations have caught up with me so posting will be put on the backburner.

To wet your curiosities, allow me to a list several stupid things I’ve done so far on my trip (after thoroughly documenting my follies, I realize I’ve committed several baker’s dozens)!:

THE LIST OF FOLLIES:

  • Day 0: Putting up resistance to receiving a pair of trendy, non-scratched, properly prescribed glasses to take on my trip as backup to my contacts (which I haven’t worn since the first week).
  • Day 1 -present: Ingeniously leaving my laptop at home as if I would not waste hours on the internet on my smartphone, and as if I could actually blog from the shitty cellphone formatted wordpress page.
  • Day 1+: Daringly seeing how far I could go with my low gas tank (Seinfeld-style) before needing to refill.
  • Day 8-21: Assuming my digestion problems for two weeks were related to the Indian food I was eating, and then continuing to eat it in epic proportions.
  • Day 9-12: Flirting hardcore through texting with someone hundreds of miles away who I was never going to hookup with when I already was doing so with another person a hundred miles away who I was going to instead of catching-up on reading books and writing blog posts.
  • Day 15: Being stupid-late for a date because I wanted to see the Later Day Saints’ Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
  • Day 18: Parking a mile and a half away from my destination in Salt Lake City because of expensive, non-vacant two-hour parking spaces when parking was ridiculously-vacant and free. And then later forgetting where I parked, and realizing that I parked in a closed parking garage and had to make an illegitimate exit.
  • Day 22: Navigating Catbird into a four wheel drive-recommended campground in the blazing desert heat, and trapping myself in the coral pink sand.
  • Day 23+: Deciding I didn’t need sunscreen.
  • Day 25+: Commencing a four mile hike into the desert on a busy trail without stopping at the pit toilet first.
  • Day 25: Embarking on a solo backpacking trip down into the lair of a mountain lion 1,300 feet below on a primitive trail at sundown with an inadequate map.
  • Day 27+: Not once, not twice, but several times not making reservations at campsites, forcing myself to sleep in Catbird on pull-offs and rest stops… after sleep-driving.
  • Day 28: Haphazardly joining tours I know nothing about, and frustratedly sitting next to a bunch of naive tourists from Europe and Japan for an hour and a half.
  • Day 29: Purchasing non-synthetic oil to feed Catbird because I thought the auto-mechanic was pulling a fast one on me by telling me I should purchase the synthetic which costs three times as much.
  • Day 29: Arriving at Mathers’ campgrounds in the Grand Canyon without a map in the middle of the night.
  • Day 30: Walking the entire West Rim trail late in the day, and getting lost in the Grand Canyon for the second night in a row.
  • Day 32: Abstaining from refilling my water reservoir as I hiked 4,500 feet out of the Grand Canyon, running empty on water with a mile left on the strenuous climb in the merciless heat, and then discovering at the top that I had a filled Nalgene in my backpack’s side pocket.
  • Day 33: Reluctantly purchasing a beer from a hunting and fishing shop I accidentally walked into while wearing vegan propaganda, and then having nowhere to drink said over-priced beer except in an alley across the street from a poster condemning underage drinking.
  • Day 33: Clumsily staring straight into a solar eclipse above the rim of complimentary NPS eclipse-viewing glasses.
  • Day 35: On a whim, wading chest-deep through the Virgin River for several miles in trail runners without any water protection for my electronics, books, and notes.
  • Day 36: Swimming through the chilly waters of a slot canyon that also happens to be housing a wind tunnel for 30 mile per hour winds.
  • Day 24: Assuming there would be affordable vegan food in south-central Utah.
  • Day 39-41: Choosing Las Vegas as a multiple-day destination on my trip.
  • Day 39-41: Inviting family to hang out with me in Las Vegas.
  • Day 39: Only purchasing 6 vegan donuts to eat in one day from Ronald’s Donuts.
  • Day 40: Stubbornly ordering the ghost-pepper option on an Indian restaurant menu despite two waiters consistently discouraging me from doing so, and then signing a waiver confirming how stupid I am, and that the restaurant is not responsible for any injury I bring to myself.
  • Day 41, 42: Procrastinating to make a reservation for a Yosemite Park campsite the day before I arrive, and then waiting until  I’m driving through the Sierra Mountains (assuming I would have cellphone reception) to tell them I will be late so they would not give it away.
  • Day 43: Reading all the exhibits at the Yosemite Visitor Center and Anawahee Museum when I had to check-in and out for the night before to avoid being charged an extra $20.
  • Day 43: Deciding to continue a stroll up a strenuous trail around two massive waterfalls with tractionless-Teva sandals.

I hope you had more fun reading these than I had experiencing them.

With Love,

Dean

Categories: Oregon Trail 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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