Category Archives: WaltzingMatildaVan

TRAVELOG: A cave? Without a Name?

So, yesterday the plan was to head out to Austin with my niece and nephews – see the bats fly out from beneath Congress Bridge, maybe run around downtown a little bit. They’d only been driven through Austin before, so I figured it’d be a nice little road trip.

Then, earlier this week, I started doing a little investigating on the possible caves in the area. Once I saw the pictures of the Cave Without a Name, that was it. I had to go. I presented the idea to the kids, and they were pretty interested, so I figured we’d roll out there early saturday morning, check the cave out, then drive back up to Hamilton Park Nature Preserve before going to see the bats in Austin.

What actually happened (tl;dr): We drove ten hours to see a cave.

[more here]

My Life in Matilda

DadnMatildaHere’s a picture of my dad in Matilda, my home on wheels. Clearly, I need to do a little housecleaning. Things get cluttered in the back when I’m staying with friends/family.

Road Chronicles

prisonareaI’m reminded of a tense moment during the drive from Redondo Beach, CA out to Albuquerque, NM last weekend. I’m goin’ down the highway, and there hasn’t been a bathroom for quite some time – and I’m getting really close to just pulling over and remedying the situation. Instead, because I don’t want to get bitten on the ass by something in the shadows in the midst of ‘the deed’, I pull over and check to see how close the nearest rest stop is.

12 miles.

Ok. I can hold out for that long. I think.

It takes roughly ONE MILLION YEARS to get there. And? On the way to the exit, I spot the following sign (granted, this is an image of a different sign – this was about 3:30am at night that I’m driving around).

Are you fucking kidding? Oh god, is the rest stop at…?

why yes. It is.

It is *exactly* on the exit that goes directly to the penitentiary down the road – the one that looks like an enormous shiny, razor sharp cube of penal glowyness.

And? The rest stop is closed.

My bladder starts SCREAMING and yelling, and throwing things at this point, but honestly – even if the frickin’ thing was open at that time of night, I don’t think I would’ve had the courage to use it.

I wait until I’m a few miles down the road, and I honestly can’t take it anymore. I pull over, turn all the lights off, then with my enormous fist full of keys, I bravely give fate the finger and ‘take care a bidness’.

It was uneventful, well – other than the ENORMOUS feeling of physical relief.

I have an interesting life.

Road Chronicles

joshuatree3I arrived at Joshua Tree National Park at around 2am friday night. The entire place was illuminated by the full moon that was just beginning to wane. Got some great shots with the flash, but the non-flash proved difficult without a tripod. Went ahead and picked up a tripod and am now going to do lots more night photography.


I’m not particularly ambitious. I don’t really have dreams of social or economic grandeur. I like to write, but don’t really consider myself a writer. I don’t do it as a profession. I do it because I love storytelling. If I happen to make money at it, I consider that a bonus.

I’m here to live and love – to BE IN this beautiful/ugly, wonderful/horrible, pleasurable/painful trip through the arc of my human experience here.

I’m coming to the end of my walkabout around the US, at least for now. I’m on a trajectory that’ll take me through the southern states, bringing me back to the MD/VA/DC area, where I first started. I miss everybody back home a great deal, and for all its faults, Facebook has helped me to stay in touch with you all, for which I’m supremely grateful.

I’ve learned a surprising amount about myself, and feel a good deal more confident in who I am, where I’m going and what I want than I did almost two years ago. I’ve met/made new friends and acquired new people that I consider family along the way, as well as rekindling old relationships. I’ve also met fantastic people on the road that I’ll likely never see again, having spent a night drinking and laughing together, or shooting the shit about various socially forbidden subjects. (my favorite!) Wonderful moments in time that I’ll always cherish.

Currently, the plan is to stay down south for most of winter, and then start heading back in time to make it to KatusCon 20 in mid-February.

I want to thank everybody that’s kept up with me throughout my journey, reading my stories and checking out my pictures on my blog:

I’m happy that I’ve been able to share these moments. It makes me a little less lonely while I’m out on the road.

Thank you SO MUCH to Dan SturgeDoug HumphreyGrig LarsonChristine LarsonChristopher R. LarsonJeanie RussellJean AbbottStu MarkScottie DevlinHeidi Rausch Anderson (and Laura Kelly), Tansy Otterbeck, Tomas Inskip and Vincent Huckle for giving me places to stay on my way ’round the US. You were truly a godsend, and it was great to spend the amounts of time with you that I did. (I’m sure I’m forgetting SOMEBODY – it’s bound to happen. That doesn’t mean that I love you any less for allowing me into your house as a visitor and letting me set up shop in your homes, it just means that I’m addled and forgetful, for which I deeply apologize.)

Special thanks go out to my family for putting up with me for rather large swaths of time – Tom Miles, Adam Miles, Sydney Miles (and my awesome Niece and Nephews)

I couldn’t have done this without your help and support.

Baths, Spires and Organs – adventures along the San Francisco coast

I’m fairly sure that the headline sounds a great deal saucier than the report below. Still, fun was had!

The ruins of the old Sutro Baths, built back in the late 19th century, once housed a large quantity of swimming pools that the well heeled gentry of the city frequented back in the day. It’s a rather large site, and looking down from the parking lot, you get a good idea how enormous this facility once was in its heyday. There’s a long bike path down to the ruins, as well as a very taxing looking collection of stairs down from the overlook to the ruins and beach beyond…

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I’m coming to the realization that the path of my life is a mandala. There are grand, wonderful things that happen to me, that inspire beauty and love, but I don’t really keep many physical keepsakes. Instead, I choose things that I can nest with – colors, fabrics, nets – decoration that helps me to make home wherever I find myself. It helps that I now drive around in my home, as well 

I know lots of friends that have boxes of treasures – things from their childhoods to remind them of the past, but through all the successive moves throughout my life (I don’t think I’ve actually lived in one house for more than five years), I’ve dumped a WHOLE lot of stuff. Sure, some are things that I might momentarily miss – but, it quickly passes. I don’t necessarily need any of it to keep going.

I keep my spiritual things with me, but almost all else can come or go. I’m not really overly attached to it.

This trip has helped me realize exactly how much I’ve been able to let go of – and how much more I need to release.

I feel so much lighter, and a profound sense of gratitude.

Road Chronicles

So, Friday night, I pull into a KOA about fifteen minutes away from Cape Disappointment down in southern Washington to spend the night – and as fortune would have it, I ended up getting a space next to completely fantastic neighbors. Two wonderfully raucous Canadian women and a Scotsman – it was like the beginning of a ‘walks into a bar’ joke.

Shortly after pulling in, I asked if I could join them and share their fire, and they waved me on over happily. I broke out my camping chair, then shared my story, while they shared various travel stories of their own. They were all very friendly, chatty, and VERY generous with their booze. (I’d brought my own, but I’m pretty sure that if I’d found myself ‘in need’ they’d eagerly have offered me a whole lot of pretty heavily tanked mixed drinks)

I haven’t laughed that hard, for that long, in a great while.

During my time with them, I learned that:

– Alcohol is apparently MUCH cheaper in the US, so they would make frequent trips over the boarder to stock their booze larders.
– Apparently ‘Fuck’ is a very popular word in Canada, which DELIGHTED me.
– We’d all been called filthy whores at several points throughout our lives – except for the Scotsman.

Wecked fahckin’ pahty night.

Thank you, Universe.

Thoughts from Willemina, Oregon

The other night, as I slept with the window open, I was awoken by what sounded like a coyote pack calling out to each other as they surrounded their prey. They sounded fairly close, but not right up on the house. Maybe a neighbor down the road. It was a quick skirmish, but the howls were chilling and cool at the same time.

Thanks, nature, for the auditory floor show 

I love it when things like that happen.

Road Chronicles

Just arrived back in Willamina after having spent the most fantastic day up in Portland. Did an underground tour in the morning, which detailed quite a lot of seedy, sordid goings on in the city proper in years past, then enjoyed the Laurelhurst Shakespeare Festival open air productions of As You Like it (from 2 – 5pm) and Macbeth (from 7-9).

Theater is balm for the soul.