Friday, December 24, 2010

Isaac and the Whale: A Road Trip Blog

(This blog has nothing to do with Christmas. Deal with it. Merry Christmas.)

I will assume none of you know anything about me and tell you that I recently acquired a 1977 RV and am now living in it full time, no hobo. For the last 6 months or so it has been at an RV shop getting its interior updated to the level of luxury and comfort to which I am accustomed. *cough* On the day it was finished, my girlfriend Nichole and I smashed a bottle of fine champagne on her hull (the RV's, not Nichole's) and took her on her maiden voyage. (the RV, not Nichole.)

The route? Southbound on Highway 101, a scenic byway that traces the west coast. The destination? Las Vegas, for my girlfriend's wedding--I mean, her brother's wedding. I keep accidentally telling people "my girlfriend's wedding", but that just doesn't make sense. It would be weird and awkward to attend my own girlfriend's wedding. I envision some seriously tense undercurrents in the congratulatory handshakes. Anyway--a road trip!!!

Our first stop of note: Tillamook Cheese Factory. We tour the facility. Where are all the wise old elvish cheesemongers lovingly rolling wheels of handcrafted artisan cheese into ancient caves and cellars to sleep for years and age to perfection? What are all these conveyor belts and tattooed girls in hairnets? This is bullshit. I will never buy Tillamook again.

What follows is a harrowing late night race down the 101, which claims to be a federal highway but has the curves and hills and world-rocking potholes of a disused logging road. At one point we careen around a corner and the trees open up revealing a vast empty blackness beyond the freeway. Nichole screams--we are about to drive off the edge of the universe into the nightmarish void beyond!!! But it turns out that's just how the ocean looks in the dark when you're on a perilous cliff. We continue south, listening to our dishes shattering in their cupboards as pothole after bottomless pothole sends the RV airborne.

We eventually come out of the woods and reach safe haven: a brewery. We park for the night and enjoy some beers in celebration of not getting raped by hillbillies. We actually win at bar trivia, even though there are only two of us and neither of us are all that smart. It's the first time I've ever won anything in my life.
(False. I once won 50 cents on a 25 cent pull-tab.)

The next day I wake up and sweep open my windshield curtains and realize that we are parked literally 200 feet from the ocean. I immediately dump any doubts I ever had about my plan to live in an RV.

Not a bad view for 0$ a month...


1977 GMC Birchaven

Name: "Baleen the Big Blue Whale"

Length: 23 feet

Wheels: 6

Sleeps: 2 comfortably, 3 uncomfortably, 4 hatefully

Kitchen: Yes

Bathroom: Phonebooth-sized

Engine: Oldsmobile 455 V8

Fuel economy: Sobering

Looks like:

Travel continues at a breakneck pace. We have only 8 days to cover 1,608 miles of scenic byway littered with tourist traps and roadside attractions marked by cartoonishly oversized road signs screaming for attention. We stop in the Redwood Forest at a place called Trees of Mystery. There are a lot of trees, but none of them are particularly mysterious. It does, however, afford us the opportunity to take photos next to Paul Bunyan's pet ox's giant blue balls.


The ox is named Babe the Blue Ox. Babe the Blue Ox and Baleen the Big Blue Whale have some bonding time and discuss the pleasures and pitfalls of being big and blue. (I assume)

We stop in a very maritime little seaside shanty town by the sea and eat ocean-style chowder at a marine-themed restaurant near the water. The chowder is mediocre but our senses finally shake free from their cream-soaked stupor when we hear a harsh, alien barking noise coming from the direction of the oceanic bayside sea area. We knock our chowder off the tables and run to the dock.


(They go apeshit at 00:25)

Listen to them roar! King of the underwater jungle! 
Apparently they just hang out on this dock all day, barking and roaring and generally making asses of themselves in the most adorable way. Nichole has about 50 cutegasms watching them.


We continue south. Time is running out. We camp in a few gas stations. I make Nichole eggs benedict for breakfast. She is unimpressed. We continue south.


We park Baleen near Venice Beach and meet up with Steve, a fancy Hollywood type whose wife Bruna is the producer for the upcoming picture show, WARM BODIES. Bruna loans us her Prius.



Steve directs us to a bar at a cool hotel where lots of famous people have died and/or killed themselves. Neither Nichole or I die or kill ourselves there. I guess we are not famous enough.

Later, Steve takes us to a fancy Hollywood-type place called the Soho Club. Not just any old riff-raff can go there. You have to be a Soho Club Member. They have tall and attractive women of color at all their help desks (I assume their consistent color is coincidence but find myself wondering) and the elevators have plush walls. There are cool trinkets everywhere. There are live trees in the bar and we can see the entire city through the wall-to-wall glass and Steve buys me a Scotch drink. Steve is the coolest man living.

We sleep in Baleen and leave LA at the crack of dawn. (Nichole cracks dawn at around 11:00) We drive all damn day.


We are in Las Vegas for Nichole's wed--Nichole's BROTHER's wedding. Nichole's mom has rented us a room at the Excalibur, a hotel that looks like a giant Playskool castle.

This is not a cartoon.

I have never been to Vegas before. The first thing we do is run across town to the MGM Grand to attend a country music award show. (Nichole thinks she is a hillbilly.)

This is a cartoon.

This was not the Country Music Awards. (CMAs) It was the American Country Awards. (ACAs) I'm not totally sure if they were giving out awards to the musicians or if the musicians were just there to give awards to America, which is by far the most American of all the American countries. Either way, America definitely won, and Toby Kieth sang a song about 9/11.

Later that night, we went to a fancy Vegas-type club. Someone took us into a velvety back room where young women with suspiciously spherical breasts kneeled in front of our table and poured drinks for us like we were some sort of fancy Hollywood types or maybe Persian kings. I got sleepy so I bought a Red Bull, and it cost 9 dollars. Later, some things happened in Vegas which will, according to legend, stay in Vegas.

The next day Nichole's brother got married at his wedding. Then Nichole's whole family and I went out on the streets and got Vegas-style drunk. Did you know? You can drink ANYwhere in Vegas! I walked up to a little stand on the sidewalk and bought a Long Island Iced Tea, then walked around dranking that drank amongst crowds of mothers and children.


I play beer pong! We go to a college-themed frat bar and we play several rounds of beer pong! (or "Beet Pong" as I call it in a Twitter tweet while under the influence of beets--I mean beer) I discover it is my favorite competitive sport! I almost win twice!

I get very, very drunk.
Things get hazy at this point.
A taxi driver talking about beating up his customers...?
Fat girls dancing on the bar at Coyote Ugly...?
Mike Tyson's house...? No that's from a movie...


The next day we wake up and don't feel so good. There must be something in the Vegas air that is giving us headaches and stomachaches and soulaches. We leave Vegas.


We're done. Finished. Vanquished. We're going home. We revisit LA, this time with much more time to spare. We go to Hollywood, where I find to my surprise that I already have a star on the Walk of Fame.

If I'm this famous, why didn't I die/kill myself at that hotel earlier? It's a puzzle.

We go to the wax museum and take touristy pictures with the wax figures go to some exclusive Hollywood clubs and hang out with celebrities. I scope out hotties with George. Nichole understands.

Dude. George. That girl keeps looking over here. You should like, talk to her.

After we leave the exclusive Hollywood clubs we get abducted by time-traveling Starfleet Officers because only I can save the future. Nichole snaps a candid shot of me giving commands to the two greatest men in space history.

"Make it happen!" or whatever.

We park Baleen on a freeway overpass and spend two nights there. Baleen bounces around and rocks back and forth every time a truck drives under us. It feels like we're involved in a street riot. When the van's a-rockin'...etc.

When we finally leave LA, we enter a fugue state in which we drive for hours and hours with no food or water or conversation. I-5 is the most boring freeway in America, which is why it's the fastest.

Literally nothing happens the entire way home. We get home.

We're home now.

The End


I want you all to contemplate the fact that this exists.

Nothing says Holiday Cheer like severed baby heads hung from a tree.

Nichole prays to her goddess. Beyonce grants her a fine ass.

Yeah I drive in sweatpants. And camp in Wal-Mart parking lots.

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