Posts Tagged ‘story’

They stopped on top a hill just outside Espanola. The car was packed with stuff but they squeezed me in anyway. They had started at Wisconsin and had just been hitchhiking themselves, across Newfoundland.  Apparently they acquired a car (I didn’t inquire) and were headed for Winnipeg.

The girl seemed tired but they guy was really friendly. Maybe too friendly, were they fighting?

There was a lot of stops at construction sites and I nodded off a few times.  The radio was droning away in a monotone, half AM talk-show half static, that no one was paying attention to, so I offered some tapes for them to choose from.  The girl chose my Mr. Bungle tape because the other side of it was labeled “Make Your Momma Puke Mix”, a mix tape a friend had made for me back in Barrie.  We listened to the whole Mr. Bungle side and they decided it was too weird for them.  I tried to explain the other side was a completely different style but they weren’t really listening due to their stop and go construction malaise.

As the grateful passenger I offered up full control of the music, my scissored and taped Pot o’ Gold chocolate box I’d fashioned into a compact, space efficient tape case and packed with used cassettes at a hock shop in Sudbury (I discovered I could fit in more by crammin them in upside down on the rightside up ones).  They chose Cypress Hill and played it side to side about five times until the machine inevitably ate the tape as we rolled into Sault Ste. Marie.  They apologized profusely but I didn’t really care.  I still had Billy Idol.  I offered the silver lining “Hey, now I got room for a NEW tape”.  They dropped me downtown Sault where I walked to a hostel as they went for dinner.  I ran into them leaving town as I strolled out of the hostel, baggage free-what a luxury.  Maybe I’ll run into them in Winnipeg……

This I wrote in Sault Ste. Marie:

Walkin down the Street

in my bare feet

Left my boots at home to cool down ’cause they were hurtin’ me

Hope you caught the irony

it’s what inspired me

To write a song about

the walk down to the

beach and back in agony


I found that hitchhiking out here by myself really taught me was how to be myself.  No one who picks you up knows what your normally like, leaving you free to be whoever you like and ultimately leading to learning how you act when not obligated to fit into someone’s perception of you.

He picked me up on the entrance to the 400 as I sat playing guitar with a sheet of paper saying ‘Perry Sound’.  The conversation flowed steady for a good hour or two.  He was headed to the Yukon to hold an Indie Film presentation.  He recommended some good indie movies I said I’d check out but forgot about.  He also played in a punk band in T.O.  He gave me some tips having hitchhiked himself.  He dropped me off at the YMCA in Sudbury.  He even got out and made sure I got in alright.

As I wandered around in Sudbury I came to a park on a hill looking over the town.  I’m always writing lyrics to make into songs and this is what I wrote there:

On a road in nowhere

I sit and stare

to catch a glimpse of what I missed and come to grips

that I don’t care

I was so sad to let it go

but here with open hands I know

the sweetness wasn’t having it held

It was breathing it in a blowing it out

Perfected a futilely flawless routine

inevitably becoming monotony

Had no idea what to do, to do better

so I started my story on a fresh piece of paper

Now following the flow

in the unknown

I listen to the rhythms I’m given

to guide, to decide my direction

The passion is pursuit, not possession, of perfection

These damned “no hitchiking. Pickup is illegal” signs!  So after a good long walk down the highway (away from the sign only to end up in front of another and have to continue)  we’re picked up in an unexpected spot where the shoulder is shy but apparently sufficient.

I’m getting tired of Brian telling everyone he’s been hitching with me since Kenora ON.  It screws up my stories and degrades my accomplishments but I guess it’s better for him than saying he just got out of jail.  We’re starting to get our stories straight but I don’t think we need to pitch it to anyone unless it comes up.

This guy that drove us to the skirts of Kelowna was real friendly and clean cut.  Still a long ways from town but it sure beats the side of the highway, in the middle of nowhere, beside a sign that says NO HITCHHIKING

I need to sleep for a week to really loathe being lazy

It started pouring so Brian and I took shelter under an overpass.  The wind was cold so we made a small fire between the lanes.

A lady and her quiet mother stopped way down the road and reversed back to us, to our relief.  We dashed through the downpour and hopped in.  She recommended the  llama ranch for work if the firefighting didn’t work out.

I wouldn’t recommend going to Merritt but I also wouldn’t miss the mad adventures I was thrust into there.

After spending some days in the shelter in Kamloops, busking for money in front of liquor stores and supermarkets, I befriended some fellow shelter stayers and we decided to head to Merritt to help out with the forest fires (2003).  The good fight.  Helpin out the people in need.  Money.  It had it all.

Of everyone talking about going only Brian actually did and that was cool ’cause he reminded me of Hunter Thompson.  He had just gotten out of jail for pushing his sister’s asshole boyfriend down some stairs.

We had a sign made from 5 pieces of cardboard strung together the said Merritt Going TO FightFires Please.  A lady picked us up after a long uphill hike out of town and asked if she could take our picture.  She was a journalist in Kamloops and was working on stories about the FireFighters.  So she drove us to around Logan Lake and took our picture from a couple of angles.  So maybe we got our pictures in the paper..

The first honest trucker I’ve met.  As far as his job goes anyway.  Kept his hours regularly and his cargo weight in check.  Nothing against the ones that cheated (they were more interesting to talk to).  He was an old guy and had a few good cheating death stories like beating cancer.

He bought me soup at a stop.  That’s what he offered so that’s what I ordered even though he ordered soup and a cheeseburger.  The girl brought his soup in an app bowl and didn’t bring mine until after his burger and then it was an entrée bowl.  He was done his burger and I tipped the bowl to my mouth to catch up.

I was nodding off for awhile, unable to see the mountains in the dark, when he stopped, saying,”I’m gonna find a place to turn in so I’ll let you out here”.  I was planning on riding to Vancouver with him but I guess not.  I got out, grabbed my stuff and watched him drive off.  Then, looking around at a few stores and lights in the dark around midnight I wondered “Where am I?”

I awoke and looked out the window.  The forest is full of smoke!!  I burnt down Banff!

I soon realized that’s just what clouds look like against the mountains..

The decision to leave came early and suddenly as I looked at myself in the mirror at the Banff hostel and realized I couldn’t stop until I got to Van City.  I had been tossing around the idea of getting a job cooking in Banff and staying there for awhile.  But I couldn’t settle yet.  So I wrote a sign – VAN – and headed out.  I chuckled to myself as I pondered peoples reaction to reading the sign; “Why’s he want a ride in a van specifically?”

I hiked through the woods in an estimated shortcut to the highway guided by pure direction sense.  And to my surprise I was right.  I got picked up walking the road to the highway exit and got whisked to an exit on the other side of Banff, to my advantage but making my intuitive hike through the wilderness futile.

Nice guy.  If I’d recorded this earlier I could probably recall something memorable but no impression was left except that he thought he might see me again.  Oh yeah, and his name was Kenny.

Awake. Blue.

Shit, that’s a lot of smoke! As I pull on my boots the grass right in front of me bursts into flames.  After some good stomping it was back down to the water then back up the mountain again.  Mental note, next time build the fire closer to the water.  What a terrible trip to lay on someone on about an hours sleep in three days, sexually frustrated and full of booze.

We spent the morning in the girls’ truck, getting out of some light rain.  A little too light to ease my mind..

The rain stopped and some sun came out and the girls decided to leave.  We took some pictures together and exchanged emails.  Me and Dylan decided to go for one last hike in the woods.  We made our way back around the the campsite.  There was some smoke..

“Shit!  This dead tree’s about to go right up!” He’s right!

“You watch it, I’ll get water!”  Down I go, back up, find the fire again.  You know the drill.  We both made certain it was out this time, digging up any parts around that looked iffy.  It had been burrowing under the big rock we built it by, spreading through the moss and popping up in unexpected places.  We cut it off at every end and left it for good.  It would be ironic if I started a forest fire when I came out here with the idea of helping out with the forest fires.  Maybe I can put this on my resume?

Dylan hung around ’til 4:20 and left me at the hostel.  I slept.

I awoke to a horn beeping somewhere behind me.  I pulled myself off the tar of the highway and dragged my stuff to the car.

I remember watching the cars go by for a good couple hours before my vision started to blur.  I mulled over the look of the pavement, thinking of lying down but deciding it looked too hot.  After a while I decided “fuck it”

Dylan was a party guy for sure.  After that hour’s sleep I was right back full of energy shootin the shit and smoking some joints.  We drove by this turnoff to somewhere I forget the name of and he was like, “That’s my turnoff but I’m gonna go to Banff with you and we’ll party it up tonight!”

The plan was set:  We’d grab some beers, set up camp, go into town and pick up some hippie chicks, go to the bar then back to camp for beers, campfire and singalong parties.  It was a perfect plan….almost.

We set up a camp in the middle of the woods, on a relatively flat spot on the side of a mountain below where we parked.  We had the beer, a circle of rocks for the campfire and Dylan’s tent setup.  We walked around town for awhile, taking in the sights.  I don’t have to tell you what a beautiful town Banff is.

We were walking through a park and we see these two girls in white with dreadlocks.  Me and Dylan exchange a single nod and stroll on over.  Breanna, blond and pixyish, a real live wire; you could almost see the fairy dust fall off her, and Colby,  reddreads, sweet as hell; we let them in on the plan.

Now the night’s a bit of a blur.  There was beer, Jagermeister (note:  I thought it was spelt with a Y when this was written;-) wings and some dancing to a band.  The band wasn’t very good which didn’t matter at all.  I couldn’t remember if anyone else was dancing or if the band was even playing.  Yes, apparently the band was playing and No, apparently no one else was dancing.

I got everyone to haul back rocks for the fire pit but god knows how we carried them up that mountain as drunk as we were.  We sat around the fire having some drinks; I was playing guitar and we sang songs who know how well.

When the girls announced they were going to bed it was met with protests from Dylan and I that we needed cuddles.  “Cuddle with each other”, was the reply.  I decided I’d sleep by the fire…

This is a long ride so I’ll continue it this Wed.  You’ll wanna check it out ’cause I almost fuckin die!!!!

That got yer attention dinnit

To be continued……

I was headed towards a division in the highway, pondering which way I’d end up taking, when a truck stopped and reversed back to me.  He was headed to Red Deer which is dead center between Edmonton and Calgary.  So I’m half way..(I’m fixin to make it to Calgary tonight)

He was running trucks from Red Deer to Edmonton and back.  Pickup trucks, not the big ones.  $5 an hour or something but he says it’s good work just driving around.

He was interested in motorcycle repair which I dig ever since reading Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I’d originally thought of motorbiking this trip but couldn’t afford it (and I don’t really know how to ride a bike (motorbike that is…well I guess I’m not great at either).  This way’s more interesting anyway.  He tells me I should check out Adrenaline Crew on the internet, stunts on bikes.  He was rhyming off brands and models which makes me feel like I should bone up on my brand knowledge but I don’t need to and I won’t anyway.

He told me a disturbing story (not ghost story disturbing but unsettling) about how he was at a bar in Red Deer and he had 2 drinks and wound up in the drunk tank when the cops found him passed out at a stop light with his foot on the brake.  He had bruises from the bouncers kicking him out but doesn’t remember anything and figures he ended up with a drink with something slipped in it.  Tough Break.  It screws his insurance/suspends his license.  He pleaded not guilty but they can’t prove drugs so they’re gonna stick it to him.  I’m sure he’ll be fine.  He, evidently, still has a job.

So here I am at a diner on Gasoline Alley in Red Deer sippin coffee and writing away.  Guess I should get movin…