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Sunday, October 21, 2001
Lubbock is in Texas

There are two places open on Sundays in Lubbock, Texas, IHOP and Wal-Mart. We tried the get breakfast at the first but the after church waitlist would have made me stay an extra day. All the local greasy spoons that Cris tried to take me too were closed on Sundays. We did find another place but they were only serving lunch at 10:30 am so I ended up having a ham sandwich for breakfast.

Last night after a few Lone Stars we went to an art event at the local science center. Apparently they let a few students from the university install about fifteen slide projectors in the control room at the Imax Theater. The students" Performed" the projectors to a sound track that they created from the response they received from the last time they showed the piece. The most interesting thing was the fact that it was in an Imax theater, it makes me want to plan and event in one sometime.

I drove from Lubbock to Denton tonight. And I learned a few things about Texans. They like to drive in the left lane. Even people, who are driving at or bellow the posted speed limit, keep their big white trucks in the left lane. There was about a 15 mile stretch of highway were all the traffic was moving at about 65 miles an hour b/c there was no way to get around the guy in the white truck that was driving the exact same speed as the white truck he was passing. When he eventually did get passed the guy on the right he kept his truck in the left lane and everyone had to pass him on the right. Nightmare!

I was supposed to stay with Christine in Denton but when I and checked my email at the Texas Woman's Univ. student center, I found out that she was not due in town until the next day. So I was kind of without a place to stay. Then I remembered that my friend Justin just got a job at North Texas University. So here I was once again, 7 pm in a city I've never been in and no real place to stay. I called directory assistance, wrote down the # and made a call to Justin and Jen's house.

"Justin, yeah um this is John FreyerÉ. Oh I'm fine, yeah things are going great,É Um oh did I tell you that I'm coming to Denton? É. Well actually I'm here right now.. Yeah I'm at the Texas Woman's UnivÉ.. I'm visiting the woman who bought one of my shirtsÉ. Oh tonight? No I don't have any plans tonight.. What are you up too? Oh she's actually not here right now. In fact she won't be back until tomorrow.. Oh tonight? I don't really know, do you have a place I can pitch my tent? "

You'd think by this point that I could just get right to the point after having stayed with stranger all the way across the country. But.. We went out for a burger and Jen, Justin and I hung out tonight and talked about the differences between Iowa and Texas.. There are many.

Saturday, October 20, 2001

Emily Leaves

This morning Emily and I woke up relatively early and found a place to get a cup of coffee. I've taken to drinking double Americano's again. It started in Berkeley when we got coffee at The French Hotel (still the best cups of the trip)

Emily is leaving today so we emptied out everything from my car onto the sidewalk in front of the coffeehouse. The car had become quite a wreck in the last few days, it was nice to take stock of what I have and to put it all back according to the now forgotten Feng Shui principles that I learned last month.

I am leaving the Gocco printer with Emily, I kind of implied that she can pay me for it latter but, I think I'm just going to give it to her. I have enough stuff as it is. I also gave here my ratty old sweatshirt, an item that never made it on Ebay. I guess I've been driving around the a bunch of unsold itemsÉMy goal is to give them all given away before I head back to Iowa.

LM used to wear this sweatshirt all over the place, and one day she decided it was too ratty to wear so I took it off her hands. Even latter still she kept trying to get rid of the old rag behind my back, I would often find it in the piles of stuff that she planned on taking to the Salvation Army and I think I even found it in the garbage once. Five years later I have been wearing it nearly every evening of this trip. Its cuffs are still in tatters, and the holes in the front and back are only getting bigger.

Well now it's owned by Emily, I hope that she has better luck with it than I have. Even Sasha kind of disliked the disrepair of this old friend. I wonder if Emily will patch the holes and fix the cuffs? I guess it could use some love. Emily packed pretty light for the trip, she can fit everything she owns on her back and in her arms, She's all set for boarding the train for Colorado. Doesn't she want to go to texas?

Saturday, October 20, 2001

Driving Alone Again

There is a four-lane highway that runs from Clines Corners, New Mexico to Roswell. I drove on it most of my way to lubbock and think that I was literally the only person on the highway going in either direction. Why is there a four-lane highway to Roswell?

Well it has nothing to do with traffic volume. Somewhere along the way I turned off onto a two-lane road that ran ruler strait in both direction for what looked like hundreds of miles. I turned on my heat and decided to see how long I could keep the needle on my speedometer up above the 100 mark. After a while I started to feel like I was driving a little slow.. I soon slowed down to 85 and continued on my way.

The landscape of west central Texas looks like Iowa. Flat for miles with crops of one kind or another on every rolling inch. It amazing how quickly the landscape changed at the Texico, Texas, going from the desert of the of the southwest to the plains of the Midwest. Did the founders of Texas draw their border around every tillable inch of land they could find?

I arrived in Lubbock and hour our two later than I expected. One reason was because I had to stop at the grave of Billy the Kid and the other is that I jumped another time zone brining me right back to the same zone as Iowa. I called Sasha and asked her what time it was tonight and then I told her that it was the same time in Texas.. Closer to home than ever.

I drove to Texas to meet up with Cris, a theatre major in school in Lubbock who bought the bread and puppet theater posters that used to be on my Kitchen wall, we met up at a local bar and he bought the posters with him. There is a photography conference in town this weekend and the Keynote speaker was Lucy Lippard, the conference was mostly over by the time that Cris and I found some of the stragglers in the hotel lounge. We met up with a few friends of his and headed out to have a few beers.

The waitress laughed when I asked if they carried Lone Star bottles. Laughed. They had Coors Light, Bud Light and Lite on tap and she was laughing at the prospect of someone ordering Lone Star. Isn't Lone Star the beer of Texas? I ordered two.. It's not the greatest beer but I'm in Texas.

Friday, October 19, 2001

End of the fish attack

We ate lunch at the Roadrunner CafŽ in Gallup, New Mexico. One more state away from the ocean. The daily special was meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Not a piece of fish on the entire menu and its Friday. So I gave myself permission to end my self imposed fish attack, even if there was fish on the menu its no fresher than what I can get in Iowa, so there no longer a sense of urgency.

Since we left California we have crossed much of what used to be old highway 66, we even tried to find that Route 66 song on the various swing dance CD's that Emily brought with her. But today we just stayed on the interstate all the way to Albuquerque. I think that our 8 hour drive through the desert cured us of our blue highway tendencies. It was so nice to motor on through the rocky Arizona landscape, into the identical miles of New Mexico.

Emily is going to take the train tomorrow. So I will no longer be able to ride in the passenger seat of my car for a while. It looks like she will have to print the covers of the book a little later this week. She's on her way to Denver for a while to hang out with Lincoln.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Day Off

Emily printed our book today. I think we are going to call it "five for free" in reference to the free copies that inspired the book. There is not enough paper for the cover here so Emily might finish it when we get to Albuquerque tomorrow. I found a Kinkos that let me plug into their Ethernet network for an hour or so tonight. $15 an hour for internet time.. I'm starting to appreciate the access that I had as a student in Iowa.

I spent the day sitting at the desk in my room in front of my laptop, I kind of felt like John Tutturro in Barton Fink, except I don't think that the devil incarnate was living next door.

Wednesday October 17, 2001

There without being there

Every time that I have driven through Flagstaff Arizona the glowing red sign of the De Beau youth hostel offered me the promise of an affordable room and an interesting group of people to hang out with for the evening. Flagstaff is one of the closest real towns to the Grand Canyon and the two Hostels in town are mostly filled with European travelers making their required pilgrimage to the largest hole in the world.

I stayed at the De Beau when I drove through on my way to Utah after Temporama 3's southern state adventure. Most of the people I met had let their Visa's expire and we volunteering at the De Beau as a way to pay for their rooms. Some of them would lead tours to the Grand Canyon for spending money and others would do under the table work in town. There were always 8 to 10 people in the common area playing pool and drinking beer. I only stayed for the night but I wanted to stay forever.

When Emily and I arrived today I gave her the appropriate rights and lefts from my passenger seat and we rolled up to the front door of the De Beau. There was a "do not enter sign" on the Door and a note instructing patrons to the Grand Canyon Youth Hostel around the corner. Apparently the owners of the other youth hostel bought the De Beau last year and only use the rooms when their hostel is overflowing during the summer months. We asked if we could have a room the De Beau anywise but the hostel was half empty so we stayed in the main building.

When Emily and I were in Santa Barbara we walked into a copy place that had a sign on the wall that said "the first five copies are free". So we went back to the car and collected various items to make our five free photo copies from. Our a plan is to make a book with the Gocco Machine that I bought in San Francisco. I think that I will give the machine to Emily when we finish the book. While I am sitting her typing she is making the first test exposures on the Gocco Screens. I think that we might stay here an extra day.

I am going to get as much posted to the site as I can, there is no phone line in the room, so I'll have to ask if I can plug into the main line downstairs. If you've been following along you can see that I have been less than regular with my postings. I'm not sure if I am cut out for the day to day demands of maintaining a travelogue Web-site. I'd much rather just hang out with the folks I'm visiting. ThatŐs why I want to stay an extra day here, then I can get some work done with out having to worry about writing about another person that I visited. This will be the first "Day Off" I've taken in a month.

Wednesday October 17, 2001

Las Vegas in the Morning

We arrived in Las Vegas last night after we turned a 5 hour drive into 8. We were both kind of sun and heat exhausted. Emily was so excited to see the lights of the city when we drove in. Its strange b/c it was just the day before that we left LA and were so happy to be sleeping in the mountains. The drive through the wasteland of eastern California made us both appreciate the prospect of a clean hotel room with a heated outdoor pool.

John English sent us a list of all the things that we needed to see in Vegas, including all the old neon signs on Freemont Street and the great "Welcome to Las Vegas Sign" at the southern most edge of the strip. He recommended that we see a couple of the original motels on the strip and we ended up staying at La Concha, which is right across the street from Circus Circus. It has a great neon sign and the room we stayed in was recently renovates (sort of) The hallway was filled with carpet remnants which looked like they came from a now demolished hotel, thatŐs what they were installing into all of their rooms.

We walked around for a little while and I made notes about what had changed since the last time I was here. It was 9:30 by the time be tried to get something to eat, but most of the affordable casino restaurants closed at 9 so we just kept walking around in a heat exhausted daze wondering what the hell we were doing.

One of the places that we stopped was the new Venetian Hotel witch is supposed to look like Venice. In the basement of the shopping mall the Guggenheim has built a Las Vegas style "Art" museum complete with the most expensive admission I have ever seen. They did have a student rate $11 just about the same price of the paperback catalogue in the "free admission" Guggenheim store on the basement level of the mall.

The inaugural show was the "Art of the Motorcycle, brought to you by BMW Motorcycle Inc, for more information on all of our fine automotive product please visit" A rather long title for an art exhibit, I thought. I heard one of the executives interviewed on NPR last week who said that he expected the new museums to bring significant revenues into the Venetian Hotel Casino.

Well they didn't get my $15 but I did get to look at some of the BMW motorcycles that BMW put on display throughout the Casino. It was kind of like visiting a BMW showroom in Venice. I am working on a proposal for the next exhibition at the Vegas Gugg.. See instead of paying $20 to see "The Art of Armani, brought to you by Armani, introducing the Guggenheim Museum Clothing Line for 2002"

You could pay the same amount to see the "Walm-Art" exhibition. I propose transformation of the basement of the Venetian Casino Mall into a fully functioning Walm-Art super center, complete with out of state labor to install the show, and an entire minimum wage workforce. All of the items in the store will be marked with an official "Vegas Gugg" sticker and will be available for purchase. The Mini-m-Art museum store will feature an assortment of Vegas "Gugg-a-Mart" merchandise including a hardcover exhibition catalogue/sales flyer which will also be available for purchase.

A good night sleep might make me think about whether or not I should post this?


Tuesday October 16, 2001

Exit, Miles and Heat

15 minutes on the interstate was enough for me. I couldn't imagine spending the next five hours on the exact same four lane road with nothing to see but corporate chain restaurants and triple length tractor trailer trucks. We found a side road to drive on and headed out into the desert.

About thirty-minute into the drive I looked over at the temperature guage and noticed that it was in the red zone. Just about to overheat, so I turned the heat on high and started to roll the window's down. This is how the rest of the drive would be, heat on high and windows rolled all the way down.

The first thing that I noticed when I entered the state of California was the lack of exit #'s on the interstate. In the western states you can always figure out where you are in a state by checking on the exit #'s usually they are oriented in descending order from east to west so you and always tell what kind of mileage you are in for when you enter the state. Even in states like NY where the exits are simply numbered at least you know where you are on the map.

No in California you have to pray that street on your map lines up with the name of the exit. On the side road that we took today there were no mileage markers and for the first 50 miles of the trip there wasn't even a single sign telling us what road we were on. For the most over regulated state in the nation you might think that they'd at least have equitable road signage to the least regulated Texas.

We stopped at a point in the desert where it seemed like the road in front of us look exactly like the road behind us. The first thing that we noticed was how hot it was, which seems a little strange but we had been driving about 90 miles and hour and even with the heat on the car was pretty well cooled. The second thing I notice out their was the pure and undisturbed silence. Maybe it was just the relief from the deafening noise of wind in the windows, but as we walked around I herd nothing but the sound of my feet and my heart beating.

It was so quiet that I could hear the digital noises that my camera made as it focused on the landscape, not the familiar mechanical sounds of the lens moving, but the nearly inaudible sound of electrons moving through the circuitry. I haven't heard it since but I know I heard it then.

Somewhere on state route 62 it runs dead straight parallel to a railroad track. We must have run along side 50 miles of raised track and nearly every open foot of the embankment had words and names and date running up and down the bank: Steve loves Susan, Billy 9-88, Andy Lisa forever, all written in the black colored rock of the embankment.

Emily has been a great partner on this trip, she seems to get along with everyone that we have visited, in fact Katherine said that having Emily with me made her feel more comfortable about my visit. After I spent twenty minutes reading Emily the various names and phrases from train tracks as she drove, we pulled off the road and cleared a fifteen-foot space for the addition of TEMPORAMA to the rocks. Look for it about 113 miles from the Arizona boarder.

Monday October 15, 2001

More good food


Ginny bought three $25 dollar bills from me. And today we all went out to lunch and tried to spend them. And as you might expect they wouldn't take our money. My friends in the Printmaking department at the University of Iowa made the money as a party favor at their house one weekend. Apparently printing money is kind of an inside joke in printmaking. Every few years or so The Secret Service catches somebody in the printmaking world printing money.. These were one-sided $25 dollar bills are far from mistakable currency.

We ate at a Millies Diner in Silverlake , they've been open since1923 and still serve only fresh ingredients. Sadly most old time diners use mostly processed and prepared food to cut costs. Millies makes everything from scratch, no food service rolls and wilted iceberg lettuce here. I continued my self imposed fish attack yet again but the french fries were to die for.

After lunch we met up with one of Ginny's friends who is and Architect. We let her in on some of the new words that we came up with during John's "Googie" tour yesterday.

Concrefication - the process making everything concrete

Concreficst - One who believes in making everything concrete

Concrefy - to make everything concrete

Concreficsm - the movement made up of Concreficsts

Monday October 15, 2001

Dinner with Divinity


We left LA today. Sort of. Emily volunteered to make the 45 mile drive from Hollywood to Claremont California. We left at about 4 o clock thinking that would give us enough time to make dinner at 5:45 at Katherine's house.

Two hours later we were still sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, just a mile or two from where we were supposed to be. I have never seen traffic like this, even in NYC, which is supposed to have terrible traffic. I can't image sitting in this type of traffic every single day on my way home from work. We've been in LA for three days and I was beginning to think that the hype about LA traffic was exaggerated. Well I stand corrected. I was gripping the wheel so hard that my fingers ached and I wasn't even driving.

Katherine is in the Claremont Divinity School, and she bought my Latham Homes T-shirt from me. We had dinner with a number of her colleagues from the program; they were each from different Christian denominations. I quickly announced that I was an atheist for political reasons and we had a highly intellectualized discussion about Christianity Today! Katherine's roommate gave me a copy of her "Process Theology" textbook which apparently will help me reconcile my atheism with contemporary Christian thought.

After dinner Katherine and I had an opportunity to talk about why she participated in my AMLFS project. She explained that she bought my shirt to use it as an example in an upcoming Sunday Sermon. She said that she saw parallels between what I was doing and what Christ had done, he sold all of his possessions and wondered the countryside too.

Yeah I said, but Christ gave the proceeds to the poor and I have a laptop computer and a Car and for the most part I have given the money that I raised to Mobil, Amoco and Exxon. But we talked a little more and she explained that the parallels that she saw had more to do with the idea that I have been provided for along this trip. That I sold off my worldly possessions and now depend on mostly on strangers for my accommodations on this trip.

I told her that Jen Mijangos said something similar to me when she Feng Shui'd my car. That people hold onto object because they are afraid of not being able to provide for themselves. Only Jen believes that if individuals truly evaluate their relationship to objects around them that they will come to the conclusion that they indeed will be able to provide for their needs in the future.

Katherine believes that if you have faith in Christ that your needs will be taken care of. That if you drive into LA without a place to stay that the calls you make will be answered, that you'll wake up without an alarm at 6:50 am on September 11, and get an early start on the road out of NYC, that the food will be served when you arrive even if you're an hour late b/c of traffic.

I'm not sure where I stand on this, but I know that Katherine is very sincere in her beliefs. She has changed denominations three times since she realized that she wanted to be a minister of Christ, each time in order rectify her personal beliefs with that of the church that she planned on ministering for. She is Lutheran now and seems to be at peace with that denominational choice.

I've decided tonight that although I still consider myself a atheist for political reasons that when talk to people of faith again I'll tell them that I might consider joining their Christian denomination if it allows African American lesbians to be ministers. I figure that answers most of my problems with bulk of the Christian faith right now, can women be ministers, are you racially integrated, and are you homophobic? I guess I'll ask the kids at the "Ready Table" how many African American Lesbians are ministers in their Faith?

Monday October 15, 2001

Coyote Email


When Katherine invited us to spend the night in Claremont, Emily and I made momentary eye contact and it was easy to see that she felt like getting on the road and camping somewhere between there and Las Vegas. I felt that way too. I have been staying with people for the last two months and apart from my brief nap in Shasta last week, I hadn't camped since the first weeks of my trip.

We drove east and west on I-15 and started climbing up into the desert, we stopped at the fist camping triangle on the map and tried to find a place to pitch our tent. We couldn't find the campground b/c there are no exit #s on California interstate so it was impossible for us to figure out which of the unnamed exit was the one with the campground at it. We drove up and down a section of road that was part of Old Route 66, but couldn't find a place to camp, so when got back on the highway for a while until we found a well marked exit with camping nearby. We found a place about ten miles off of the highway called Silverwood State Park and got the tent set up by 10 O'clock or so.

It was so nice to see the stars again. The giant U-turn had been made. I've been driving West for the last month and today we finally fully turned the car to the east. Away from the bright lights of the West Coast and towards the lifeless lands of the estern California desert. So far away but not quite, I still had cell phone coverage so after the tent was set up and we were sipping hot tea, we checked our email as pack of Coyotes hollered back an forth across the valley. Cell coverage in the California dessert? Of course.