The idea was to drive around America and take pictures every day, and post every day.

After a few days, I realised it was too ambitious..


Note: I have two more months of pictures to upload. They will eventually come. Uploading became too much work on the trip, so I stopped.


19 years before these pictures, I was in the exact same place one of these pictures was taken from, when my family moved across the country. When I stand in this place, I remember it vividly.

I’ve dated girls who were not born when I was there the first time.











2 Sept

Drinking and driving

My sister will hate this — but I was nowhere, and it was hot, so I drink while I drive. It’s the most memorable beer of the trip.

Drinking and driving isn’t “blanket” wrong. It’s fine in the middle of nowhere, and just one or two.




2 Sept

The Car

I take a dirt road and I see a car.


There are hazards. I actually get scared. I hear howls from some animal, and I imagine a wolf, or a rabid hog-buffalo-rattlesnake. I put on boots.






I find one of the most beautiful sights of the whole trip.








I don’t let Butch come, because of the sounds of animals. I’m very happy to get back alive.


2 Sept

Chris and Lily (part 1)

I pass two bikers. I stop.

They’re biking from coast to coast for their honeymoon.

“We’ve seen 28 dead snakes, 5 deer, 2 turtles, and one dog — that was today.”

I give them water.







I take the top of this flower and put it in the pages of a book. I have it hanging in my apartment 14 months later.


2 Sept


I look up, and I think, “I will miss this when it’s all over.”


I see something in a tree. It’s small.

Someone was here in ’98.



2 Sept


Around 6pm, it finally gets below 100 degrees.

1 Sep



1 Sep

General Dad

In a Starbucks looking for internet, I see a guy with a big gun.

He’s hard to trap. He wants to get away. He’s not a talker, but I get a few words out of him.

He says his name is Bruce, AKA General Dad, and I can find him on YouTube. I look, but I don’t find him.

IMG_2371 IMG_2372

1 Sep

A very hot day

It was over 100 degrees. I did as much as I could with the windows down. Welcome to the Heartland.

610_7418 610_7422 610_7441 610_7449 610_7463 610_7466 610_7475 610_7485 610_7486 610_7493 610_7500 610_7517 610_7520 610_7526 610_7534 610_7536 610_7540 610_7553 610_7560

1 Sep


610_7378 610_7380 610_7385 610_7388

1 Sep

Hidden art

I love coming across something someone spent a lot of time on once, which is hidden and almost never seen by no one.


1 Sep


In the tent with a red light. Someone suggested “The Alchemist”. I had no idea it was the perfect book.

Another person told me red lights don’t kill your night vision.


31 Aug


An hour after I meet the that guy (below) I meet Shelly, and she makes up for him.

She was smiling at Butch.

“I was a professional country singer, ballroom dancer, and model. I worked all over the West. Then I got osteoarthritis — it’s a back problem. I couldn’t do any of those things anymore. I went from 5’6 to 5’3 …

“He reminds me of my dogs. They were named Ruby and Nevaeh.”

Nevaeh? Why did you name her that?

“It’s ‘heaven’ spelled backwards. I needed a miracle.”

610_7316 610_7320 750_4535 750_4537

31 Aug

The jerk

I only met one jerk in America.

I talked to hundreds, if not thousands of people. But I only met one jerk. He was in Cowdrey, Colorado. Population 64.

I saw this funny little Town Hall, the size of a one-car garage. Beautiful.

“Hey! You!”   Yes?   “You takin’ pictures boy?”   Yes?   “Well don’t! You can’t take pictures here! People ’round here don’t like that! You’ll get your ass kicked!”   Even if I tell you it’s beautiful?   “I don’t give a damn! No one gives a damn! We don’t want no one taking pictures ’round here! You’ll get your ass kicked!”

He’s in his 60s and wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt. I look like I’m in my 20s and I’m wearing flip-flops. I decide to blend in more, wherever I go.

I’m doing a book about America, all the things I think are beautiful. I’ve been away ten years and I want to make a tribute to my country.

“I don’t give a shit! You get out of here!”   I can give you my card. You can see the project.   “You damn right better! I’m gonna report you to the cops!”   Well good. I hope you do.

As I leave, on the radio there’s a report about a prisoner who was in solitary confinement for 33 years. I have a friend who was in solitary for three months. He wasn’t right for a long time after.

33 years. That’s you’re whole life or more, if you’re one of my friends. He gets one hour per day in the courtyard, but alone. He says, “Please god, give me the death penalty.”

We’re not meant to live out of contact with each other.


31 Aug

North Park

You’ve heard of South Park. It’s a real place in Colorado. This is North Park.

750_4488750_4473 750_4484  750_4491 750_4492 750_4498 750_4521 750_4523 750_4528

31 Aug

Half way

I’m halfway through my trip now.

I figured out one thing so far: I need to keep doing the things I’m doing — photography and storytelling — but I need to do it for different people. Not corporations and business people anymore; something more like charities or NGO’s.

I learned it near the end of my first week.

This is the thing I’m best at. This is the thing I’m better than others at. This is the thing I do for no money — and even spending money. But the corporate stuff just feels meaningless. Helping people is meaningful.

So that was a good realization. But I also find myself telling my sister, before I go out on the second half, that “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

I’m out there all alone, with no responsibilities, no ties, completely free, just going. It’s dizzying in a way, terrifying in a way, as I’m about to go, to think that tonight I’ll again be so free and alone. Far away from everything.

It’s not a logical thought; it’s an emotional feeling. It’s probably brought on by spending the last few days with friends and family — and now it’s time to go.

It felt good out there the first month. But as I’m about to go again, I question it all again. Is this selfish? Is it really what I should be doing? Should I be doing something else? Should I stay here with the people I love, who love me?

But I go. I don’t know if it’s the best decision … but I go.

31 Aug


American stores aren’t like European stores. I’m used to it now — but when I first moved to Europe, I couldn’t believe people shopped in such small stores. How?

Answer: first, they have fewer products (no “rapid mac cookers”). And second, they have fewer options (no “reuben” flavored chips).

750_4383 750_4395 Untitled-1 750_4389 750_4371

31 Aug

Best Friend’s Wedding

Halfway through the trip, my best friend gets married.

He cried. I cried. I don’t know her well, but because he loves her, I feel a love for her too. She’s family now.

Our other best friend brings a fifth of whiskey. We do some shots before the stuff. They’re special shots.

Shortly into the ceremony I cry. I need the other best friend’s hankey. Shortly after that his wife cries. She needs it. My sister laughs. “Jeff took it!”

Later people puke and get hungover. It’s not Disney.

Seeing the people you love, be happy, is a special thing. It’s more special than seeing regular friends be happy. It’s almost uncontrollable, the happiness you feel.

610_6907 610_6915

610_7067 610_6952 750_3568 750_3616750_3717 750_3586 750_3739 610_6987 610_6997 610_7035 610_7052  610_7101 610_7110 610_7144 610_7204 610_7223 610_7263       750_3788 750_3835 750_3866 750_3912 750_3918 750_4006 750_4009 750_4139 750_4157 750_4231 750_4266 750_4267

29 Aug


A long time ago I met a European girl and loved her and moved to Europe.

I met her when she was driving around America and she said Colorado was the most beautiful place she saw.

Now I’ve seen the whole west – it’s all good – but Colorado is more. I see it this way for the first time.

This is one of the two places I’m from. Maine coming in a couple weeks.

750_2523 750_2524 750_2567750_2918 610_6659 610_6590 610_6577  610_6630  610_6797 610_6840    750_2709 750_2743 750_2822 750_2847  750_2974 750_3015  750_3163 750_3195  750_3251 750_3271 750_3286 750_3360 750_3382 750_3402 750_3403 750_3442 750_3448  750_4353 750_4357

28-30 Aug

Brandon and Andrew and loud craps and the best gas stop ever

750_2686 750_2679 750_2678 750_2689 750_2694750_2596  750_2643 750_2653 750_2670 750_2609 750_2622750_2613 750_2662

I’m tired from the all-night drive and Walmart sleep. I sleep at a gas station.

When I wake I see a big ass in my face.

Turns out this was planned – the first of a few – but I don’t know it at the time.

A huge storm’s coming. To the left it’s clear and to the right it’s dark. It’s windy and starting to rain. I throw the ball with Butch to get some exercise while we can.

I go to the bathroom to whiz. A guy goes to the stall and sits and starts to grunt.

“Oh man. Oh god. Oh no. Ouch!”

This is Andrew.

I keep my laughter in.

Another guy goes to the other stall.

“Oh shit. God what did I eat?!”

“Can you hand me a tissue bro?”

At this they laugh:) I walk out laughing. The guy at the counter says “What did they do?” I say “Who are they?” He says “Just some dudes who hang out here.”

I tell him. He laughs.

I get a coffee. I try to pay.

“What’s up?” he says.

“Just the coffee” I say.

“What coffee?” he says.

“Just this coffee” I say.

“I don’t see any coffee” he says.

“Ah – right on” I say.

This is Brandon.

I go outside. They come out. We see a full double rainbow. We laugh at the jokes.

Brandon’s going into the Army in two weeks.

“My whole family’s a mess,” he says. “My brother’s in prison for raping a 12-year-old. My sister’s a drug dealer. But I’m straight. I just married the love of my life and I’m gonna serve my country because I love it.”

I leave.

But I go back.

Why do you love this country?

“I’ve been through tons of shit man. I’ve seen the good side and the bad side – and it’s the good side, the good people, like you, who shake your hand – if I can defend their right to keep being like that it’s what I want to do.”

He’s 20.

27 Aug


750_2416 750_2287 750_2304750_2294 750_2305 750_2340 750_2296 750_2328  750_2359  750_2421 750_2423I see a biker in the distance, on a highway where cars are doing 80 miles an hour. As I get closer I see an American flag off the back of the bike. This dude looks interesting.

I pull over and he catches up – slowly. He’s on the bike, then off and walking it, then on again.

How you doing?

“It’s hawt!” he yells in a southern accent.

I like him instantly:)

He’s Mike and he’s originally from Louisiana. He’s been on a bike for a few years.

“I don’t like the word ‘homeless’. It sounds like an insult.”

Why are you on a bike?

“It’s better than walkin’!” We both laugh.

But why do you live on a bike?

“It’s nature man. We’re part of nature. Out here’s where I feel the most comfortable. This is where I get my peace.”

Where are you going?

“I don’t know man. This way.”

Why this way?

“Because that way’s harder!”

I told he he’s cool:)

Why do you have the American flag?

“I don’t know. I just seen it on the ground and I thought, ‘Americuh.'”

But tell me more. Why are you really on a bike?

“I guess it started because I was just pissed off at the world, you know? And this is the best damn medicashun.

“When I was a little kid we was all family. You ask if you could borrow a cup of sugar and you’d get the whole bag. But now if you ask they just say you’re fucked.”

So where do you sleep?

“I got a sleeping bag, I just sleep out here.”

On the side of the highway?

“Yeah man! You’d neve see me!”

No snakes or spiders or anything?

“Nah man. I mean they might be there … but you know.”

Tell me something you’ve learned.

“We base how we feel on how other people feel about us. I think it’s bullshit. When you can drop all that, you just say ‘I’m gonna live for me’. You don’t get your help from someone else. But I’m bad with words. As I say I love it out here.”

He tells me he has a kid, a boy.

“I don’t want to talk about that though man. If I talk about that I’m gonna cry.”

He likes what I’m doing. He says he’s always wanted to write a book.

“I seen a lot a stuff man. But as I say I’m bad with words. And the world doesn’t wanna hear any of the real stuff.”

He shows me an iPhone he found on the ground. He asks me to plug it in and see if it works. It does.

I ask how he gets money for food. He shows me the iPhone again.

“Stuff like this man. It’s a blessing. This is probably 20 or 40 bucks. I can live off this for a while.”

There’s something else he says which I can’t fit in this narrative, so I’ll just quote him.

“A lot of people, if they pull over and talk to me, they’d think I’m crazy …

“Hey man, I’m just American.”

27 Aug

American Cars

What’s more American than a Corvette on an open highway?

750_2500 750_2502

Maybe an El Camino with a beehive hairdo:)


27 Aug

New Mexico, and its houses, and Kirkk who lives in one

750_2139 750_2148 

From the highway I see miles and miles of these houses. I get off to see them up close.

750_2140  750_2174 750_2177   750_2189 750_2197 750_2198

Kirkk owns one of these houses. Did you choose the house for the architecture?

“I definitely did not. The rooves suck for snow. It’s just what the houses are like here.”

Why did you move here?

“I didn’t like California.”

He’s preparing his Model T for a show.

750_2200  750_2211 750_2217 750_2239

A different Vegas.

750_2248 750_2274 750_2253 750_2269 750_2425 750_2429 750_2437 750_2442 750_2453 750_2456 750_2466

At first I think this sign is heartless. Turns out a prison is nearby.

750_2470 750_2491 750_2519

27 Aug

How to camp at Walmart

… and because I drive all night, I find Walmart.

It’s pretty well-known that Walmart lets travellers sleep in the parking lot. I try it for the first time. It’s pretty good actually. You get a good lullaby, and you put stuff in your windows so people can’t see in. (You do this the first couple of times — then you don’t.)

610_6404 610_6407 610_6409 610_6410 610_6415 610_6418 610_6432 610_6435 610_6444 610_6478 610_6490 750_2103


In the morning I meet my first person I can’t convince to get in a picture. Tim. He’s an economic advisor to hi-tech companies. He says his clients are billionaires. He slept in the parking lot too.


“It’s easy when you’re driving late.”

He tells me America’s fucked because we’re losing our middle class because of stuff like automation and jobs moving overseas. He says all of China is operating under a strategy that deliberately undermines America. He says they’re pissed because they bailed us out and we didn’t

… pay them back or something like that.

I say I think we’ll be alright because of stuff I read like The Black Swan (he’s familiar with it) and A Whole New Mind (he’s not). He doesn’t agree.

“Something big and bad is going to happen. It’s only a matter of when.”

27 Aug

Drive all night

I have such a good time in El Paso, I stay late and drive all night.

750_1931 750_1959 750_1934 750_1976750_1966 610_6384 750_1998 750_2007 750_2016 750_2021 750_2064 750_2072750_2089

26 and 27 Aug

El Paso

When I pull in I’m disappointed. “Fuck,” I think. Texas is one of my three must-sees, and I only have time for this day, and the city looks boring.

But I get out and walk around, and find the country’s most photogenic city.

I loved this city. Kind of like being in Mexico, in America. Such beautiful colors and people. A TV show should be set here.

The People of El Paso follow these pictures …

750_0713 750_0726 750_0751 750_0761 750_0777  750_0819 750_0834 750_0848 750_0849 750_0851 750_0869 750_0870 750_0923 750_0948 750_0959 750_0962 750_1007 750_1023 750_1033 750_1131 750_1151 750_1194 750_1601 750_1603 750_1606 750_1608 750_1637 750_1642 750_1647 750_1660   750_1682 750_1689

All the mannequins are … shaped.

750_1673750_1753  750_1758 750_1755750_1789750_1712750_1769 750_1772  750_1793 750_1799 750_1882 750_1923

25 and 26 Aug

Lobo, tattoo artist, El Paso

750_1856 750_1871 750_1876 750_1900 750_1815750_1913

I knew I wanted to get some ink on this trip, but I wanted to find the right place. This is a beautiful city, almost like being in Mexico, and I like that.

There are a couple commercial-looking places but I choose this place. It looks more local.

“I appreciate that bro.”

It’s Lobo’s place. He opened it a few months ago.

He and his cousins and nephews are having a cookout in the back. He’s tattooed all them, and they’re learning from him.

“My father called me Lobo. It just stuck.”

26 Aug

Chris, art savior, El Paso

750_1596750_1403 750_1413 750_1415 750_1420   750_1459  750_1532 750_1203750_1582

“I was a firefighter for 15 years, but it’s just a big fraternity and I’m not a frat boy. I just hated the whole system. So I put my pension into creating Glasbox Studio, as a safe place for artists. We’ve had to change locations 7 times. This is our seventh place. We’re always having to raise money, but it seems like we can make it work. We’ve got about 100 artists who call this place home. We also run La Union, which is a permaculture experiment. Permaculture is the best form of peaceful rebellion. You’re off the grid and they can’t hold anything over you. Basically, the fewer people touch things before they get to you, the better.”

Christopher Bevins.

26 Aug

Jess, hula hoop artist, El Paso

750_1217750_1250   750_1543 750_1562

Jess is a hula hoop artist.

She’s very good with the hula hoop.

She’s technically homeless, but she lives in the art factory Chris runs. She’s the only one he let’s live there.

In her room, something small crawls on the floor. It’s her pet turtle Gaia.

“He broke out of his cage, so now he just roams free.”

25 Aug

People of El Paso


Gabby. Practicing to be a tattoo artist. Practicing on herself so far.

“Will you do me?”

“I’ll ask my boyfriend.”


“Hola, como se llama?”

(Wave of hand.)

750_0793  750_0823 750_0826 750_0827

Vanessa and Rachel. Vanessa’s going to court for something she says she didn’t do. Doesn’t seem too worried.


“They’re shooting his dog!”

“It’s not a dog – it’s a monster!”


I walk by the “Sexy Jeans” shop and I see a guy doing push-ups on a display table.

“Women buy more clothes than men,” says Alex. He’s owned the shop for 12 years.

His father Gabino hangs out.


Alex and Regina. It’s Alex’s 22nd birthday.

What will you do?

“I don’t know, just cruise around.”



Gabriella and Sophia.


Tomorrow is Leonardo’s birthday. What do you want to eat on your birthday?



Jocelyn and her mother, Veronica.

“Are you getting married?”

“No, it’s her sweet sixteen.”

A friend tells me you see this all the time in El Paso.

“You can never tell if it’s a ‘quincinera’ or ‘sweet sixteen’ or a wedding.”


The local weather guy, Chuck DeBroder. “I gotta go on in half an hour.”





Brett is homeless. He does visual art when he can – the things you see painted in windows at McDonalds and on chalk boards outside cafes. He also does courtroom sketches.

“All that dumb shit,” he says. “It pays.”


Chris the blacksmith, working on a light fixture.

“I’d say when it’s finished, probably 100 hours of work.”






“She’s about this size. What size do you think it is?”



We’ll have to call her Jaqueline. As I approach a man comes an says no pictures.

“She’s working.”

“It’s okay, I’m a photographer.”

One thing I’ve learned from psychology, is a bad reason works just as well as a good one. It works on him but not her. I can barely get her to accept my card.

“No no no” she says.

I don’t like this man.

26 Aug

Arriving in Texas

Texas is the second of three “must see” places on my trip, again because I’ve never been there. And it holds a bit of mystique.

750_0689 750_0693 750_0703

25 Aug

Getting to Texas

750_0674 750_0677

Walking Sticks. Maybe New Mexico’s state plant.


Signs like these are everywhere. Do they have a problem?750_0680750_0681

25 Aug

John, Korean War

John’s a Korean War vet.

“No one knows about that war.”


It was in the 50’s.

“I flew off aircraft carriers 60 years ago.”


He’s got an interesting rock collection. All the rocks are from the area, and they’re volcanic rocks – “bombs”, because they were shot in the air and splatted on the ground.


Some of them resemble body parts.

“What does this look like?”


He gives me my camp site for free.

“No one’s doing what you’re doing,” he says.

24 Aug


750_0606750_0598 750_0601 750_0607 750_0608 750_0610 750_0611

24 Aug

Lightning strikes

A crazy rain storm …


Bikers caught in the middle change to rain gear …


Hellen and Jane’s gas station here in Magdalena was struck by lightning last week.

“We just opened.”


And here I meet the bikers from the road, Doug and Robert. They say they didn’t get too wet. They must know what they’re doing.

“We do a week-long trip every year.”


24 Aug


610_6238 610_6250 610_6254 610_6260 610_6268 610_6280

24 Aug

New Mexico (different color)

610_6180 610_6183 610_6194610_6271 610_6203610_6287  750_0530 750_0631

24 Aug

New Mexico

610_6046 610_6047 610_6050

24 Aug


610_6064 610_6071

24 Aug



“I thought I’d get the hell out of here, but then I married a rancher.”

“But I love him. I’m happy here.”

“But I tell my kids to go wild, run naked across Wrigley field.”

“I’ll just charge you $10.”

22 Aug

William and Mariella

750_0416 750_0420 750_0433

23 Aug

Flagstaff to St Johns

750_0407 750_0408750_0411750_0437 750_0443  750_0452 750_0453

23 Aug

The most astounding stars and moon ever

750_0263 750_0290 750_0309 750_0317 750_0321 750_0345 750_0352

I’m talking to a friend and I miss my exit by 30 miles. I exit and turn back, and these 30 miles have the most astounding stars and moon I’ve ever seen.

The stars and moon are usually impossible to capture on camera. It’s an optical illusion – they appear bright and big to our eyes, but only because they’re surrounded by immense black. If you’ve ever taken a picture of them, you know the disappointment. (And any time you’ve seen a big moon in a picture with normal-size other stuff, it’s edited.)

But these are unedited. It looked like this – and even better, since now you know the camera doesn’t see what our eyes do.


And while this is happening I find my favorite obscure all-night radio program on the AM dial, which no one ever listens to anymore. The subject is aliens and government conspiracies. Roswell, it’s said, and the alien stories, are a cover-up for the fact that Nazi war machines breached our borders.

22 Aug



Some of my favorite places on earth. I love the coffee. This is where I meet Todd and Crystal.

22 Aug

Crystal and Todd

750_0168750_0157  750_0173Her first meal after jail. “People are brainwashed,” he says. “The system’s definitely not kind.”

22 Aug

Nate and Jackie


Visiting Las Vegas from Detroit.

“We drove four hours to the Grand Canyon this morning, and we’re driving four hours back now. Vegas is different when you’re a couple.”

22 Aug

This should be everywhere


22 Aug


Another state that’s like another planet.

750_0052 750_0054

22 Aug


750_0037 750_0039

Leaving Las Vegas, I come out of the store, and Gabb – pensive and sweet and tiny and careful – quietly asks if she can pet Butch.

Her dog’s name is Butcho.

22 Aug


750_9916 750_9936 750_9938

Ashley’s maybe the most successful food-truck operator in Vegas. He sells different kinds of hotdogs at various locations. He gives us a free Taco Dog.

I meet him outside a major strip club as I’m looking for my passport. He came here from Texas with his girlfriend five years ago. He met her at a strip club back then, where she served drinks. Then they both worked in offices for a while, but got sick of it – so moved here.

He’s now got two employees.

“I wanted something where production was easy and fast, so hotdogs. Some of the other guys are selling really complicated stuff, like soup that takes a day to make. Dude you wouldn’t believe it, I’ve seen so many people crash and burn.”

Food-truck is it’s own culture.

The passport wasn’t there, but I found it a couple days later in my suitcase.

Find him on his website or Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.

22 Aug

Las Vegas

I pull in at midnight because of LA traffic. It’s later than I wanted and I’m hot and tired – but I have one night.750_9546

I’ve been here before. All the hotels look the same – but what you wouldn’t know is they smell the same too. Some kind of perfume. I like it.

750_9588 750_9604 750_9608 750_9618 750_9630

I am shot down very, very hard by these girls:)750_9817

The bride is TJ, from Los Angeles. She’s marrying Doug from Vancouver.

Las Vegas may be bachelorette-party capital of the world.750_9640

Dani, personal trainer, from Texas. 750_9674 750_9678

Ellie. It’s her birthday. Everywhere we go is like this.750_9679750_9706750_9703750_9710750_9712 750_9690 750_9684 750_9699

Catalina and Rashad. She came in here to deal with some guy issues. He talks her through it.750_9743 750_9747750_9686



She can’t tell me her name, and it’s illegal to take her picture. She’s a cigarette vendor.

Her name is Rose.


Hundreds of children are out, if not up, after midnight. My theory is, the parents want Vegas after midnight, and this is the only way.750_9761

Maria and Lexi and Mariah, from Best Showgirls in Vegas. (Instagram here)

Mariah and Maria where born here.


Maria. Her boyfriend stands behind her the whole night. You can actually see him, the blurry shape in the lower right corner.750_9767

Is the boyfriend helping the girlfriend?


She looks happy..


Not the girlfriend:) Lynette, bride-to-be.

Patrice and Jacque from France in the background. Patrice was the guy who helped her with her shoe.

She’s not passed out, she’s pretending:)750_9804

Lynette now joined by Summer, maid of honor. From Orange County, another bachelorette party – well, the end of it.

“I love my boo.” Lynette says that all night.


I find Dani again.


Rick, born and raised here.750_9843750_9848750_9896  750_9825

After this I spend a lot of money.

Checking out. Makes me want to stay another day.


21 and 22 Aug. Mostly 22 Aug.

LA Traffic

610_6004 610_6008 610_6011 610_6018750_9518

It takes me three hours to leave the city. It’s not even rush hour. I leave at 14.00. In some places there are seven lanes, but it never does more than crawl.

It’s been like this for decades I’m told. How can a city accept it?

At least the bikers get by. About 100 pass between the lanes.

21 Aug

Hollywood Sign

I go to the place where you’re supposed to see it, but I like the view from here better.

610_5875 610_5885 610_5896 610_5909 610_5941

21 Aug


In America we do these way more often than clubs.


Ray shows us the “pickle shot” – whiskey chased by pickle juice. He says it’s a Brooklyn thing. We’ll see when I get there.

750_8832 750_8854 750_8861 750_8876 750_8936 750_8966 750_8985 750_8992 750_9015750_8996750_9053  750_9081

19 Aug


It’s one of three places I need to see on my trip, one of three places I’ve never been.

610_5839 610_5856 750_8475 750_8478 750_8530 750_8544 750_8546

750_8554 750_8558750_8565 750_8573 750_8581 750_8593 750_8601 750_8604 750_8615 750_8628 750_8645 750_8685 750_8693750_9119610_5873

I head to the Sunset Strip, where bands like my favorite band, the old Guns ‘n Roses, started.


Alex, from Israel, born in Lebanon, worked the Sunset Blvd strip club door for 20 years. He gives Butch some ice water.


A friend’s favoritve comedian is playing.


Tiffany. Not super-famous, but they pay her to sing in all the famous spots, and soon touring China.

“I think the day you stop getting nervous is the day you should stop doing it.”

She educates me – the age you see your favorite stars on Wikipedia is probably wrong.


Sara, the Playboy scout. She’s getting a tan for a date tonight, which she’s excited about, but it doesn’t go well.


Sam, from Mexico City, parking lot attendant.

Today, he has worked here for 26 years.

“It’s good, but it’s hard. The rich people treat you bad.”

19 screws and plates and in his left knee and 21 in his right.

“Some homeless people were pulling up the plants, I don’t know why. I tried to stop them, and they beat me up.”


Jerry and Jeanne Michelle. He’s waiting for his car, getting detailed, and she’s named after her mom, Billie Jean.

She can’t find her car.


Ashley’s listening to “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you.” She’s on her way to the gym, then a salad, then bed.


This kid and tons many others remind me of Slash. If I have to come back, maybe I come to LA.750_9404750_9405750_9412

Friends bought an RV for 4,000, and fixed it for 4,000, and quit their jobs, and are driving. I’m inspired.


19 and 20 Aug


When I started I thought of Tom Petty as my soundtrack. I’m happy I keep hearing my favorite song of his again and again.

People non-stop say things that make you want to give up. But the songs and books and quotes they like say don’t give up. Why do they do both?

The relationship he describes is not one you get by giving up … I think:)

18 Aug

Monterey to LA (California)

It’s hot.

610_5799 750_8290750_8263750_8264750_8281750_8282750_8300

I see migrant workers. More on this later.

Or now?

Or then and now?

I hear on the radio something I can’t believe I never knew. I studied politics and I used to care – but I never knew our undocumented workers pay taxes! This is insane. 12 million (at least) pay into our system and never can get anything out of it.

They do it willingly because this is better than where they come from. But half the country wants to kick them out because … I really don’t know why. I think the real reason is,  a few opinion-makers say we should, and psychology shows us we just follow opinion-makers. They cite economic and “terrorist” reasons..

I probably made similar arguments in my dumb college years, but I’ve been an illegal immigrant since then, and only for love.


Anyway,  there are some forest fires that make everything invisible in a pink cloud.

I made videos but I hate videos because they take too much time to upload.

610_5814 750_8304610_5821 750_8322750_8315   750_8329

I meet Harri at a rest stop. He’s in a hurry to get to LA with his load.


We come into LA.

750_8352 750_8378 750_8382 750_8397 750_8401 750_8405 750_8413 750_8422 750_8430

18 Aug

San Jose to Monterey (California)

750_8092750_8201 750_8206 750_8210 750_8212 750_8231 750_8234

Journalistic failure. Most of my notes I write down on business cards people give me, or in my phone. But the “Dream Team” of these two ladies – I wrote their info down on a map of Monterey I threw away a week later to keep the car empty.

They call themselves the “Dream Team” because they’re both born and raised in Monterey, so they know everything. They work in the visitors center. They told me how to find my campsite.


17 Aug

Silicon Valley

Google, Apple, Nasa, others – but it’s not how you’d imagine. It’s kind of small and empty and not flashy. But it still gets tourists.

750_8099750_8093 610_5778 750_8120

Very normal-looking people – but maybe the best at what they do – just walk around. Or in Google’s case, skateboard or ride the free yellow bikes.

750_8124 750_8126750_8153  750_8157 750_8166750_8129

Is she the best at something?


From a ride around the city and a stay with my aunt and uncle.


17 Aug

Pulling in to San Jose

750_8063 750_8071 750_8072 750_8074 750_8075

16 Aug

Butch – tourist attraction:)

750_8015 0819_2

Butch is one of San Fransisco’s top tourist attractions. Kerry and her friend take pictures with him, and I sneak one of them:)

16 Aug


750_7799610_5614 610_5649 750_7811610_5669 610_5681 610_5699   750_7821 750_7835 750_7851 750_7990

Americans say hi and start conversations with strangers. They’re not scared to say “yes”. The lack of this fear is a huge thing I love about them. They’re the most like this of any people I’ve met around the world.

Amber passes me as I park and I take her picture.

She just moved here (San Fransisco). She’s a writer and television host. She got as successful as she could in Hawaii, so she moved to the mainland to keep going up.

She needs new pictures for her new marketing in this new place.

“Want to walk with me and I can do them now?”


16 Aug

San Fransisco

750_7760750_7762750_7774610_5658 750_7779750_7837610_5708 750_7889750_7908610_5751 750_7919 750_7945 750_8003 750_8017 750_8035 750_8040 750_8049

16 Aug

Parking in San Fransisco


When you park it feels like the car is going to roll over.

16 Aug

Golden Gate Bridge

750_7739 610_5590610_5593610_5600

The bridge is famous for being red. It’s painted every day of the year.

16 Aug

Playboy house

750_7635 750_7621750_7644 750_7654 610_5539 610_5552 750_7660 610_5542 GOPR0238 GOPR0239 GOPR0241

Driving to the house it felt like the Hollywood Hills. Tiny winding steep roads, hidden houses in trees.

When I got to the house, my first thought was “Playboy Mansion”. Beautiful. Sprawling. Pool. Hidden. Gated.

In the morning the owner tells us it was first a phone sex house (1970s), then it was a sex film house, then a brothel. This was into the 90’s.

My friend Reina lives here. In high school she was the most super Mormon conservative you could imagine. Since then, like me – because I was religious too – she left all the judgy strictness behind, but kept the good stuff, like just being kind and loving.

We both think the story of the house is awesome:) Butch likes the pool water.

16 Aug


We’re just a rock falling through space:) From the roof of a “Playboy” house (next post …)

15 Aug

Stolen (thing)


There’s a cool-looking (thing). I take some pictures of it.

A guy comes and says “Are you taking pictures of my (thing)?”


“What are you gonna do with them?”

I don’t know.

“You better not use them. It’s stolen. I’m serious. Don’t put them anywhere, I mean it.”

15 Aug

Absent minded (number 1)

610_5494 610_5501 610_5513 610_5516 750_7549

I know I’m absent-minded. I don’t need to be told. It makes me feel bad when I’m told.

We are who we are. Love us.

I lost my first set of keys yesterday. Today I locked my second set in the trunk.

I flag down Ryan because he’s in a big truck. He helps me take apart my back seat. (I got as far as I could without tools.)

Unfortunately, when he’s with me, he remembers he forgot his dog a few miles back at his work site.

He calls the dog “my son”.

I find out some days later he found the dog. He got locked in Ryan’s cargo container as Ryan left a job. He went in there to sleep on the cool floor.

Ryan’s and independent contractor and heavy equipment operator.

15 Aug

The most beautiful state?

People say bad things about California. But it’s beautiful.

750_7461 750_7464 750_7466 750_7486 750_7487 750_7536 750_7580 750_7584 750_7586 750_7588750_7563750_7565750_7566750_7569750_7571750_7572

15 Aug

Redwoods (the Gods)

610_5403 610_5420 610_5430 610_5478

15 Aug

Bike on a bridge


15 Aug

Vietnam Gary

610_5345610_5364610_5365 750_7447 610_5368750_7460

Gary camps next to me, with his dog whose name begins with an S. I forgot the name.

He got cancer from Agent Orange in Vietnam. The government pays him because of this.

He cooks me the best meal I’ve had so far – a breakfast of egg with some steak and seasoned salt and grapes. I make another vegetarian exception.

He tells me he saw bodies in trees.

He’s doing the same thing I am, but with video instead of photos.

15 Aug

Going back to Cali

750_7369750_7375750_7378750_7395750_7389 750_7426 750_7419 750_7417 \ 750_7398       750_7386

14 Aug



14 Aug


Betty tells me where the kitchen stuff is in Walmart.


14 Aug

Who’s Drake?

Apparently a big rapper. All the kids know him.

It’s been the most emotional day, for reasons that don’t need to go here. Some already have.

But this is a nice end.

13 Aug


610_5317 610_5319 610_5321 610_5322

13 Aug


750_7207 750_7208 750_7209 750_7211 750_7223 750_7225 750_7227

Weird. Pretty, but the worst drivers I’ve ever seen, and many God billboards, and tons of people walking on the highways. Homeless? I don’t know. But I asked, and there was not a music festival going on ..

13 Aug

Work – a little better than puking

Skipping ahead to today …

Listening to NPR while driving is a common American thing. Today I heard an episode of a popular game show. It mentioned a study by the London School of Economics that showed that work was the second worst thing in our lives. Being sick is the worst. (One article, and another article.)

I often hear people say they love their jobs. I don’t believe any of them. I think what they mean is, “Since I have to have a job, at least this one is sometimes not 100% shitty.”

That’s a pretty low standard we’re holding ourselves to:)

22 Aug

Rest Area Number 2

50 miles down the road I meet the Us In the Bus family. They were in one bus for a couple years, and have been in this bus for ten years.

They started in Florida. The housing market crashed and Father knew how to fix up busses – so that’s that.

The girls are extremely smart. I ask “do you like living on the bus?” and the young one says, “Well I can’t really answer that, because I’ve never known anything else, so I have nothing to compare it to.” But she also says yes, and she seems very happy. She loves Butch, and gives him exercise.

They all admit there may be social challenges later, for the girls, because they have such a unique upbringing. The girls even admit this. But they’re not worried or scared at all. Good.

The girls say they learn a lot about people – which they don’t teach in school – because they see how people react to them.

Everyone stops to take pictures of the bus, but no one gives. One guy asks some questions. I guess about 10% of the population is super cool.



750_7169750_7176750_7180750_7184750_7190750_7194 750_7198

13 Aug

Under Pressure

I pull into the gas station and I see this.


I need cash anyway so I decide when I come out, I’ll give him 20, whoever it is.

I go in. I see this.


Free samples of ice cream. And 100 people going about their business in an air-conditioned oasis. Conversations between strangers. I get mad that the two things are happening right next to each other.

I go back and knock on the truck and I find Brandon.


I’m surprised he’s young, my age. I expected an old guy.

I’m cautious at first. I want to help, but I want to make sure I’m helping – not supporting a habit.

I hear his story. No habits, just shitty luck. A painter who spent everything supporting his brother and his brother’s kid, only to be ditched by the brother when Brandon lost his job. No more painting work around here.

I give him a bunch of extra stuff I brought with me, and I ask if there’s anything he’d like from inside, maybe a sandwich or something. He says water.

I go inside and get some water jugs. When I’m in there, “Under Pressure” is playing. I’m a bit overcome. I hate that this can happen in America.

As I stand there with him, five people stop and give. He says no one gave anything for two days. I believe it, because at first I saw many people read the sign and just pass by. I’m mad at this too.

He says the people who give are never rich people.

We stand there for an hour. I read somewhere once that simply taking to someone can help.

Eventually I have to go. He says things that say he’s happy I stayed a while. I almost forget to give him the 20.

I drive ten minutes down the road and stop and make a Facebook and Instagram post asking friends to donate any small amount, or at least share the post, so other might give. A few people give, which is nice, and a couple people share – but I expected more. Actually I expected tons more. I expected hundreds, if not thousands, collectively, and hundreds of likes and shares.

Meanwhile some chick posts a selfie saying “New ear rings!” and gets 200 likes.

Fuck that. It’s is exactly why I don’t like the system.

**UPDATE: Brandon get’s the money people donated tomorrow.

750_7103 750_7128

13 Aug

“Never getting married”

Anastasia works the gas station. She’s going to a friend’s wedding this weekend. She says she’s never getting married.

I ask “What if you found a guy you really loved?”

She says she’d marry him.

I think people who say they’re never getting married, really mean they don’t think they can fall in love again.

I felt that a couple times.


13 Aug

A funny law

It’s the second time it happens, a guy pumps my gas. Jon says it’s a new Oregon law – you can’t pump your own gas. It’s to bring jobs.

He likes the job. “Yeah it’s good. It’s minimum wage, but I get to be outside.”


13 Aug


The next 20 miles is the most fertile strip I’ve ever seen. Wheat, olives, grapes, sunflowers, Christmas trees, corn, apples, and stuff I don’t know what it is – but I smell onions and rosemary and thyme.

The pictures don’t do justice – but I wanted to move.

Near 219 and River Road.

750_6932750_6941 750_6942 750_6945 750_6952 750_6954 750_6959 750_6971

13 Aug

The morning after

We got in late so we slept in the car.


13 Aug, around 7 in the morning

The best day (part 3)

Strippers have a bad reputation. It’s unfortunate – they’re some of the most interesting and empathetic people there are.

Also, in America, no matter what we hear – and as I’ll show later – life’s often hard for no good reason. It’s by no means unique to America – the system’s fucked everywhere.

Anyway, spurred by our near-miss a couple days ago, I Google “strip club north oregon” and find the world’s only **vegan** strip club in Portland. It’s further than I plan on going, but If I don’t go tonight, tomorrow I’ll be there in the morning – bad time.

I go fast through some beautiful country. On your way to Portland on I-84 you go 100 miles along the gorgeous Columbia River.

750_6835 750_6856 750_6859 750_6874 750_6884

Finally we arrive at Casa Diablo. It doesn’t look like much from outside, but it’s the best strip club I’ve seen.


The people are nice, friendly, normal, happy, positive, laughing. They let Butch in – vegan and animal-friendly.

By request, no pictures or stories of employees or guests.


I get the hummus wrap but I’m not hungry, so we eat at our camp site an hour later. A good end to the best day so far.



12 Aug

The best day (part 2)

On my way out I meet Skipper, or Slim. He’s sitting on a bench and gets up to show me something.


Turns out he owns this amazing bar.