Tag Archives: missoula

ROAD TO NOWHERE

Foreword by Stan Lerner: the numbers came in last week “Road To Nowhere” was downtownster’s most read blog in September 2009, which at least to this author merits a reposting on the homepage. New readers enjoy! Longtime readers, enjoy again!!!

“If anybody would like to join the first downtownster road to nowhere road trip I’ll be leaving Thursday or Friday,” I said to the meeting of the Marketing Round Table. “I don’t know where we’re going or when we’ll get there, but that’s the idea. And uh, you could get on or off the trip at any time or place—providing that there is an airport of course.” NO TAKERS

Friday morning 4:30 a.m. the 1996, black, Chevy Suburban docked at the curb of my childhood home in Montebello, CA—Montebello is Italian for beautiful hills. And it is from this very spot, that I have departed for many an adventure. I am fortunate to, over an excessively well-lived lifetime, have developed a number of friends who are willing to embark on such journeys. And I should be careful to mention here that some of these individuals were mere acquaintances or even less familiar at the time of departures, but traveling and adventure make for far greater bonds than the songs of fraternity boys in their beer soaked homes.

This particular morning it was to be my old high school buddy Mike Munoz picking me up. Although he went to West Point and achieved the rank of Colonel I still refer to him as my Mexican—I find this term of endearment more special than he does.

“The 15?” he asked.

“Sure. Let’s grab breakfast in Vegas and see if Andy wants to come with…No his mom is visiting…Let’s grab breakfast in Vegas and stop by to see Andy anyway. Maybe he can meet up with us later… How many miles do you have on this thing?”

“One hundred and eighty-six thousand. Where do you want to eat in Vegas?” asked Mike, seemingly settled into our trip within minutes. Twenty-five years ago a trip in his yellow, convertible corvette took us from coast to coast…

“All these years I’ve been going to Vegas, working in Vegas, living in Vegas, and I’ve never eaten at The Egg and I. Have you?”

He shook his head. “No. Where is it?”

“On Sahara. Let’s go there.”

Forty minutes of good conversation ensued until…  “Hey that’s the 15,” I said pointing at the exit. The Suburban swung across five lanes of traffic as can only be accomplished at such an early hour on the 10 Freeway. We could have wound up in Palm Springs or Arizona for that matter, but that’s the point, it really didn’t matter.

“Hey, let’s pull off in Barstow I like the new Starbucks there—cute girl baristas.”

Mike shrugged. “Okay.”

ROAD TO NOWHERE PART II

The black Suburban rolled down the highway with the mean rumble of a venerated work vehicle. I raised the cappuccino, which I held in my hand, to my lips and took the first soothing sip. Given the distinctly not stylish clothing being warn by Mike and myself and the rugged “Road Warrior” appearance of our vehicle my choice of a cappuccino, as my early morning sustenance seemed a strange juxtaposition—black coffee would have been the appropriate beverage of such a portrait. Continue reading

ROAD TO NOWHERE PART VI

Although I’d become accustomed to the forward motion of a life lived on wheels, a few days in Missoula were an extraordinary detour into the Land of Normal. True, this was not my idea; indeed it was Mike who thought it best to give my old-body a few days of healing time before moving on. (refer to the Road To Nowhere Part V, the mountain lion fight, if you are a new reader) And since I was finding it difficult to move without a variety of pains formerly unknown to me—I acquiesced.

Interestingly, as I settled into life in Missoula and watched all of the normal people go about their normal lives the pain of my spectacularly failed life began to hurt more than my body, cut and bruised from head to toe. Husbands, wives, and kids everywhere seemingly happy and content. Not a single one bothered by Osama bin Laden’s still being alive and well, his hands dripping with the blood of our fellow Americans. The national debt? It doesn’t exist for these people with bright eyes and warm smiles.

And I gasped for air, suffocated by this reality—that for a plan beyond my understanding is not my own. My escape, the written word, only because of this life source does my heart beat. And I sat at Break Espresso for as long as my body would allow the pen and I to do our dance. There are several stories, which spawned from these days, Heather the most interesting, but her story, quite involved it is, shall remain for another occasion. 

Nightfall came on the fourth day, the black beast was saddled, and the comforting lines, which I fever for, passed at seventy-miles-per-hour. Continue reading

ROAD TO NOWHERE PART V

I slept in the belly of the black beast, the moonlit field aglow all around—Mike slept on top of the trailer next to his blower motors, which had been loaded with a forklift and crew whose requested remuneration was a half-rack. Because the request was so little for such a large favor I urged Mike to buy a full- rack and he did. And not to worry, Mike did not know that a half-rack meant a half-case of beer either, for those readers pondering what all this means. But once the trailer was loaded electrical problems curtailed any idea of a night journey. Good news, as I had required some time to myself to deal with the problem of the old woman and her soon to be foreclosed upon home.

As I pulled my jacket snug around me, Driggs Idaho gets chilly at night, I fought fiercely the desire to withdraw my trusty MacBook Pro and begin penning this part of the tale, but something about this felt wrong—very wrong. It seemed the Road To Nowhere needed to pause for me there, in the dirt driveway of the defunct Bergmeyer furniture factory, next to the expansive field growing something. I reclined in the front passenger seat and thought about why this might be. “Simple,” I thought. “There must be at least one mourner for what had once been.” And then terrified I contemplated my reason for existence. “I write about life. I want to write about life…Have I become a eulogist? Please let not my reason for breathing be to tell the story of a dying land…” And as stated previously I drifted off with these thoughts in the belly of the black beast, ironically called a Suburban, in the driveway of a place once called industrial—now a wilderness at the edge of a field…

A few hours passed and before the sun came up I relieved myself in the field, picked up a stick, and gave the sleeping bag heap a good whack. “Get up little girl it’s time to go.”

There was a moan then some rustling. “Why are you always lashing out? It’s your own fault that you don’t have a wife and kids…”

“Maybe so,” I said getting into the beast and closing the door. “Maybe so,” I said to myself before Mike opened the door and slid into the driver’s seat.

The drive from Driggs Idaho to Missoula Montana is as beautiful as one could possibly ask for. Continue reading