March 19, 2012:
This is the part that only the grittiest of us can recant. This is the part where we left behind all of those who needed manicures and rose water to freshen themselves (ed. note: I’m looking at you hippie), those of us that remained can count a handful of Goldbond as a shower and a slug from a bottle as a breakfast.
SXSW was over, our time in Austin was done. Jonny and the Geologist dragged themselves to basecamp around ten in the morning and they along with the Buddhaphest, the Gorilla, and myself, all loaded our gear into the Van. Ghost piano still strapped to the roof, we bid farewell to the Chach, saddled up, and went in search of a working throttle cable.
Six hours in an A-Line Auto Parts parking lot and a lot of MacGyver like ingenuity later, the Gorilla and Geologist had fashioned a working throttle cable by housing it in irrigation tubing.
The Geologist had planned on flying out of El Paso that evening, we’ll go ahead and call this six hour delay flight change #2.
Our spirits were pretty up as we counted our victory over the gas pedal to be a great success. We’d saved ourselves time and probably money, and we looked to be on our way back to Los Angeles.
The first stretch of the drive featured a lot of nothing. You figure the in-between of most states is nothing, but the in-between of Texas is really nothing. We pressed on into night, and with darkness came lightning, great flashing bolts that would ignite the sky at thirty second intervals, each time illuminating the vast fields of emptiness that we rumbled alongside. All the while our odometer hung heavy in the backs of our minds.
Earlier in the day it had been noted by the Geologist that we were about to reach mile number 66,666.6, and as we drove deeper into darkness, that number crept quickly upon us.
All I remember of the moment that it happened was that I tried to stop exactly on the digit, but I missed, and the only picture we got had the final six halfway turned towards a seven.
Our gas pedal stayed steady past the Devil’s mile, but the rest of the van, she struggled. The side of the freeway in a lighting storm at midnight, with trucks zipping by at about eighty, that is nowhere I wish to be.
We changed out the battery about three times, and fixed the wipers twice, once under the light of an old-timey convenient store where we came across a moth the size of a bird which I now believe might have been the Devil or at least some spirit with a direct link to the devil like Strom Thurmond or Woody Hayes. At any rate, Jonny told me not to put the moth in a pickle jar because he didn’t want that kind of omen riding around with us. Just a ghost piano and a lot of sixes.
I don’t know if this was in the drivers-ed handbook or not, but if your wipers don’t really work well and you can only see about five feet in front of you in a storm and your battery keeps giving out, you should pull over.
We found rest that night under the roof of an EconoLodge near the 10 Freeway Junction. The Inn Keeper’s name was Linda. She had three cat’s, a crappy AAA rate, and made it exceedingly clear that she wanted us to go online and give them a good rating.
We got one channel in our hotel room. It was not 66,666.6, but it might as well have been. Sleep came quick, but so too would the morning. I think we all knew the suck was on it’s way.
Other Highlights: Not much else to report… You can’t find a friggin’ YooHoo in Texas, and my dog did a little bit of exploring on his own before we split Austin. Luckily an old lady corralled him, and he got to experience the madness. Also, Jonny didn’t listen when I told him the green sauce was spicy. He regretted that decision. Oh and earlier in the week the Buddhaphest had found a CD with a name and contact crewdley scrawled upon it in Sharpie… The name on the disc was something like Squid the Qua or Squib the Quid, I can’t really remember, but Buddhaphest called the number and left a message telling Squib or Squa that he was from Interscope that his name was DJ Goodstadt (our boy Chach), and that he thought Squib was the new hot-jam… So starting on this day and continuing til, well it’s actually still happening, Squib has been blowing up Buddhaphests phone non-stop, even though we gave him DJ’s number… Dude is trying to get signed. Can’t knock the hustle. I hope none of these journal entries revolves around a pissed off rapper showing up at Buddhaphest’s door.