Sunday, September 03, 2006

Road Trip to the Extreme Hella Max!

A few weeks ago my friend Josh received wonderful news: he got a new job as far away from his old apartment as possible! (within the continental US). The bad news was that he once again had to pack up and move, only this time with a week of driving ahead of him. (Which quickly turned into me driving the entire 3,500 miles. No big deal...) Our immediate answer: road trip! Go to all of those cool places that we read about but never get around to visiting! Thus I spent the past week helping him move from Fairfax, VA to Carlsbad, California for his new job at Concrete Games.

Day 1: we (meaning I) woke up at 4:30 and drove 870 miles to get to my uncle Gerald's mansion in Memphis. We had good food, got to hear incredible stories about his organic farming, rain-making, draft-dodging, scientology-angering, alleged drug-dealing (years and years ago) brother. It was a heck of a time, and it and the whole road trip experience can be summed up with my uncle's Buddha statue:

Day 2-3: Austin, TX and beyond

If you've never been there, you're extremely missing out. Austin is proof that Texas is big enough to have a bit of everything. It's full of mountains, a million trees packed in around houses, and gorgeous lakes. It sucks when you have to get somewhere, but it's amazing for sightseeing. We hung out with Eric Ehoff, Tara Rueping, and several other cool guys. Check out the Blue Iguana restaurant if you want a meal with a ridiculous view of a lake.

And, as we all know, Texas ain't Texas without an endoskeleton Bull:

Day 4: Gazing Arizona

After taking hundreds of cloud pictures and getting a speeding ticket (argh!), we finally got out of Texas, drove through much of New Mexico, and cut through a state highway to break up the monotony of the interstate. It's a good thing we did, too, because we saw the secret landscape of awesome doom!

I'm totally beasting out that landscape. See how that works?

This was only the beginning, because an hour or so later we saw this off of I-40 right when we entered Arizona:

As great as these were, it was only buildup for our next stop: the Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert. After a million jokes about how we couldn't find a single freakin' tree in this supposed "forest", we were stunned by the fantastic scenes around us. It felt like humans didn't belong in this place, like dinosaurs would start popping out in front of me at any minute. It was probably the most amazing visual experience of my life. I feel like a douchebag holding back the awesome reference as if everyone's gonna use it and steal my glory, but on this trip we literally took thousands of pictures that I don't dare show due to its extreme usefulness in my future art. I will show only one photo, just to prove the amazingness of what we witnessed:

I can't see. I got blinded by all of the awesome.

Day 5: They call it grand for a reason

After buying an extra 1 GB memory card to prepare for the photos we knew we would take, we slept, woke up at 3:30 AM, rushed to get packed up and outta the motel, and drove like hades to make it just in time to see an amazing Grand Canyon sunrise:

We risked our lives dozens of times to get some sweet pictures. Since words can't describe how amazing every inch of the Grand Canyon is, look at more photos:

Like insane views much?

Sadly, this was right when Josh plummeted to his death, but since his blog will stay around for all eternity, it kind of evens out.

There was other amazing insanity (like Canyon Lake near Phoenix, AZ, Dean Cornwell murals at the LA public library, and driving while extremely drunk), but that's about 20 other cans of worms. What I liked as an artist from this odyssey was seeing such a variety of landscapes while driving across the country, and realizing how many different kinds of colors schemes occur naturally. It's as if I knew that I had this freedom all along, but seeing it in real life has finally given me permission to use that stuff. It's the duty of every serious artist to do something like this. Get to it!