Thursday, May 27, 2010


Today we cleaned the bus from 7am until 12:00pm. That bus was full of trash and junk, including, weirdly, cat food, and everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. By the end I think I had all the dirt that was on the bus on my body. Including my teeth. Gross. Here are some bad pictures. Worst part is, we forgot to take a real "before" picture. I'm not sure if the cleanup job comes across, especially considering that that bus is never going to be the picture of beauty or cleanliness.

And here are pictures of a clean(ish) bus, dad admiring our art restoration job--those colors really stand out against a fresh background, and Isabelle and I doing one last sweep.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Praying for a Top Kill

Last weekend I packed up my life in New Orleans and drove down to New Iberia to begin the great task of cleaning and tricking out the bus and packing incredible amounts of gear. On the way in, we took a short-stop in Grand Isle. Isabelle, who had flown in that weekend, was with me, and we wandered around the beach looking for signs of oil washing up on the beach. We saw a huge half eaten fish head, met a guy from Florida videotaping himself, and saw huge droplets of a dark oily substance strewn slightly and randomly across the sand. At first I thought that this could be part of a natural ocean thing, because it didn't look like how I would envision an oil spill to look, but we were soon informed that this was indeed coming from BP's well. It really didn't look too terrible, but I later read that the beaches at Grand Isle are cleaned daily.

Today as I run errands for my poor stressed out father who has grades due on Friday ("Please pick up 48 cans of RC Cola and 48 Moon pies."--I've gotten some really weird looks), I'm praying to the gods who like to torment the Louisiana coast to back off and allow this "Top Kill" to succeed.

P.S. There is a recipe to make moon pie bread pudding on the website.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Cool Bus"

Morgan and Cameron donate!

This past Sunday I drove to New Iberia thinking that dad and I'd hang out, talk about our plans, maybe set one thing in stone, and he'd buy me dinner. He had gone upstairs to what I thought was take a nap. I was trolling the book shelves looking for Lonesome Dove when dad walks downstairs seersuckered out.

"Dad, you look nice..."
"Any particular reason?"
"Morgan Weiland's wedding, you should come."
"When is it?"
"In about an hour."

I refused politely, pretty sure that I hadn't been invited, but five minutes before go time, dad convince me to get topped and tailed, although I knew that I'd be really sweaty sitting outside in the brutal May heat (I've been recently told that "sultry" makes the weather sound much more romantic than really really hot and humid).

Anyway, Morgan had invited dad to the wedding when he was in D.C. last fall raising money for the brand new scholarship fund, which Morgan and Cameron (I guess her monetary er ins and outs are now also his) donated to. So I'm considering this wedding as our unofficial beginning to this adventure. Plus the Tates were there so it seems like a good place to begin, although they gave money long before this blog and bus trip ever materialized.

Anyway, the wedding was beautiful, the bride and groom were generous and wonderful, and we got to sit next to Cameron's uncle and aunt who told us about their adventure:

For the past three years, they've been living on a 42' sailboat, moving from port to port, paying off local bandits, and generally living their dream. They had bought dress clothes specifically for the wedding and were planning to chuck them before they got back on the boat. They had a great story about a boat part, island bureaucracy, and a thousand pesos, but I had two of the stiffest gin and tonics I've ever had in my life, so that's that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sleeping bags, continued.

After I told dad my sleeping bag story, he one-upped me with his own.

"I drove up to Kisatchie to test out my bike fully loaded for the first time. I got up there in the afternoon, made sure that I had everything in the saddlebags, and rode for about 30 miles until I had found a camping spot.

I got there as it was starting to get dark--this was in February--so I got my stove out and made some supper. After I finished eating, I cleaned up and went to set up my tent. Now I had really packed everything, but I forgot my sleeping bag.

Its starting to get cold, like 30 degrees. Ok maybe forty, but that's still really cold. I thought to myself, 'Oh God, am I going to have to ride back tonight?' I decided not to and put on all my layers and tried to sleep. It was really cold. Then I remembered something Dr. Tate had told me years ago about when he used to camp in Tennessee. When it was cold, he would gather leaves and place them on top of himself to stay warm.

I got up and made a big pile of leaves. Then I tried to scoot the leaves on top of me, but its harder to do than you would think. Maybe if there had been another person to help, it would have worked.

So I thought, ok, how can I really get the leaves on top of me? I had brought a tarp along, so I put all the leaves on the tarp, and pulled the tarp on top of me. That worked at first, but then I found that if I moved at all, the leaves would all slide off of me, which of course, all of them did.

What else could I do? Now I had really brought everything with me, including a mosquito net. It took me about 3 hours to work up the energy to get myself up, but I finally did, and wrapped up the leaves in the net. This method worked the best by far. I really don't know how Dr. Tate did it."

While I put this story in quotation marks, I did so merely to convey that dad told me this story, not that these are the words that he used (although I tried my best to remember it verbatim!). However, this all occurred last weekend at Festival International and we had been sitting at Pamplona's bar for quite awhile drinking cava and capirinhas for mom's birthday. I hope you laughed at least once while reading this story because I was incapacitated with spasms when dad told it to me.