Saturday, May 31 - Del Rio, Texas to Austin, Texas
Yeah, like we’re not going to call for a late check out ...

Barely in San Antonio by 6pm (with more than 100 miles to go before Austin). Nails in three of our seven tires.

Ripping, stabbing, pumping, plugging, wiggling, pulling, cutting. This is what it takes to fix a flat. I rip out the nail with pliers, stab the hole to open it up (am I really making the hole bigger to then plug it up?), pump fix-a-flat goo and air in through the valve, plug the hole with rubber cement-laced straws of tire tread, wiggle the jamming tool out, pulling part of the straw with it, cut off the end of the straw. Repeat as necessary (three fucking times).

1am. We finally arrive at Rodger Hoofnagle’s house. The kids are asleep, the beer is cold, and the trampoline is prepped for Jeremy to jump and then pass out hard. We talk about our old job together. “Hoof” moved on to a higher salary and more responsibility. I quit to drive a golf kart across the country.

Miles traveled today: 234
Total miles traveled: 1553

You've Got A Little Dirt On Your Face

Friday, May 30 - Marfa, Texas to Del Rio, Texas
13 hours on the road to Del Rio (that puts the border in border town). And not a single problem with the kart. Good Christine.

Motel 6 is a must. 250 miles to drive tomorrow and the wind is picking up again. Here we come, Austin.

Miles traveled today: 230
Total miles traveled: 1319

Adam's Geodescent Dome of Eyeballs

Thursday, May 29 - Marfa, Texas
11am. Thankful for the recovery from the violently loud camping escapades yesterday. Stupid wind with its stupid blowingness.

Food Shark for lunch. It’s an old, metal trailer Adam drives into town every day. Middle Eastern kick to it: falafel, curry, lamb. Strange considering there are only two other restaurants in town. I set up a meeting with Adam later tonight at his geodescent dome of eyeballs (it makes sense in person).

Until two years ago, Rachel tells me, Marfa residents drove more than 30 miles to find the closest laundromat.

Minimalism at the Chinati Foundation that preserves Donald Judd’s work, the cultural guru who spurred the Marfa art scene. Boxes made of steel. Lightbulbs of neon blue, green, pink, yellow. We dance in front of them and make our own art.

Buck and Camp are fantastic. Free spirits of a new-age Wild West. They bought the first church in Marfa and converted it into a work space and home. Camp tells us about his woodwork, Buck tells us about how proud she is of her husband.

Off to Adam’s dome. Camp brings the tequila, we bring the golf kart. Eyeballs on television sets. Creepy and totally awesome at the same time.

Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

Wednesday, May 28 - ?, Texas to Marfa, Texas
It’s sort of raining and it’s cold. What if it actually starts to rain?

Ralph is the only man in Van Horn, Texas who knows how to help. He does and tries to charge us $93. Jeremy talks him down to $38.

I fall asleep at lunch. Jeremy is trying to figure out what it means that there are bags of water over the door and salad bar. Weird.

We ambush our second Couch Surfing friend, Rachel Lindley, at her place of employment, Marfa Public Radio. She’s surprised (has she heard that we’re coming?).

Ricky at the coffeeshop next door makes us Shortstop Shakes and wears a t-shirt that says “Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.” I like Marfa, Texas already.

Chase and Rachel are vegans. We pick arugula from their garden. Obama’s as outraged as we are by the price of it at Whole Foods so we’ll accept the gracious salad and pasta meal Chase whips up. Spicy, garlicky, sweet, great flavors. We eat on the rooftop as the sun sets, laughing about the illusive Marfa Lights.

Jeremy loses the Ro-Sham-Bo and sleeps on the couch. I get the bed.

Miles traveled today: 150
Total miles traveled: 1089

Wind, Roosters, And Sunrise: The Perfect Storm

Tuesday, May 27 - Las Cruces, New Mexico to ?, Texas
The Bean coffeeshop for wireless internet access, a loaf of banana nut bread, and a soy chai smoothie.

Headed to Marfa, Texas next. Expecting the largest drive yet: 274 miles.

Andy’s blogging now:

Lush farm land surrounds us. These are the drives that make travel in a golf kart a luxury.

And terrifying.

“Did you turn off the lights?” I ask, 70 miles outside of El Paso at the only truck stop we’ve seen in hours.

“No,” Jeremy says. We sit in silence. “Did you?” he asks me.


I remove the seat and squeeze some wires together. It worked before. It works again. The lights are on.

Flicker, flicker 50 yards out of the light. Darkness. Raul asks if we need help and guides us back to the truck stop and drives away. It’s eerie. We pitch a tent. 1am.

The wind starts up, whipping across the open Texas plains at what must be 70 mph, twice the speed of the golf kart.

Jeremy is anchoring his body against the side of the tent. So that we don’t blow away?

I don’t know whether to laugh or scream. 3 hours of this. The rooster is crowing. No gas, no food, no cars, but a rooster whose clock is set to Atlantic Standard Time. It’s 4am and the sun isn’t even close to rising. We pack up (a feat in wind this brisk) and get back on the road.

We need oil.

Miles traveled today: 123
Total miles traveled: 939

Whiskey By The Fire ... Don't You Wish You Were A Sponsor, Knob Creek?!

Monday, May 26 - Las Cruces, New Mexico
Elizabeth tells us about her work with hospice patients and breathes life into one of her poems and we drive her to the Plaza in Mesilla to get b-roll and catch up on The Blog.

A second night at Josh’s, a playwright and teacher who’s back from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. More whiskey and Mac and Cheese with Louisiana hot sauce around the fire.

The Pump Isn't Pumping

Sunday, May 25 - Spafford, Arizona to Las Cruces, New Mexico
Leslie wasn’t joking. She knocks at 6am and tells us to leave. We eat cereal and bagels and muffins and oranges and drink milk and orange juice and jump on the road with danishes in napkins.

The kart begins to putter somewhere between Deming and Hatch, New Mexico. Fuel isn’t getting to the engine. Andy replaces the fuel pump with the spare electric pump. I stand far away and film the inevitable explosion (it never comes).

The electric pump isn’t pumping.

Andy switches it back to the first pump.

Who knew driving a golf kart around the country would be so difficult?

Elizabeth Vega and a dinner party are waiting for us in Las Cruces.

We make it to a gas station in Hatch, New Mexico and try the electric pump again. It works. She’s running smoothly and the noise is only slightly louder.

There’s a parade stopping traffic on the highway. A religious parade. Nuns being carried on a float, a priest adorned with gold and flowers and dressed in white.

Elizabeth greets us in Las Cruces, New Mexico, cooks garlic and chicken and mashed potatoes, and takes us to a backyard campfire at Josh Wheeler’s. Everyone here is an artist. Josh, Rachel, Kevin, Blaze, Joe, Elizabeth. And everyone drinks whiskey and Tecate. It's our first Couch Surfing experience, and it's a great one.

Miles traveled today: 249
Total miles traveled: 816

Handlebar Mustache As Bodyguard

Saturday, May 24 - Phoenix, Arizona to Spafford, Arizona
Driving. On US-60 and US-70 for as long as we can. With a new set of handlebars. (Andy believes that if one of us has a handlebar mustache, we'll avoid a beating throughout the south ... he can't grow one so I'm stuck with the idiocy on my face).

We stop to refuel in Globe, Arizona. Martin invites us into his daughter’s QuinceaƱera. It’s a Mexican tradition for girls much like a Sweet 16 party but at the age of 15. There’s food. Good food. Tamales, guacamole, beans, pulled pork, all wrapped in a tiny tortilla. We take pictures and video and watch as Mom cries, Dad dances, and friends and family cheer. We look for camping in Thatcher, Arizona on the recommendation of Anne Raney, Andy’s sister. The road to the campsite is rocky and unpaved, and Christine can barely handle it. We turn back towards Safford, Arizona to look for the Wal-Mart where we’ve heard people can camp for free in the parking lot at anytime.

Not the case. Only RVs and only if the Store Manager allows it. He doesn’t.

The first hotel is $60 even though it’s 1am and we’ve assured the manager we’ll be out by sunrise.

The Budget Inn is another story. Leslie J. at the front desk agrees to let us stay in the employee room if we don’t tell a soul and promise to leave before 6am when she gets off work. (Breakfast will be available if we’re out early enough).

The bathroom is filled with dead cockroaches and beetles, but the room is free and the beds wreak only slightly of body odor and hard water.

Sam Hendrick calls at 2am from New York City. He’s heard about kART and wants to say hi, wish us luck, and ask more questions than I can answer at this hour without more sleep in my body and mind. We’re grateful for his blessing and curiosity, though, and look forward to his company when we get to the Big Apple.

Miles traveled today: 165
Total miles traveled: 567

Playboy Bunnies vs. Christine

Friday, May 23 - Phoenix, Arizona
John Tsaninos at Procart Industries agrees to take a look at Christine, see if he can help us out. He doesn’t know where to start. He wants to cut the body, put it onto a newer Club Car with better wiring, less of a mess around the gas engine. John’s working on a custom build for Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends and the playmates at the Playboy Mansion, and his shop holds the world’s longest golf cart and dozens of other sick rides. None have the character and poise of Christine, but we cover her eyes nonetheless.

John sends us away with three better tires for the back, a handle on the passenger side, and a quick cleaning. We’re as grateful as we’ve been for the better handling on the Phoenix streets and the shine on the hood.

Rock Band and Wii Mario Kart happen until 3am.

Light, Dark, Light, Dark

Thursday, May 22 - Phoenix, Arizona
Rachel Richards owns a shop in downtown Phoenix called Bunky. She doesn’t think of herself as an artist but she’s got style and the outside wall of her clothing store is tagged with graffiti art.

Erin Garmon teaches art to troubled teens. She encourages her students to create dark artwork rather than acting on their dark and violent fantasies.

Wayne Michael Reich
has problems with the Phoenix art scene. He wants the work to be better and knows what it will take to bring business to town. His paintings lean towards comic book fury, his nude photography very sexual.

Chris Benavidez improvises on the saxophone for us at his house and tells us about the problems and rewards of the medications he’s been taking.

Traffic Stops The Arizona Way

Wednesday, May 21 - Parker, Arizona to Phoenix, Arizona
We buy two dozen fuses. 20 amps. Ain’t no short circuit gonna fuck with us again.

Big Papa Ray and Tammy don’t believe we drove a golf kart from San Bernardino last night. We show them the kart. They believe us.

Much of the drive to Phoenix is caught on video and still camera by Brian. As is our second traffic stop almost immediately after entering Phoenix. 3 police cars, 5 officers. They radio in the license plate to dispatch. Dispatches response: “Yeah, it checks out. 1985 ... um ... Club Car?”

Jacque Johnston is waiting with hugs, clean towels, and turkey sandwiches. Rock Band will have to wait until tomorrow.

Miles traveled today: 163
Total miles traveled: 402

Traffic Stops The California Way

Tuesday, May 20 - Rialto, California to Parker, Arizona
Didn’t sleep a wink. Too fearful. It’s 3:45am. We change out the larger back tires for smaller ones to get more torque up Big Bear Mountain.

We’re going. Finally. After nearly two years of dreaming and planning. We break down less than two miles from George’s house at the first gas station at which we try to fill up. Somehow, coddling gets the kart started again. We lose the key to the kart with the engine still running. Weird. Turns out a flathead screwdriver does the trick.

We stop at the crest, across from Rim of the World high school where the assistant principal Dave wants to show us his students’ artwork. We’re impressed by their action photography and ceramic pottery. They’re impressed by the golf kart.

Jim doesn’t have a spare Club Car key (any Club Car key will work in any Club Car ignition ... shhh), but he offers us $500 for the kart or an even trade of an old Harley. Hard to justify that deal, Jim, sorry.

Lunch at Quiznos and then a decision to avoid restaurant chains on the trip. McDonald’s is quintessentially American, but how much more interesting is Big Papa Ray’s cafe on Route 95 in Parker, Arizona (we’ll be there soon, Big Papa).

Pass through Joshua Tree again (this time at 32mph). Sleep on hot parking lot gravel with a water jug and road atlas for pillows. Pulled over by the police outside Joshua Tree. Our first traffic stop. D.W. Bradley asks questions, laughs at us, and lets us go.

Nightfall. It’s very dark on Route 62. 120 miles without streetlights and our headlights are getting dim. Quickly. We haven’t seen a car in an hour. We consider setting up camp on the shoulder and waiting for sunrise. I find a fuse. Placed carefully by God’s hand into Christine’s glove compartment. Scarily miraculous. Metal touches metal and the entire kart lights up. We drive in silence and fear.

A rocket screams past us about 200 feet overhead. The only warning is the blue hue from the afterburners. Weird. It’s 11pm on a Tuesday in the middle of nowhere. Testing? Training? Practical joke to scare the shit out of two already panicked kids?

Brian Landis Folkins is splitting the cost of a rental car with us and driven from Denver to meet us at a hotel room in Parker, Arizona. Brian is the kind of person you want to sit with, drink with, smoke with, and be around as often as you’re awake.

Big day, small hotel bed.

Miles traveled today: 239
Total miles traveled: 239

Planes, Trains, And Golf Karts

Monday, May 19 - Rialto, California
Trek to George Bombardier’s by car, bus, and train (all we’re missing is boat and horseback). George is 68 years old. He has the balls of a 21-year old and the waning health of a 91-year old. He refused to go to the hospital yesterday on the recommendation of his doctors. He hates doctors. He loves building things, like golf karts.

He maps out his route, shows us video and newspaper clippings, talks until 2am. George is gentle but tough and a absolutely crazy. He’s driven his beloved “Christine” from California to Connecticut three times, the last trip in 2003. He wanted to see his kids. He made it in 10 days once. By back roads.

I set the alarm for 4am.

Everyone Needs A Little Klezmer At 8am

Sunday, May 18 - Joshua Tree, California to Los Angeles, California
No one sleeps when camping. Especially when the music rises with the sun. The eclectic Luminescent Orchestrii is rocking though. “Madcap ethnic dance music” they call it. Tango, klezmer, fiddles and a stand-up bass.

Nature is dressed in green — neon green — with a bicycle hat with the brim flipped up. He travels the festival circuit setting up spirituality rings at the entrance. Statues, sculptures, rocks, branches, vibrant and earthy colors. Andy lays a bundle of dried flowers in the center and prays for a safe journey. I put one atop a statue of a Hindu god and pray that I find love.

We find pho (traditional Vietnamese broth, noodles, meat) on the way home.

Music Festivals With Friggin' Laser Beams Attached To Their Heads

Saturday, May 17 - Joshua Tree, California
We drive to Joshua Tree Music Festival (by car still). Lasers project on the face of the mountain behind the stage, the crowd is still amped after two full days in the sun and who knows what in their bodies. Blvd. with Souleye on the mic is a fusion of electronica and rap. Souleye’s rhymes are clear and swift. A drum circle caps off the night.

Who Knew There Were So Many Artists In LA?

Friday, May 16 - Los Angeles, California
We head to Sunu Gonera’s home in Santa Monica. He’s our first interview (though we’re still kartless making us slightly less cool and legitimate). The director of Pride starring Terrence Howard, Sunu tells us about the differences in South African art and American art sitting against the backdrop of black and white photos of black and white hands clasped.

We interview Kelly and Kamille Rudisill, sisters in the band Karmina. They play for us. “The Kiss.” (Inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting of the same name). I climb the ladder to get an overhead shot. The lyrics to the song are drawn onto the steps of the ladder. Their sound is light and even breathtaking at times. Though young (they’re both 25 years old), they have a sense of what music should be and performance is clearly their strength. They sing with love and bravery.

On the way to Muscle Beach, paintings on the side of a building. Faces with distinctly emotive eyes.

No iconic body builders at the beach, but plenty of street performers, handball players, a metal-detecting scavenger on the edge of the water, a clown of sorts.

David Holstein, co-writer of Showtime’s half-hour series Weeds shows us around the set. I’m calm standing next to Mary-Louise Parker (film: Fried Green Tomatoes, Angels in America; theater: Proof, How I Learned to Drive) though I shouldn’t be. She’s a hero of mine, and she’s toying with head writer and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Rolin Jones.

Dave Yaden is a pianist, composer, and singer. His home in Sherman Oaks is a makeshift studio. He records tracks in the bathroom and drinks scotch.

A fine dinner of linguini with clams and chicken marsala at Fabrocini’s on Bevery Glen in Los Angeles. On the house. Day 1: complete.

Wait ... Has It Started Yet?

Thursday, May 15 - Los Angeles, California
It’s hot. 90 degrees before 9am when I get to Los Angeles. Andy hits up the House of Blues, I’m at The Groundlings sketch comedy show.