Older Than The '57 Chevy. And A Better Dancer

Monday, June 30 – Washington DC to Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
It’s early. But Washington is up. Sean Babington lobbies on the Hill for Earthjustice in hopes of preserving Mother Earth.

A relatively quick drive to Bea and Sydney Make in Wynnewood, who stayed up late for us. They’ve been married 63 years, and I imagine it’s past their bedtime at 11pm.

Pop Pop Syd’s art is somewhere between dentistry, dancing, and playing gin. Grandmom Bea, 82, says her art is taking care of Pop Pop, 89.

Grandmom Bea's mother had a 1957 Chevy Belair ... in 1957.

Miles traveled today: 146
Total miles traveled: 3526

Cherry Creek Meets Stetson Meets Connecticut College

Sunday, June, 29 – Washington DC
BBQing in a thunderstorm at Adam and Yuri’s last night. Highschool and college friends joined. As did the Make family. Recovery day.

Crafty Bastards

Saturday, June 28 – Washington, DC
It’s the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair! John Davis provides recycled leather cuffs and watchbands and Spooky Daddy dawns the voice of Cousin Loomis to puppet his plush friend.

Momma Make is in town. Her art is loving art. She’s impassioned by people like Gia Mora who is tearing up the DC acting, modeling, and music scene. Mom and I catch Gia in the leading role of Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid which is delightful and touching. Gia shares the stage with RenĂ© Auberjonois and matches his talent with more than 45 years between them. She’s only got the moon to reach next.

Chris Ross is in town. Trouble.

The Art Of People

Friday, June 27 – Washington, DC
Bhutan, NASA, and Texas are gathered together to celebrate and showcase their ... cultures? A Bhutanese man describes the art of archery to the crowd over loudspeaker, but when I ask what his art is, he says it’s his family. He turns the question on me and hands me the mic. In the spotlight to the DC crowd, I answer.

Finding God In America

Thursday, June 26 - Washington, DC
Gary Rosenthal’s art is Judaica (art used for Jewish rituals). We make mizzuzot. Jeremy is fired up. Arranging and melting glass, I may have found God.

On U street, an open mic. Jahbu Ourinde believes God gave us all a gift. “There is nothing better than sharing those gifts.” Based on the reaction’s from the crowd, the long list of people hoping to speak or sing or play, and the range of emotions I felt, I think he may be right.

From Whence We Came

Wednesday, June 25 - Alexandria, Virginia to Washington, DC
The Torpedo Factory may be one of the best public art spaces in the country. Over 160 artists paint, sculpt, shred, pound, blow, and bend their creations to life as the public observes, buys from, and asks questions. We participate in carving glass with Alison Sigethy before she embarks on a 3000-mile kayak adventure through Arctic Canada. Susan Makara’s textured paintings of stacked stones seem to jump from the canvas like flying fish from the sea.

We maneuver around the DC monuments. They stand tall to remind us from where we came. We drive to discover what we have become.

Miles traveled today: 12
Total miles traveled: 3380

George's Dream Come True

Tuesday, June 24 - South Hill, Virginia to Alexandria, Virginia
Amazing how you get used to a smell overnight but the rashes last for days. There’s a model train collection at the visitor center. For George Bombardier’s sake, we film. He would have freaked out.

Good deed for the day: we save a turtle.

Jeremy’s friend Bess is waiting in anticipation as we nearly drive right by her.

Miles traveled today: 183
Total miles traveled: 3368

"Andy, It's Carla. She Wants To Know If We Want Company. I Said Yes."

Monday, June 23 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina to South Hill, Virginia
Jeremy picks me up from the Greensboro Airport in the kart. On Route 49, it looks like a prayer circle on the side of the road. Naturally, we stop. 80 people are WALKING across the country! The Great Walk II is about preserving the environment and celebrating the mix of black, Asian, Native American, and white cultures. They’re doing it drug free.

Virgilina (literally on the border between Virginia and North Carolina) is not much more than a stoop to sit on, and the accents are the thickest I’ve heard. A rough older man denies having an art but finally admits to keeping one Hell of a tomato garden and a traveler to boot.

It’s raining after dinner in South Hill, so we opt for the cheapest motel we can find. The smell of smoke and bad decisions hits us like a brick wall. Our phone rings. Its Carla from next door asking Jeremy if we want some company. Yes! She stumbles to the bed and lights a cigarette. Jeremy turns on the camera. We can only have company if the camera is off, and with that she leaves.

Miles traveled today: 152
Total miles traveled: 3185

Hanging With The Grand-Rents

June 20-June 22 - Bermuda Village, North Carolina

Grandmom and Pop Pop Rose remind me why I blocked out my childhood. Pop Pop shows me his woodwork and we stave off a geese attack.

Alone Time

Friday, June 20 - Charlotte, North Carolina to Winston-Salem, North Carolina
I have to be in a wedding this week so I catch a flight. Jeremy drives the kart ... alone ... in fear. Hits up Davidson in search of college girls. Remembers it's summer break. Chats with Randy Hill instead about the art of motorcycles. Arrives at his grandparents retirement community. Blogging ceases until my return.

Miles traveled today: 85
Total miles traveled: 3033

I'm A Medium For Kurt Cobain

Thursday, June 19 - Clemson, South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina
Jeremy sees a candy-apple red, 1957 Chevy Belair driving in the opposite direction — the EXACT make and model of dear Christine! A yelp and a hard left sends our GPS unit flying into the street to get run over by dear Christine herself (“Oh, sweet irony”). We couldn’t even catch up with the Chevy for a photo so we laid the GPS to rest somewhere in North Carolina.

Ric Standridge finds inspiration in the Beatles, Kiss, the Rolling Stones. He always turns the music up. To participate, we crank Nirvana and put the paint to canvas. Ric and I cap ours with the simple phrase, "Art in USA?" Judging from the outcome on his, Jeremy has creepy dreams.

Couch Surfing hosts Lee Knight and Dana are having a baby. Jeremy is fascinated by the two lesbians and their pregnancy. He bombards them with questions as we share cookies and soy milk.

Miles traveled today: 146
Total miles traveled: 2948

Don't Mess With Campus Safety

Wednesday, June 18 - Atlanta, Georgia to Clemson, South Carolina
Daniel Stein speaks on the physicality of theater and the key ingredients that make up a great performance (a la a great cup of coffee) at the WordBRIDGE Playwright’s Laboratory. Jeremy sees old friends and sings Wicked with Erin Lovelace.

Campus Safety yells (yells) at us to get off the road. “But it’s fully registe—“ Nope. Won’t fly with the University po po. Our third (hardly official) traffic stop and the only one we can’t talk our way out of.

“The University actively promotes campus security by providing services to prevent criminal activities, enhance personal safety and protect property.”

Miles traveled today: 132
Total miles traveled: 2802

Two Hands Are Better Than One

Tuesday, June 17 - Atlanta, Georgia
Angus Galloway used to feel seasick drawing with only one hand. Now he draws with both hands at the same time to cure the queasiness. One side of the page reflects the other but the goal is only to look at one side. An unintentional reflection of the intentional, it seems. We participate. I cheat by looking at both sides.

Little Five Points has tattoo artists, graffiti art on every wall, thrift stores on the other side of those walls.

We celebrate Jackie’s birthday. By “we” I mean “me.” Jeremy has a migraine.

When Biscuits Fly

Monday, June 16 - Atlanta, Georgia
Andy blogs ...

Eli Banks serves signature chicken breakfast sausage at The Flying Biscuit (an Atlanta staple for southern comfort food) but dedicates his time to sketch comedy at the Twinhead Theatre.

An artist is painting a t-shirt in Piedmont Park. He uses the park as both studio and home.

West to East, Officially

Sunday, June 15 - Birmingham, Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia
Driving. To Atlanta.

Jackie and Jacque have Rocky Mountain fresh Coors Light and flip cup waiting for us.

Miles traveled today: 167
Total miles traveled: 2670

g2 Pawn to d7 Lanky Jew

Saturday, June 14 - Birmingham, Alabama
Matt’s home is equipped with a set of gymnastic rings. Andy and I are equipped with huge guns after working out on them.

Big chess with little people.

City Stages, Birmingham’s annual music festival, is only $25 for a day pass. Diana Ross, The Flaming Lips, Ben Harper, The Roots, Jurassic Five, The Wailers. Line dancing, swing dancing, Marine’s challenging citizens to a pull up contest (which we destroyed ... well, Matt destroyed).

In our possession: Ben Harper’s entire encore on film. Shhh, we’ll ask for the rights later.

Video Blog #1

Edited by Lyman Smith for Eagle Ridge Media

Sweet Tea, Cornbread, and A Generous Helping of Southern Hospitality

Friday, June 13 - Meridian, Mississippi to Birmingham, Alabama
The tent sheltered us from the rain but nothing solves the morning heat issue like McDonald’s breakfast inside Wal-Mart for three hours.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, WVUA television is doing a story about fuel prices at the gas station where we’re filling up. They wanna talk.

City Cafe insists we stay for fried chicken, oakra, cornbread, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet tea, and the home cookin’ service to match. They won’t even accept a tip.

The Flamingo Room handed us key lime cake with cream cheese icing and pink lemonade just before our interview.

Jean Ignatz is painting portraits and telling us that art doesn’t have to be precious: you can always begin again.

Matt, Matt’s mother, and Carolina are waiting for us in the hilliest city yet, Birmingham, Alabama. Andy gets out and walks alongside the kart to expedite the uphill portions.

Miles traveled today: 153
Total miles traveled: 2503

Santos Saves Salamanders Swiftly

Thursday, June 12 - New Orleans, Louisiana to Meridian, Mississippi
Our turn signals don’t work. The passenger taillight is out. It’s raining intermittently. Thank goodness for Santos Auto Repair.

Santos didn’t tell us that the engine would start smoking and stall out while we were driving the Lake Pontchartrain bridge, however. Thank goodness for the man who blew the gas out of the fuel pump to find out that it’s been in backwards for who knows how long.

Wal-Mart. A funny company. They allow us to camp on their parking lot grass patch. Andy buys a ground tarp. He’ll return it in the morning. Funny.

Miles traveled today: 252
Total miles traveled: 2350

Stupid Rain

Wednesday, June 11 - New Orleans, Louisiana
Oh, look, rain. All morning. We’re not leaving.

Andy lifts weights. Well, he’s sweating when he returns 30 minutes after claiming he’s going to lift weights.

New Orleans: The Real Sin City

Tuesday, June 10 - New Orleans, Louisiana
Rudy at Golden Shears has been a barber for 45 years. He lets Andy participate in an art: cutting my hair. Mistake.

There’s a nude life drawing class at Gigi’s New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. They won’t let us film.

Deacon John will, though he’s embarrassed by his sub-par smile after mouth surgery this morning. He plays slide guitar with such vigor but speaks barely above a whisper.

Bourbon Street offers us absinthe imported from Prague, hot dog vendors as artists, Huge Ass Beers, no cover bottomless strip clubs, making it the real Sin City.

Will Smith plays the trumpet and sings “Tip the band, tip, tip the band” until we buy their CD.

Dr. Bob Says, "Be Nice Or Leave"

Monday, June 9 - New Orleans, Louisiana
Dr. Bob: eccentric, colorful, shirtless. “Be nice or leave” is the theme of his work. He offers us a small tree to smoke. Andy declines, accepts a piece of artwork instead.

Nick Florence
is on a mission trip from Dallas, and he wants to pray for me. It’s difficult to explain where my Judaism went, so I’m honored to accept the prayer.

Dinner on Josh and Dana, Nawlins style. Potato-crusted mahi mahi, cornbread, crab cakes, cajun-spiced shrimp.

Justin Long (Mac in Mac vs. PC commercials) is a gentleman. He wants to know how fast Christine goes and whether we drive it on the interstate.

Meat: Boiled, Baked, Basted

Sunday, June 8 - New Orleans, Louisiana
It’s a crawfish boil! And they are screaming. Andy participates by picking up a live one. I participate by screaming with the dying ones.

Windshield destroyed. The worst streets to date demolish it. USAA insurance covers the cost of replacing it completely. Awesome.

Kendall’s gracious family dines us at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. (I’m wondering who Chris is.). Tom is modest about his accomplishments in keeping New Orleans safe and fervent with numerous post-retirement boards and committees to run.

The Boston Celtics win Game 2 as we close down the place.

89 Years Old And Flooring It

Saturday, June 7 - Kinder, Lousiana to New Orleans, Louisiana
Andy’s peeing leads to the scariest flat tire situation to date. On a bridge. Seemingly endless. No shoulder, four lanes of semis and trucks leaving Texas, 65mph speed limit. Nearly a mile of riding on the flat and praying for the bridge to end quickly, the tire blows completely and we’re on the rim; continuing is not an option.

I’m waving the slow moving vehicle triangle reflector and directing traffic into the other lane. The drivers don’t seem to understand. Andy changes the tire and we throw the burning hot flat on top and zip away in under 3 minutes. The bridge continues on for at least another mile. At the end of it are dozens of torn up tires. Frightening.

Almost as terrifying as the Louisiana driver who is waving at us, tailgating, pulling in front and signaling us to stop. He wants to look at the kart (isn’t he already?). He’s missing teeth. “I’m a mechanic,” he shouts. “That thing is awesome,” his wife yells next to us. “My daughter wants to see it.” We’re already behind schedule and Kendall is expecting us in New Orleans. And you guys are approaching this situation rather strangely, no?

After 5 miles, he curses at us, revs his engine next to us on the two-lane highway, and flips a U-turn. I notice our windshield is cracked.

Andy’s friend Kendall is a welcome relief from today. And she’s bringing us to her grandmother, Dorothy “Gigi” Coleman, without showers or clean clothing for more than 48 hours.

Gigi floors the kart around her neighborhood. She’s having a hard time understanding that we’ve traveled from California on a kart much like her own. But she’s quick-witted approaching 90 years and founded the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts — she knows exactly how to touch our hearts.

Miles traveled today: 185
Total miles traveled: 2098

I'm Fairly Certain Mosquitoes Can Bite Through Fingernails

Friday, June 6 - Houston, Texas
Well rested and ready for the Art Car Museum. Totally funkified automobiles decked out with seashells, steel fish scales, trinkets, crocodile skulls, figures of the Virgin Mary, duct tape ... lots of duct tape (I wonder if anyone has made a duct tape car ... would it run on rubber cement?).

And we’re off to New Orleans. Now that we’re out of Texas, the mustache is no more. Andy will have to live vicariously through someone else’s facial hair.

Campsites cost money. Hotel rooms cost money. Couchsurfers aren’t in every city. Why not sleep at a Church?

How’s the First United Pentecostal Church of Kinder for ya? God has sent the mosquitoes as punishment for our transgressions. We zip the tent with at least a dozen zipped in with us.

Miles traveled today: 192
Total miles traveled: 1913

Ritchie Valens Sounds A Lot Like The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, June 4 - Thursday, June 5 - Houston, Texas
Jeremy’s blogging now while we’re in Houston to catch up, relax, download pictures, let the rents know we’re not dead.

Salsa/Cuban/African/Spanish/rock music in the park. Andy gets on stage to sing La Bamba (or something by the Stones?). He’s rockin’ out like it’s the Stones, even if it’s actually La Bamba.

I jump in the Conga line with the old ladies. The cute, younger ones do the filming for us.

Yvonne Tims sings for us with even more soul than when she sang years ago at the World’s Fair.

A new tequila recommendation from our waiter leads to Big Buck Hunter, pictures with calendar girls at the bar, cowboy hats, and more RockBand until 3am.

Nails & Tires: Enemies From The Beginning

Tuesday, June 3 - Austin, Texas to Houston, Texas
Another flat tire on the way to Houston (it’s only 160 miles for God’s sake). We dish out the $30 to have our tires checked, rotated, balanced, repaired, what the heck is it that we’re paying for? The mechanics tell us it would be better to drive these tires at slower speeds around 30mph rather than 70mph. “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

My friend Sebastian greets us in Houston, moves his custom Infiniti G35 out of the garage and into the street so Christine can be covered for the night.

Jeremy takes the couch.

Miles traveled today: 168
Total miles traveled: 1721

Squirrels, Mosquitoes, and Fireballs, Oh My!

Monday, June 2 - Austin, Texas
Smithing today. As in blacksmithing. Shannon Von Wright has great spirit and compassion in her. Efficient, honest, a noble teacher.

I make a hook. Shannon’s impressed with my hook. Jeremy makes a sailboat. I’m actually impressed by his sailboat.

Shannon lets us shower under her outdoor showerhead. I think there’s a squirrel watching me. Jeremy says a mosquito bit his penis.

John Arthur is lighting alcohol on fire and spewing it across the bar at Treasure Island. Not even a weekday can slow the 6th Street craziness. We’re homeless ... again. John supplies a bed and couch at after leading us and golf kart through the streets of Austin at 4am. I win the Ro-Sham-Bo, Jeremy takes the couch.

Hey There, Cupcake, Wanna Pillowfight?

Sunday, June 1 - Austin, Texas
I’m on the floor. Sharing a bed with Jeremy didn’t sound appealing last night.

Madi, Hoof’s oldest daughter at about 7 years old, wants to drive the kart. Jeremy assists from shotgun.

In Austin, it’s straight to Hey, Cupcake, a mobile home converted into a cupcake stand. We met the owner in Marfa; he promised us a free one. Jeremy participates in an art by squeezing whipped cream into the center of his pastry with Rose’s help (Lady and the Tramp style to boot).

It’s hot, we head to the river but get distracted by a homeless man with a guitar. We pull over and park and get distracted again by girls playing volleyball. Jeremy learns the art of setting and spiking ... kind of. Shalee and John are good teachers: they’ve been playing every weekend this year and since 8am today.

Tough girls at the Roller Derby John and Shalee invite us to. Chola sets a new Roller Derby record: she is ejected from the game ... twice! (She threw a girl to the ground the first time and spit at the ref the second). Penalties take the form of pillow fights and spankings but pillows are abandoned quickly when the girls go for all out brawls instead.

Headhunters bar afterwards and a round of drinks for the Derby girls on Bellco Credit Union (Jeremy received a gift card from Laura Higgins, the Director of Marketing, for his work in the commercials).

Nowhere to sleep. John and Shalee save the day.

JOHN/SHALEE: Just ask. Cut the foreplay and just ask, man.
ANDY/JEREMY: Wou--Would that be a problem?
JOHN/SHALEE: Is it a problem for you to ask?
ANDY/JEREMY: Can I stay at your place?
JOHN/SHALEE: (indifferently) Yeah.