Friday, October 15, 2010

I MADE IT !!!!!!!!!

Sitting in a coffee shop in New Orleans, 7:40 am local time on friday morning. Getting ready to bust a move on 300 pounds of chicken and many cases of produce, prepping for the blues and BBQ fest this weekend (taj mahal headlining a free concert tomorrow). Crazy.

More crazy that I made it. I was driving yesterday from Baton Rouge and was struck by how far I had come and that I was actually rolling in on schedule and not totally broke from the trip. Only had one fix on the truck, no flat tires and no injuries. Pretty cool for how exposed I felt at times. Met some interesting people on the road, did not linger in any one place to make real close friends, but talked to all kinds of folk (both toothless and not). I will have a more comprehensive tally of fuel usage, but spent roughly $225 on diesel, the rest was veg.

Thanks to all who have followed this journey, videos will follow shortly and will have some commentary along with those shortly, got to grill chicken first. Was really great to see Sophie yesterday, I picked her up from school and she was surprised to see me.

I plan to continue to blog about my experiences in New Orleans for the next little while. I did not get much of a chance to wax poetic on this trip, mostly consumed with rolling down the road. It is a mystery what life will bring now, but I am excited to be here with my baby girl. I am going to light this town up with good food and charm, they won't knw what hit them. There is much low hanging fruit here and I can't wait to get started.

Love to all my Portland posse, greetings to all my new friends in NOLA.

Peace. JR

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Made it to Salina Kansas today. That is where I turn south and head for Wichita and OKC. More than half way and still rolling!! Feels really good to have hit that mark. Looking forward to fixing the step on the trailer and maybe buying one new tire for the trailer as a preventive step. Been in small towns lately and might be weird to be in big cities again. The midwest is a different place, lots of Jesus signs on the highway and real country feel. More when I get the video up and running.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yeah Starbucks

Made it through the wasteland of southern wyoming. Some parts were pretty, but super out there and desolate. Thought I might die when camped out in the middle of nowhere and got slammed by a thunderstorm. The trailer was rocking back and forth, in the midst of lightening strikes in a big metal box, that's livin right there. But I made it to another morning. There have been numerous storms already, and the midwest is still coming. If I see a twister I am going to loose it.

Anyway, I am in Cheyenne now at the starbucks. Glad to get a post in, but sad that the flip camera that Brad lent me says that my computer will not accomodate the software allowing it to store/show all of the video I have taken. Maybe someone can help me on down the road, but I have been excited to show some video of the trip. Sean, any ideas??

Wyoming was windy, and long, but the reward was yesterday when I stumbled upon Vedauwoo. It is a climbing place I have heard of and was awesome to get out of that noisy truck and hike around and climb on some big boulders. Nice sunny afternoon and I camped there last night, another windy night in the trailer. Have not gotten a ton of sleep on this trip due to the storms waking me up in the night. Wonder how the pioneers slept.

Got a lead on a bunch of oil at the Cheyenne regional medical center from Wade's sister Jean here in Cheyenne who makes a killer brisket sandwich at Suite 1901. Heard they make a mean martini too. Sadly, I am waiting for a crane to move away from the oil drums so I can pump it out, but there is at least 50 gallons if I can store that much in my truck. A rough estimate is that I have spent about 150 dollars on diesel, partly because the veggie filter seemed to be clogging in WY, so I burned diesel most of the state, changed the filter right before that killer storm couple nights ago, and got back on veg. in Rawlins, WY. scary switching over to veg because that is not a good place to break down, southern WY. (can you tell I have been traumatized by Wyoming? it's not all buckin' cowboys like the signs say). But I still had almost 20 gallons of oil in jugs in my truck, just unfiltered so could not use it. Probably done 75% of the trip of veg so far.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


WoW- Southern Wyoming is like walking on the moon. Crazy exposed, windy travel day, 7,000 Feet elevation right now at the Little America Travel Center. Wacky that there is WiFi in the middle of nowhere. Darn weather, windy and getting more stormy as I get closer to the continental divide. I have the feeling, maybe, that it is always windy here anyway, but makes for a little slower going. I feel like one of the pioneers as I travel parts of their route. But then I climb in my trailer with the woodstove and honda generator and I can no longer compare myself to them. Just the same, this is a committing act, this roadtrip. There is no turning back.
The truck got fixed in Idaho in Twin Falls. $500 for a new throttle position sensor. OUCH!!
But she's runnin good now. The veg. system seems to be lagging a bit, so burning diesel now. Could be the filter clogging or could be the altitude, play it safe and contribute to climate change for the moment. Sadly Sean, I did not see evil kenevil's ramp over the snake river, but can imagine that would have been wild to see. Mad props to the Auto Clinic in Twin Falls, thanks Dave for getting me back on the road.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Travel is Tough

Three days gone and have done 600 miles so far. Slow to get out of the starting gate. I left Portland at 5 pm on saturday and drove past the Dalles to sleep at a full campground on the Deschutes River. It was nice and met some folks with a 1947 travel trailer that took three years to fix up; it was quite nice.
Next day was Sunday, so everything was closed. The dilemma was this; Les Schwab had told me to stop early on and get the lugnuts on the wheels and the U bolts on the axle re-tightened. Since I could not find anyone open, and I had the issue of the driver's side shackle on the trailer rubbing against the frame, I made several stops to try and rectify these problems. Ended up meeting some nice people, Mike the trucker from Toronto for one, who gave me information. Stopped in Pendleton and bought a torque wrench and proceeded to crawl under the trailer and tighten the bolts myself. With limited success I got er done, then went on my way.
Third night out was Emigrant Springs campground in the Blue Mountains. Had a cozy night with the woodstove and had a hot shower. Up at 5 am the next morning, made it to the Les in LaGrande and told them the story, they did the work and rotated the tires to help the shackle problem. I am moderately happy with the work that was done at Les Schwab in Portland. Took a long time, had to take it back, and then when I got it back for good, it was not totally right and I was concerned for the first leg of my trip.
Eastern Oregon was beautiful- canyons and cement factories and then getting into Idaho, the truck started shifting back and forth between gears at highway speeds- not a good thing. So I stopped and made some phone calls, got back on the road, it got dark and drove into a wild, wild thunderstorm. It was crazy!! Did not see many bolts, but the whole sky would light up and it seemed the action was very close. I pulled onto a side road and ate a cold dinner and crashed. Up at 6 am today and drove into Twin Falls, ID. Found a shop that could look at the truck and now I am sipping Latte at starbucks. Hard start to the trip, I hope to up the tempo and put the hammer down, because at this rate, I will get there at Halloween. More than likely that will not happen, and I will arrive on the 14th of October.
Maybe it was all the talk about breaking down before I left, maybe the lesson here is to stay positive and rock it. So that is what I will do. I will also try and blog regularly, just been in the sticks and trying to get the rig all set. Anyway, some real pretty country, just need to move faster. Hope the truck will be fixed quickly, go auto clinic!!
Videos coming soon...

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I depart... Wow... After 12 days in the shop, the trailer is finally ready. Took way too long, but got a new set of axles and they look good. The trailer has been lifted, almost to the heavens. Leaving today, full of mixed emotions. Excited to be on the verge again. Sing praises and wish me lots of luck!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Construction almost finished

Been getting the old trailer ready the last few days. This is but one of a couple of renovations. I have driven  her around the NW, up to Leavenworth and the coast, but never 2,671 miles. But she was born to roll, and why not see what she can do in her golden years. Feeling better about the trip in general. Still some concern about driving so far, but probably won't explode on the way. I need to get in touch with some old airstreamers out there to see what advice they might have. Some of the sheet metal on the rear of the trailer is peeling off a little bit and not sure how to address that. Anyway, still got nine days to figure some things out, do a couple more catering gigs, and then roll out the morning of September 27, 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The backstory

Ten days before departure... part scared witless, part excited as all getout. I have never lived outside of Oregon's walls. Sure, I've traveled to distant parts of the world. New Zealand, Guatemala, East Germany. But I really haven't ever moved away to live. So it is with trepidation that I embark on my journey. I am moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, to be with my daugther and ex-girlfriend. My ex-girlfriend wanted to move back to New Orleans because the winter in Portland sucks, and I am game for an adventure. My daughter is almost three years old, and I couldn't live without her anyway, as she means the world to me. Admittedly, wintertime here in Oregon is pretty rough- all  8 months of it- and my catering company (Headwaters Cafe) suffers in the long and wet winters of the Northwest. So it's actually a pretty good option, all things considered, just a scary one. Anything is possible with enough money and time, but both might be scarce, and that's what scares me the most. The worst thing in my mind would be to leave Portland without very much money and either break down and be stranded, or get there with absolutely nothing. So hopefully that won't happen. As in many things in life, it seems like it could go either way. Hopefully, I will meet great people on veggie oil websites and and have a great time. I do beleive this country is full of great people who are willing to be helpful and reach out. We shall see.