The Only Person Who Can Judge Me Is Judy

My appeal has been denied. And it only took a week.

The Court of Appeal had been taking four months to issue decisions which resulted in a huge backlog of cases. So they’ve started summarily rejecting anything filed by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic without review. That’s one way to handle a backlog.

But judges are people too, they have the same real estate investments as their other wealthy friends. It’s in their interest to keep this real estate bubble growing. It seems neither City Government, State Government or the Courts are willing to take on the housing affordability crisis. They know which side their bread is buttered on.

My attorney says I might have to be out of my apartment in 30 to 60 days. He’s mulling our options. I have faith in him, he’s creative and passionate about what he does. And the THC attorneys are about the only ones in town willing to fight for renters. I meet with him tomorrow.


The Eviction Story



With the Mayor of Palm Springs
With the Mayor of Palm Springs

That’s one small step for a gay man.
One giant leap for mid-century collectibles in the desert.

10-4, Good Buddy


The Last Temptation of Me

Permission to Approach?

Truly a profile in courage
Truly a profile in courage

Saturday, 7:30 AM

Only four hours to go.

Phoenix is huge, much larger than I expected. At one point downtown the freeway turns into a tunnel a mile long with eight lanes in one direction. I’ll find out today if there are eight going the other way. It took forever to get to my hotel last night.

One hazard yesterday was that, after renting a car for a day, there was a period of adjustment back to my trusty U. I started off with civilian motorist moves: rapid lane changes, hair pin turns at 65, cutting drivers off. Then I realized I couldn’t do that. It’s not being able to see behind you that’s the biggest concern. I still don’t believe what I see in those side mirrors. Plus when you throw it in reverse 20 feet comes up on you awfully quickly.

I’m happy to report that early slow speeds I experienced became more normal after Missouri. The first day was kind of a learning curve, I couldn’t go too fast because I wasn’t sure of myself. The second day there were many inclines in the Ozarks that slowed me down.

But after the Miracle in Miami the route was pretty flat and I got that fucker up to 70-75.  At times I did 80 which is difficult because you physically have to push that pedal hard.  Not easy to sustain. Plus the floor board gets so hot, I’ve taken to using the cheap lotions in the hotels to constantly moisturize my feet. I think the same plastic surgeon who advertises in the Palm Springs Airport for vaginal rejuvenation also does a pedi-peel. Will look into that.

All faiths welcome
All faiths welcome

I couldn’t have done it without my trusty travel companion Whitey and my fifth of Sky vodka. (Note bene: there’s still half of if left for tonight’s celebration.) And of course there was my inner-cab, inter-faith altar.

The base was the inverted antebellum chair that amused the mover kids in Fort Wayne so much. I thought it should be upfront because it was so delicate. Like the driver.

I covered it with a bed sheet that was blessed by the Holy Father. He used it in a sleep over with an altar boy which I’m pretty sure counts as a blessing. To that I added: an Eiffel Tower from my Fort Wayne Christmas collection; an elf boot from Santa Claus, IN; a coon skin cap from Elk City, OK; an inspirational truck stop t-shirt form Deaf Smith County, Texas; and a salt lamp from Keams Canyon,  AZ.

As with any voyage it’s all about the treasures along the way. Tangible and intangible.


Next: Ithaca!
Previous: Walter Whitey’s ABQ

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
For the complete eviction saga, From the Beginning

Walter Whitey’s ABQ

Friday, 9:00 PM PST

I loved the series Mad Men and was sorry to see it end. They always billed themselves as the greatest show on television but they failed to mention one thing: they were only the second best show on AMC.

Breaking Bad was better written and better acted.

Kathy kept coaxing me to watch the first season but I resisted until it was over. Then I binged and was devoted throughout.

What hooked me was the scene in the first episode where he tells his family he has cancer. Hank and Marie come over on a Sunday and he gives them the news. At one point Skyler interjects something to the effect of, “and you know what else? He told me on a weekend when the Doctor’s office was closed. I couldn’t even call to verify the information!”

One of the sickest lines ever.

When I was researching the locations, all the reviews said the same thing about Walt’s house: the woman who owns it is kind of nutty. If she’s out front, she will probably yell at you.

Today I was the only car cruising by and she had her lawn chair set up in the driveway waiting. I stopped for three seconds to take a couple of pictures and she came charging down the driveway. “There’s too much traffic! You can’t stop!”

Keep that in mind the next time you’re in Albuquerque and want to swing by 3828 Piermont Drive NE.

(Click any photo for slide show.)

Next: Permission to Approach?
Previous: Breaking Up the Trip, Badly

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
For the complete eviction saga, From the Beginning

Breaking Up the Trip, Badly

Texas pride can be overbearing. The grills? Give it a rest.
Texas pride can be overbearing. The grills? Give it a rest.

Thursday Afternoon

One of the hardest things to find on this trip is good coffee. Even seeking the lowest common denominator, Starbucks, can be a challenge. But then long division isn’t really taught in these parts. It’s too close to Darwin.

I made a mistake in staying overnight in Amarillo. It’s a bigger city than I thought so the rates are high and the quality is low. I’ve had better luck in the smaller towns.

On the way into Amarillo there was billboard after billboard advertising a 72 oz. steak. You know what they say: the bigger the steak the smaller the meat. It did get me in the mood though, but I opted for a 10 ounce one instead. From the take out at Outback, across the parking lot from my ratty Hampton Inn. I didn’t feel like driving anymore.

It was a short day, just took 4 hours to reach the Land of Enchantment. Only one stop today, that was in Deaf Smith County for gas and a religious t-shirt. I pulled into the Duke City at 1:00 PM. I’ll be taking a 24 hour break from the truck driving intensity.

I rented a car and visited Santa Fe. The Flintstones meets Zorro style of architecture is interesting. It’s worth a return trip someday.

I have one more big push to Phoenix on Friday. Then coast to the Springs Saturday.

Trucking ain't no good life, but it's my life.
Trucking ain’t no good life, but it’s my life.

Next: Walter Whitey’s ABQ
Previous: A Uhauler’s Nightmare

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
For the complete eviction saga, From the Beginning

A Uhaulers Nightmare

Other than Florida, Oklahoma may be our only endowed state.  Cartographicaly speaking. It's a bit stubby and, as Gore Vidal says, all potatoes and no meat. Still, it's OK by me.
Other than Florida, Oklahoma may be our only endowed state. Cartographicaly speaking. It’s a bit stubby and, as Gore Vidal says, all potatoes and no meat. Still, it’s OK by me.

Wednesday night
Amarillo, TX

I felt a little inadequate this morning headed out on I-44. The speed limit was 75 and I could only do 70. Still, I was making progress.

Five miles into it a hunter green pickup went whizzing by me in the left lane. Once he passed me he slowed down dramatically and put on his blinkers. I thought he me may be in trouble but it took me a while to catch up with him. He looked to be okay, in fact he looked great. A cute young guy with his baseball cap on backwards (always a good sign.) Made me think of other things.

After I passed him he honked and pulled up next to me. I rolled down the window as he yelled that my trailer was open. It was a back door issue all right but not the kind I’d hoped for.

As best I could I tried to thank him while we did our synchronized turnpike driving. Then I pulled onto the shoulder. The door was completely up but things had been packed so tightly nothing seemed to have fallen. In the little niche the movers had left for my suitcase, however, there was a void.

I wasn’t sure what to do next, look for it or carry on and not waste time. I went into my anti-possessive mode: stuff was lost, nothing could be done, just figure things out going forward. A practical plan even though I had hoped to change my underwear at least one more time on this trip.

At the next exit I got off to make a quick backtrack. I told the toll booth operator what happened, she said to pay and go around and they would give me a refund. Easier said than done. To my repertoire of Uhaul moves I’ve now added the Y turn.

And it wasn’t just any Y turn, it was basically a blind one. I was blocking one lane of traffic but tried to leave enough room for traffic to get around. I inched back and forth until I righted my position. As I retraced the route, I scoured the shoulders and ditches for my bag. Nothing.

On the Oklahoma/Texas velt
On the Oklahoma/Texas velt

Back at the Hampton Inn I thought maybe it fell out in the parking lot. Nothing. I went to talk to the clerk hoping someone had found it. It was the same grouchy lady with the Lorretta Lynn hairdo who had been so gruff when I checked out. I explained the situation. She flashed a big smile. A police officer had just been there making inquiries. She told me how to get to the police station.

I drove three miles to the Miami Oklahoma Civic Center and spoke to the desk officer. He seemed wary. I don’t think they’re used to 65-year-old platinum blond queens with faux mohawks and Stones Tongue T-shirts. He told me to wait.

He came back with another officer who walked me back to the holding room. He peppered me with questions: what had I lost, where might I have lost it, what was in it. I went into a detailed description of every pocket’s contents when he stopped me. “Okay, okay, okay. Does this look familiar?”

I’m still baffled how this happened since the lock has nothing to do with securing the lever that keeps the door closed. It’s just there to prevent break-ins. Obviously I hadn’t locked it completely which may have created enough space for the lever to spring free. In a truly Francis Scott Key moment, I was shocked that the lock was still there when I did the initial inspection.

As I walked out of the civic center I thanked the officer and told him I felt very lucky. He said that a year ago some kids found a wallet and returned it to the department. It belonged to the owner of the Miami (Florida) Marlins and contained some major dough. The owner flew the kids to the other Miami, paid for a hotel, and treated them to a game.

I asked the officer if I could give him anything. He smiled, said it would be inappropriate, then patted me on the back. “You be careful now.”

There’s obviously some good Karmic energy in Northeastern Oklahoma. I’ve reevaluated my bitchiness and promise never again to say anything snarky about the Miami Oklahoma Hampton Inn, the Miami Oklahoma Police Department, the Miami Tribe, or the Sooner State in general.*

This era of good feeling may only last until the state line. Texas probably won’t be so lucky.

Next time I'll get a second opinion
Next time I’ll get a second opinion

*this includes material I’ve been working on re: Timothy McVeigh, Uhauls loaded with fertilizer, Stillwater and the Kickapoo Nation.

Next: Breaking Up the Trip, Badly
Previous: Westward, Ho!


For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
For the complete eviction saga, From the Beginning

Westward, Ho!

Who you callin' a ho?
Who you callin’ a ho?

Tuesday 11:00 PM CST, then again Wednesday 8:30 AM CST
I fell asleep mid-keystroke
Miami, OK

I did so want to get a shot of Whitey yesterday when he saw the St. Louis Arch. His expressions are priceless. However, between operating the multi-ton vehicle, fumbling with the iphone, and trying to figure out which interstate to use since they completely closed down mine, I didn’t get it done.

I did tell him what that arch signified: over one billion suckered into manifesting their destiny. He was more curious about Santa Claus.

As the day started I had to decide whether I would be making stops at quirky attractions on the Odyssey. It slows you down but adds texture to the blog. So I’m doing it case by case.

Texture occurred an hour out of New Albany, the exit sign for Santa Claus, IN. I’d never been in this section of the state before and I’d always been curious. Why not.

Getting off the interstate I was reminded to write to Pelosi about pushing her Truth in Exit Signage bill through. SC was 8 miles away.

My first navigational dilemma of the journey occurred in downtown Santa. I don’t have to tell you what the morning commute is like on Christmas Blvd. I missed my turn into Santaland. Before I knew it I was on a country two lane highway headed towards Cynthiana.

My Siberian exchange student's first exposure to St. Nick
My Siberian exchange student’s first exposure to St. Nick

I thought of squaring the mile because you can always rely on those country grids. But since the road was empty I slowed down at an intersection and executed my first Uhaul U-ie. It was beautifully done.

Like every Christmas I’ve ever had, Santa Claus was a disappointment. Is that all there is? A strip mall with what looked like interesting merchandise, the quirk I crave, but they wouldn’t open for another hour. I had to keep moving.

There was a dress shop open that had some Santa stuff so I went in. I was greeted with the overwhelming fragrance of cheap candle, the Cloying Chokehold scent if I’m not mistaken. I made a purchase and photo-oped.

Later in a New Baden, IL restroom I happened on a rubbers machine worthy of the Beggars Banquet censored cover. It reminded me that Kathy and Linda were recently at a hotel in Reno and unbeknownst to them one of those Furry Animal Costume Sex Fest Conventions was going on (hetero sex is so disgusting.)

If lightning were to strike twice I do have my Siberian mask with me. And protection to go with it.

How do I explain this to Whitey
How do I explain this to Whitey

Next: A Uhauler’s Nightmare
Previous: Trucker Etiquette

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
For the complete eviction saga, From the Beginning

Trucker Etiquette

A boy and his 20 footer
A boy and his 20 footer

Tuesday, 1:30 PM CST
Shiloh, IL

Unlike rental cars that send you out with a full tank, you pick up and return the Uhaul at whatever level the previous customer left it. Mine was 3/8 but I didn’t feel like filing it right away. I wanted to get accustomed to the vehicle first.

After about 50 miles in the pelting rain I stopped for gas in, appropriately enough, Gas City. Easy in and out. Then I saw a Starbucks down the road and went for it. I wasn’t sure where to park because I was still in always forward (never reverse) mode.

I circled Starbucks once then looked next door at Taco Bell and saw them: the Lardassians. Big people driving a big pickup hauling a big boat. They parked sideways taking up 9 spaces then waddled in for their Supreme Mission Clanger Deluxe with extra cheese. I learned how to park.

I also learned why truckers drive the way they do. In the left lane it’s all about the competition. In the right lane it’s about survival. It takes forever to stop those things so you leave many truck lengths in front of you and plenty of room at the on/off ramps. I even slowed down and let people on in front of me. Unheard of.

I also used my turn signals to change lanes which I never do.   In a car I can execute the manouever faster than I can flip the lever.  There’s no wasted motion in my day.

But when you’re not sure what you’re seeing in the side mirrors is accurate you use every device at your disposal. I confess I got goose bumps the first time I passed a truck, signaled to get back in his lane and he flashed his lights. They like me. They really like me.

I left New Albany around 8 am. Happy to report I got ‘er up to 70 this morning. Suck on that Sammy.

A White Siberian and his 20 footer
A White Siberian and his 20 footer

Next: Westward, Ho!
Previous: I Have No Choice But to Drive 55

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
For the complete eviction saga, From the Beginning


I Have No Choice But To Drive 55

Whatcha hauling?
Whatcha hauling?

Monday, 6:00 PM EST

Not as poetic as Sammy Haggar but the truth. Leaning to handle this 20 foot thing in pouring rain. And trying to adjust to everyone passing me in the left lane. This just can’t be.

Emptied two full storage rooms which made me happy. This truck weighs tons. One of the mover kids remarked, “these old things are heavy.”

But he also seemed amused when I explained that the sides were so low on this one antebellum Victorian side chair to accommodate women’s hoop skirts. I try to never miss an opportunity to teach.

I’m off to New Albany to stay with my Derby friends, Jan & Mar. Only a four-hour drive but just had to get going. This Odyssey thang is on.

Next: Trucker Etiquette
Previous: Whitey

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road
For the complete eviction saga, From the Beginning




As I prepare for the great U-haul crossing, one can’t overestimate the importance of travel accessories. I’m lucky to have recently acquired this White Siberian Tiger Back Pack. So handy for incidentals.

I can’t wait to wear it into the truck stops along Interstate 40, not to mention the cowboy bars in Amarillo. Pee Wee redux.

As the crow flies....
As the crow flies….

Next: I Have No Choice But To Drive 55
Previous: Whither Shall I Wonder?
The complete saga, From the Beginning

For the complete travelogue see On the Odyssey Road