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California

Is Horse Feed Really a Good Idea Anyway?

Hey Team,

I’ve been reading quite a bit about moonshine lately since I’ve recently decided I don’t want to poison myself like so many ill-advised hillbillies before me. As a result I felt pretty confident when I set out this afternoon to hunt down some grain for the “mash” to start the fermentation process. A quick half hour to and from the Tack and Feed store and I’d be set. Easy. Amazon.com Widgets

Here’s the thing. Nothing is ever easy in my world. (Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way. Where would the fun be in that? And where would I get all these ridiculous stories from?!)

When it comes right down to it, even after HOURS of researching moonshine making techniques and recipes, all I really knew was that the recipe I had decided to use (because it looked simple) recommended a five gallon bucket of “MannaPro Hi Grain sweet feed.”

I have no idea what that means.

“Hi. Do you guys sell, MannaPro Hi Grain sweet feed?”

“What’s that?”

“I thought you were suppose to take it from there. I don’t even know what the words I just said mean…I’m just on an errand for my aunt.” Ha! That’ll throw them off the More >

Nightmares

Hey Team,

Every since I was very young I’ve had a problem with terrible nightmares. Sometimes it’s not so much that they’re gruesome, or even “scary,” it’s often just a matter of how extraordinarily vivid they are. I can’t exactly remember when this became a problem…as far back as I can recall I would lie awake in bed at night praying that I wouldn’t have a nightmare despite the fact that I’ve never been all that religious.

“Please God, pretty please God, don’t let me have nightmares. Please God, pretty please God, don’t let me have nightmares. Please God, pretty please God, don’t let me have nightmares.”

Obviously, I was at my wit’s end when it came to stopping them and yet one day they were just gone.

Since then they’ve kind of ebbed and flowed with whatever weird stresses wander in and out of my life. I don’t understand and I haven’t been able to find a pattern; I just know some nights I wake up and want nothing more than to stay awake and not have to slide back into that dream world, “just in case.”

So, why would I give everyone such an intensely personal insight into the life and times of More >

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Wholesale Slaughter

Hey Team,

I rode the motorcycle up to Northern California yesterday to meet with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in a very long time. It seemed like a simple enough procedure and in many ways it was…it just wasn’t a very comfortable ride.

Turns out this is also butterfly mating season here in California and along the scenic (and not so scenic) highways butterflies are chasing each other around at high speeds and following unpredictable paths like a bunch of drunken, horny high school seniors after prom night. Except now picture thousands upon thousands of prom nighters all bouncing off my windshield and helmet. (Wait…that analogy broke down somewhere.)

The point is: I was LITERALLY dodging butterflies as I was riding the bike. Bobbing and weaving my head trying not to catch a bug to the face mask that would obstruct my vision and the whole time thinking about that board game “SPLAT!” (I know you know what I’m talking about. It’s like Sorry! but with the added fun of crushing each other’s bug shaped play-dough playing pieces.)

The worst part is that the windshields on motorcycles are only so big. As a result every cute little butterfly that bounces off is More >

New Occupation: Used Car Salesman?

Hey Team,

I’m strongly considering selling my car. It’s been sitting around somewhere in California for over a year now and in the intervening time two very important things have happened. 1) I’ve learned how to travel the entire country without my own mode of transportation and 2) I’ve ostensibly run out of money.

Here’s what I’m thinking. In these times of high gas prices do I even want a car when I get back? Granted my car gets pretty good gas mileage (about 33 MPG) but that just brings me to another point. For the first time ever used cars with high MPG ratings are actually appreciating. Why not capitalize on that?

And yes, I will probably need some form of transportation when I get back but motorcycles are so much cheaper AND more fuel-efficient. Not too mention I will more than likely be moving to either the LA or SF areas and have ready access to planet saving public transportation.

Further more, how nice would it be to finish the trip with some kind of monetary cushion that would give me some stress free time to find another occupation?

Well, what do you think? Did I convince you? Because I’m not sure More >

Where Oh Where Has My Amtrekker Gone…

Hey Team,

Still a lot going on over here and there are probably quite a few explanations in order. First things first: My bus pass expired! Never thought I’d have mixed feelings about this one. I’m SUPER excited that I don’t feel obligated to take the bus everywhere anymore and if I get my way (unlikely) then I’ll never have to ride a greyhound ever again! But on the other hand, the Amtrekker account is at low ebb and I don’t exactly know how I’m going to globetrot to my next destination.

Further more, I’m not even sure what my next destination is. As usual Plan A has fallen through leaving me to rack my brain trying to remember if I ever had a Plan B (probably not). I’ve been bouncing around California for the last couple weeks hating that I can’t go home when I’m so close and trying to figure out if I have time to trek across the country before I would like to be back in CA at the end of the month for moonshine with Dr. Tiki and one of my best friend’s 30th birthday party (probably not).

You’d think all this would leave me with more than More >

Charley’s Malaise

Hey Team,

I still have to figure out what to do with my week before I head down south again to finally knock out that pesky moonshine objective with Dr. Tiki. SO, today I’m taking off for Crater Lake National Park and the State of Oregon so that I can finally cross off the geocaching in that state. (Which, by the way, I’ve failed at TWICE.)

In other news: the diagnosis for Charley’s malaise has finally, officially, come in from the Apple geniuses and no joke, it makes me kind of sad. Being told that his battery was going bad was kind of like finding out my cat had Leukemia. At first I didn’t understand how it could be possible then I just didn’t want it to be true. And to make matters worse batteries aren’t covered under the Apple Care warranty so Charley is just going to have to limp through life for the next couple months until Amtrekker is over and I can actually afford to grab the little guy a new battery.

On hindsight maybe the anthropomorphism of Charley wasn’t such a great idea. I wouldn’t be so disappointed if I didn’t think of him as my favorite travel companion, one More >

Welcome to Crazytown. Population: Me

Hey Team,

Sometimes it concerns me that when I’m forced to spend a lot of time alone I may not be much more than a hop, skip and a jump from Crazytown. It feels like there’s a thin wall between sane and insane in my life but that wall is really more of a sheet of rubber than a stack of bricks. If I lean to hard I end up crossing that line…but so far I rebound back.

After this last week I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe there were a small tear in that sheet too.

The funny thing about Amtrekker is that people assume I spend a lot of time alone. But nothing could be further from the truth. If anything I have less alone time now than I ever have before. The alone time that I get now is a different flavor though. I don’t end up just alone but sometimes completely cut off.

This isn’t the greatest example but over the last five days I spent a total of 24 hours on a motorcycle with nothing but the sound of wind bouncing of my helmet to keep me company. In the meantime my brain took a running jump at that More >

Hugfest 2008

Hey Team,

Today was a surprisingly hectic day considering ninety percent of the time I was sitting still. I rode the motorcycle from San Pedro, CA to Oceanside, CA to meet up with Sonny and Sandy of podcacher.com fame and do a little interview with them (both SUPER nice people) before jumping back on the bike and riding another five hours to my cousin Chris’s wedding reception.

Most of the people at the wedding have been watching my every move via the website but this was the first time I had seen many of them since Amtrekker began. Hugfest 2008 started as soon as I walked through the door (an hour late) and most of the conversations were very similar.

“Brett! How are you?”

“Great!”

“I saw you ________. I can’t believe that happened! How many do you have left?”

It was actually kind of fun to tell the same stories over and over again to audiences that were that excited to hear the details though. However, here’s what I learned (and I honestly believe this is an important topic and before today I didn’t even realize it was an issue): Never underestimate how important the ability to end a conversation is.

It wasn’t much of More >


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