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Thoughts and Feelings

Stranger in a Same Land

Hey Team,

First. Charley hearts Macworld and I’ve had a chance to learn a LOT about podcasting. Unfortunately for me those lessons will probably result in better lives for you guys than for me. Most of the lessons, although great lessons that I hope will help me produce a better podcast, mean more work for my already ridiculously overloaded schedule. (That kind of sounded like whining. Let me clarify) More work or no I’ve VERY excited by the prospect of improving Amtrekker as much as possible.

Okey dokey…here’s the stuff I actually wanted to write about.

I’ve been traveling for a while now (6ish months) and everywhere I go I’m a fish out of water. I never have any concept of which direction I should be heading, what the people are like or how I got SO thoroughly lost in such a short period of time. But apparently things can get even weirder (more weird?).

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been to San Francisco. We came here every once in a while when I was little (I grew up about three hours from here) and we came here fairly regularly when I was in college (I went to school about an More >

#22 Be a guest on a talk show BONUS #5 Enter a hotdog eating contest! [podcast]

Hey Team,

Here’s the Amtrekker cut of the Fox Business News’ “Happy Hour” program! It’s a little too long for youtube to accept so I’ll have to work on an alternative for some of you folks. (ahHA! Here’s a link that might work for some of you peeps.) But for the rest of you normal people…


I’m done.


Entertained people are generous people!

How entertained are you feeling?

Show Me…Good People

Hey Team,

I’ve had a couple experiences recently that have done a great job of backing up my belief that the world is FILLED with awesome people eager to help a stranger in need…or maybe just help a stranger regardless of whether or not they are “in need.” The exciting thing is these experiences weren’t even first hand!

So what has me so excited about anecdotal evidence? Well, mostly it puts to rest the idea that I am the only one affecting the positive experiences that I HAVE had first hand on this trip.

So, rather than tell you guys stories second hand (and I’m really excited about this so don’t let me down) I made a thread in the forum for everyone (EVERYONE…this is your homework people. I’m not blind and I have fancy software. I know that HUNDREDS of people read this everyday…so you lurkers better pony up and stop putting the burden on the fifteen people that leave comments) to leave their story about an experience when a stranger swooped in to save the day.

Maybe they just pulled over to help when the car broke down. Maybe they gave you a couple bucks for gas. Maybe they took More >

Escape from Arkadelphia (updated with pictures!)

Hey Team,

Here’s an adventure story for you. And since it largely happened on the 12th it’s completely expected. (I wont go into why my aversion to the number 12 is literally the ONLY superstition I hold onto. Suffice it to say multiple broken bones are involved.)

After the Crater of Diamonds experience I had Jim drop me off by the side of the road in a town called Arkadelphia (you can’t make these names up) figuring I could catch a ride to Texas or grab a bus. Unfortunately, I quickly learned there was no such thing as buses in Arkadelphia, or trains…or people willing to offer a personable guy a ride.

Five hours later my “TEXAS PLEASE” sign had elicited no rides but it was such a beautiful day I really didn’t mind. In fact I even got a message from Chase in Nashville asking how things were going to which I said, “I’m stuck again but at least it’s a nice night.”

Five minutes later the wind picked up and suddenly my “TEXAS PLEASE” sign was more like an unfurled sail ready to drag me to Texas by whatever means necessary. Slightly inconvenient but not enough to kill my good mood. Cue More >

Quitters Never Prosper

Hey Team,

Anyone know of a hitchhiking 101 course I could crash at a local JC or anything? What is it about hitchhiking and colossal failures in the world of Amtrekker? I JUST got picked up 19 miles outside of Nashville by Chase, one of the guys I’ve been staying with for the last few days, after spending the last SEVEN hours “hitchhiking.”

Yeah, you read that right, NINETEEN miles in SEVEN hours. That’s 2.71 miles per hour…I might as well have started walking to Little Rock.

Bottom line: I’m a quitter. Once it was clear I wasn’t going to be picked up in the dark I called Chase, who earned a gold star by coming to my rescue, and then promptly caved and bought a bus ticket for the 12:40 am bus.

I hate that.

I’m done.


Anyone want to help pay for a bus ticket?

You never know, you might get a good pedophile story out of it.

“No, it’s not O.KKK.”

Hey Team,

I passed by a memorial today and it made me sad…but for all the wrong reasons. It was an enormous statue of a man on horseback in a Confederate cavalry uniform surrounded by the thirteen flags of the Confederacy. The man was Nathan Bedford Forrest.

It was a tough thing to think about. After driving by it with my Nashville hosts, I spent the rest of the ride sitting in complete silence trying to figure out why anyone would go through the effort of building and maintaining such a colossal tribute to hate. And the more I thought about it the more incapable I found myself of actually being able to wrap my head around this monstrosity.

Part of the reason it’s so difficult to understand is my own upbringing. California has the highest minority population of any state in the Union and growing up in the neighborhood I did means I was the one in the minority. But that was the norm. The biggest culture shock I’ve ever encountered, even more so than fighting through a language barrier in another country, was moving to a rural area where I was suddenly surrounded by nothing but white people.

It boggles my mind More >

Impulse vs. Intelligence: Round 1

Hey Team,

I’m unbelievably frustrated at myself right now. I’m sitting here staring at page after page of information on the webernets trying to make a decision about what I should be doing tomorrow. I wish you guys could read this fast enough to give me some timely advice but I’ll need to have made my decision by then…so, way to be no help whatsoever, Team. (Kidding. You’re awesome. Don’t hurt me.)

Here are the facts:

1. There’s a Civil War reenactment tomorrow and Sunday, six hours away in North Carolina.

2. I’m not guaranteed an opportunity to take part in the reenactment.

3. The battlefield is 13.1 miles from the bus stop and the place I have to stay is 16.2 miles from the battlefield and the only transportation options are my feet or hitch hiking.

4. If I stay at the battlefield I’d have to luck into someone with an extra sleeping bag and a willingness to let a stranger share their tent.

5. Low of 31 degrees in NC.

6. There are plenty more Civil War Reenactments scheduled for the winter months.

7. If I go to Alabama to go ride a horse through a covered bridge then I’m giving super short notice to Laura, the More >


Hey Team,

I had a fun-filled, turkey-fueled day with the Fiamingo family in Mansfield, PA. Not only did they take me in on what is traditionally more of a family holiday (which frankly, I’ve always thought was strange since basically it was all about taking in people in need when those pilgrims first flunked winter) but they fed me what was (don’t read the next ten words, mom) quite possible the best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever had.

That was followed by a two-hour food coma and dessert was served in the midst of them letting me win at a grueling 24 hour (I’m just going off of how long it felt, I didn’t check the time) Trivial Pursuit game. Which, by the way, makes me 2 for 2 in Trivial Pursuit for this trip. That’s right…Amtrekker’s undefeated. Bring in on people.

Basically it all comes down to this: my gain, your loss. As a result of all the food, folks and fun (please don’t sue me, McDonald’s) I didn’t have much time to get any video work done today and that filthy fun killer tryptophan is doing a number on my ability to stay conscious. (Upon rereading I see it has also More >

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