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Uncertain Times

Hey Team,

Here’s the update. I’ll be flying out of LA in the next day or two on a donated airline buddy pass bound for Orlando so I can knock out SCUBA diving. That should give me a couple weeks to hitchhike back across the country for the big finish passing through Atlanta for the horse through the covered bridge with CNN’s News To Me!

It’s funny that even after almost a year and a half practice put into “amtrekking” AND with the October 25th deadline looming the final two objectives still feel so tenuous. I haven’t actually spoken to anyone about SCUBA diving but I have sent out a few emails so basically for that one I’m relying on the fact that I’m already certified and blind dumb luck. I’m really not sure how that one is going to happen but I figure I have at least a little bit of time to figure it out.

I got a call from the folks at CNN (the ones I did an interview with earlier in the year) last week and they sounded pretty excited about helping to set up the horse through the covered bridge but I haven’t heard from them in a More >

#13 Race Dirtbikes! [*updated with pictures!*]

Hey Team,

Not that I’m not known for making bad decisions (who doesn’t love double negatives) but I’ve had better ideas than allowing the first time I’ve ever so much as sat down on a dirt bike to be the practice lap for a dirt bike race. Seriously. What was I thinking?

I can only tell you what was going through my mind after I had made my decision and I sat on the bike in a line of dozens of other riders all waiting for their turns at the track. (Everyone gets the opportunity to take a few laps before the races to get a feel for the dirt and the nuances of the track. Unfortunately for me…I got those same few laps to learn how to ride a dirt bike.)

“Well, at least this bike can’t kick me to death if I piss it off,” I thought aloud as I looked down to see if the bruise from the ostrich-racing escapade had healed yet. But as I looked down I saw the bike next to me and thought about how unforgiving that knobby-wheeled little machine must be when it runs you over after you fall on turn one like an amateur More >

Stylish Dead Folks

Hey Team,

Between twitter making me lazy and being stuck in a hearse for a week (Who would have ever thought I’d have the opportunity to say that and mean it?) there hasn’t been much new info up here in the last few days. But SO much has happened and so much is in the process of happening that I don’t anticipate running out of things to say anytime soon (much to everyone I meet in person’s dismay).

Here’s the scoop on the hearse and tomorrow I’ll fill you folks in on yesterday’s dirt bike race!

Thanks to a ride down to Seymour, IN with my Indianapolis couch surfing host, Karla, this past Tuesday I was able to pick up the classiest Dead People Mobile I had ever seen. If dead people wanted to ride in style circa 1984 then the only real option would be this Cadillac Hearse…anything else would be uncivilized. (Not to give you the wrong impression: despite all the strange questions I got while driving not one person asked for fancy mustard.)

There was no real rush to deliver the car to San Francisco from “Team Do or Die” (the endurance racing team that paid for the gas for me to More >

Crop Circling

Hey Team,

Here’s the rest of the crop circle adventure.

On day two Amber and I spent a little over an hour outlining the crop circle design using stakes and 1000 ft of cheap twine I picked up at the local dollar store. After the entire thing was laid out and the string pulled tight it was clear that there was NO WAY we were going to be able to tell if we made what we were shooting for or not.

It was so big that we couldn’t see one end of the design from the other so even trying to tell if the lines were straight was impossible…much less whether or not the proportions looked right. Even after another four hours of fighting to the death “mano a Russian Knapweed” I was convinced we had just spent two days and nearly 24 man-hours making a pretty mediocre looking “crop circle.”

By the time we were finished and pulled up all of our lines darkness was creeping up again and there wasn’t going to be enough time to try to figure out how we were going to get a picture to confirm our mediocrity. Instead we got up early the next morning and hit More >

Pinko Commie Crops

Hey Team,

Sorry for keeping you guys in the dark during the whole crop circle adventure. I’ve been living life without the internet all week and let me just be the first to say, “A life without the internet is no life at all.”

Now I’m in the backseat of a Subaru with two spaniels named Bo and Carl jockeying for lap position with Charley. More importantly…I have an internet connection!

Here’s the short version and I’ll give you an update with pictures later tonight or tomorrow morning:

I spent the week in Beulah, MI where I had permission to destroy 80 acres of cover crop (Russian Knapweed) in an effort to “create a crop circle.” I checked out the field in the daylight the first full day I was in town and was super pumped about the prospect of creating my own hundred foot high design in plant life. The crop was waist high and on the dying side and looked like it was going to be perfect! AND, when I walked off the field I discovered it was about 250 ft wide by 2100 ft long so there was plenty of room to do whatever I wanted.

Which was the first problem. When More >

Set Your Calendars!

Hey Team,

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to call this post “Set Your Calendars” or “The End Is Near!” But in the grand style of ridiculous optimism befitting Amtrekker I’m hoping this will just be a new beginning for the next chapter in the life of Brett and not an “end.” Whether or not the next chapter is any better than the last (and frankly, I’m not sure how it could be) is anyone’s guess. Just the way I like it.

Bottom line: Here it is. The date we’ve all been waiting for. A final bow before we close the curtain on this all too public display of tomfoolery. More importantly, a party of epic proportions. The kind which can only be thrown by someone who suddenly finds himself with a ridiculously long list of friends and people that have touched his life over the course of SIXTEEN months of vagrancy masquerading as travel.

October 25th, 2008.

And in the spirit of over FIFTY videos in which you folks have watched me do one stupid thing after another with a never-say-die-but-screaming-like-a-little-girl-is-fair-game attitude here are the 5 W’s and the H.

Who: You guys. If you’re reading this I absolutely want you to be there. More >

Back on the Train

Hey Team,

It’s official, for the first time in MONTHS I’m back on a train! Man I missed these things. Lots of legroom, a little outlet right next to my seat for Charley to suck dry, and seats wider than my tiny little backside.


I wasn’t able to pull together enough cash for another rail pass but I did get enough for a one-way ticket to Michigan to make the crop circle happen! (Thanks a TON to everyone that donated this week! You guys are amazing. Seriously…one full ton of thanks.) And in a startling turn of luck (the kind that I often have to ignore else I start to think the world really does revolve around me) a team of endurance racers (www.24hoursoflemons.com) and I came to an agreement on transportation westward after the MI. I’m picking up a 1984 Cadillac hearse in Indianapolis later this week that they need to have in San Francisco around the end of the month. As a result I get a cool ride to the last couple destinations I need to hit in the Midwest with Team Do or Die buying the gas and they get their car delivered to San Francisco by a trustworthy More >

American Rail Passes…FOR AMERICANS!

Hey Team,

In the process of trying to figure out how I’m going to get from California to Michigan in the next few days I made a startling discovery! There was a time not so very long ago (this was true within the last six months) that Amtrak didn’t actually allow residents of the US or Canada to buy regional rail passes. A shame because they are so reasonably priced!

The first couple months of my epic adventure I was purchasing North American Rail Passes which although awesome and versatile are kind of pricey at nearly $1000 dollars a piece whereas had I not been born in this great country of ours I could have scored a USA rail pass for a scant $389! Or even cheaper for the regional passes!

A fantastic deal that I would recommend ANYONE look into especially if you’re already planning a lengthy trip. But in this case the bottom line is this: Amtrekker is slowly coming to a close. I only have about one more month to go before things are completely wrapped up and I already have all of the objectives lined up! The only thing holding the adventure back is a mode of travel to More >

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