Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 2 – Issue. 3

3680 miles traveled – Crossing the 45th parallel

My war with auto flush toilets continues.

I freakin’ hate those things. I haven’t decided which is more abhorrent to me, the amount of water they waste, or the fact that they rob us of individual choice. I come from the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” school of thought, and I don’t appreciate some soulless machine undoing my environmental do-gooding. My enemy, the largest producer of autoflush toilets, is Zurn Corporation.


Kinda sounds like Zurg, the evil overlord from Toy Story 2. Maybe it’s his little brother who decided to do his evil work through manipulation of the plumbing industry. Every time I use one of those stupid things I stick chewed-up toilet paper over the sensor.

Take that ZURN!

I want to print up stickers; I have them all laid out in my head. There will be three styles to fit the three different kinds of sensors. There’ll be a hole cut out for the flush button and a friendly arrow that says, “push button to flush!” And then in small print, maybe with parentheses around it, it will say, “autoflush toilets waste water, tell the people!”

For her part, J is still educating school food servers everywhere on why they shouldn’t be serving their food on Styrofoam. (If you’re wondering why they shouldn’t, it’s because it’s bad. Very bad.) We carry Tupperware around with us everywhere and it’s still a struggle to get some folks to put our food on it. Though it’s a lot easier than it was in Florida. We were actually eating in an Indian restaurant the other night and the server asked us if we wanted a box. J politely said no and pulled out our Tupperware. He looked confused, so I told that we just hate to waste resources. He said, “From now on I tell everyone, ‘bring your own’, otherwise five dollars per box!”

Anyway, like I said we’re in Idaho. I want to describe how pretty everything is here, but I’m having trouble coming up with images. “The landscape is like a big porcupine with fuzzy brown quills and lush greenish yellow skin, except then sometimes all the quills go away like they’ve been shaved by and even bigger razor…'' uh…''”

Anyway it’s pretty. We’ve driven through at least four different ecologies between Boise and Moscow. Oh, and Moscow. Moscow, Idaho is this cool college town up north. I thought it was a little sketchy at first, but it’s really very nice. A friend of ours used to live here, so we went around town a bit to see what it was like. It has a farmers market, TWO food co-ops, friendly people and a decent presence of politically minded folks. My favorite tee-shirt here reads, “Idaho? No, Udaho”

As we drive I notice the signs in Idaho are friendly, albeit a little wacky. The anti-litter signs say, “Idaho is too great to litter.” These are amazingly refreshing compared to the signs of Washington state, a mere 30 miles west, theirs say, “If you litter, you will pay! We’ll kill you! You’ll go down!”

Every two miles in Idaho is a sign that says, “Watch for Rock.” Is this one big rock, or plural rock, or is it just the concept of rock? I keep expecting Ronnie James Dio or Bon Jovi to jump out in front of the car.

Every four miles there is a sign that says, “Avoid Windshield Damage.” Hey, thanks! I wasn’t going to avoid windshield damage, but now I will…'' just as soon as I figure out how to avoid windshield damage. Actually as I write this, we just passed another sign that said, and I quote, “Trust in Jesus. Organic Produce. Bunnies.” The meaning here is so profound and obvious that I won’t sully it with an interpretation.

J has been complaining that I’m scaring her while I drive. It has something to do with my saying, “Oh shit” every twenty minutes while driving. On my end, I’m just remembering something I forgot to do earlier. For her, she’ll be asleep and wake up screaming, “What? What!?” We’ve made a new agreement, she’ll ignore everything I say, unless I scream, “Awake, and stare into the oncoming face of death!”

The word of the day is Knitting. J is crazy about knitting, I mean crazy. She’s knitting sweaters and hats and a nice cozy for the truck. [J note: What he fails to mention is the SEVEN balls of yarn he has also purchased. He is going for the most-scarves-knitted-in-one-month trophy. He has decided to knit a scarf for every member of his family, and mine, with backups in case they don’t like his design choices.] [I am not knitting a cozy for the truck. It is 16 ft long and 12 ft high. And I can’t decide which color would look best.]

She’s doing this in addition to writing a story every week. [J note: In addition to giving up on one story every week.]

[Actually, this morning I went for a walk in Moscow, and saw many fine and interesting things, the most interesting of this was a big firing range board complete with silhouette nailed to someone’s garage door with the word “kill” painted on it about a hundred times. I am not kidding.]

Did you know I’m writing a novel in November?

November is “National Novel Writing Month” Seriously; check out Every November hundreds of people trying write an entire 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I will be one of these people. (Yes, yes, applaud if you must.)

Now, I want to make a few things clear: I am NOT writing a novel because I am jealous of J, who is a genius writer, and who has finished TWO novels [J note: One and a third. First drafts.]. I am NOT writing a novel to avoid finishing my latest album, which is supposed to have (gasp) melodies and, (cringe) vocals. I am NOT writing a novel to reassure myself that I have accomplished something by the time I am 35 and am still a virile, capable, sexy guy, even though I have some grey hair.

Well hell, why am I writing a novel?

Why did that one blind guy climb mount-whatever-it-was? Why did Amelia Airheart fly over whatever she flew over. Why did…'' oh hell I don’t know. It just seemed like a good idea back when I started bragging to the whole world that I was going to writing a whole freaking novel in 30 freaking days. But I have figured out what the first line of my book will be;


“Oh shit! I’m trying to write a novel in a month. What was I thinking? What the hell am I doing!?”

Anyway, more later. Today is our day off and we’re going white water rafting.

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