There we were, back on the road, barreling through Pennsylvania on route 80 after a few days of high drag and low speed during the end of winter in Springtown, Pennsyltuckey. Shooting guns and watching Caddy Shack. On the road, where we belong, quenching the constant thirst for adventure Jax the Lion and I always feel after stoppages (not to be confused with the necessary pauses that are required to stay whole in our modern society). Traveling way too slow and taking way too few drugs. Although we still made it down to the great Shenandoah National Park in record time only to find out we shouldn’t stay the night there, as is the theme of such fly by the seat of your pants kind of adventures that I at least prefer. Luckily there was a state Park not 5 miles down the road. We pulled into our spot by the river, paid and at that point I had realized I had brought the smallest tent in existence which would hold about the half of a man. We said fuck it. He put up his hammock up. And I decided to sleep on the park bench (thank you Virginia State Parks). At that point the Lion’s infinite wisdom kicked in and we grabbed the whiskey we had packed and started drinking and going deep into the conscious and subconscious mind that makes humans beautiful and terrible at the same time and dug into the “heavy” material inside of us. After this we slept, and woke up cold and wet and perfectly stuffy.
We then hopped back in the car after grabbing a few bags of wood and paying a reasonable price. as we were leaving the park, as we turned the last curve in the road before we left for possibly the first and last time we would enter that piece of serenity we saw it, a sunrise, a simple sunrise, and I tend to think that a simple sunrise is a perfect sun rise for even in the simplicity of the moment the complexity of the world is instilled into it, and we knew that our journey was blessed. Jake again in his infinite wisdom stuck between the admiration of awe that a child has and the wisdom of an old man knowing that moments like this are few and far between and much too precious to not capture threw on the hazard lights and jumped out of the car to not miss what could only be described as a good omen at the very least and the touch of God herself at most. We then drove to a gas station to fill up and pick up some supplies where Jake took what he described and I’m paraphrasing here “an epic shit”. Back ON THE ROAD! This time it was a road indeed, and an epic road at that although more evidence is needed pertaining to the matter of whether this road was as epic as the Lion’s shit. This road was built on top of some of the oldest mountains on earth with cousins north to Scandinavia and south to the lower Americas. And these mountains were magical. Not in a sense of wizards living in towers but more in a sense of magical majesty although all sorts of magicians of every magical doctrine traveled using the paths carved through these mountains some heading to our very destination on this journey, hearing the whispers in the wind that our main mission spoke, some to ruin and some to reward. We stopped countless times to inspect countless views at countless pullover spots until we realized we would get now where if we didn’t get on the road. We let ourselves stop to take a hike, stretch out legs somewhere. This is where I realized how out of shape I have let myself and the first time I saw tangible evidence how powerful basketball players trunk and legs truly are. We happened upon some fantastic views and had an all-around great time sitting on cliffs relaxing and enjoying the moment. From there I took my “epic shit” somewhere around Harper’s Ferry. Then off the Blue Ridge Parkway onto one of the many highways that bypass this great nation. Into Asheville at about 6pm.
We checked out Asheville as we drove to our hostel. the city was unassuming and not very much interesting from the outside but our tired eyes saw what possibilities it held and wondered what interesting sights we might be up against in the coming hours. the wondering of our hostel was lost to the glory of getting clean and washing off all the sweat and road dust we had accumulated. there is something purifying in washing up after a couple of days of hard earned stench, especially for two heterosexual bachelors slightly on the prowl without searching for it for equal partners to match them in the union of opposites to make the beast with two backs come alive in natural purity. CLEAN, and then if (the) God(s) had blessed us a troupe college aged girls on a mission trip and their chaperons offered us dinner to and with the pious appreciation of monks we accepted because to be clean and to have a full belly going into a night of as Cole Porter would sing “Anything Goes” is like a sign from heaven saying to Jacob and I that our path has been placed for us and we have been going the right way. we relaxed for a while around the hostel preparing and inspecting ourselves for the night ahead. and then we left out into the clean night of Asheville, North Carolina to drink and be merry. First bar: Tiki Themed punk rock with a hint of middle aged despair which the main characters of this serial have been trying to sprint from ever having to live through. Indeed, it is better to be dead than to be dead inside. We did find out one important detail that I will carry with me henceforth older women are attracted to my dear friend the lion
As we parted ways with those middle aged would be additions to the intercontinental harem Jake and I were already scrounging up and slamming our ridiculously high priced drinks (for me at least, I grew up in a town where you could get any beer you dreamed of ( you only dreamed of Bud, Coors, Miller and Pabst if your trying to look classy) for dollar and a quarter and whiskey for a dollar or two a shot), our light hearts and high spirits carried us into the cool night and to the arms of our loving cellular devices as we looked for bar number two on the geographical maps within. The Milfs had suggested some places and we were glad for their help as we walked to the first tap house of the night. It was at this point I started to feel a buzz as I had already imbibed two aptly named “Zombie’s at the previous establishment or as my heart would sing “We were halfway to Burial Brewery when the drugs hit”.
I think at this point it would be prudent to get the reader know I had lost my Driver’s license at the beach in Puerto Rico months earlier while I was stationed there, and the consistent movement and depression that I experienced after the movement led me to not care much about getting one. It was another stress added onto this trip of two feral animals living in a civilized world. We were indeed feral at this time. We were to the world wild eyed unclean animals, rough and distorted around the edges, desperately clawing for freedom but stuck in a deep mud pit of our American values. Don’t get this Urus wrong I love this country I’m just not particularly fond of the things we have done to her.
At Burial we were welcomed in by the art deco moldings of the working blue collar American man turned into in my eyes what I can only imagine are what vegans see when they walk into Teddy Roosevelts hunting cabin. Rakes, shovels, hoes and picks, axes, posthole diggers, saws and mauls hung on the walls like the tapestries of what could have been in front of men who would never enjoy the calluses those tools could give a man and even more so, the pleasant feeling of having done the lords work, whatever lord that is. This wasn’t really my spot. The beer was good and he ironic street art was comically stirring but deep in my heart another feeling stirred: angry exasperation. The idea that the tools of my fathers and their silent unseen tears from tireless work and those still born cows and the sleepless nights. The tools that they worked too hard with and were paid too little from would end up as decorations in a hip bar where the unthankful ancestors of the unthankful masses for which they provided for drank draughts but never knowing the feeling of an ice-cold beer after a long hot day of hauling hay.
Here despite my misgivings I had some of the best craft beer I may have ever had in a flight provided by the always perfectly timed Lion, Leader of the great pride of Mil-walk-aye. Waking me from my distempered thoughts. We sat in a beer garden obvious designed by someone under a quarter of a century or someone who wished it to be so. Here Sloth and Burt Reynolds or Burt Reynolds and Sloth as a mural we found in that spot had the two wrapped up in a friendly embrace, drank of the earth and prepared for the continuation of our night time alcoholic adventure.
From there we traveled down an alley and into Hobbiton and a round door with square hinges and into a basement where the sounds of a one-man band and the sight and scent of a pretty bartender tended to my dry mouth and my shit heart, irrespectively. I feel like this is about as domestic as our night got, we played a game with a couple from the area and shared a drink with them, but our night was geared towards the mysteriousness of the outside world. This time instead of 2 feet, this time we grabbed and uber that jettisoned use to West Asheville and stranger country.
See you in two weeks, and if two weeks don’t come, see you in oblivion.