Day 14: Ghostly Oddities, pt. I

Good afternoon, ghostlings! Today my Impala and I reached a milestone:


100K!!! And I managed to snap a pic of it without causing a major accident on the 580!

This is definitely the last hurrah for my Chevy; I can’t imagine it surviving much long-distance travel after this Tour. Which is a shame, because the more I visit places across the U.S. the more I want to come back. There are so many parks, hiking trails, towns, restaurants, beaches, coffee shops that I wanted to stop at throughout this journey. It’s almost cruel how much experience this land has to offer. I want it all. I’m a white American and I want everything. CAN I HAVE IT, PLEASE?!?

Also, notice the temperature reading on the dashboard. That was a few hours ago; now I’m sitting at a Starbucks in Fresno, CA where it’s close to 90 degrees. It’s amazing how much the weather can vary within the same state. I’m back in the heat and I’m sure to remain there for some time; perhaps even the duration of this trip.

Tonight I’m headed down to L.A. where I’m sure a great many ghostly adventures will occur. But until then I wanted to do something a bit different for today’s post. When you travel on the road you see so many strange things, things that defy explanation and scream for context. It’s really one of the best parts of road travel.

So here are a few such moments, images, and general quirks that I’ve seen in the past two weeks. I call them “Ghostly Oddities”:

In Seattle. No idea what “plague” they’re referring to, unless it’s the plague of Amazon tech yuppies.

Outside of a McDonald’s in Bozeman, MT I heard the following exchange between a group of twentysomethings: “So he claimed that his girlfriend, who I doubt actually exists, was having an epileptic seizure, and that was his excuse for forgetting to put on pants.”

In Minneapolis. More Catholic priests should go by “Daddy” instead of “Father”.
In Fort Bragg, CA. I missed this BBQ by one day and I’m pissed about it. I bet it would have made a post all by itself.
At the “Hex House” in Oakland, where I stayed for two nights. One of many funny, confounding pieces of art decorating the haus.

Driving north on Montana’s Highway 1, I spotted a billboard that consisted of the words “Usually Open” with an arrow underneath. The arrow seemed to point toward some kind of ranch across the highway, but it was unclear exactly what was being advertised. 

In Bozeman.
In Firebaugh, CA. The largest and also saddest gumball machine I’ve ever seen. It looks like it arrived full in 1983 and has slowly been depleting its resources since.
Somewhere off of Highway 101 in Oregon. I love this. This Idaho-plated car was abandoned with the door open and no sign of the owner. There’s a story here and I’d love to know what it is. I imagine it was some lost young soul like me who did his own self-indulgent road trip until something terrible happened along the way. Something involving leopard skin…

In North Dakota, I spotted a billboard that simply read “Smile” on one side and “Be Nice” on the other side. (It was actually a well-placed sign, appearing as it did in the dullest, most desolate stretch of North Dakota highway).

At Mountain View cemetery in Oakland. There were quite a few headstones like this, clearly neglected for decades, possibly a century.
At a historical museum in Missoula, MT. This wasn’t part of any exhibit, but I spotted it in an upper corner and couldn’t resist snapping a picture. I kinda wish I’d stolen it; I know a few people who would love it as a gift.


Hope you enjoyed the weirdness, ghostlings! I promise you there’s more to come. Today I drove through Firebaugh, CA, one of the weirdest towns I’ve ever seen in my life. Just wait ’till you read about it tomorrow!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s