Travels With Casey

May 16, 2010

New Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 2:34 pm

In case anybody still checks this, I have started a new blog called Reviews of Things and Stuff. I’ll be updating it regularly. I hope you follow me there.


August 22, 2009

The end.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 9:36 pm

My trip is over, so this travelogue is over too. I might post one or two more things–I’ve always meant to write a silly post about fast food tacos–but for the most part this blog is going to become inactive. I’ll leave it open as long as wordpress will let me, and I might start a new blog with them.

For now, you can read my other blog, where updates will resume:

There you will find mostly flash fiction and experimental fiction and other oddities.

Thank you to the twelve or so people who regularly checked this site. It was a strange journey. Different from what I expected. Less fun in some ways and more exciting in others. I am sorry to all of the people I didn’t visit. I didn’t go to half the places I wanted to, but I ended up loving some of the unexpected things that happened.



Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 9:31 pm

Driving across the country in three days, you realize that America, Pink Floyd, and sleep are all things best experienced at eighty miles per hour. Or so I realized. When I got to my friend Devon’s apartment finally, she moved in to hug me.

“Don’t hug me,” I said. “I probably smell like chipotle sauce and sweat and motor oil.”

“Well I have a shower with your name on it,” she told me.

Later, after I’d showered, I threw the shirt I’d been wearing all week onto her face.

“I hate you,” she told me. Then, “You must be used to the smell. Do you want a bag for that shirt?”

“No, it’s fine,” I said.

“No, you really should put that shirt in the bag.”

Later, after I’d gotten used to smelling like girly cleaning products, I stuck my nose in the bag. It smelled like a dumpster. Like a heroin junkie who had been living in a dumpster. With infected pustules all over his body.

So I had been living on my drive across the country.

I would wake up each morning at a rest stop somewhere. Dawn. I’d check my oil, pee, then start my engine and drive. I’d stop to check my oil, gas up my car, and buy sandwiches from Subways. Sometimes I would buy energy drinks and gallons of water. Sometimes I’d pee. Aside from that, I’d drive.

Driving long distnaces is a marathon of boredom. All I had to entertain myself was my music, and after a while I’d listened to every song on my iPod. I’d count down the miles, calculate in my head how long it would take to reach the next big city.

The sign says 204 miles to Columbus. Three hours. Less. Not bad.

I blazed through the deserts of Nevada and Utah. I climbed into the Rocky Mountains, and drove across the Continental Divide. And then, after descending onto the Great Planes, I drove another two thousand miles, descending to sea level over mostly flat terrain until I finally came to New York.

Now I’m at my girlfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn, and I don’t know what to do with myself.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 8:44 pm

The best nationwide fast food joint is Subway.

For $5, you get a foot worth of sandwich that has meat, lots of veggies, sauce, cheese, and tasty bread. If you stretch yourself, that’s two meals worth of food. It feels healthy and tastes great. I’m not big on fast food, but this is one chain that’s perfected the new cheap/fast/healthy paradigm of eating. Usually you can only get two of those traits.

So on the road, Subway was my food of choice. If I felt like saving more money, I would stop in grocery stores and buy cold cuts, lettuce, and bread. For $10, I could eat for several days just making sandwiches on the trunk of my car.

And if I really wanted to save money, I’d buy off-brand instant oatmeal. I’d drink a packet down dry, chewing and gulching it in my mouth, and wash the dust down with water from a gallon jug. After two packets, the oatmeal would expand in my stomach and I’d feel full.

Needless to say, after two months of eating these things, it’s nice to be able to cook again.

My favorite west coast fast food joint was In-N-Out Burger, which is a stunning model of Fordism. For $2, you get an awesome cheeseburger. But you also get to watch an army of teenagers prepare your burger just like every other burger they produce at rapid, American speed. They even shred and fry their french fries in front of you. If you’re like me, it’s entertaining to watch.

The Price of Gas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 7:36 pm

The cheapest gas I bought was in central Indiana in July. $2.199.

The most expensive gas I paid for was outside of San Francisco at $3.079 per gallon.

The most expensive gas I saw, but did not pay for, was in Yosemite National Park. $3.649 per gallon.

In general gas is cheapest in the midwest, then gets more expensive the further west you head. Wyoming has the cheapest gas of all the western states I visited. California has the most expensive gas in the nation. The gas on the east coast is about on par with that of Nevada.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

August 18, 2009

In Reno…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 6:30 pm

In Reno, I got drunk at a bar with Lorin, who I know from the internet. The bar was uncrowded for a bar next to a casino on a Friday night. Onstage, a band of fattening middle aged men belted out dated songs.

“These guys,” I said to Lorin. “Imagine this. Each one of them is a dad. And this is what they do for fun.

Down the bar, there was an older man talking to a blonde woman and another old man. He had long, white hair and a long, grey beard.

I said to Lorin, “Look. It’s Gandalf.”

The man did look uncannily like Ian McKellen’s Gandalf.

The band of dads continued to wail.

I said to Lorin, “We have to get Gandalf to dance.”

“Okay,” she said. “How?”

“I’ll ask him to dance if you do.”

“Okay,” she said. “But you have to ask first.”

“Let me get another drink and I will,” I said.

I ordered a Red Bull and whiskey. I was halfway through when Lorin got up and said, “It’s now or never,” and charged over to where Gandalf sat with the woman. I watched her approach Gandalf, watched him shake his head, and watched her lead his other old friend from the bar to the dance floor. They grooved.

I downed my drink and approached Gandalf.

“Can I ask your lady to dance?” I said. I may have slurred.

“What?” Gandalf said.

I noticed that Gandalf was wearing leather. Not biker leather; a leather corset.

“Can I ask your lady to dance?” I said again.

She addressed me directly and assertively: “First off, I am not his woman. And second, no, I am not interested.”

I went back to my stool at the bar, feeling more rejected than I’d been since high school. Lorin came back to the bar.

“I have so much respect for you right now,”I told her.

August 15, 2009

Proof I Went to Disneyland

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 6:25 pm

August 14, 2009

this was maybe a week ago…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 5:51 pm

“Do you smell onions?” I asked Sara as we drove onto the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Yes,” Sara said. “That’s weird.” Sarah is my friend’s brother’s fiance. I’d stayed at her and her fiance, Andrew’s apartment the night before, and was driving her into San Francisco from Oakland so she could get to her school downtown and I could do some drive-by sightseeing.

We crossed the Golden Gate and I dropped Sara at her school. She gave me directions to the Bay Bridge, which would take me on my way to Los Angeles.

On the way through the downtown area, a man on a Kawasaki motorcycle cut me off. I gave him the finger.

The motorcyclist parked his bike in front of my car and got off. I rolled up my window and locked my doors. He stormed up to my door and screamed, “GET OUT OF THE CAR!”

I didn’t. Later, I would reflect that the man sounded a lot like Christian Bale.

He screamed again. “GET OUT! GET OUT OF THE FUCKIN CAR!”

He kicked my door.

I tried to pull forward and get away, but the bike was in the way. I tapped its rear wheel, then reversed. I pulled my car into the righthand lane, cutting off an older man in a white car, then pulled into traffic. The motorcyclist got back on his bike, and followed.

I saw a police officer on a moped and pointed at him. I stopped, and the policeman dismounted. I pointed at the cyclist, and the cop signaled for him to stop.

The man got off his bike and screamed, “HE HIT MY BIKE!”

I got out of my car.

“Could you remove your helmet?” the policeman said to the motorcyclist.

The man took off his helmet and repeated, “He hit my bike.”

The officer walked around the bike, inspecting. There was no damage.

The older man in the white car had pulled over down the road. The officer went to him and asked questions I could not hear.

“Do you want me to move my car out of traffic?” I shouted to the officer.

“No, leave it,” he told me.

I went to my car and turned on my hazard lights. The officer continued to talk to the older man. I stood by his moped.

“After we’re done here, I’ll meet you down the road, okay?” the motorcyclist said to me.

“No,” I said.

THe officer let the older man in the white car leave. He came up to me.

“What happened?” he said.

“This guy cut me off and I gave him the finger,” I said. “He parked his bike ion front of my car and came at my door. I locked the door and rolled up my window because he looked like he was going to hit me. He was screaming for me to get out of th ecar. He kicked my door. I had to reverse to get away. I did cut off that other man when I was trying to get away. When I did, this guy followed me. I saw you and pointed at you because you’re a police officer.”

“Okay,” the officer said. “Why don’t you get going?”

“Thing is,” I said, “he just said he’d meet me down the road after we were done here, so I don’t know how safe I am.”

“Okay. You take a hike. I’ll stay here with him.”

“Okay,” I said. “Thank you.”

I got in my car and pulled into traffic.

On the way out of San Francisco, I smelled cooking hamburger.

Internet access has been sparse. I’m already overtime at a tourist center I paid for. I’ll blog again when I can.

My question: What is the moral of the above story?

August 4, 2009

Oregon Beer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 7:08 pm

Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter is incredibly dark, especially for a porter. It tastes more like a stout than anything else. It has a wonderful chocolate aroma and a nice, bitter aftertaste. This is my favorite beer that I drank in Portland.

Henry Weinhard’s Summer Ale is too light for a summer ale. Summer ales should have a citrus taste to them, and some kind of aftertaste. This had neither. It was incredibly smooth and had a very mild taste. Not a bad beer, but not great either.

Widmer has always been one of my favorite Heffeweizens. It’s fairly light for a wheat beer, but has an excellent tang of citrus to it. It goes down quick, hits easy, and

I have drank other beers in this country, but I can’t remember what half of them are.

An uninteresting post about an uninteresting week.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Casey Cosker @ 6:57 pm

I saw an ad on Craigslist advertising jobs for ride operators at the county fair. I sent out an email and recorded two voice mails, and after I didn’t hear back–because who ever hears back from Craigslist ads?–I took a train to the fairgrounds advertised to apply in person. I stopped at the information booth to ask for directions, and stood in line behind a fat man.

This is how I met Aaron.

The fat man, Aaron, was a food vendor, and he was registering his booths. At some point, the lady at the information desk asked him if he needed any extra employees.

I piped in, “I’m actually looking for a job.”

Aaron took me aside, and we chatted. As soon as he spoke to me, I knew I had a job. Granted, it would pay min wage, but it was a gig. I had realized upon arriving in Portland that I didn’t actually have enough money to drive down the California coast and make it back to the northeast. I needed the money to make up for my car breaking down.

Aaron said, “I’m not hiring you. We’re just having a conversation.”

Then he walked me over to his booths, which sold the usual kind of crappy carnival food. Fried dough, corndogs. Because this was on the west coast, they called the fried dough “elephant ears,” and the corndogs something stranger. After Aaron showed me his booths, he told me to show up for work the next day.

I worked at a booth that sold ‘Gourmet Chinese!’ food. The gourmet food consisted of stir-fried vegetables (cabbage, carrots, and broccoli in soy sauce), chicken on a stick, deep fried pork balls, and rice. It was all overpriced. I also sold ‘Authentic Hawaiian Ice!’ On the first day of the show I was informed by several happy customers that real Hawaiian Ice had ice cream at its center, and what I was really selling was shaved ice in a cup with flavored syrup drenched over it. All of the food I sold was overpriced.

The job was boring.

I worked in weather that ranged from 90 to 110 degrees. Business was slow, and what business we had was dull. There were no interesting people. I amused myself by memorizing in alphabetical order the flavors of syrup I drizzled onto the shaved ice so I could recite them at bewildered customers. I will never say these words in this order ever again:

“Banana, blue rasberry, bubble gum, cherry, fruit punch, grape, lime, orange, pineapple, root beer, strawberry, and watermelon.”

I will also never again say, “Hi! He can help you out right there at the register.”

After the first day I found myself wishing I had fished around the carnival and actually gotten a job as a ride operator. At least then I could have amused myself by trying to make children vomit.

The only other form of entertainment came from staring at the women who walked by the booth dressed in their summer clothes.

“Half the time I can’t even tell if they’re legal,” I said to my coworker Ka-Pone.

“At the last job, every time a girl walked by, we’d shout either ‘jailbait!’ or ‘phone number!'” Ka-Pone told me.

I had other co-workers. Chris, a cashier, who was nice and young and respectable. Tony, a cook, who was old and always drunk. David, another cook, who claimed to get laid a lot. And Mary, yet another cook, who had studied to become an investigative detective but who had gotten arrested for growing marijuana in her back yard. They were not particularly interesting people.

But I made $300, and hopefully I can finish my journey without starving or running out of gas.

Oh, except that the week was AWESOME because I hung out with Tabitha, who is probably the most wonderful and caring person alive. I once saw her help a starving kitten across the road and then travel back in time in order to knit my great-great-grandfather booties so that he wouldn’t die of pneumonia and I could be BORN. So I’m going to shut up now, except to advocate the idea that everyone give Tabitha giant hugs and lots of money if they ever see her. Toodles everyone.

Next Page »

Blog at