Friday, January 22, 2010
FREE Camping at Lake Mead!!! I enjoyed three nights at Lake Mead and had planned to stay five. I really enjoyed reading by the lake and hanging out with myself. I was still feeling pretty lonely but managing the loneliness with movies, reading, and writing. It was very beautiful and pretty nice weather until the third day. I guess it is great for the region to get so much rain and it is good for the environment especially since Lake Mead seemed to be low on water when looking at the hard water line in the lake and sounding the Hoover Dam. My perspective it from the point that if I get wet; I will get cold. So, I decided to cut my camping at Lake Mead short and moved into Las Vegas.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 4:58 PM
Each vehicle is checked before it can cross the Hoover Dam. I was a little surprised and really didn’t think much about it until I was asked to pull over so the homeland security officers could inspect my hillbilly toolbox (as they referred to it). This would not have even been a second thought had I not just come from Mexico and had I not pissed off the border patrol there. What was strange to me was that I was more thoroughly checked to cross the dam than I was getting into the country. Don’t get me wrong I am not wishing that my experience at the border was more hilarious. Not only was I asked to open up my boxes in the back on the truck I was also asked to park in a special location because I have a propane tank in the back.
While at the Hoover Dam I had some weird internal conflict. I simply drove across the dam snapping photos from the road but then decided not to stop and get out to walk around until I got out of the Dam area. So I talked myself into turning around to park and walk. I did this twice. It was weird to experience myself second guessing something so simple. I really wanted to get out and see the dam but somehow thought I didn’t want to deal with all the people or I felt as if just driving across it were enough to say that I had been there. What I really wanted was to get out. So I ended up crossing the dam 3 times in one day just to see the DAM thing. Right there on that Dam I decided that if there is something I want to do I will do it.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 4:22 PM
So, I found this great little campsite off the Joshua tree Parkway going north toward Kingman, AZ. It was a quiet place that faced a big beautiful rock canyon. I got settled in, put up my tent, and cooked a good dinner. It was nice to breathe in the fresh air and have some alone time. When the sun went down it was dark; so dark, that you needed a flashlight to find the tent from 10 feet away. I mean this was the meaning of pitch black. So as I got comfortable and started to decompress from my stay in Phoenix, my internal monologue started. You know that feeling when you are really into what you are doing and your internal dialogue is so loud that it could drowned out the sound of INVESCO Field in Denver when the Bronco’s score a winning touchdown at the last second of a game? Well I was in the middle of orcastrating a grand symphony with my internal dialogue when an illustrious animal makes a loud noise outside of my tent. And like a fainting goat, I was on my bed in my tent, petrified. I didn’t move and I think I was only breathing enough to keep my brain alive. I laid there for about five minutes then slowly started to return to life. I continued to keep my internal monologue to a quiet conversation, like in the quiet zone of the library. Then I finally finished writing my post cards and then drifted off to sleep. In the morning I woke up and heard a similar sound that had scared the shit out of me the night before. I opened my tent up to discover that the sound was coming from a cow and Jackass in the adjacent field. Needless to say I felt like a lost city mouse that thought he was going to be eaten by a 50 foot tall barn cat. Only to discover it was a combine. I felt especially silly, since I have been camping and sleeping in my truck for the last month and I am not a really a city mouse.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 3:48 PM
I really did not enjoy Phoenix very much. I met a really neat lady (Alida) that I couch surfed with but the city really felt empty. I will say that I appreciated the experience of learning to get around by using public transportation and that I was a little embarrassed when I had to be told (yelled at) how to get off of the bus. Apparently, some busses you must push on the doors to exit. I guess the source of my disgruntlement stems from the lack of local businesses (especially coffee shops). I walked around downtown Phoenix for hours and really only found one descent cafe. I really found myself very alone in the world and a dearth of interesting people to talk to. It is really hard to believe that I had that struggle because I can usually find something to talk about with almost anyone. It was very interesting that those that I did talk to all reported that they hated living in Phoenix. I did see Scottsdale with Alida and we had a wonderful afternoon looking at shops, having good conversations, and checking out the art. Even though there wasn’t anything horrible that happened I would still venture to say that I will not be rushing to get back to Phoenix.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 2:14 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The ad in the paper read Gender-Free _______ Dancing, 7:30-11:00 at the Methodist Church 4th Street, near Park Ave. Or so I thought. What I missed was the BLANK. Filled in that blank and missed by mind was the word Contra. For those that do not know Contra is
A caller, usually working with a group of live musicians, guides new and experienced dancers alike through a variety of dances.
A dancer and his or her partner dance a series of figures, or moves, with each other and with another couple for a short time. They then repeat the same figures with another couple, and so on. The figures are similar to those of old-time square dancing. The figures are combined in different ways for each different dance.
The caller teaches each dance before it is actually done to the music. This gives everyone an idea of what to expect so the movements can be easily executed. The caller leads the dances while they are being done to music, so dancers are able to perform each movement to the music.
Well I did not know what contra dancing was but now have experienced a night of Contra Dancing. AND I HAD AN AMAZING TIME!!! It was so much fun; the people were great and helped me learn to do this. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and at times laugh uncontrollably with one another. It was people from all walks of life homosexual, straight, bi-sexual, women, transgender, men, young-old, graceful-not graceful (ME), boisterous-quiet. It absolutely did not matter what your orientation was or how you identified. You were welcomed and had absolutely no problems finding a dance partner. (AS IT SHOULD BE)
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 1:39 PM
Somewhere along the way I realized that this trip was no longer about the places I would visit or the school I might attend. I realized the real journey lied in the conversations that I have already had and the ones have not yet had. Looking back on the last month, I do not simply remember the way a city looked or the way the sand felt on my feet. I remember those things through to conversations I have had with others. I remember the Satalite Café in Albuquerque through meeting Lisa (The nice lady with an enormous pile on Christmas cards)and the homeless men and women seeking refuge from the cold. My experiences have been shaped by getting to know , Tiara (my ex that now has become a very dear friend) and her partner Trish and their beautiful twins. I remember Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) through Port (the nice man that found us a pizza joint and his warm smile and unwavering friendship), the beach vendors and the man who lied to try and sale me something. I remember the way the sand felt beneath my feet through the long walks on the beach and conversations with Karen, Tony, Miriha, and Gene. Finding connection with people has truly been the highlight of this journey. Sharing ideas, being present and finding ways to connect with a variety of people has allowed room for my graduate education of life. I am still in Graduate school and see this as my field training or internship. So I must express my deepest thanks to all those that I have spoken with along the way. You have all been my esteemed teachers.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 1:16 PM
She yells “If I wasn’t completely convinced that you were born in America YOU would be spending the night in Jail. NO two nights.” Imagine the tone of you are the dumbest American I have ever met. Yes I was concerned about going into Mexico without my birth Certificate or Passport, and Yes I had just been to Nogales and my driver’s license and it was fine. But clearly this day I deserved to be in Jail and by her generosity I would be able to re-enter the U.S. I do believe this was my first experience with a dominatrix. All she needed was a little leather and a whip. She also ask, “What I was bringing back from Mexico?” I responded with, “a Mexican blanket and some sea shells.” She asked where the sea shells were I showed her and then she says, “Well… you can’t have those.” As if that were my punishment for being so stupid. She called me an idiot for making everyone wait on me. I think when she was sure she had berated me enough to make me feel like a smashed ant, she could let me go. I was completely scared and completely submissive. I am so glad to have had that experience because it makes such a good story that I will never forget. This concludes my short stay in Mexico.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 12:41 PM
Thursday, January 7, 2010
If only I had a welcome mat. There have been many things that I have learned so far on this journey and many things I have started to question about the way I live. I have packed most of my belongings into my Toyota Tacoma (USS Tacoma) and set out on a journey around the country. This started as an idea about finding a graduate program and has morphed into way more than that. I am starting to question my belongings and what a person really needs to live and be comfortable. In this case, I am finding that less is more. Meaning the less I have the more comfortable I am. Even reducing things down to a Tacoma (not a large pick-up), presented me with the need to yet again purge some of my belongings.
This morning I woke up in a parking lot outside of a fire station in Tucson, AZ. I was angry at the amount of things in my vehicle. I have more clothes than I can wear, no room for my dirty clothes, and just so much stuff. So today, I am once again, reducing my belonging to something more manageable. I am reorganizing yet again because I have to find a way to more easily access my cooking equipment and food, put away my dirty laundry, and make room for sleeping in my truck cab with loosing things.
I think this trip is the best thing I have ever done. This is so life changing and maybe one of my greatest challenges. I am faced with being alone, making my own decisions (independent of guilt), forging for my basic needs (food, water, safety, shelter, and a morning bathroom), and finding the peace within.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 11:12 AM
I think some think I am fearless in my adventures but that could not be further from the truth. White knuckles, tight chest, and a lump in my throat all characterize my physoilogical response to my fears of crossing the border into Mexico. I have been to a few border towns before but have never driven in another country before. I have often even thought thought that I hadn’t really been to another country before because I had only been to border towns. This time was certainly different because I was driving and leaving the saftey of the US border. Driving also meant that I needed to know where I was going and that there were rules of the road to follow. That incidently, I DID NOT KNOW! This time I felt as if I were in a strange land. I could not read the signs and some how the spanish that I had mastered (in my mind) was not going to help me here. Which amounts to getting a beer, a shot of tequilla and finding the bathroom. However, what did help sooth my nerves was finding the similarities in my environment and starting to figure out what the road signs were saying. They were really saying the same things American signs say “Do Not Pass”, “Go this fast”(in kilometers though) and “someplace is over there.” The senery was similar to that of southern Arizona, then seemed to shift the further southwest we travelled. I recognized the volcanic rock amidst the plains of sand which, really made it feel like I was traveling to another state rather than another country. I started to relax until we came across Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point), Mexico. Then I started feeling a tightness in my chest, a lump in my throat, and white knuckles all over again. There were a lot of street signs and changing speed limit signs, and just a shit load of signs that I can’t read. Once there was a sign for a stop light which I understood until I got to the light that was blinking yellow and red. What the ---- do I do with that?
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 10:50 AM
Happy new year to all my friends, family and people that I have not met yet; best wishes to all of you in the upcoming year. I hope your new year’s resolutions are kept manageable and outrageous at the same time. I started this year off being thankful for all that I have and the amazing opportunity that I currently have. This year I have made 3 important resolutions.
#1 This year I want to take the most kaleidoscopic trip ever.
#2 Barrowing from last year’s resolution Do What Ever Makes Me Happy.
#3 Wrestle with my insecurities and vulnerability.
Thank you to all of you who have been supportive of my endeavors, who have cautioned me when I might be acting a little crazy, and those continually believe in me.
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 10:27 AM
Monday, January 4, 2010
Hello everyone. I have been in Mexico and have not been on the internet. I will be updating my blog this week with new pictures and new stories to tell. I met some new wonderful people, traveled to Mexico, slept by the beach, Drank a lot of tequila, and almost went to jail. These are just a few of the stories to come this week.
Happy New Year to everyone! (unless of course you don't want to be happy this year)
Happy New Year to everyone! (unless of course you don't want to be happy this year)
Posted by Ryan Yanke at 9:56 AM