Re: The FoRK 500 is underway...

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 03:23:45 -0400

Live from the Yawning Llama, it's Tuesday Night!

Well, ok, it's not Saturday, so sue me if this isn't as funny. Or sue SNL,
they aren't funny anymore, either. Or sue your ISP for relaying this
spammage on to you.

Another day, another thousand miles. Kinda the usual grind in the FoRK
universe [2], except that a kilomile is a *hell* of a lot longer when
you're on the ground. And there's no smiling stewards, hot-fudge sundaes,
or open bar. On the upside, they can't lose your luggage. It'd be my own

It rained pretty intensely and continuously across Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Thus, the depressing result that my average velocity actually equals the
posted limits.

It turns out a good portion of that runoff is being filched by 'em
good-for-nothin' snow mexicans. On either side of Yukon, OK ('Birthplace of
Garth Brooks and the Miller family'), there's a whole series of bridges
over the Canadian River. I think someone in the toponymy department was a
little lost. May have been the same folks who decided to name OKC's airport
after a man who died in a legedary plane crash (Will Rogers; hi duck!).

The rest stops in Oklahoma were a bit more creative than AR's. Same
vandal-proof fixtures, but they have lots of cute concrete teepee picnic
areas scattered about. Of course, they also think a stop with parking for
20 trucks and 30 cars needs ONE pay phone. Bzzt!

But I forgive them. On the very last one before the border, they installed
a cute little playground. It was deserted, so I let myself share an
embarrassing thrill: I slipped into the kiddie swings. Wow! Haven't done
that in years! Cool breezes in a dry spot between the rains and stretching
out towards the sky. Recommended.

Why do highway departments feel compelled to keep putting idiot-box signs
every 5 miles for "DRIVING PROHIBITED on shoulder", "TURNAROUND for
Official Use Only" [And Speed Traps], and "Pedestrians and Livestock
Prohibited"? And why don't they repeat the more useful ones, like the lone
placard perkily reminding "Hitchikers may be escaped inmates"?

As I hurtled past Amarillo, the only noticeable change was the
disappearance of the 'free 72 oz steak!" billboards, which had crescendo'd
in the form of the ultimate gates of paradise, the Big Texan Steakhouse.
Glad that was over, I'm getting tired of the striptease that now stretches
back all the way to Ft. Smith, AR: "Free steak!"... then, one state
attorney general over in OK: "Free steak! if eaten in one hour"... finally,
in Texas: "Free steak dinner! if eaten in one hour". Apparently the sides
are a kicker according to Adam Rifkin who actually succumbed to the tourist
kitsch and dined there.

Crossing into New Mexico is more noticeable. First, the legal limit finally
reaches its rightful mark at 75. Second, their rest areas have NO PHONES AT
ALL! The tourism department offsets the loss with bonus points for radio
genius, though. Instead of the usual 'highway alerts' on 530, they've set
up transmitters near points of interest with legendary histories narrated
by... Ricardo Monablan!

Speaking of Ricardo, I saw him on a late-late movie last week on AMC in a
bit part as the Cuban ambassador in "The Out-Of-Towners". It's a late-60's
farce of everything that can possibly go wrong on a trip. Screenplay by
Neil Simon, apparently. Has an amazing lineup of future stars, including
the Gopher character as a lost-luggage-desk airline employee at Logan. I
laughed, I cried, I recognized most of the scenes: plane diverted from NY
to BOS, cabbie extorting a whole $1.75 for the trip to South Station,
missing the train and catching up by driving to the next stop, transit
strikes, muggers, rainstorms, cops-n-robbers, and whole host of plagues on
their struggle to the Waldorf-Astoria. A delightfully sexist museum piece
on 60's infrastructure.

My own comedy of errors logs only one chapter today, in which we discover
that 'nationwide', isn't. I was trying to confirm my plans with the Stones
to stay at the Yawning Llama Guest House [1] and expected Adam to page me
back in the car. You can fill in the obvious excuse from Skytel about
'hundreds of metropolitan areas' when I didn't hear back from him.

Later, I passed through yet another Carlisle, in New Mexico. And a Zuxuz,
NM which I'd say was unique but must in fact be the sister city of Zzyzx,
NV. And a sign I misread as Next Exit, but actually led to Hext, TX.

Saving up for new brake shoes,

[2] A friend once asked me to tote up trains, planes, and automobiles, and
in 1996 the grand total came to about 183k miles. Yes, I have accelerated
up to one light-second per year... It's a wave!, it's a particle!, it's
TRAVELMAN! (yes, but are we certain where he is and where he's going?)

Rohit Khare /// ex-MCI Internet Architecture (BOS) ///
Voice+Pager: (617) 960-5131  VNet: 370-5131   Fax: (617) 960-1009

(the above contact info still works)