Earth Traveler

Riding in Cars with Boys – pt4

Posted September 25th, 2010

Okay, so I’m going to see if I can pick up the pace here and see if I can get in two days per entry. I mean, it’s not like anything really interesting is going on. I know that. You think I don’t know that?


Anyway, back in Miles City, Montana. Nelson and I thoroughly enjoyed our not sleeping together. Jerry came by with BILL and we all had breakfast at a nearby diner. Something REALLY funny happened there but I forgot to write it down and I have completely forgotten what it was. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Before we hit the road, Jerry got gas (and a giant Pepsi) and I went looking for some caffeine. My Starbucks locator app was FREAKING OUT: “What the hell are you doing in Montana?!?!” There wasn’t a Starbucks for hundreds of miles – not until our last stop of the day in North Dakota.

Being the adventurous person that I am, I decided to try out the espresso shack across the street. What’s the worst that could happen? It turned out that the latte from the espresso shack was THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN.

And that was the very last time I ever bought anything ever from an espresso shack.

Man, there’s lots of open highway in Montana.

We stopped for snacks just before the North Dakota border. Can someone please explain to me what is going on with the price-gouging in the beef jerky industry? Come on, it’s not like horse meat costs a lot of money.

Back on the highway, I was driving while Jerry made phone calls and Nelson watched DVDs on his computer (anti-social much?). And up ahead in the distance I saw what looked like a cow on top of a hill. But this thing was a mile away. It had to be the biggest cow ever – that never moved while standing on a hilltop. Ohhhhhh! It had to be a statue. That explained a lot. Since I was driving, we got off at the next and drove up the hill and we beheld (beholded?) the bovine greatness. We even took some pictures which most of you know I NEVER do. I will try to insert one of the less crude photos here when I post this online.

Getting to second base.

Just outside Bismarck, North Dakota, is a clothing store called The Dress Barn. I’ll let you make your own jokes for that one.

Jerry drove us from motel to motel to motel looking for the cheapest place to stay in Bismarck. I asked if he’d ever used He hadn’t. The next three minutes was a wonderous and delightful educational journey for Jerry as his horizons expanded at light speed.

Then 5 minutes later than that we were booked into the downtown Radisson at a few dollars less than the best-priced rat infested shithole motels.

We ate at a restaurant called Space Aliens. The food was mediocre and the environment was very creepy. We loved it.

Once we were all settled in, I went for a walk in downtown Bismarck. Two different cars yelled at me. I’m pretty sure one car full of guys screamed: “I bet you break a lot of hearts with that ass.” But sometimes you just hear what you want to hear.

Nelson and I had to go back to our burrito-style sleeping arrangements, but in this much nicer hotel, it was almost sort of kind of approaching comfortable.


The next day was our first day where we worked almost all day. Since we were actually in North Dakota it was time to roll up our sleeves and documentarize some documentary.

First stop: McDonald’s. I know, right? We were just adding to the degree of difficulty for the day.

Then we had to stop by the bank. Well, Jerry did. Nelson and I had to wait in the car. I decided to call my parents and see how they were doing. Apparently they had a fine time out of town that weekend. Which is nice.

Then we FINALLY got busy shooting. I don’t want to talk too much about the project because, like most documentaries, it’s an ever-evolving entity. But I will tell you that in the end, Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze, Bruce Willis’ character is actually dead and it all may just be a dream.

That was our first day where we weren’t just driving. And we still wound up driving over 250 miles. That happened so many times that I won’t bore you with miles counts every day – mainly because just thinking about it makes me unwell.

I really should’ve gotten my caffeine before we started shooting. But I sort of had this brilliant plan: I was going to have Jerry and Nelson drop me off to get coffee for everyone while they went off to get bagels for the travel ahead in case we couldn’t find a place to eat in the more rural parts of North Dakota. And then I was going to call my special lady friend and spend some time sweet-talking her.

It turned out that bagels are not really a thing in Bismarck. So my sweet-talking was cut short and we hit the road without bagels – which would later turn into one of the great mistakes of my life. Those of you that know my ex-girlfriends know how powerful a statement this is.

We headed east toward Fargo where we were scheduled to shoot some more interviews. Jerry asked, “Should we get something to eat before or after the first shoot?” Being the single-mined director, I dismissed this idea as frivolous. “We should do the first interview, then eat.”

It turned out that as we headed south out of Fargo, we were leaving all civilization behind us. After the interview, there was nothing around to eat. At. All. Not even a gas station or a strip club with a buffet. Those bagels sure would have come in handy. Stupid Bismarck bagel shortage.

So we headed further south toward Wahpeton, North Dakota, hoping there would be food near our next stop. Silly Californians. We wound up spending a week in Wahpeton that day.

The terrible directions we were given to our next stop were not only incomplete, but also defied logic and, in some cases, physics. I don’t want to sound sexist here (which means I am TOTALLY going to sound sexist) but the directions were obviously given to us by a woman. Getting directions from a woman is like getting financial advice from homeless person… who is drunk… and has recently sustained a head trauma.

Fortunately, Nelson and I had our iPhones. Unfortunately, AT&T hasn’t quite gotten around to giving a shit about North Dakota.

After falling way behind schedule, we had to cancel the last shoot. We hadn’t eaten in over 8 hours and we were starving. When we finally got to the main street in Wahpeton, we decided to eat at Taco Johns. It turns out the “John” to which they are referring is the toilet.

We thought about heading back to Fargo, but it was rainy and late and we decided to crash at the nearest motel.

That night, Jerry and I decided on some new rules about scheduling the day and eating and having something (ANYTHING) to eat in the car at all times.

In Part 5 these questions will be answered:
Do they really spend two hours looking for Starbucks and bagels? (Spoiler alert: YES THEY DO!) What is the deal with the mosquitoes in North Dakota and why do they all want to bite Jed? How serious are Nelson’s digestive problems?

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