Compiling…Compiling…Rebooting the 49>50 Blog

01/21/2011 at 2:35 am | Posted in 49>50, Stories from Alaska, Stories from the Road | 8 Comments
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Home.  I’ve been living in my own house nearly eight weeks now.   It’s still weird.

I gave myself a couple weeks to recover, but guess who’s bad at vacationing?  I failed to properly relax on Oahu, and I failed again at home in Anchorage.  Meanwhile my business trundles on with or without me, and the nature of the work is very hand-to-mouth, so if I rest too long I don’t eat.  (Marian would be such a good colonial pilgrim! If only she had a fancy hat.)

Tying up the myriad loose ends of the tour — such as chipping away at the nearly 500 postcards I have to write, digging out all the important contacts and business cards, and sending thank yous to the thousand people who deserve them — it’s somewhat frustrating work.  When you do something big and adventuresome it needs closure, a finish line, a wrap party, a book deal and movie rights (kidding, ick).  But usually The End is a slow fizzle of tiny tasks rather than a photo finish.  The first 100 postcards were no problem; the next 400?  That’s daunting.  Plus taxes, plus paperwork for Canada, plus proactively following up on venues that might be interested again next year…the more scattered the little jobs, the harder it is to feel like you’re making progress. I’m a fan of vertical filing, and my pathetic little piles of paper around the living room are starting to whisper urgent and confusing suggestions to me late at night.  Especially since my roommate went out of town. #help

</whine> #shutupMarian

After some computer issues that were all my fault (and which still plague me), I feel as if my brain is stuck on the spinny rainbow wheel of death.  My brain is stuck on the processing and compiling of all the data I acquired on this massive trip.  And I’m not sure how long I should wait before concluding it’s frozen and requires a force-quit and restart — maybe I should just give it a little more time to sort out all the 1’s and 0’s?

I think the key to un-sticking my brain may be this: I had a few lofty goals about reporting the 49>50 Tour back to you guys, goals that I didn’t quite accomplish.  And that’s bugging me.  Mostly I wanted to blog and post photos along the way, and I only managed that for the first few thousand miles or so.  My photos on Flickr stop in Oklahoma, state #10, which is failsauce on my part, and my blogs end in Austin, in state #11.  I sort of microblogged the rest of the way on Twitter, yfrog, and twitpic, but I didn’t have time or space there for deeper thoughts or longer stories at all.

I had been inviting fans to submit their memories of the tour in the comments, as if each post was a yearbook page.  I want to keep that up, because I like having a record of what you thought, not just endless jabber from me about me. That’s boring.

So I’m gonna try starting over on that, and see how it goes.  I can’t guarantee completion, but I’m not really ready to move on to the next thing (CD release) until I bring a small degree of closure to the last thing.

Let’s go back in time!

When I started this crazy trip, planning my route in the very café where I’m sitting now, I had no notion whether I’d finish it.  I’m pretty flabbergasted.  Which is fun to say.  Here’s the blog post that began it all, and the little map that I sort of mentally drew on an imaginary napkin:


(Funny, I stole this JPEG from a Google image search which revealed that on average two out of three U.S. maps on page 1 of a Google image search omit Alaska and Hawai’i.)  You can compare this to my actual route on the official Mapquest map to see how close I came.  Pretty darn is the answer.

Early blogs about the trip, listed here since some of you haven’t been around forever:

  • The Unobserved Life is Busy, On the nature of travel itself and how I roll
  • From Fairfield, IA, on house concerts and a freehand speed map-off competition (apologies to AL, AR, RI, DE)
  • Lost, on things I misplaced along the way and errands I ran between states
  • Uncharted Territory: ND, MN, WI, on the first three states I hit on tour, including a lecture at Kansas for claiming flatness
  • YMMV*, in which I play with Wolfram Alpha and discuss my car and the Cow Game
  • Places I never meant to go, in which I apologize to the Midwest and Heartland states, IL, MI, IN, IA, MO, KS, OK

I’ll be picking up where I left off, namely Texas, state #11.  Yes, I remember what happened.  Along the way I collected receipts, coasters, and other slips of paper, and I wrote my journal on those, in bits and pieces. (And I don’t expect you all have to read this nonsense, it helps me to write it, and if you’re interested and came late to the game, you can learn a bit of how it worked and what it was about.)

Photos!!!  The captions on the photos are practically a blog in themselves:

  • The Al-Can Drive South, with a New Yorker. Featuring tons of wildlife, creepy concrete Santa, a huge beaver, and a brilliant female luthier of the Yukon
  • North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, With glamorous rooftop pizza & hot tub parties in Fargo, the cutest giraffe I’ve ever seen, Zelda tattoos, and the legendary West Bend, WI feast
  • IL, MI, IN, IA, MO, KS, OK, with sunny beach rehearsals, adorable children, American Gothic, Kansas City BBQ, and the American Banjo Museum

I’ll be uploading more shortly to, probably starting with Texas.

Phew. I feel better. Categorizing and filing some links has soothed this pacing brain of mine.  But it’s only a start.  Soooooooo the spinny rainbow wheel keeps spinning, and I hope that if I just let it go a little longer, without panicking, it’ll complete the task at hand, quit, and be ready to open the next program.

Namely ProTools.

Thanks for reading — your time is valuable and I’m always amazed and happy when you spend a little on me.  You guys rock.  More adventures to come shortly!


(This is where I am, but not what I’m wearing, since it was taken a couple weeks ago.)


P.S. The more I look back over these blog posts, the more I’m convinced that I’m totally insane.


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