Actually, this isn't my second road trip, it's my third- I went on one with my family when I was in junior high. But it's my second on my own. We returned just recently, on the 19th, and then I went home to see my daughter, girlfriend, father and brother.

Seeing as I'm quite poor, being a college student and all, the financing for this trip was generously provided by one Mr. Roy Scott, who generously backed into my driver's side door and gave me $150. I can deal with a dent in exchange for a road trip! We spent $30 on food and a little over $100 on gas, leaving me with just enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes, a pack of bidis, and a 32oz of Woodchuck in NYC, where we stayed with one of Bran's friends for a night.

We first went to Bard College, because our friend John wanted to go there for his best friend's birthday party. He also wanted to bring two friends. Have you ever tried to fit 5 people and all of their stuff plus the necessary items for a week-long road trip for two into a Scirocco? Well, it can be done, if you take out the back seat, which is what I did. I also had to take out my sheet of plywood with two 10" woofers, two 6x9"'s and a couple of tweeters on it. Bummer. So no bass for the road trip. I stuck a 6x9 and a 5x7 that I had around in the stock 4x6 metric openings and set off with no bass, because of lack of backing on the speakers. So what. That wasn't that point. We arrived squished but alive at Bard. (Actually, I wasn't squished at all, because I was driving).

Bran and I really didn't dig the scene at Bard at all, so we set off before the party started and headed south. We hadn't really decided which way to go, but we decided on south while we were at Bard because it was so damned cold.

One night, smack dab in the middle of Mississippi, Bran and I were looking for a place to sleep. We were driving down this little two-lane highway, in the middle of nowhere, and we saw a little logging road off to the right, and decided that it looked good. So I turned in and drove up a little ways. The road turned left, so that there was a screen of trees in between us and the road. Looked good, unused, and it lacked "Keep Out" signs of any sort whatsoever. Right on. Let's go in a little further. So I do, and we come to a little clearing. Looks perfect, so I pull the car over to the side, and commence staring straight ahead at the tree in front of the car. Bran is commenting on how great a place it is, and then turns to me, sees where I'm looking, and says "Hey, is that one of those bags of hair that they hang in trees to scare animals away?" (he's forgotten his glasses). "No, man," I say. "That's a skull!" And so it was. We were a little sketched about being in Mississippi in the first place (We northerners have bad anti-south prejudices, at least we did), and this was just too sketchy. We stared at it for a good five minutes, not really believing that it was there. Why would somebody hang skull in a tree? For the hell of it? Probably not. Maybe it was a sign. Maybe it meant to keep away. Maybe it was some voodoo cult's symbol! Our minds filled with all sorts of scary ideas. "Let's go look at it," I say. So I shut off the car and then turn the ignition back to "on" so that the lights will stay on, grab a flashlight, and we get out of the car to look at the skull. There it is, hanging in a tree, for no apparent reason. It smells like, well, like rotten meat, and there are flies buzzing in and out of the eye sockets. Great. I'm pretty freaked out and just want to say anything to normalize the situation, and start talking about what kind of animal it might be, looking at the teeth, etc, and ending up sounding like a total moron. I think it was a cow. Some large plant-eater, anyway. So then Bran says, "Let's take it!" Right. I don't think so. It smells and there are flies on it. So we don't. We get out of there FAST, though. And then we go and sit under some lights at a convenience store and smoke some cigarettes and talk about how sketched out we are. Then we go find a bridge and park under it and sleep there. All night, we imagine that we hear animals, things sneaking up behind us, something splashing through the river towards us. All we really hear is the sounds of the cars going bump-bump-bump-clack!-bump-bump-bump-whoosh over the bridge that we are sleeping under.

We arrive in New Orleans, and drive through some lovely bayou on the way. We park the car on a city street, pay a fortune to the City of New Orleans to rent a 7x15 space of pavement on which to store our car for an hour, and get out to walk around. We've walked maybe 10 feet when this middle-aged, skinny woman with long stringy dark hair and almost no teeth comes up to us. "Hey, man, you guys got any papers, man? This dude just, like, walked up to me and handed me some shake, so I want to roll some. I've got enough for about three here. You guys got any?" Yeah, I've got some in the car, left over from a pack of Drum I finished smoking God knows how long ago. So I walk the whole ten feet back to the car to get them for her, and hand them to her. "Thanks, man, you're a life-saver! You guys wanna burn one?" Don't think so. YOU can smoke something that somebody hands to you on the street if you want, but I'm staying away from it, thanks. We just tell her no and we're on our way, walking through the wierdest city I've ever seen. On top of the normal wierdness, there were I'd guess 50mph winds gusting through the streets. Sometimes you could lean against them, but then you'd get dumped on your back if you weren't careful because it would stop blowing (This never happened to me- I'm too smart, haha).

Well, I haven't seen the sun until today since then. It was cloudy all the way across the Gulf and all the way up the East Coast. But it was Spring down there! Leaves and everything. And man, is the South beautiful. Those large spreading trees (what are those?) with Spanish Moss hanging off them, with perfectly mown lawns and stone walls with wrought-iron gates. Some of those towns looked like they were from feudal Europe, with the big manor house at the top of the hill in the middle, surrounded by a large stone wall, and all of the little peasant shacks around it. Wierd. Well, it was a lot of fun, and I'm sure I'll do it again someday.

For you VW freaks (Hey, I'm one!), I did the trip in a 1986 Scirocco 8v with 150K on it. No problems. What a car. Plus, we got some pretty rockin' gas mileage- 36.5mpg average. I love long-ratio transmissions! I took the car up to 108mph on the trip to pass a Toyota Supra Turbo that was cruising effortlessly at 104mph. She could have kicked my ass if she'd wanted to, but she let me pass her. I thought maybe she'd race me, but perhaps she didn't think I was enough of a challenge, and perhaps she didn't think that she felt like getting put in jail on that particular day of the week. Or maybe she just doesn't have as much testosterone as I do. Whatever.

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