After not sleeping much in Portland had breakfast with Bryan Coffelt and his fiancée and talked about breakfast places of which Portlanders are very fond, something I kinda knew already from Kevin Sampsell and Frayn Masters from when they came to read in Atlanta and they were down for some kickass breakfast but we couldn't get into Ria's Bluebird ever because it's always hard to get in there, and things were pretty much the same in Portland on a Sunday morning with everyone eating before or after church and stuff although I'm not sure how much of Portland is made of church-goers because it seems like a really young city and I know that the people are all highly educated and thus not superstitious. Whilst mid-drive to Ashland we spotted two bald eagles. I bought a six pack of Bud tall boys in an attempt to chill while Mike took the wheel and maybe I could sleep, but I'm not very good at sleeping in cars, so we talked about driving itself and Mike told me how he hit a parked car once. Mike said he gets nervous cause he doesn't drive a lot, which is good. I wish more Americans didn't drive. But Mike said I made him comfortable in the car so we figure if we drove another thousand miles still he'd be a real American by the end of it.
Ashland was rainy and quaint and fun. K. Silem Mohammad met us at his apartment and we then ate latin fusion and the server had trouble knowing what was on the menu that the restaurant didn't have and remembering things we ordered and actually bringing them, but we had mojitos and margaritas and altogether it was good (especially the empanadas) so we left a tip still and the loud drunk girls sitting behind us said that they'd order the same things because one of the girls was the other girl's bottom. The reading there was intimate, which was a nice contrast to the huge Portland reading and I told everyone that I was having a baby, and lots of other very personal things. Mike recited his poem/play, the first section from his poem "Let's Build the Last Song and Sneak Away While Everyone Is Listening" and it went over well. We sold a few books, but more important kicked it with almost everyone who came to the reading at Kasey's house where we re-defined the road novel, created (maybe?) the anti-road novel, talked about the first person omniscient (Whitman), and generally spent the night perusing Kasey's amazing cornucopia of displayed books. Morning brought me Morning Glory, the much hyped (by Mike and Bryan Coffelt) Ashland breakfast Mecca that lived up to its hoopla by serving me a giant chicken fried steak that there was no chance of finishing. I had a bite of Mike's omelette: carmelized red onions, smoked applewood bacon, and fontina cheese: the most amazing omelette I've ever tasted. Mike won.
Drive through the Siskiyous: gorgeous: snow sifting, dusting cedars, big semis. Open vista at Siskiyou Pass and clouded over Mt. Shasta, the peak peeking through. Sagebrush that I miss we don't get sagebrush in Georgia. Or mountains, real mountains, not foothills. Past weed we got a full view of Shasta, to which Mike a funny story told me is tangentially related: Lemurians are an ancient Alien race that live upon Mt. Shasta, according to some weirdos who live around the mountain, particularly around the town of Weed, where a brewery created Lemurian Lager. This cult showed up at the brewery one day, waltzing in clad full in white, carrying a cease and desist letter, claiming "Lemurians are 5,000 years old, they live in the mountain, and they don't drink beer. Please stop production." The delivered the letter then stood around quietly, not saying anything at all in their white clothing. Freaking out everyone, the brewery agreed to stop making the beer but if I were them I would've just changed the name which is what they probably did.
Along I-5 we saw a horse in a pasture chasing a gaggle of geese away like the horse was thinking fuck I'm gonna go fuck with those geese. This conglomeration of blackbirds circled and wheeled over a field and together in unison they made a face of many emotions, a cloud. Mike said it looked like pepper. In San Francisco we saw Jimmy Chen and Chelsea Martin, and that was great to see those old friends. We also saw my pal Todd Cincala and he hooked us up with a couch and cushions. The reading went well there, too, sold books, I got Chelsea to sign my copy of her The Really Funny Thing About Apathy. Jimmy and I talked about making pasta with different delicious sauces and I want to cook with him.
Davis next where we saw Jeremy Spencer of Scrambler Books. Met Mike's parents for dinner and they were really nice. Went to weird college beer bars in Davis that closed at 10 PM, but Jeremy and his buddy Ben were great hosts and it was fun talking to them while in the background one television featured some Hooters things with bikinis tug-o-warring on clouded over beaches, and on another TV snowboarders plummeted from scarped snowy cliffs and performed typical snowboarder antics such as driving RVs and throwing snowballs at one another whilst donning their cool baggy clothing and snowboarding goggles circling their necks and I was reminded of that subculture and how fucking stupid it is. Mike read a sad story in Davis, maybe not really sad, emotional. Mike's dad after the reading said, "I'm surprised. You guys are really good!"