a parting glance

Made it to Vegas last night, staying briefly with a friends of Ravens, our last taste of the simple luxuries for the next week plus – a shower, air conditioning, a good nights rest – which we both desperately needed. Taking advantage of the brief interneto connection while Raven scrapes the two days of road off in the shower.

The time, sweat, effort, sleep dep. mosquito bites and money spent on Connie the Van has well paid off – I feel strangely like a proud father. From a machine that wouldn’t even idle and only had the hint of a strong, dependable engine, the van has run beautifully throughout the entire trip. We’ve been blessed.
The only hiccup so far was the tread flying off of one of the rear wheels somewhere outside of Dallas, but we limped into the next exit with no problem, changed the tire, and got going again in no time at all. The storms we have encountered had just passed, leaving the streets still running with water but not affecting us and the absence of the drivers side window – and we were treated to an entire night of beautiful lightning not too far off in the distance.

Fortunately most gas stations only make sure the card is good by authorizing $1.00 when you get fuel, which I have needed to take advantage of. Connie runs like a dream, but a hungry one. When those dollar authorizations turn into $60…   I have no choice but to get where I need to go & deal with the financial consequences later. Hell – it’s only money.

We’re rockin’. Connie (the Mans’) ashes have been sprinkled and scattered in the most beautiful places along the way, photos have been taken –

and now it’s time to hit the road again.

Wanna go for a ride?

It runs well enough, I suppose.
It runs well enough.

It runs!

Connie’s guts have been ripped apart, inspected, cleaned, adjusted, and re-assembled – and now, for the first time since I bought it, it idles. A rough idle – many things should have been replaced instead of just cleaned – but still, it’s an idle. No more driving with one foot on the gas and one on the brake around town.
The drivers seat is now actually functional, and instead of feeling like you’re going to be tossed out of it at every turn due to the severe wobble, it sits solid and sturdy as a drivers seat should. I also fixed both adjusters, so now it slides back and forth and reclines. Yay. Go me.
I found a windshield wiper on the carcass of a car today which was in better shape than the ones on connie – hoping it will fit. Haven’t tried it yet. If it does, at least the driver will be able to see…
Still no working fuel gauge – which wouldn’t be much of a problem if the odometer/speedo gauge worked, but I found that has a busted cable. Gonna be one hell of a guessing game across the country.  I go buy a five gallon gas can tomorrow – though the thought of having all that gas in the van with us doesn’t sit too well with me…
Four questionable tires, but I gots a spare. I need to buy a jack. That would probably help. Don’t think Raven is strong enough to lift the van with her skinny arms. Don’t think I am either, with mine.
Connie runs strong, once past idle.
I really need to see if there’s a way I can fix the gas gauge. It’s getting power – but I think the sending unit is toast. Sometimes the tank is full, then empty, then full again.
Now, if it were actually full again, that would be pretty fucking cool – but I don’t think that is the case.

We’ll make it – somehow. Of that, I have no doubt whatsoever.

Somehow.

Right on time-ish. I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be needing to do some busking along the way. I found on my way out here that Vegas isn’t too friendly about that, but hopefully I can make a few bucks before I’m shut down.

Connie’s ashes arrived yesterday, ready to join us on the journey. In a clear plastic bag in a black plastic box. Gots to get them out of all that plastic!
Deanne said that for a while Connie was a counselor at The Bridge House – a substance abuse program here in New Orleans, and that he liked nature and was always amazed by it. A simple man that didn’t need extravagant things. He was born here, so sometime tomorrow before we leave, I’ll sprinkle some his ashes in Jackson Square…

I need to get a sugar scoop or somethin’, with all this scattering and sprinkling!

I told her I’d take pictures of the places along the way where I scatter them – and I had the idea last nightin a sleep deprived delerium to make drawings with them where I was able – something simple, like happy faces. Why the hell not?

Okay, I really should sleep. In arond 16 hours New Orleans will be dissapearing in the rearview mirror, and I have a hell of a lot to do before then.

Thank you, New Orleans. You have shown me so much beauty, taken me into your arms, caresssed me in your delicious sexiness, and, every single day, amazed me in your strength. I will be back. In a strange, and perhaps unhealthy way, I’ve fallen in love with you.

Farewell.

Mundane edit – still don’t know how the hell I’m going to make it. With the money for the trip that I’ve already spent on the van, and the money I still need to, (not to mention food & water, but I can do pretty well without food. Practice, y’know?) it will be a voyage that will be difficult not to fret about completing. I know I will, somehow, because this is what is meant to happen – but if anyone wants to donate a buck or five to the “Get Connie & kSea to California” fund, I will be forever grateful and appreciative for your help in alleviating my worry, and promise to kill every mosquito I am able to along the way.  If you want, I’ll send you the little mosquito carcasses so you can pin them to your body as a warning to other mosquitos. Remember kids – the further I get, the more mosquitos end up dead on the front of my van! Trust me – I’ll swerve to hit them.

I think I have mosquito issues.

paypal acct at ksea13 (at) gmail (dot) com

Ashes to…

The drivers side seat sits in pieces in the van, the distributor cap and rotor are in my room having just undergone a thorough cleaning & inspection. I’ll sand the pitted and burnt contacts and clean it up as well as I can. It should be replaced, but this will have to do. The seat I will fix tomorrow, fabricating something to take place of the destroyed bearing that let the chair swivel, as well as elevating it about another inch.
It’s coming together. Connie will make it.

I must admit – just after buying the van from Deanne I was at times wondering if i had made the wrong decision, acted too hastily. Over 3000 miles to go. It needs so much work done – work I can do, but I can’t afford the parts necessary for it. Something as simple as a drivers side window is beyond question, even from a junkyard. Even spark plugs and new windshield wipers I question spending money on. I wondered if there was another van that I was supposed to get – one I could just lightly tune, inspect, and go without worries. The more the story falls into place, however, the more I am absolutely certain that this is the van I was supposed to find.

Deanne & I have become quite close through our email exchanges – she’s becoming one of the random friends that pop into your life in the strangest of ways.

So I could no more about the namesake of my van, I asked her about her uncle. The story she wrote me was much more than I expected. Here it is, abbreviated.

Conrad Mathew Eagan was an alcoholic for most of his life, one of the bums living on the streets of New Orleans, in and out of jail.
About 12 years ago he finally quit drinking, and got on Social Security to aid him with his depression and alcoholism. He moved to Northern Louisiana, bought a truck, a trailer home, and a boat – he was set, and really started enjoying his life.

Then, Katrina hit. he evacuated to Deanne’s moms house (his sisters) for over two months, then went back to his home, living there with a giant hole that a tree tore in the roof of it over the living room for a few months until Deanne had no choice but to make him move away from it.
Then, his depression really started to hit. He got sick. The doctor said it was bronchitis, and gave him antibiotics. They didn’t help. He went back again and again, and she kept giving him more antibiotics.
Finally, she ran an X-ray and found a mass in his left lung. Cancer. Tests and more tests, but no action.
He moved into a trailer that Deanne had found for him – at this point not even having the energy to help, so Deanne & three others moved him.
The day after he moved into the trailer, the person who rented it to him told him it had been sold, and he had to move again.
The depression got worse.

He moved into apartments about a mile from Deanne, where she was able to take care of him better – oxygen, nurses, breathing treatments every four hours, helping him with his medication because he couldn’t manage that either.

He struggled breathing for six months as it got worse and worse, and Deanne was the sole one to take care of him. Even his children had abandoned him doe to his alcoholic past.
Ohe day, Deanne says that she knew it was the last. He wasn’t going to make it through the night. He refused to go back to the hospital, frightened that they would just prolong the pain he was going through. He wanted it to stop. Finnaly, stop.
She fed him Xanax, Ativan & Darvocet whenever he woke up, as he went into panic attacks from not being able to breathe. She was ther when he took his last breath, felt his pulse stop, and called the time of death – but can’t remember it now…

She said he was a kind, caring soul. You can see it in the way his eies sparkle in the previous post. She said that he was the only man in her life that stuck around. She said that he grew plants and sold them for a little extra money here and there. He installed hydraulic brakes on the van, and planned on taking it to Wisconsin, California, other places he dreamed and we can only imagine –

before Katrina.

He was Conrad Mathew Eagan, and he is a friend of mine.

It’s strange, how you meet people sometimes.

Now, every bolt turned, every drop of sweat, every mosquito bite, every bloodied knuckle from a wrench slipping that goes into that beautiful van – everything I put into it is mixed with love for a man who seems like someone I would have really wanted to know – and in a way, do.

Then, she says this:
“You know….we’ve been wondering what to do with his ashes.  How would you feel about spreading his ashes along the way or when you get there?  I would never ask a stranger to do something so strange, but my Uncle wasn’t your average ordinary person. And if you feel funny about doing something like that, I totally understand…   I have premonitions and an esp type thing so I trust my feelings.  I just have a good feeling about you and know that you won’t just take the ashes and dump them in the garbage.  You have nice eyes that say a lot about you…”

Connie’s ashes are on their way to me now, and will join Beans on the dash of my van as I begin the 3000 mile journey back across the country. I’ll find places that he would have liked along the way and sprinkle them. I’ll sprinkle them on the Playa, at the Temple, as Deanne assured me that he would have loved Burning Man after I sent her the link to it. He’ll make it to California, ashes from San Francisco to Venice, L.A. Whatever is left, I will toss in the Sea, so he can keep travelling.

I can’t find the words to say how honored I am in her trust. Connie, Raven, Bean  & I are going to have a BLAST! It will be great to have his energy with us. Now that he’s back to being solely a spiritual being, depression doesn’t exist…

Some of Beans ashes will go to Dolores Park and Fort Funston – as well as Ocean Beach – and a small bag for Sean & Patty, who cared for her so beautifully when I wasn’t able to –  and fell deeply in love with her.

Ashes to… everywhere!

Gods, I love life. Out of something so mundane as buying a van, entire worlds open up.

This is what it’s all about.

If you listen close enough, you’ll hear the music.

Care to dance?


I knew a little bit about it.
I knew that she had to sell the van to pay for her uncles funeral services, as he had recently gotten sick and passed on.
I didn’t tell her this, of course, but there were times that I thanked him for helping me, both before and after I was able to make it one and a half hours north to buy the van from Deanne.

We’ve kept in contact since my purchase, just simple stuff, asking if there was a key she didn’t know what it was too on her keychain, probably round – the square one doesn’t work for the doors.
There was. She sent it to me, and it was the right key. groovy.

Then, in thanking her, I recieve this reply:

“I’m so glad that was the key! Send me some pics of the van when you get it fixed up, I’d like to see what it looks like – if you have a digital camera. I’m sure my Uncle had something to do with you getting that van and taking it to California – he wanted to go there too. I’m sure your trip will be a success!

You take care of yourself too & GOOD LUCK!!!

Deanne”

I am continually awestruck, humbled, and at the same time, really turned on and in love with the way Universe works when I believe in it, and let go of my fears knowing that what is supposed to happen, always, without question, will.
There is a Zen saying – “Leap, and the net will appear.”

I’ve spent most of my life leaping.
Though this has sometimes really frustrated and worried the hell out of people who look at me like I’m a complete idiot when I tell them that I don’t have a plan, I do believe that most of them are coming around, or already have – even my parents.
Things just work out. I don’t force them, I put my intentions out and pay attention to life, and I am thankful for absolutely everything – even the things that bring me the deepest sorrow –
and I feel that I am truly smiled upon, by simply believing that absolutely everything is magick.

Well, everything except mosquitoes. There’s no magick in mosquitoes at all.

Anyway, back to the story.

I really appreciate all the suggestions for naming my van, but though I was really endeared with many of them, the van now has a name – and Deanne assured me that he would love me naming the van after him.

It’s name of The Van is now Connie – short for Conrad Mathew Eagan, the man who gave it to me in his passing.
She used to call him Uncle C.
I’ll use that when I’m pleading with him to make it over the mountains.

This is him, taken in January.

Thanks, Uncle C.

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And yeah – that’s the corner of the van in the background.

To the New Orleans folk…

My last night out  in New Orleans for a long, long time will be this Sunday.
Sunday is also Joey’s (Dervish) Birthday.
I do believe I will be somewhere in the lower Decatur, and there are many I would like to say farewell to, and it’s so much easier gathering youall into a group –
so if you want to bid me the same,
come around.
I hope to see you.

2,232.7 miles from my apartment to Gerlach.
Another 808 miles through San Francisco, down to Venice.

Yesterday, with nine days until the scheduled launch date, I found & bought a van. An ’81 mid-sized Chevy. The motor seems strong, no smoke – but it does need some work, probably carb adjustments or something as simple as a vacuum tube that has fallen off. It doesn’t idle – but it’s nothing I can’t handle.
There’s a whole 1/8 turn of freeplay in the steering (manual) – but I can probably lessen that as well. I have an extensive history in making old vans drivable.
The drivers side captain chair wobbles all around, which is a bit disconcerting when turning – the whole thing, with me, tilts to the opposite side about six inches.
I can hopefully make time to fix that as well – along with the drivers side window that is very much not there.

No radio, no AC – or fan of any kind at all.
It’s going to be one hell of a beautiful – if not absurdly amusing – journey across the country, but  thankfully I’m heading to BRC with ravencreature  – quite possibly the best driving companion I could have hoped for.

And yes – the van is white.

And it will make it – I’ve got things to do.

Now accepting suggestions for names for her. She’ll need one before we leave on the 24th…