June 4, 1999
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA

1:30pm. "It’s no coincidence that looks like a javalina," stated Richard, pointing to a summit approximately five miles ahead to the east. "No doubt it has javalina power!"

I’m reading On The Road, cruising toward Austin with Anne and Richard. My eyes left the page, focused on the peak, saw nothing that resembled anything, then moved to Richard behind the wheel. "What is a Javalina?"
"When we stop for water at Panther Junction, go ask the ranger in the information center. They’ll probably have a photo of one."

1:50pm. A collared peccary, or javalina, resembles a wild bore, but is not part of the hog family. The name "Javalina" originated from the Spanish word for javelin or sword. The name was most likely chosen as a reference to the Peccary’s sharp tusks.

3:07pm. I’m finally tripping on Jack. The events have become more interesting, but what entertains me most is the similarities between my current position and Jack’s at this point in the story:

"We sat in the front seat, all three. Marylou took out the cold clean and applied it for kicks. Every now and then a big truck zoomed by; the driver in the high cab caught a glimpse of a golden beauty sitting naked with two naked men: you could see them swerve a moment as they vanished in our rear-view window. Great sage plain. snowless now, rolled on. Soon we were in orange - rocked Pecos Canyon Country."

Anne, like Marylou, is a true golden beauty-- sitting between myself and Richard-- driving, like Dean-- who is admired by Sal Paradise (Jack) the same as I admire Richard. Shorty we will be in Pecos County. No cold cream or nakedness. Shucks.

"I pushed Dean and the kid over and went down the mountain with the clutch in and the motor off to save gas."

Rachel has two gas tanks, but for an unknown reason she wouldn’t switch tanks. We rode her passed empty until Marathon was seen fives miles down hill. Richard shut her off and coasted all the way to the "ding-ding" at the pumps.

"Our cashier really stinks at guessing ages, so if you want cigarettes; can we see some ID?" said a sigh at the cash register with a pencil crayoned geeky looking freckle-faced red-head kid.

3:35pm. We are crossing into cattle country. Lush grassy plains stretch out north, south, east, and west - steam roller flat.

"What does a west Texan call cruise control?" Richard asked in his usual low rough voice that makes it hard for me to tell if he is serious or joking. I starred back at him blankly, waiting for the answer. His face cracked, then smiled, "A brick."

"We are heading into prime mushroom country," informs Richard.
"I’d like to try some..." I responded.
"So would I," he said.

This morning, in preparation for the federal Check-point, Richard hid the road weed in a glass test tube capped with wax in a motor oil container. He said "the dogs can’t smell it through oil."

The dogs still might be set off by the smell of countless spliffs in the cab and remnants on the floor from rolling on the go.

"It’s always an adventure, MAX!" said Richard, glancing at me with a wide black-and-gray goatee framed grin and eyes twinkling behind thick angular glasses. "Always an adventure! I gotta tell you guys-- I have no idea what is going to happen. From this point on, I will handle all police. They have no right to question you."

"No worries, MAX." Anne assured. "They cannot arrest us for having smoked. It’s just if they find us carrying it." --which they might if the dogs go wild and they thoroughly search the vehicle.

"MAX, they are not looking for a tall blonde Norwegian." said Richard, not concerned about Anne being caught in the country illegally.

Sharing the intrigue, I have read aloud excerpts form Jack’s parallel journey.

"The police are searching their car!" I reported. Richard and Anne both quickly turned to me with a look suggesting they were ready to pull the truck over, chuck the tube and clean the cab like never before.

"No shit?!" Richard confirmed, serious-- as if a direct omen from Wakontonka -- the Great Mystery-- God. Anne appeared to stop breathing. I quickly read on:

The cop told Dean to come out. Suddenly he whipped out his gun and yelled. "Keep your hands up! "Offisah," I heard Dean say in the most unctuous and ridiculous tunes, "Offisah, I was only trying to button up my flah."
Even the Cop almost smiled. Dean came out, muddy, ragged, T-shirted, rubbing his belly, cursing, looking everywhere for his license and his car paper. The cop rummaged through our back trunk. All the papers were straight. "Only checking up." he said with a broad smile. "You can go now..."

Richard and Anne breathed a thankful, deep sigh of relief.

4:03pm. Anne is preparing for a safety meeting. We are listening to the Eagles Greatest Hits-- perfect road music. Richard has one arm around Anne, steering between drags off a Camel, and singing along, as usual-- his cool, perfect self.

"MAX, you know why they call camels the ships of the desert...?" Richard quizzed.
"Tell me..." I chuckled, awaiting a hearty laugh; my face already sore from smiling.
"Because they are full of Arab seaman!"

4:21pm. "That was a super-good omen!" said Richard in passing the unmanned check point.

Anne is learning new words from the Spanish / English dictionary.

4:24pm. "Record that! Write it down. Make it so, MAX! ’Regalado!’ I like that! That will be the theme of this trip," announced Richard, speaking of a Spanish word Anne discovered, meaning: ’fond of easy living.’

4:39pm. Richard turned the radio on. The commercials are annoying. I’ve enjoyed several months of advertising deprivation and it has made me sensitive.

Driving through Fort Stockton, middle America, low-end suburbia, plain, small, lawns, kids looking bored, cars from the 80’s and early 90’s, we are looking for a joint to get a quick bite. Subway it is...

5pm. Van Morrison is crooning as we pass the first oil crickets.

"Look, MAX, Indian Paint brush. The pink flower." shared Richard, grandfather, pointing out road-side bouquets. "And sage. That can be used to make a ’morning after’ tea to prevent pregnancy."

7:19pm. Leaving Ozona a minute ago, we passed a sign advertising a monument to Davy Crockett. I made a short comment. Richard responded, singing-- "Davy... Davy Crockett... King of the wild frontier!," followed by Anne, singing the jingle in Norwegian. "It was popular there, too," she explained.

7:22pm. "I don’t want to hear your Jesus Christ dogma." Richard scoffed at the preacher, tuning the knob to Paul McCartney sing’n Man on the Run.

7:43pm. "Deer hunting out here is like fishing in a barrel," Richard informed me, looking out at green rolling hills covered with lush round oaks-- mostly about 20 feet high.

"I’d love to be able to trip with you guys! ...Get that window of perception open a little wider," smiled Richard, exited about the prospect of eating sh’rooms in the near future.

7:58pm. "MAX, you know the last thing that goes through a bug’s mind when it hits the wind shield?" Richard laughed. "---His ass!!!"

10:59pm. We’re watching The Perfect Murder, on HBO, in our room at Legends Inn, in Junction. We heard the owner, a funky old dude, advertising on the radio. I turned on the boob as soon as we walk in. Jerry Seinfeld has kept us entertained with stand-up for the past hour.