Previously on the Pineapple Story: I was staying at Chris Brunners place, called the Gemyard in an RV. When I arrived he told me I could stay as long as I wanted. Well, I don’t think he expected me to stay one month, and neither did I… Here’s whats happened in a nutshell:
Chris, TeriAnn and me set off to Wasteland Weekend, a festival in the Mojave desert, a 1400 kilometre drive in a badass custom schoolbus with a oldtimer truck towed behind it. The second day we drove trough Las Vegas with this big rig and parked it in the middle of Vegas where we picked up Hayden, Chris his nephew. I’ve never been in Vegas so crazy TeriAnn wanted to show me around. TeriAnn is the same age as my mom and she is really interesting. She is really arty and is an Moab legend. We really got along. We drove to Fremont street and I’ve never seen anything like it. People gambling everywhere, too much neon lights, street performers doing the strangest things just for money, beggars, crackheads,… It was too much for me. Too much emotions going on in one place. Off course we got drunk and I had a good time, but that was it for me. Las Vegas isn’t my scene. The next day we set off again riding trough vast landscapes in the schoolbus while King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard was blasting trough the speakers. This was awesome.
Wasteland Weekend itself was something really special. Everybody was dressed up in Mad Max theme and the whole festival themed out to the maximum. This was a different world and it was f*cking crazy! It took me two days to feel at ease at this place. Everybody went to bed early the first night, except for me… I went dancing on my own. I was kinda disappointed because the music was too quiet everywhere, so after enough drinks I walked up to the DJ asking if he was American, and if yes, if Americans do know how to party? “Well turn up the volume then!”. He started laughing, turned up the volume and served me a drink. I could choose the next songs. Mission accomplished. That night I met Darren, I had a lighter, he had the smokes. Darren is a bodyguard that works for Billy Bob Thornton, Kiefer Sutherland and The Wailers. He dismantled cocaine labs in Colombia, and I don’t have to tell you this guy is big and full of amazing stories… He lives in San Diego on a really big ranch, and invited me to his place once I’m there. Its right next to the beach where the Navy Seals train, so we can shoot guns all day he said. He will take me to Tijuana to have a good time. People tell me Tijuana is really dangerous, but with my personal bodyguard I don’t see a problem in that :-). This is Darren sitting on a rocket on Chris’s truck.
Unfortunately for me this was more an experience festival than a music festival, but I embraced it and still had a good time. There was a thunderdome where people were fighting each other like in the Mad Max movie, lots of strippers doing their thing, naked people, crazy vehicles and free booze. Yes you’re reading this right, FREE DRINKS! For four days I wandered around in the desert, mainly at night because it was too hot during the day, in a daze. I had a great time listening to my own music at the camp having my own party. I met really cool people and definitely an experience never too forget, but for me it was a one time thing. They definitely didn’t know how to party. I’m starting to realise we are really blessed in Belgium.
On the way back to Moab, we drove until late at night to arrive at some hot springs, owned by the guy that made the art design for the Grateful Dead. Pretty sick. I sat for three hours in the hot tub under the moonlight. This was magical.
Back in Moab I decided to stick around another week, because TeriAnn had some work for me. This never happened, but that was the reason I was staying. Chris, Hayden and me went for an offroad track in Moab (world class motorcycling) which was amazing. I couldn’t believe my eyes. We drove to the cliff where Thelma & Louise ride into the abyss at the end of the movie. Two days later Chris texted me if I wanted to go to the Sandunes and race in sand with the motorcycle and an ATV? “euuuuuhm, well I don’t know do I?” Fuck yeah? I asked Chris if I could do it with my bike and he said i’ll be fine. Well I was fine, but I had a really hard time. We hit the sand and I started thinking: WHAT. THE.FUCK. Chris couldn’t stop laughing when he saw my face after the first stretch of sand. You can’t go slow on sand, so you’r driving around 70-80 km an hour and all your thinking is that you’r gonna crash every second. Chris took me for a spin in the ATV too, and this was a real life rollercoaster experience racing in the desert. I think I dropped my bike around 15 times that day and I finally know how its like to race DAKAR. The last time I dropped my bike on my foot and I’m still feeling the consequences but it was definitely worth it. Check out the video if you want to have an impression:
I stuck around a few days more because my foot was a little bit fucked up and I started hanging out with Maja in her schoolbus. A lot. We kinda became inseparable and I don’t know where time went, but before I knew it I was two weeks further… Mallory, a waitress that I met in Alaska was visiting in between on her way to her new job in Arizona. Maja, Mallory and me went hiking and laughed our asses off. In between I had a job as a painter in the high school. That was really cool for me because I was painting the secretary office and saw the high school life going on that I knew from the movies. I was finally doing it, travelling and working! For two days, can’t work too much you know ;-). The weather started to change in Moab and winter kicked in. The mountains surrounding this really cool town snowed in and Maja and me took a hike in the snow. This was unreal and really unbelievably beautiful. I shed a tear on this hike… I’m glad I met Maja, she is definitely one of the coolest and strongest girls that I’ve met. She grew up on the streets after running away from home and is all about climbing. She was high on life and knew how to live it. Maja, you are awesome and keep doing what you’r doing.
I’ve seen some really cool places in my life, but Moab is definitely top three. I left a piece of my heart here.
It was cool to hang out in a place for a few weeks. I got a local discount at the swimming pool, people were greeting me at the coffee house and when I went to the bars in town I knew some people. Hang around with TeriAnn a few evenings. For a short amount of time, I was having a normal life again… And I liked it. Staying at the gemyard was a brilliant experience living the hippie life with al these cool amazing people. Chris needed my help on my last day in Moab, to drive the schoolbus trough the desert to pick up another RV. I never drove a school bus! Let alone off road. I felt invincible. I can’t thank you enough Chris Brunner for trusting me and showing me around Moab and letting me stay on your kickass property… Chris, you rock dude!
TeriAnn and Chris
Time to hit the road again after a month. I decided to visit Mallory in Scottsdale Arizona. I set off early morning after saying goodbye to Chris and drove trough Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley. Amazing landscapes. All of a sudden I saw snow plowers coming from the opposite way… It started raining and before I knew it, I was in a snow blizzard. I was 40 kilometres from the nearest town, so stopping in the middle of nowhere wasn’t an option. I kept on going, a little scared driving in the snow. Cars next to me where waving at me and telling me I was brave. I didn’t feel brave, I felt stupid. I was freezing on my bike and really scared to crash. Once in town I stopped at the first hotel and booked a room. This was a crazy experience, coming from the desert and ending up in snow. Never expected this!!!! The next day I arrived at Mallory’s place. We drove to the Grand Canyon, 3,5 hours one way to stay there one hour, but it was worth it! It was cool to sit in a car for a change. We arrived around 10 o’clock in the evening in Scottsdale and there were cops EVERYWHERE! Every road was blocked and traffic was going crazy, nobody knew what to do. For a brief moment I thought there was a terrorist attack. I pulled over the car and walked up to a police officer to ask what was going on. Trump just landed in Scottsdale so all the roads were blocked for his convoy…. Really? We were waiting for the presidential convoy to pass and it was crazy. I think I saw 100 cops on motorcycles escorting the president and then another 50 vehicles surrounding the beast… We were parked next to some camera crews shooting some footage. When we drove by after the convoy left, Mallory lowered her window and started screaming for the cameras: “fuck you Trump, you are ruining my country”. This was hilarious. She is one of the funniest persons I’ve met in my life.
I’m staying some days in Scottsdale Arizona because my steering wheel is a little loose, so I’m waiting for a part to arrive because I don’t feel safe driving like this. I’m in an apartment with crazy Mallory, I maybe have a job in a bar in the meantime and Dia, the Harley girl from Alaska is here for a business trip. I’m not alone and surfing this huge wave of happiness and living. I’m so fortunate its ridiculous.
Its weird being on the road for such a long time. I keep meeting really cool people. I’m on a constant high, which is really weird. People tell me that I give off good vibrations and thats why cool stuff keeps happening to me. I don’t know exactly whats going on, but I do know this is insane and I must be one of the happiest persons in the world. Sometimes I can’t believe this is real and I’m just dreaming. This was the best decision I have ever made in my life. And you want to know the craziest thing? IT KEEPS COMING FOR ANOTHER YEAR… After this i’m going trough Joshua tree to San Fransisco to go down to Los Angeles and finally meet up with Darren hopefully in San Diego.
I’m afraid I can never go back to my normal life in Belgium again and I’m starting making plans already what to do after this trip. Life is good so far!! The only thing that I’m really missing besides family and friends is playing music with my band. Pink Room, you keep on kicking ass dudes!