Over five years back, our friend Mike Tsirklin sold his Bronx apartment and moved out to Los Angeles. It was disappointing to see him go especially since I was about to start working in the Bronx near his place. I had envisioned driving from my school in Kingsbridge to his apartment and eating his trademark cheesy-bread sandwiches at least once a week. But as a stand-up comic his destiny was out west and we knew we’d be frequent visitors.
During the Easter break of 2008, Melissa and I booked a flight to LA to meet up with Mike. It’s always fun visiting friends in California. The last time I had been to LA I was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune and I figured I’d revisit the Sony Picture Studios in Culver City and Mel could see Hollywood. Not long after we had made our flight arrangements, Mike called with what he figured would be bad news. He’d been asked to perform at some shows in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. “ROAD TRIP”, was the first phrase that came to our minds and we started brainstorming sidetrips to detour before his gigs.
This wasn’t the first time we’d be traveling a vast distance to see Mike on stage. About six years prior when we were living and teaching English in Japan, Mike came for a two week visit. While in Nippon sampling as much Japanese food as he could eat, Mike also made time to perform in Tokyo. We met him in Japan’s capital with a huge group of friends and it was a hoot.
Now with a new opportunity to travel with Mike, we figured this road trip was a genius idea. We flew to LA, and immediately hit the road in a rental van. The plan was to grab Mike’s stuff in his apartment and drive eighteen hours through the night straight to Portland, Oregon. As we drove northward 4/19/2008 slipped into 4/20/2008 and Mike and I traded turns during the red-eye drive from So Cal to Portland, OR. After the long haul we had Bloody Marys with our Mexican breakfast at a bar at around 11am. Over the next few days we hit Portland, Seattle, Ellensburg,Washington, Lewiston, Idaho, and Bozeman, Montana.
The pictures from today’s Photo Friday represent the first segment of our roadtrip and Mike’s comedy tour. One highlight was when Melissa wanted Mike to drive and strand me at a reststop in Shasta. A clerk was watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and my supportive wife was convinced that I had been hacked to pieces when I was actually just picking our snacks. Then there was Mike pranking my brother, the freak, and blasting an obscenity laced segment of a DMX track. Other classic moments included witnessing Mike’s temper tantrum when he couldn’t find a remote during HBO’s John Adams marathon, seeing fish flung at Pike Place Market, and getting lost in Powell’s (the largest independent bookstore in the country). Finally, I’ll never forget the huge line for country music karaoke immediately following Mike’s stand-up set in Ellensburg, Washington.
Mike Tsirklin is coming back to New York and bringing some friends for a show.