Just Passin’ Through: New car means new sights to see

By Ryan Lengerich

It’s a good thing Damion Kirkland just bought a new Honda Element.

He still has a long way to drive.

“I just got it this year so this is the first miles that are going on it,” he said.

Kirkland, 28, has the next two months free from work and is driving across the country from his hometown in Alameda, Calif. to the east coast, along with his best friend’s parents Paul and Claudia Tipler.

The three west coasters stopped at Sonic for lunch Thursday after spending the last week in Santa Fe visiting the Tipler’s daughter at St. John College.

The three will be spending the next couple months visiting places they have never seen.

“I wanted to go to the east coast — Washington, New York and Boston,” Kirkland said. “(Claudia) wants to see Nova Scotia (Maine) and that sounds good to me too.”

With Alameda located on the bay near Oakland, Kirkland and Paul are avid Oakland Athletics baseball fans and plan to stop in Cooperstown, N.Y. to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. The two men are rooting for the Marlins to win the World Series because they, “hate the Yankees.”

Kirkland was born in nearby Berkeley, Calif., while Paul was born in Wisconsin and Claudia in North Dakota. The three say they enjoy living in California.

“I love the people,” Claudia said. “You can be whatever you want.”

Each of the three rolled their eyes at a mention of the California governor recall election this month. The bay voted heavily in opposition to Gov. elect Schwarzenegger.

“Two million teenagers lined up to vote for their favorite cyborg,” Claudia said.

Paul said that with more than 150 names listed randomly on the ballot it was easy to spot Schwarzenegger because of his name’s length. But Paul said he had to search to page 8 to cast his vote for Cruz Bustamante.

The three said they realized their state was the punch line of jokes nationwide.

“I have never been so humiliated,” Kirkland said.
Kirkland said the large voter turnout was great for the state, but doesn’t mean the right choice was made.

“I think one good thing about the recall is that it was a very powerful message,” Kirkland said. “I don’t think everyone realized the power of what they were doing but a really powerful message was sent to California, which has always been real apathetic in voting.”