Brian Krans smokes cigarettes and drinks bourbon. He also writes books, in which you will find a healthy dose of cursing. The word stubborn might come to mind when trying to describe his personality, which might also be a good explanation as to why he has recently taken a 77 days trip up, down and across the USA in order to promote his latest book: Assault Rifles & Pedophiles: An American Love Story. Matter of the fact, after stocking up on essential supplies like axes, throwing knives and enough matches to burn down half the country, Krans drove an old truck over 10.000 miles for no other reason than to put his book in the hands of the last few people that actually know how to read. If you belong to the latter though, feel free to read on, as we thought it would be quite interesting to know what essential items Krans brought along with him on the Books, Beers and Blades Tour!
Text: Freddy White Photos: Corey Buller, Omaha, Nebraska.
What’s your destination this time and how long you’re on the road?
The ultimate destination was home to the girlfriend, dog, and JSF homies in Oakland, Calif. The tour started in my hometown (Wis. Rapids, Wis.) and went as far east as New York City, as south as New Orleans, and as far north as Toronto. Then I came home and did a California leg down to San Diego before coming back and looking a real job again.
All told, it was 11,000 miles, 77 days, 26 cities, and too many long days on the road.
What’s the one item you wish you would (but you don’t) have for your travels?
A phone with more memory so I could have taken more photos.
That’s a tie between San Francisco and Madison. Despite they’re the only two I used on this trip, they each mean coming home. SFO has the least uptight TSA agents and a few Christmases ago I missed a flight in Madison and randomly ran into Dylan Davis before being served free drinks on the flight home. Not too bad.
Your trick to beat jet lag?
Alcohol, caffeine, and stubbornness.
Any travel tips/suggestions?
Don’t commit to driving anything more than 8 hours because those can turn into 10 or more without your consent. Get vegetables when you can. Pull over before you need to. Maintenance is cheaper than repair. Tell your mom what city you’re in and call your girlfriend often.
But most importantly, plan for speed bumps and pay attention to the signs you’ll see along the road.
Roll or fold clothes?
Depends on the bag. Roll in a backpack, fold in a duffle.
Daily Jeans:Prana shorts to stay comfortable on long drives and hikes, skate jeans, and a pair I wore to every reading. Documentation: Surface to stay up on email and social media, 1984 cash purse I picked up at my first bookstore reading, and various notebooks for to-do lists, reading outlines, and research for the new book. AMall hat: wouldn’t travel without it. Footwear: have to switch it up to prevent athlete’s foot. Wallet, matches, cigarettes, knife, sunglasses, airplane bottle of Jim Beam, and belt: these are just necessities. That, and you need to keep your pants up if you’re going to shank someone. Keys: to your own cell. Having a carabiner that doubles as aluminum knuckles is useful, but can still be lost down an elevator shaft in Seattle. Seriously, fuck that experience. Liquids: coffee, water, and beer. Repeat daily in that order.
Readings ‘Swag’: people love free shit, so buttons and matchbooks will have to do. Merch: My three books and a print of the cover, designed by Kyler Martz, and printed by the same guy who does Kyler’s art prints. (Check them out at KylerMartz.com) Cult literature: was given pamphlets for the “perfect society” in Boone, NC. Fellow blade writer Thomas Martin lives there. He can tell you the rest. The Radvocate: best goddamn literary magazine/zine/blade-artist depot in existence. Chapter 43: my favorite way to fuck with readers and a special treat to Kickstarter backers and places I visited early on the tour. If you want to read it, check and see if The Pull has any left. Bookmarks: all from bookstores that chose to carry my book. Truly great believers in the cause. Tub of Books: some I brought with me for enjoyment or for research. Many were presents during my travels
Skate Box Valo V13: A fun skate, but made for much lighter, younger, and smaller-hipped skaters. Gonna turn these into my transportation skates. Sic Urethane Fritz Peitzner (58mm 90a): Kevin Little gave me this pair in Austin. Face John Starr: Brought these beautifully cured beauties with me. Thankfully, I still haven’t had to use them. Used Eulogies: I like to retire antirocker outer wheels early, and use them for a flatrocker setup every so often. Brandon Smith/E. Bailey: Long at Oak City Skate Shop had some Dyna anti-rockers and Eulogy Bailey’s with early Kyler art on it. I had to buy both (but the new B.’s had to go on the skates. Best antis ever made). Wax/Laces/Bearing Oil/Sunscreen: have to be prepared, maintain what you got, and fear the sun, especially if you’re as white as I am. BS.1 Wines: Love these skates. Now I’m back to skating the original brown ones. Heaven.
Camping Warm Weather Wear: The First & Lexington thermal long sleeve is awesome and great for cold nights. A wool jacket doesn’t hurt either. Sleeping Pad: Camping be dammed, a Thermarest pad is a huge pull for sleeping on floors or making shitty futons more bearable. Ax: A great campfire takes work, and this lightweight little bugger is great for gathering and splitting wood. Also great for protection against crack heads and bears. CamelBak: Did a lot of hiking, which is the best way to kill a hangover. You sweat out the bad while forcing yourself to drink water. Colt Throwing Knives: There’s no immediate satisfaction greater than sinking one of these into a tree while camping. Sleeping Bag, Tent, Cookwear, Mini Stove, Food and Lights: Always be ready for everything, especially rolling in hella late when everything is closed or you have to pull over and made due for the night. First & Lexington Coozie: Heat waves can kill a cold beer, so this was clutch. Coffee: The fuck if I’m capable of getting anything done without it. Tarp: If you camp and don’t bring a tarp, you’re not thinking right. Great for under the tent and keeping wood dry during a downpour. Hammock: Best thing to have for naps. Rest stops are clutch. Chair: Proper campfire seating. Baby Wipes: Make for great impromptu showers, especially if you discover your hosts don’t have a working shower. Undercarriage maintenance is important.