Thursday, March 31, 2016

Warning: Half-baked Philosophizing Within (And Hardly Any Images

Thursday saw a relatively easy travel day, 405 miles from Holbrook, Arizona to Tucumcari, New Mexico in about six hours, a straight shot along Interstate 40 except for a lunch detour to our favorite kitschy old –town Alburquerque restaurant, La Placita. We took a couple of images. 

That’s it for the travel day. Proceed at your own risk.

Part of my preparation for this trip was to read the volume shown on the splash page of the website, Paul Theroux’ Deep South. This is not a guidebook in any sense of the word. Rather it is a very idiosyncratic travel book drawn from a four-season ramble through the south, mostly along and around the Mississippi River Delta and mostly among the African American communities there.

In it, the author reveals his own foibles and prejudices which can be quite annoying, but it is also, in turns, thoughtful, thought-provoking, amusing, and inspiring. His south is not the gothically, scary place that Tony Horvitz uncovered in Confederates in the Attic, though he does not ignore the ugly racial past of the region. Rather, he focuses on the people, their stories, their culture, their hopes, their dreams.

What I got from the book, especially the very effective closing essay, was a sense of the region we will begin touring in just a few days. Everyone, northerners and southerners, is aware of how different the south is from the north. It is one of his major themes. Certainly, when we lived just north of the Ohio River, across from northern Kentucky in the 1980s we got that sense. Even beyond our experiences there, this book illustrates the exotic nature of the south and gave me new ways of thinking about it. From Theroux’ vast experience as a travel writer, he was able to compare the south to so many places that should have been more foreign than our own southern states, but were not. And years after the civil rights movement he was able to illustrate the real disadvantages suffered by African-Americans and the dispiriting poverty that is pressed upon them despite all their hard work. Despite this, he also chronicles the open and welcoming nature of those communities and how the poverty they suffer is material and not of the spirit. It also is, of course, beautifully written, for the most part. And for all this I thank him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday We Drove

We spent Wednesday covering 470 miles from Palm Desert to Holbrook, Arizona. Our route took us from Interstate 10 to Interstate 40 on Interstate 17.

This includes some gorgeous scenery, some of which we explored a couple of years in the first of these trips. But today we just drove. Sharon made a couple of window shots early in the day, Rosa supervised. I tried not to get stopped for speeding, at which I was successful. Thursday will take us 405 miles due east, a straight shot along I-40 from Holbrook to Tucumcari, New Mexico, unless we distract ourselves by using a secondary route along US-180, AZ-61, and NM-309. Probably not, but we’ll see.

Palm Desert: Living Desert

Those of you who follow our travels know that not only do we regularly spend time in Palm Desert, but that when we are here, we visit the Living Desert. Apart from viewing the plants and animals, my own goal was to become a bit more familiar with my new lens, a 20mm f1.7. So I played while Sharon communed with the plants, animals and butterflies.

The butterfly conservation area actually encourages interaction with the creatures

Sharon observes

I'm not sure about the proportions on this one, more sky?

Monday, March 28, 2016


The first day saw us cover, as indicated, a safe and sane 450 miles at about 75 mph. Took about nine hours from lift-off in the bedroom at zero dark hundred to arrival at our friends Bev and Al’s house in Palm Desert.

We’ll visit here for a day before striking off for points east on Wednesday. Tomorrow, Tuesday, Sharon’s favorite outdoor museum, the Living Desert.

End-stage packing at 0dark:00
Rosa, ever vigilant, even at day's end.