just a picture from a drive down to the valley of the sun yesterday:
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I ask my friend Marilyn if she is interested in walking around Prescott and shooting photos with me. I know her from dance class, she is amazing, and she just got a new camera. I figure it will be fun. She agrees to come out, and we meander through downtown Prescott for a few hours.
We see flours of the real kind:
And flowers of a different kind:
We see splatters of color in the gloomy day:
And brokedown vehicles:
And some fallen brickwork in the creek:
We wrapped up our walk with a quick portrait on the roof of the parking garage, thumb butte in the background:
I had a blast hanging out and catching up with this fun gal, not to mention getting back out into my hometown. ,
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I hit the road at two in the afternoon. There is a giddiness in me to be back at home, but even with that feeling I choose to avoid the interstate. I’d rather see something pretty along the way, and I-40 isn’t my idea of pretty. I turn south on Highway 117 to El Malpais National Monument. Beautiful desert landscapes, including sandstone bluffs;
And ‘la ventana’ natural arch:
Soon though, the sun sets and I am left with the decision to keep driving through to home (with my less-than-stellar eyesight), or stop and sleep in AZ but not in Prescott. I keep driving. Through Springerville and Heber, Payson, and Dewey. I lose the scenery in the darkness, sometimes in snow and fog too. I drive faster than I should, I just want to be home. And then… I AM.
And when I get there I am faced with a conundrum. It is nearly midnight, I don’t have a key to my mom’s house, and I don’t want to wake her up just to let me sleep. The solution presents itself in the form of an invitation to meet friends out downtown. A night of smiles and conversation with friendly faces in a familiar environment – just the ticket.
It’s odd though, driving into my hometown. For the first time in four months I am not lost. I do not need a map or a notepad with scribbled direction to get where I want to go. I turn my navigational mind off and just let my body take itself where we need to be. Without a single squint at a road sign I arrive, and am entirely unconcerned about whether there is a walmart nearby to sleep in, or scoping out coffee shops for tomorrow’s fix. It is odd, but it is good. I am home for now.
I’ll be leaving again in a few weeks, the road still calls to me and my journey is not yet complete. But, for now, I am happy:
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I look up scenic drives from Taos, and then I promptly miss the turn for my chosen route. Instead of the ‘High Road’ I am travelling along the Rio Grande, which is scenic in its own right:
I try to find my way back to the High Road, but it takes me fifty miles out of the way. I stop and get a work out in the snow, I end up in Las Vegas, New Mexico. This isn’t part of the plan, I managed to miss the high road entirely, and I’m behind schedule to meet friends in Albuquerque.
So I skip Santa Fe, choosing instead to go to Sandia Crest, an 11,000 ft high mountain overlooking the city of Albuquerque. As I approach the mountain a snow storm begins to move in:
By the time I get to the top, I am surrounded by a cloud that is beginning to drop bits of fluff on me. I try to take pictures, but the visibility drops quickly. I can barely make out the city, I can barely see the far off mountain ranges. I get one snap as the cloud blows upward a few feet:
Slightly disappointed, I drive down to the city to meet my friends. And then it is a few days of relaxing in wet weather, and enjoying the time with these two great people. Meet Jessica and Sam:
We cook up a lovely venison dinner:
I tried going for a hike the next day in the rain. I wore a poncho in the rain and looked ridiculous:
But, as always, it is time to get on the road all too quickly. It is bittersweet. I’m leaving my friends, but I’m heading home. It’s time to spend with family in my hometown. So I have one final lunch with Sam and hit the road.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I drive from Dad’s house towards Albuquerque to see my friends Sam and Jessica. It is scenic in a way that is entirely different than the coast.
I find a buffalo in Oklahoma:
The cold of Oklahoma bites into me, and so I am glad to get into the warmer temperatures of Texas. I find cotton once I get there:
Not to mention the very familiar sight of oil wells:
I enjoyed lunch out in the grasslands, a view that reminded me of Arizona:
And then it was on to New Mexico. I drove through the Cimarron Canyon, which was full of gorgeous views:
It was cold enough that all the ponds and streams were iced over:
The sun headed towards the horizon at Eagle’s Nest, just outside of Taos:
I spend the night in the artsy town of Toas, editing photos in a coffee shop/movie rental store. Tomorrow I head south for Albuquerque.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
A disjointed post – my mind is elsewhere.
From Lafayette I travel North to Arkansas. I’m off to visit Dad and Suzy again. It’s a shorter stay this time, only a weekend, but enjoyable nonetheless. I fill my tummy and get out of the cold snap that has hit the area. One day of waking up to frozen windows is enough for me:
While at Dad’s house we cook, we play with the dogs, we have a few drinks, we go up to Mount Magazine to have lunch and I take the camera.
The lodge is gorgeous with nice rocking chairs for anybody willing to brave bitter wind and temps in the 20s:
And the view is just as nice:
At least, if you are willing to get out of the car to take a peek. I was the only one to brave the cold and wind for the shot. This should have been a cute family photo:
Also caught a cool rundown car on the way back down the mountain:
Once home I get sucked into the new Sherlock Holmes show on BBC. It was saved on their Tivo. Good times, warm bed, great food, and my loving family. That’s a pretty great weekend to me. Monday I left after a quick workout and having lunch with Suzy.
I drive west, headed for the high-country of New Mexico.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
A gentleman I much respect told me that I needed to try an old fashioned if I made it in Lafayette. And I had to try it at a place called Don’s. This gentleman also gave me a bottle of whiskey before I left, so I felt that I had to follow his advice.
So here I found myself:
I went to the bar, ordered an old fashioned, and decided to splurge for the night. Instead of ramen, I was going to eat well. So along with the drink I ordered some alligator, and a seafood salad. Talk about a starving kid in a candy shop when that food showed up! I ate with vim and vigor and quieted the few around me who snickered that that much food was insurmountable for a guy my size.
The drink… yes the drink. It was worth the trip. Half price during happy hour, so $4 got me three shots of maker’s mark bourbon, a sugar stir-stick, a dash of bitters, and a few pieces of fruit - delicious. And then somebody sent the exact drink back because it was too strong… so I got that one too… for free. The people here were friendly. I met some locals, and an outsider or two. One and all were happy to tell me about Lafayette, about their homes, their families, their lives. It was great. I left there feeling pretty good (and at least mildly intoxicated:
And so my plan of spending one night in the town and leaving in the morning quickly turned into a second day and night. Exploring this town, taking the dog to the dog park, drinking coffee, getting photo location tips from locals, taking pics, hiking, and just generally having a great time. It wasn’t just the people at Don’s who were friendly, it was everybody in this town. Young or old, every person I talked to was just as happy to converse.
I walked around downtown, and saw St. John’s cathedral:
And an automotive inspired mural:
And the 9/11 memorial with beams from the towers:
And then I went to Lake Martin, and it was gorgeous:
With those cypress trees that are synonymous with the bayou:
Beneath my feet, a lovely carpet of leaves:
And then it was time to leave. I put a big circle around this place on the map, I’ll be coming back to Lafayette at some point. But for now it is time to get up to Arkansas. The night time temps are dropping, there’s ice on the windshield when we wake up, and I want to sleep in a warm bed at dad’s house.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Once again I find myself in a City. City with a capital C, it is an entity all to itself. It smells the fear on me before I ever make it to the border. I get lost immediately, which is fine. I quite enjoy being lost – I get to see some interesting things that way. I eventually follow the signs to the french quarter, wanting to see what everybody else raves about here.
The narrow one-way streets and billions of parking information signs confuse the senses. I park at least four times before finding a spot that I am legally allowed to be in. I pop around for a while, with no sense of where I am.
I see quaint business fronts:
I see secret courtyards, with not-so-secret trees sprouting from them:
I see a very cool band playing on Jackson square:
I take a picture to prove that I was here:
But there are too many people here and my parking money is about to run out. So I leave. I drive to the ninth ward to see how the rebuilding from Katrina is going. I’m surprised to find a pretty nice neighborhood. Lots of new buildings, lots of renovated buildings, only a small percentage with the X:
Night falls, and I head for a wal-mart. My intention is to get up early and get some less people-filled shots of the french quarter. And so I do, with only a few people still hanging on in the bars at 5 AM. I see bourbon street in its neon wonder:
I see the cathedral by lamplight:
And all the lovely tiny tidbits are are too easy to walk by in a hurry:
Photographic deeds one, I wait for light to hit the sky and then take the dog to the park. He’s not allowed in the ‘dog park’ section, they require a permit which I don’t have. So we find a hurricane-damaged golf course that has been abandoned. He runs and chases sticks as I work out. We eat lunch, and then head for the hills.
I told a friend that I would try a drink in Lafayette if I was ever in the area, and I head west through the boot of Louisiana, towards smaller towns.
Monday, December 6, 2010
A quick change in temperature as I drive north and west. 55 one night, the next – 35. This is what I have to look forward to until I get back to AZ. I suppose it’s time to adjust.
It’s hard to complain too much though, I get a show every day of beautiful scenery, and last night was no exception. The sun made a grand exit last night as I got ready to bed down in Mississippi:
And then exploded into color:
This morning I find myself in New Orleans. Trying to get my bearings to figure out what I want to photograph and where I want to go. It should be a fun few days.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
A quick stop in this city, I’m just checking it out for my friend Chris. Another place he is considering living. I cross a lovely bridge into the town. The lady at the fishing pier office doesn’t even charge me to drive out on the pier to take a picture:
Walking around we spot a hermit crab:
It’s a pretty nice little city. All the basic amenities, a nice downtown district, etc. We stay in town for one night, and watch as the sunset colors the marina:
We check out the ‘snow fest’ the next day where they manufacture snow which lasts for a few scant hours. It’s hard for me to imagine that this is the closest that some kids will ever get to real snow:
We leave shortly thereafter, on the road again. I’m hoping to be in Louisiana by the end of the weekend. I want to see New Orleans during the week before heading up to see dad again.