Driveabout#39

So, I’m calling an end to this drive, although it may be only a pause. But if it is a pause, then it’s a substantial pause. Let me reflect on some of the statistics of this drive. All primary goals were achieved; a wedding reception outside New Orleans, visit my brother and father in Charlotte, catch the fall colors in New England, visit the rest of the 50 United States I hadn’t been in (that number being 11) and make it to my black belt review in Phoenix. I drove for over 3 months and covered over 13,000 miles and 37 states. I did 2 oil changes. I had no accidents, tickets or need of a tow truck. I had 3 mechanical mishaps, two of which could have been catastrophic, but being a very lucky person, they weren’t. I met lots of interesting people, saw many pretty vistas and passed my black belt review.

All in all a successful trip.

What now?

I am going to hang out at a writer’s colony in Portland for a couple of months. I believe I can help motivate a young aspiring writer and I have been fantasizing about a fantasy novel, but never started. Now I will.

Hopefully I will find other interesting things to inspire.

Journey on.

Interlude#5

Title: Celebrate

You grieve for the loss
Which is causing you pain.
You wonder the cost,
Hoping to stay sane.

But those very same currents
Which you attribute to fate.
Have not been a deterrent
To finding a new soul mate.

A person, a whisper,
Promising you will survive.
A person, a mirror,
Reflecting you are alive.

Breath the fresh air.
Search for what’s great.
Somebody to help share.
As you celebrate.

 

Driveabout#38

Ok, where was I?
Right, on my way to Phoenix.
Went through the Black Hills in South Dakota.
Down past that great Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska.
Pausing at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
And then in quick succession;
Monument Valley, New Mexico
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

I’m now going to Airbnb around Prescott, Arizona until my black belt review on Saturday. Why here? It is at 5000 ft elevation and I need to do two things as much as possible for the next several days. Sleep and work out. Working out at higher elevation is more effective and I’ve been somewhat slack as I drive around. Wish me luck.

About my photography. I know I am missing shots because I have limited myself to one lens. All in all I’m good with that. But I’ve been wondering about missed shots because I’ve only been doing color. So, I’ve decided to start shooting black and white and see if I can do any good with it. Following are some shots taken from the last 3 places I visited (see above). These are groups of two identical shots and settings except that I toggled between B&W and Color.
What do you think?

 

Driveabout#37

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Ok, work with me on this one.
As I was coming from the last place and going to the next place I realized that I must be somewhere around Hernandez, NM. My Rand-McNally couldn’t tell me where it was, but Google could. I was close, I went, it was a full moon.

Now, why is this interesting (at least to me)? Have you ever seen the photograph called “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” by Ansel Adams?
see here

I have neither the equipment used by Ansel Adams, nor the talent. However, I thought I would try to do a modern interpretation in honor of the man.

I got there in early afternoon and scoped out some foothills on the west side of the valley to climb and get a panoramic shot from. As I was walking back from that mission I came across a state patrolman giving a lady a ticket. I requested his attention after he was finished with her. I would say he was a young man, late twenties. I asked him if it was ok for me to be hiking in the foothills. He said as long as it wasn’t posted No Trespassing I should be fine. I let him know I was going to take some photos and try a reinterpretation of the Moonrise, Hernandez pictures. He looked at me blankly. Ansel Adams? Blank. I suggested (since he was standing in Hernandez) he look it up.

Close to sunset I went and climbed up the hills I thought would give the best angle, decently steep but only a few hundred feet high. Then I waited. It got cold. I called my brother to tell him what I was doing. He shook his head. It got darker. Finally, the (full) moon rose. I took some shots and headed back down, in the dark.

Then I went and had dinner at a local place. At the end, the very kindly owner came out for a chat. We got around to what I was doing there. She said she had a print on the wall so we got up and took a look. Then I realized I hadn’t remembered the picture well enough. First, I thought it had a full moon in it, nope. Second, I thought it overlooked the town, nope. Having done some research now, I highly recommend a person does it before engaging. Coincidentally we both were there about the same time of year.

My intent is to make a collage somewhat like displayed above.
His is better. But in all fairness, he had clouds and snow. Those always make for a better picture.

Interlude#5

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Title: Sunrise

Before Tanager starts her morning song.
Before Coyote laughs at the newest day.
There is a pause.
Too dark to see, like the gathering of wits.
First a squeeze, just a little bit of orange,
And with that squeeze, a cascade is started.
Black starts turning to blue.
Orange fights its way clear of the initial dab
And starts to ooze along the bottom.
Encouraged, yellow leaps ahead
Shouting to the world of a new day.
Getting so bright, turning away
And in turning, displayed behind,
A tableau, a painting, an inspiration.

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Driveabout#36

I need to pause here and make sure I give a shout out to the National Park system. Today I stumbled upon Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. It is a little place out in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. But it is so cool. It is a place of a huge Miocene era find (after dinosaurs, but before us).
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That story is enough of a reason to stop, but there is more.
The rancher that got all of this started turns out to have been very friendly with the local Lakota people. Turns out he ended up with one of the greatest collection of Native American items that I have ever seen. I’m not saying it is the largest, but the items are spectacular.
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My point is there are these parks all over the country. They are generally worth stopping at, so please do.

Driveabout#35

Ya, hoo and the pressure is off.
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Yesterday I visited the last state of these United States that I hadn’t been to.
Does that make me legendary?

Today I must do an oil change for my car and by “I” I mean I do it. One of my peculiarities is I do my own oil changes. And I drive a stick shift. It is really not a big deal other than the temperature is hovering around 44 right now. At least it is dry, the snow stopped yesterday. The other interesting implication, given that I change my oil at 5000 miles and this is the second oil change of this trip, is that I have driven for over 10,000 miles since the House of Irony kicked me out 2.5 months ago.

What next?
I still have more driving to do. It is off to Phoenix, Arizona where I have a black belt review at the end of November. Yes, it seems I have to renew my belt every two years. At first when I learned this, by getting my belt about two years ago, I was somewhat offended. If you remember, I broke my foot in that process. I paid the price, I was a black belt! But, upon reflection, if you don’t practice something, are you still that? Aside from riding a bicycle, all other skills degenerate. So, I could always say I received a black belt. But to say that I am one, well, I have to prove it. At least one more time.