September 04, 2011

Road Work, Road Kill, and Rest Areas

But no road rage.  Not even in Salt Lake City where we ended up in the mayhem of rush hour one hot afternoon.  Actually, in Salt Lake it was more like road fear.  OMG:  me driving, for the second time only, a van with the steering wheel on the right hand side of the vehicle (and therefore opposite to what I’m used to) dodging drivers bludgeoning their way into my lane from one side and airborne hunks of re-treads from the other. Never again will I doubt someone who comments on how “polite” Vancouver drivers are.  Now I know. They (we) really really are.  And, if I never find myself in Salt Lake City again, fine by me.

Still, we made it back from our road trip safely and much richer in experience.  The van, affectionately nicknamed "Bluto" (short for blue toad), was everything we envisioned when we started planning this trip last September.  Through ten nights and eleven days, six states, and roughly 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles), most of those miles on the back roads, it was a great way to travel.  And, no hassle at all setting up (and taking down) the bed Roland built, complete with storage underneath. 

Now we’re back sorting through the pictures we took and having a hard time believing we were ever away.  Funny how that goes.  But there are a few things I learned and might even remember as the time wears on:
  1. Trite as it may sound, dreams can become reality if you work for them and have patience.
  2. Some things keep better as memories (Sedona, Arizona 30 years ago).
  3. Some things still live up to the memories (Wood's Lodge, Mammoth Lakes, California).
  4. 37°C (98°F) is relatively cool (when the temperature drops to 37°C from 49°C (120°F) (Death Valley, California).
  5. Sometimes, when you think you're lost, you find the most awesome places and when you think you know exactly where you're going you end up in an ugly campsite right next to a highway.
  6. Don't wear a headlamp flashlight (even a little one) and try to make dinner after dark in a campsite full of bugs.
  7. The most expensive campsite doesn't necessarily end up being the nicest, cleanest, and worthwhile.
  8. Bears can be less frightening than some people. 
  9. It's forbidden to gather rocks from State and National parks but hey, it's ok to take your gun in and kill the wildlife!!!
  10. The aroma of pine tar is my favourite smell in the whole world.

Beyond the statistics though, it’s impossible to describe the places we visited and what we found there in a blog post so I won’t.  It may be a cliché that pictures are worth a thousand words but it is the truth isn’t it, so here's a sampling:

Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho

Fremont Indian State Park (Castle Rock) - Utah

Red Rock Canyon - Utah

Death Valley - California

Mammoth Lakes, High Sierras - California

 Mono Lake - California

Redwood National Park - California


As to artwork...well...before we left I’d resolved to sketch something at each of our camping sites but  it didn’t always work out.  Getting to the campsite too late, trying to get on the road early on most mornings, that sort of stuff.  I managed some sketches, some of them as we were driving past the thing I was sketching, but not nearly as many as I would have liked.  But even with less drawing time than I wanted I came back with a head full of ideas for prints.  I’ve started on the first one so I hope to have something on that by next week.

Slowly trying to get back into the swing of things...


Libby Fife said...

So glad that you are back safe and sound. It looks like your setup worked really well so that is great! Driving anywhere here is a total nutso experience. People can be MEAN!

I never get tired of images of the Western part of our country so thank you for the pictures. It really is so beautiful and the landscape so varied that you honestly couldn't see everything!

Looking forward to the next print. I am sure it is going to be great!

Katka said...

Thank you Libby. People can be mean here too, but our highways don't have as many lanes so there's less people to be mean.

Anyway, the western states are incredible. It's hard to believe how much diversity can sometimes be found in the same state.