Journal entries from the United States

Eastbound & Down

Eastbound & Down

Kerrville, Texas, U.S. 30.003937578862942 -99.12746185387483 Next year we'll winter in Mexico, but for now we're headed back to one of our favorite places -- the Gulf Coast. Naturally we didn't just drive straight there, we detoured up to Carlsbad Caverns before making a mad dash across Texas to the coast.

The Ghost of Cochise

The Ghost of Cochise

Dragoon Mountains, Arizona, U.S. 31.84049609721996 -109.92530578547527 Every time I've been here odd things have happened. I have seen strange shapes in the shadows, heard whispers whipping through the wind, and found some downright hard to explain things.

A Long Errand

A Long Errand

Catalina State Park, Arizona, U.S. 32.42613099108599 -110.9155344382878 While we were in Tucson Corrinne and the kids stayed with the bus while I grabbed a flight up to Reno where I met my uncle and we drove back down to his house to pick up our new dinghy -- a 1983 Volvo 240 wagon. It's the best car we've ever owned.

You're All I Need to Get By

You’re All I Need to Get By

Catalina State Park, Arizona, U.S. 32.427652391812835 -110.91665023724731 It was good to get back into the desert, into wide open wild spaces. It's worth remembering that Nature is everywhere, even downtown Manhattan, there is in fact nothing but Nature. That said, it's undeniably nicer for those of us who enjoy them, to be in less inhabited, vast tracts of wild, which is exactly what we had outside of Gila Bend, AZ.

Escaping California

Escaping California

Painted Rocks Petroglyph Area, Arizona, U.S. 33.02151850199567 -113.0501865757584 There might have been a good bit of cheering in the bus as we crossed over the Colorado River, out of California and into Arizona. California wore us down. It's not a place we like. As my daughter put it, "everything is dead in California, there's no flowers or butterflies, I love flowers and butterflies."

Funland at the Beach

Funland at the Beach

Newport Beach, California, U.S. 33.631708923621495 -117.9022383100234 I suck at waiting. We all suck at waiting actually, which is why after four days waiting around in the desert left us feeling a little stir crazy. We thought, screw the calendar, let's do Christmas now.

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Palm Springs, California, U.S. 33.76420806670276 -116.43985503996053 Sometimes things do not go as planned. I came down with a sinus infection that gave me a fever of 104 and took three rounds of antibiotics to put down and forced us to spend a few days in Bakersfield. We we left I was pretty doped up on cold medicine, but we really wanted to get out of Bakerfield so we went for it. About half way up Tehachapi pass oil was spraying out the right side of the engine and that was that. I pulled over and called AAA.

Aquarium Kings

Aquarium Kings

King City, California, U.S. 36.20658011394801 -121.14895576255992 After so much time away from the bus it was good to be on the road again. We headed down to Monterey to visit some friends and take the kids to aquarium. From there we continued south and inland, making an unscheduled, but thoroughly enjoyable stop in the lovely King City, CA.

The City

The City

San Francisco, California, U.S. 37.80126393315256 -122.42681378125286 Visiting the city on our way to Thanksgiving.

The Absence of Glass Beach

The Absence of Glass Beach

Mendocino Coast, California, U.S. 39.48050112619824 -123.80275481919242 After Halloween we made our way south, ducking inland and around the Lost Coast, down to Fort Bragg where we finally, for a few days at least got some sunshine. Glass beach though? That's long gone thanks to good old American greed.

Halloween and the Big Trees

Halloween and the Big Trees

Patrick’s Point, California, U.S. 41.138628503323744 -124.15792220805898 Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It's got all the good elements of ritual to it, costumes, masks, sounds, night, and obliquely somewhere in there, veneration of the dead. For one moment, one evening, everyone is something they're not and somehow more themselves for it. The masks of everyday life get replaced with masks of our choosing, if only for one night. Plus, candy.



Patrick’s Point, California, U.S. 41.14114944646635 -124.15835136151323 Good or bad you have to go through, not around. This is easy when life is good. When there are problems it gets more difficult. But still. The only way out is through.

Pacific Sense

Pacific Sense

Patrick’s Point, California, U.S. 41.140761615367445 -124.15646308637378 We made it all the way to the Pacific ocean, but when we arrived we couldn't see it. As is typical up this way, the ocean was wrapped in a blanket of thick fog. We hiked down into the gloom of fog and spent the evening on the beach. The one place that will always feel like home to me.

The Shadow of Lassen

The Shadow of Lassen

Shasta National Forest, California, U.S. 40.59515988130533 -121.1237215401611 From my uncle's house we headed northwest, up into the Shasta National Forest where there's more free camping than you can shake a stick at. We liked it so much we stayed an extra night. Why not? It's not like we have anywhere we have to be.

Dialed In

Dialed In

Carson City/Washoe Lake, Nevada, U.S. 39.149406639836954 -119.76115936077889 With my uncle's help the bus gets some much needed work done. It's now running about 1000X better than it was and more importantly I know a lot more.

Trains, Hot Springs and Broken Buses

Trains, Hot Springs and Broken Buses

Bishop, California, U.S. 37.169660646001255 -118.30864661988545 After a night in the middle of Gold Point we hit the road, continuing our somewhat random plan. I came up with something I thought was pretty good: take highway 266 west from Gold Point, grab highway 168, go over the White Mountains, drop down into Big Pine and follow 395 up to my aunt and uncle's house up in Wellington. It seems simple when you type it out. I bet it made the gods chuckle anyway.

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Gold Point, Nevada, U.S. 37.35014190110647 -117.36613982986752 Gold Point Nevada has been through several boom and bust cycles, today it's a very lightly inhabited, largely abandoned ghost town. What better place to spend a night or two?

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire, Nevada, U.S. 36.4185620941458 -114.55827468743294 The forecast for Zion turned cold about half way through Corrinne's parents visit. Since our guest room is a tent, and since Zion wasn't to our taste anyway, we decamped for Valley of Fire, a strange collection of red rock piles an hour outside of Las Vegas. A few thousand feet lower Valley of Fire was warmer and, as it turned out, a whole lot more fun.



Zion National Park, Utah, U.S. 37.1811499946847 -113.00096267590985 After moving pretty fast for a few days we were ready for a break. While it's not exactly secluded, quiet or anything of things we generally like, the logical place to stop in this area is Zion National Park.

On The Road, Again

On The Road, Again

Castle Rock, Utah, U.S. 38.56767070147155 -112.33783477684241 The Honda minivan dies and we move on with just the big blue bus.



Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, U.S. 38.121769697123575 -109.81166595396103 Our camp in the Aspen trees was not far from one of my favorite national parks, Canyonlands. The portion near us is known as the Needles District is home to, among other things, Newspaper Rock, a huge collection of Petrogylphs.



Abajo (Blue) Mountains, Utah, U.S. 37.87990829536428 -109.44916004124589 A stand of Aspen is considerably different than most trees in a forest. Aspens are rarely individual trees. Instead they grow like rhizomes, like giant white asparagus. Aspens are not really trees, the trunks we see are not the soul of the plant. The truth of Aspens is under the ground. They are massive root systems, some as large as twenty acres, that send up white trunks, which then sprout leaves. All of this means that some Aspen groves have been around a very long time, one is said to be 80,000 years old.



Ridgway State Park, Colorado, U.S. 38.2176568851275 -107.73812526670027 The universe gives me a lesson in humility. And a fever of 103. And a burnt toe. Because nothing makes the gods laugh like a human making a plan.

Ridgway State Park

Ridgway State Park

Ridgway State Park, Colorado, U.S. 38.21678023423405 -107.73833984340939 After our adventures in the canyon country we headed north, through the hordes of Moab and back east toward Grand Junction, where we did a bit of resupplying before heading up the valley to the town of Ridgway.