San Francisco, California, U.S. 37.80126393315256 -122.42681378125286 – Visiting the city on our way to Thanksgiving.
Journal entries from the United States
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
Nowhere, Utah, U.S. -55.95445649483696 108.54297879103399 – Unmarked, hard to find roads, cliff dwellings new and old, petroglyphs, and a kiva you can climb down into.
Dolores River, Colorado, U.S. 37.660899397864696 -108.73788112592959 – How a happy series of of breakdowns and detours got us to the Dolores River.
Canyon of the Ancients, Colorado, U.S. 37.35177941505963 -108.66222137403007 – I like maps, especially blank spots on maps and in the United States there are very few places with as many blank spots as the four corners region of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. One of the relative blank spots I kept staring at was something called Canyon of the Ancients. After our disappoint experience with Mesa Verde we were anxious to get back to some ruins that were less crowded and this sounded good.
Mancos Camp, Colorado, U.S. 37.34127141315386 -108.18800682029091 – One day I drove down to the coffee shop in Mancos and instead of the quiet little town I'd been expecting, streets were shut down and there were cars and people everywhere. It turned out to be something called Mancos Days.
Durango, Colorado, U.S. 37.33925834885527 -107.91300529443193 – Every evening around 5 the thunder starts in. You could set your watch by it. Except that there's no need for a watch up here.
Mancos Camp, Colorado, U.S. 37.3408278612485 -108.18796390491319 – Stay anywhere to long and things start to settle in too much. The bus was made to move, its fluids pool, metal rusts, wood decays, the windows smear with dirt and rain, the tires lose air. And the chipmunks will come for the avocados. I'm from California, messing with my avocados is messing with my emotions, I don't care if you're cute and striped.
Durango, Colorado, U.S. 37.339292469040316 -107.91403526270777 – For their birthday we took the girls (and their brother) on the narrow gauge steam engine railway from Durango to Silverton.
Durango, Colorado, U.S. 37.3450926749058 -107.91497940028198 – While tourist-filled and mountain-kitschy to some degree, Durango nevertheless has some cool stuff to do -- a wonderful public library where the kids got to see the U.S. National Yoyo champion (yes, really), a really cool indoor water park masquerading as a rec center, complete with a three story water slide, a science museum, and a host of other fun stuff -- as one of the camp hosts we befriended put it, in Durango they really know how to do it.