“The most memorable Images one can remember are the ones void of Photos.”
“Not until the afternoon does the wind begin to blow, raising dust and sand in funnel shaped twisters that spins across the Desert briefly, like dancers, and then collapse whirlwinds from which issue no voice or word except the forlorn moan of the elements under stress. After the reconnoitering dust-devils comes the real, the serious wind, the voice of the Desert rising to a demented howl and blotting out sky and sun behind yellow clouds of dust, sand, confusion, embattled birds, last year’s scrub-oak leaves, pollen, the husks of locusts, bark of juniper…”
~ Edward Abbey ~ [Desert Solitaire]
I feel as in an airplane gently descending as the heat itself is rising by the hour, not altitude, but this vast Country we have not ceased roaming. There is these days a schedule, a word I can hardly pronounce, one which has become foreign to us, yet has resurfaced out of necessity. “Crusty” is now behind us in Salt Lake City. I wonder if she will be renamed. She has a good new Home as sheltered in a garage still covered from her previous layers of DNA. I forget the amount of mileage we are going to cover these days, specially when on Wednesday when throughout a phone conversation I was reminded that it “was” Wednesday instead of Tuesday as I was thinking. It happens often. I made another map. It is roughly 1400 miles, 600 to go, the hard part is behind us, we are “on time”! Crazy days. “Old Faithful” is waiting.
The painful aspect of it all, in the beginning anyhow, was to not be able to stop for photos as also to make the matters worse, “Mother Nature” those days had staged an elaborate canvas of a weather rarely seen. Clouds of all shapes and colors, cotton balls perfectly designed, blues coming through and even here and there a few rays of sunshine in contrast brightening up the full spectrum in spots of the reds to beiges and all in between rocks of all shapes and sizes protruding towards those skies. We had been there before, I think about three years ago. I started thinking about the most memorable Sunsets of times past when I did not take any photos, when that evening I told myself “this one is for me”. And so the painful aspect went away as I will always remember these days while passing by so close “Valley of Fire”, “Devil’s Garden”, “Bryce Canyon”, the “Vermillion Cliff Monuments”, “Marble Canyon”, “Lake Powell”, the green hills of Flagstaff and so much more.
“Lower Antelope Slot Canyon”, Page, AZ. Taken in 2010.
Photos brought into my mind the word close to my Heart, “sharing”. Something I was discussing not too long ago with another. The degrees of such an act are almost infinite as ourselves are. Yet, without sharing, without passing on sometimes the little we know, sometimes the fruit of an experience, a Journey, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, how can we help each other. I was thinking about the many “Adventurers”, today fashionably called “Overlanders”, the many I only know their names, their destinations, their photos, sometimes their bike or their vehicle too often overturned in mud which by the way if I see one more will cry for lack of better words…
“Valley of Fire”. Photos taken in 2011.
I really don’t know who these “people” are. Wish I did and read their true inner pages. There is a degree of sharing absent only filled with their physical presence as to fill a mental void as, is there anything wrong by opening certain chapters of our lives to help out others and vice versa. Is there? Is it a fear from a certain intimacy? Is it only the sight of a finish line filled with numbers of how many Countries or States and miles and hours? How many meals and gallons of fuel have been used? All of this of course is just an opinion. Mine. The respect is there as also being reciprocal. Yet, there is a lack of understanding on my part. I will not loose hope and will continue searching into others words.
“Devils Garden”, Utah. Photos taken in 2008.
Of course there is a certain degree of understanding fanned by sensationalism which I feel on my end should be carried within ones Heart and not for the sake of the two wheels or four or three for that matter. When a beautiful and fulfilling video such as ”Gratitude” only has one million views and a car or motorcycle accident caught on tape [or purposely staged] ends up with ten million viewers, well, maybe now I should understand what truly moves many as “who cares” who they are as long as the vision itself is fulfilled with of course only… a visual superficial pleasure. Instant gratification. Too many miles for us, too much thinking and feeling maybe. My own reality is always present and I await other’s own realities, other’s own thoughts. Absent too often.
“Whitman Hartman”, AZ. Photos taken in 2009.
We have arrived on this magical land I call “The Oasis”. We made it. These ten acres which they say belong to us, I say, borrowed for the time being. Graciously. My heart was pounding at the sight of the last few miles, the turn off on the unpaved road westbound, the last left turn into this circle on which we park. Inside the “Green Giant” she was waiting. I did not go in right away as much as I was not enjoying the suspense, it was more as a test to await a few more minutes while Spirit “at Home” was showing also his affection for this space.
There is Magic here, I have no doubt, never had, yet reinforced even more these days when the present silence prevails and the depth of each breath is unlike these past weeks. It is the welcome laid out in front of us always. The one which makes me want to stay here forever but knowing it will not happen, not now anyhow. My Gypsy blood still runs deep. I taste these moments like never before. My Mother has also arrived now after her own long Journey. It is sad, it is happy, it is tears and smiles and contentment. I always wanted her to move closer to us. Not in this fashion however. Life’s realities are so harsh at times. She has been watching out for us, and so has Lance. For some reason I stopped in Page for the night instead of pushing on to Flagstaff. It is the only reason I found out that 89 southbound had been closed since February. From a few days before, throughout a heavy rainstorm, a local showed me a video of Page under water. We had then of course a detour. An extra hour. We then arrived in Green Valley, south of Tucson, only to find out that an hour before past while dropping south on 10, the northwest part of the City experienced the worse monsoon ever. How is that for timing? If… If… If…
I open the green door and there she is, on blocks. I am tired but there is a renewed energy. The blocks come off and I roll her outside. A little bit of air in the tires, a fresh battery [which involves taking the fuel tank off, German engineering at it’s best!], new fuel filter and she fires away with her aggressive and gentle sound. How sweet. A little lap on around the circle, she flies, she responds, I think she is as happy as I am never knowing I would miss her so much. Fresh oil and a new filter this morning and, that is about it. She is ready to take on the miles as we are. After all, her Heart is a youngster with only 31,000 miles even if so her body since 1996 has carried her weight for over 300,000 miles. She “is” Old Faithful.
Till next time,
Ara and Spirit