Death Valley… there was a reason for this, Tx

Thursday, February 19th, 2009


“What a waste this would be if my insanity was ever interrupted”


Will be blowing through some States again these coming three days, biting the bullet for 2 more motel nights. Just not feasible while traveling in these weathers to set up camp for one night. Who knows, maybe the temperatures will warm up, maybe a little out of the way flat corner will present itself allowing me to set up a tent for a few hours of sleep. It has been a pressure unlike before, a financial issue as over exceeding already a slim monthly budget as there is now a big hole in it. I have learned to deal with it and might have to hit the pavement in Terlingua to find a job for a couple to three days a week to make up for this expensive Journey I embarked myself on these past two weeks. For a person such as me that tries to think about consequences upon taking decisions I sure have failed remarkably this time! Yet, I know that if mainly the roads in Death Valley would have been open and the weather more welcoming we would still be there camping for free as we have always done in the past. Mostly anyhow.


And then I read this comment as my thoughts are always in parallel with the perception that everything happens for a reason. Far fetched this one might have been, and yet, I would have never read this comment if we had not traveled. Actually not only this comment alone, but also the ending of another one… following.

“A few years ago when “the quiet one” (that would be Bobbie!) and I were still on the work treadmill, we planned and took a long awaited trip into the Canadian Rockies. Smoke from forest fires in the U. S. and Canada blanketed all our views with a dense and stinking haze. I remember thinking how we had wasted our precious two week vacation and all the money it took to get there.
It took some time to turn those “lemons” into “lemonade.” In the end, I pushed my ugly hazy photos of lakes mountains and waterfalls to the surreal max… orange, purple and sepia tints and they went from trash to “art.” Still some of my favorite photos of all time… Lesson learned.
Thanks for going to D. V., Ara… there is a good reason, maybe just not yet apparent.
Your friends,
Mark and Bobbie.”

Welcome back home… Thanks in so many levels for your insight and sharing with all of us. It takes a hard look at what is important, intense planning, a self reliant attitude and preparation to do what you do, and just because your expectations are often far exceeded in so many ways and are not understood by people caught in the “rat race” and that is why you continue to amaze bystanders and passerby.
Love ya!…
from Michael and Louise

And also from my Friend and big Sister Kathy… “So maybe this was a “raw egg” trip but in the end, you will have a beautiful cake.”


The source of it all has been those two words “Love ya!…” It took me back years, seven years to be exact, the moments before Lance was sick. I have forgotten who I was, I have been drawing a blank these past years not even making the effort to remembering my own past spirituality, instead, mapping a new one. We all change, daily, hourly, by the minute, I know I have, I know I would have throughout these years even without a personal tragedy. But the foundations I believe remain and are built on it. I suddenly feel as I have been an abandoned and vacant lot searching and searching, forgetting and incapable of “loving”. I use to have this conversation at full length as I loved everyone and “everyone” often wondered how could I do that, reserving this word “love” only for “lovers”. Love your Friends, your neighbors, your acquaintances, your pets buddies, Mother Nature… I forgot all about it as my bitterness, my disillusion, my hurt and pain carried had erased those sentiments and perception throughout my past years.


We are not back yet, a few hundred miles still from “The Oasis” and within the same thoughts I have just spend two days with Mark and Anjie who also through their own personal medical hard times have found this renewed “Love”, chasing away previous priorities of Life, far away with the understanding that now only the two of them, their heart alone matters amongst them. These years have not been in vain, specially these past almost three years on the road and the few years more I will be allowed to continue roaming and discovering inside out the “love” I can have, give and be surrounded with.


I have been communicating with Friends lately on some matters through e mails and woke up this morning frustrated about my ways of expression. I have been misunderstood a couple times, not the end of the world situation per say, but I am finding such an incredible difference between writing my own thoughts here, my own days passed on the road versus expressing some pertinent issues which “need” to be “clearer” and more to the “point” with others. It is as two different languages and I am stunned at not knowing what to do about it. I don’t deal with much of today’s society’s reality anymore, I do know it’s nuts and bolts, at least I would like to believe that I do know, maybe I don’t do so well, and communicating it’s often foreign path troubles me unable to express it all properly. I keep thinking “simple”, keep it simple. Everything seems to be when looking on the outside toward this world’s facet so complicated as a maze where everyone is trying to find their way, the exit and sometimes even it’s entrance.


Just some thoughts. I wonder what could replace the mind’s channeling’s and thinking while riding a motorcycle? Meditation within a calm space? Sailing was similar, that is in fair weather! Lance has and keeps teaching me so much within his absence. What a remarkable young man he is to have erased himself from it all to make me a better person. This is one of the deepest mystery of Life I feel one can experience, how bitter sweet and yet so thankful I am as others have been with me with their own words. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Much Love.


Twenty eight months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.

Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… The logistics of it have become costly. It is an open book, its pages for the taking with always the hope that you will support their presence.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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5 Responses to “Death Valley… there was a reason for this, Tx”

  1. Mike in Montana Says:

    Hi Ara & Spirit….

    I love reading about your travels.

    Sometimes….wouldn’t you agree that we can gain a new perspective when we take a time out and view things from afar? An example would be when we are riding our bikes and someone shoots a video of the ride, doesn’t it provide an amazing dimension to what we think we’ve experienced. I stepped outside once and took a look.

    My point is this: When I was in the Peace Corps in Morocco I learned what it really meant to appreciate what we have here in the States, I was shocked at how much I took for granted, clean water to drink, unlimited food supply, freedom and time to speak and express our feelings without fear of prison or persecution.
    What’s a little sad is that in spite of everything we have, so many of us sound so angry and unhappy…..why?
    I love seeing your photos and reading about your adventures, it would be great to meet you sometime on the road or at the “Oasis”.



  2. Ring Huggins Says:

    Hey Ara,

    Hope you are having fun and staying warm. Weather is great here in Terlingua. Be well, Ring

  3. Zelda Says:

    Hi, Ara & Spirit,
    Randy and I are following you every day, often wondering how many people “our” age are doing what you are doing, a true nomad, living intimately with nature at its most magnificent and raw (not many, I’m sure). You remove the cold, wind, rain and heat and share the journey with us through your comments and outstanding pictures. I have been relieved to see that you are stopping and staying in motels before the weather gets the best of you. We get reminded occasionally that nature and the weather are greater than we little human beings are, with our insignificant human plans and expectations. But love seems to appear again and again in your blog and pictures and in your many readers’ messages. There we find a common love of nature and each other in, at times, a harsh environment. You are indeed loved by many for your generosity, honesty and humanity. I believe that you are rediscovering the loveable person in yourself, worthy of the joys that friends make and share with each other.
    Keep travelling safely, you and Spirit, keep each other warm, and take gentle care of the body as well as the spirit,
    Pam & Randy

  4. Berge Says:

    Excellent post Ara. Keep well and travel safe.
    Remember, the Sun always rises after a storm

  5. Ginny Says:

    Hi Ara!

    I have had you on my mind a lot lately and thought I should write to let you know that I’m alive and well. I just finished showing a friend of mine what an aweseme blog you have and all the amazing photography you have taken.

    I miss you Ara. Looking at your blog is something I’ve not been able to do much in the recent past and can’t believe all the amazing stories and beautiful scenery I’ve missed. What it all boils down to is I miss you.

    I wish my life were in a place where I could just drop it all and go on the road with you and Spirit. I’ve been busy working and taking care of my son. Life is stable for me but I’m not fulfilled. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to be divorced now, and my son is doing great, but I’m missing soemthing…

    I camped out last night in a remote spot in a state park that sees little traffic in it’s primitive area and it was total silence save one lone owl in the night. My mind drifted to the natural world I so miss and love, and I thought about you and Spirit.

    I hope you are both well. I wish you could come to Austin and be with me for a few days. I know the city life isn’t your thing and would drive you into cabin fever, but none the less, it would be so awesome to cook together and share our stories.

    Even though I don’t write much, you are always on my mind. Write to me my friend and tell me how you are. Tell me when you will be near and we MUST make plans to meet in person. I would like that very much.

    Always your friend,
    Love Ginny

    P.S. Hug Spirit for me and tell him he is loved

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