Thursday, June 30, 2016

 at the
 Botanic Garden

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The road not taken

Back in New York, what have we learned? (I'm not usually in Boro Park, but was there today and this picture demanded to be taken) Was it enough of a road trip for the fabled pilgrimage-communitas dream of America? Perhaps not.

A narrative was beginning, as we moved from the dream of San Diego (which hapless Portuguese Cabrilho named San Miguel, when claiming it for the Spanish King) through an unblinking desert - complete with the lurid mirage of Las Vegas - to the living geology of Utah and Colorado, finishing up, just as frontiersy settlements started to aggregate in tiny towns, with another fancy of transcendence, the tundra atop Rocky Mountain National Park.

I don't know how traversing the Great Plains, of which we got a taste yesterday morning, would have changed the sense of a cosmic tale in which the human story is a sideshow, a joke. Perhaps the super-natural might seem to have vanished underground, or overhead, as little prairie towns and exurbs twinkled at us. Church steeples might have come to play a part in the emerging story, racism and diversity, new and old poverty and wealth and chain stores, and who knows how Lincoln and Chicago and Buffalo, Great and Finger Lakes, and what comes between would have struck us...

The illusion of the settler, surrounded only by kin on a large tract carved out of a wilderness, was as far as we got, making for too easy a contrast with New York's babble of languages and world of cultures. The puzzle, the miracle of how all these things fit together (because they do, the coast-to-coast road tripper has shown through the continuity of their movement for all its startling twists and turns) awaits a future, completed, traverse!

Road trip!

Road Trip - the actual route taken! Not to scale, but you get the idea... While whizzing along the highway at 80mph has its pleasures, the funnest drives were (of course) the two-lane "scenic byways," especially UT-128 from Agate to Moab, UT and CO-131, County Roads 1 and 9 and US-40 from Wolcott to Granby, CO - both along the Colorado River!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Well, the 1434 miles of our compressed road trip are finished: here's the view from our last motel (in Estes Park, CO), with the Rockies in the distance and our trusty rental Corolla in the foreground. (If you look carefully you might notice the mud from a barely paved road the other side of the Continental Divide which last night's dew washed off the car's underside!) The rest of the way home is by air - direct flight to La Guardia, though currently delayed by thunderstorms in the NYC area. The road to Denver International Airport gave a little taste of the next thousand miles eastward, had we continued across the land... 

Monday, June 27, 2016


Road Trip day 4, following the Colorado River from Grand Junction to its source, and reconnecting with some colors we'd not seen in days...

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Road Trip day 3. What to show of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, two neighboring landscapes entirely different in origin and pathos? Arches is delicate, almost silly, an exquisite anomaly, while the Canyonlands "Island in the Sky" offers vision of dissolution without end.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Road Trip day 2 was 400 miles of unbelievable landscapes in pretty much every color, shape, and texture you can imagine, and then some.
Photos can't begin to convey it, only in part because I was driving so couldn't take pictures most of the time. We were also moving and the 
geological layers and ruptures seemed to be slowly dancing around us. But the most basic reasons are scale, distance, horizontality...

Friday, June 24, 2016


Road Trip day 1: we drove over 400 miles from Del Mar, CA to Mesquite, NV. The temps outside were above 100˚F for six hours but our rental Corolla kept us cool as vast lunar landscapes rolled by to left and right, the sky an expressionless blue. We stopped at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas (50th anniversary!) for dinner, but were unable to assist Laocöon, trapped beneath the fickle false sky of America's splendid fake.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Revised itinerary: CA-NV-UT-CO. Departure tomorrow morning, 9:30!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cars cars cars

This atrium-filling swarm of tail lights, at the funky new rental car hub at San Diego Airport, reminded me of fish darting and swooping with great speed. After a trip to and from Los Angeles, I see it just as congestion, remember them stationary on the wall! Thank goodness we won't be going through any city traffic on our trip. (It's been trimmed for scheduling reasons beyond our control, but will still take us through four national parks or monuments between San Diego and Denver, starting the day after tomorrow!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Torrey Pines State Beach

 How the cookie crumbles...

Monday, June 20, 2016


Some San Diego views. The as yet unexciting view through the "Living Lenses" at the new Fault Line Park (as the Rose Canyon Fault moves, it will move out of alignment; but do check out the audio on the website)
Here's one of the giant fresnel lenses once used at the old lighthouse atop Point Loma, and - below - a little window opened up by waves along the rocky coast, looking north up the coastline.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Colors of TPSR

There's an amazing flower show on at the Torrey Pines Extension!

Scarlet larkspur, Weed's mariposa lily, Cleveland sage, conchalagua, skunkweed and more, all in great abundance!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ship ahoy!

Happened on the photo album from my last drive across the country, fifteen years ago! The route went east to west, in my old Saturn: Princeton - Baltimore - Charlottesville - Nashville - Memphis - Tulsa - Tucumcari - Abiquiu - Las Vegas - Del Mar, with detours to Shiloh, Chaco Canyon and Monument Valley. One place I saw we saw again yesterday from the plane - Ship Rock, in the northwest corner of New Mexico!