January 26 – February 1, 2012
San Francisco - New Mexico
Packing furiously, then pensively, take a break and have a drink with a friend. Run errands, collect money, and pay bills. Up till 12:30 the night before, just walking stuff to the van from the loft back and forth a million times. I was methodical but it was never ending. I figured, in the end, I’d sleep in and not do the 6am departure. Why hurry? I have six days to get to New Mexico.
This is the second road test Foxy Brown gets before the big road trip in April. Her first test was last summer’s excursion in New Mexico, Utah and Nevada for two months, which she managed beautifully for a 1983 Chevy. She is outfitted with a bed, an extra battery to power my office and lights. Two skylights that are rimmed in gold shag rug. With only 50K miles on her she has a long life ahead of her for a child of the 70's.
I’m packing for cold and hot climates; I’m packing a completely functional field kitchen and a complete office. My office entails a laptop, iphone, two backup drives, keyboard, mouse, headphones, speakers, camera, tax files, files, resource books, and blank DVDs. The artwork that will make the trip is the Amusement Architecture series and the few paintings I have done of Maine. I’ll take the raw canvas and lay it on the floor of the van and cover it with a canvas tarp then a rug. I strap in all the paintings that fit along the wall behind the drivers seat. The framed prints of the Birds On a Wire are boxed and bagged and go into the Cargo box on the roof.
For the last time, I take Diesel to Heron’s Head to walk along the bay. I am hyper sensitive about Diesel getting into trouble the day before we leave, as we can’t afford the time or money for a vet visit. Last summer, he wiped out on a run the day we were leaving New Mexico. The poor boy had to travel with stitches and see a vet in Las Vegas to get them out. But he deserves to get off leash and run a bit along the sea to stretch his legs that will not be stretch for the next couple of days in the van. Of course on our walk, a skank punk girl is walking her aggressive pit bull ahead of us. I slow down but she stops altogether to let her dog run through the wetlands. She then releashs him and he strains and slobbers bloody hell when we pass. Upon our return walk back down the path she has him again off leash. This time I yell to her to releash him so we can pass. She yells back, “ he’s okay, it will be fine.” As the pit bull is charging us with fiendish menace, I stand between Diesel and Satan’s muscle coming our way. I lower myself to brace for impact and yell No! The growling gristle stops at the force of my voice and stands uncertain but still growling and barking in protest. Sensing I have the upper hand I take a threatening step towards it and yell Go! It backs off a little and skank girl comes up and tells me it will be fine as she puts canine warrior on a leash. I’m amazed that Diesel was completely indifferent to this exchange and thrilled the vet bill has been thwarted. Now is a good time to hit the road.
|Base Camp at Joshua Tree|
We are finally on the road at 10 am. I’ve got tons of audio books lined up, new music and all my podcasts up to date. But the whistle of my little triangle window that doesn’t fully clasp shut, drowns out my new speakers. Put that on the fix list. Stopped in a truck stop and slept the first night. Made Joshua Tree National Park the next day. Camped there for two beautiful nights then drove down to the strange and faded glory of the Salton Sea area. Stayed over night at a truck stop in Yuma and headed for Tucson in the AM. The next night I stayed with childhood friend, Jill Plotner, she lives in Tucson and found me on Facebook last year. We reconnected last June on my way down to New Mexico. We laughed at old pictures of us at 10 or 11 years old climbing the rocks of Mount Desert Island, Maine. This time, I got to meet her husband and wonderful 21-year-old daughter.
|Picnic at White Sands|
On the road again the next morning and took RT 10 down to Las Cruces to stayed at another truck stop. Love the truck stops- free overnight stays, safe, free hot water, showers and nice bathrooms. I text my location to a number of friends who don't think so highly of truck stops. In the AM, we head east and stop at White Sands National Monument…sand dunes from another planet. It’s brilliant white talcum powder sand that looks like snow and boasts the first nuclear bomb exploded here. Well, exploded way north of the Park, but it does border a still active military shooting range. Wonderfully strange New Mexico, we have arrived! We break for a picnic while Diesel finally got to stretch his legs with a run through the dunes.
We arrive in Corrales , New Mexico at 7pm and Sara, my host, is waiting to show me her home, the gallery and my wing of the old adobe. I will be living in this fabulous estate for the next two months as the Artist-In-Residence.