Without finding a place to fix our ailing generator, we set off east on Highway 40. It was Saturday morning and we needed to be in Santa Fe on Sunday night, as I had an appointment to begin my research at the Georgia O'Keeffe Library on Monday morning. We figured that something would present itself. We would pass an RV generator repair place, or Jerrod would figure out how to fix it, or we would stop for the night at a place with a hook-up.
The most punitive thing about making a living as a writer is sitting at your desk for hours on end, day in day out, week in, week out, most likely in a room without a view, or perhaps even a window. Sometimes, the urge to hop on a bike, a horse, or just get in the car and go can be overwhelming. But then, of course, if you are going you are not writing. It's one or the other. Usually, if you want to eat, it's the one, being chained to your desk in the windowless room. There are days when you realize that without much adjustment you could serve time in minimum security prison. (The argument could be made that this is also true for the corporate cube dweller, but the cube dweller has a built-in community, plus benefits and office supplies for the lifting.)
I'm here to tell you, it doesn't have to be this way. The Mobile Writers' Colony (TM), which I discovered on this day, is the answer to the woes of every fat-assed, indolent, stuck-at-the-desk writer out there. The writing life would be absolutely perfect if we could all be driven around during working hours, preferably through spectacular landscape, such as that found along Highway 40 in northern Arizona.
Once Jerrod and I were on our way I made us each a PB&J, set up my laptop on the dining table, seat-belted myself onto brown plaid banquette, and set to work. Using the WiFi hot spot on my phone, I even had internet access. Outside the sky was vast and littered with a variety of clouds. The Grand Canyon was a hundred miles due north, but we could see the predicted thunderstorm brewing on the horizon.
We sped along. I typed away.
And, I had my dog, too. Lolita Gordita napped on her spot on the couch.
When I was in college my roommate and I experienced a common dilemma: feeling attracted to a hot guy with whom one had nothing to say, while, at the same time, feeling no attraction to interesting, entertaining guys with whom one had great conversations, but never wanted to sleep with. Our solution was to sleep with the hot guy while talking on the phone to the interesting, entertaining guy. Not that either of us, to my knowledge, was ever able to pull this off, but it seemed like the perfect solution.
Now, here I was, having solved a more common, more pressing, if similar problem: how to sit and work and get up and go at the same time. The Mobile Writer's Colony (TM) only works, obviously, if you have someone who likes to drive and much as you like to (or need to) sit and work. Jerrod was good for about three hundred miles a day, which gave me about five hours to work. That day, I wrote eight hundred words. Life could not possibly get better than this.
Georgia herself had a Mobile Artists’ Studio (TM). The minute she learned how to drive she purchased a Model T Ford (which she named "Hello"). She figured out that she could take out the backseat and turn it around, creating a makeshift easel. She could then tool around the gorgeous, forbidding New Mexican outback, stop when she found something she wanted to paint, then set herself up inside the back of Hello, where she worked to her heart's content.
The Mobile Writer's Colony (TM) is much cushier, admittedly, but I am from a more pampered generation.In late afternoon we stumbled upon the Homolavi Ruin State Park Campground, just outside of Winslow. It had hook-ups. We had filled the ice cube trays the day before, and now we had gin and tonics.
This is pathetic In order to continue the tale of my journey to the Land of O'Keeffe, I had to reread my own blog. I forgot where I'd left off. So much for heart-pounding intrigue. So much for the pulsing, red hot narrative through-line.
The truth is, I lost interest. In the same way I wish I was one of those people who loves hiking, or farmer's markets, or the Holidays, I long to be someone who feels committed to keeping up with her blog. To keep up with your blog signals an abiding interest in life and its vast complexity and variety of experience, not to mention your career (the debate limps on about what authors "need" to do these days, aside from writing the best book they can.)
But in my own defense, I was on book tour.
If you ever want an opportunity to get completely sick of your own self, go on book tour. It's you you you for days on end. You and that infernal book, which you've grown completely sick of. Why did you write this book? wonderful people ask (anyone who cares about your book is wonderful) What were you hoping to achieve? What did you learn in writing this book? What's next? I say all this knowing that I am lucky in these difficult times to have a book out, much less an opportunity to travel great distances to read to an appreciative audience of three (including the gentleman in the back row who just wants a place to nap undisturbed.)
I am grateful, don't get me wrong.
Book touring ten years ago meant reading at book stores at night and doing the occasional print or radio interview during the day. It meant sleeping in and lounging around, waiting until the moment in late afternoon when it was time to don your Author Suit, grab your annotated reading copy (the degree to which one rewrites and edits post-publication cannot be underestimated), and figure out how to get where you're going that evening.
Now it's all that, and so much more. Synergistic (not quite sure what that means) opportunities abound for Blogging on Sites That People Actually Read; guest-posting, and self-interviewing. Now we spend our down time cranking out more words about the book we've already written. Now, there is not much sleeping in and lounging around. It's all work and no chance (or desire) to update your blog.
Plus, I got laryngitis. Also, I was staying with a friend in L.A. whose deck offers a view of Mulholland that's the same as the famous David Hockney painting:
So I had to spend every spare moment sitting on her deck, enjoying the view.
But the end result is that when we last saw our heros -- Jerrod, the Man of the House, Lolita Gordita, our blue heeler/Australian shepherd mix, and me -- we were parked on the banks of the Colorado River in Bullhead City, Arizona, with a broken generator and no ice for our much-anticipated gin and tonics. We then drank some warm beers, ate a few Clif bars for dinner, read our paperbacks by flashlight (yet another reason the resist relying completely on anything e- or i- ) and went to bed.
The next day, we drove here:
By the time we left Rankin Ranch we'd been on the road a week and we still hadn't really done any bad ass things related to living on the road. We hadn't "boondocked" in a WalMart lot for free. We hadn't used a dumping station, or unfurled our RV umbilical, or cruised into a pull through spot. We hadn't stumbled upon any brothers and sisters of the road who asked, "How long ya been out?" We had parked on that hill in San Francisco, then stayed in a cabin on the ranch. Neither of which counted in RV world.
But today we were crossing the mightyish Mojave, desert of my youth. Even though my family lived in a tragic suburb, my dad was a desert rat at heart, dragging my mom and me out here to gaze at the wonders of Calico ghost town, and stand around watching while he shot tin cans with his pistol. It was the site of the Great Pillow Toss where, once when we were coming back from another road trip to somewhere in Arizona that featured Hopi Ruins (my dad was a devotee of Hopi Ruins), I threw the pillows my mom had brought along so that I would be more comfortable in my brain-rotting boredom, out the window. My mom, who otherwise had no aptitude for anything remotely mechanical, managed to grab the Super 8 camera and film the pillows, first one, then the other, bouncing behind the car along the highway behind us.
The Mojave is poor man's O'Keeffe territory. It's not bright and otherworldly, but the sky is big and the flat, beige sand blankets the earth is all directions. All day I practiced my long gaze. I practiced having some affection for the middle-of-nowhereness that is Hwy 40 between Barstow and Needles, which we drove straight through, even though it was 5:00 and we were determined to stop now for the day, and thus show ourselves that were people capable of learning our lesson.
We crossed into Arizona, thinking we'd stop in Bullhead City, or maybe hop over the state line to Laughlin, Nevada. We were no longer on Hwy 40 going east, but on some other Hwy going north, parallel to the place where the pointy tip of Nevada elbows itself between the eastern border of California and the western border of Arizona.
In this part of Arizona there are theme strip malls. Old Person Strip Mall has a physical therapist, orthopedic shoe store, eye doctor and hair dresser. Felon in Training Strip Mall has Guns, Bankruptcy Attorney, DUI Attorney, and Probation Department.
We drove until we came upon a sign that said Davis Park Camp. It was on the water in Arizona, across from Laughlin, Nevada. Here, the Colorado is only a little wider than the average Malibu swimming pool. It was 6:30, and the camp office was already closed. There was an “honor” box, and a sunburned guy with greasy hair and missing front teeth sitting beside it. He was tipped back in a dining room chair, watching an ancient black and white TV. He stood up as we pulled in, took our fifteen bucks and fed it into the slot. Clearly the brothers and sisters of the road liked to camp here without paying; thus the presence of Toothless Joe.
Our spot was right on the water. It was magic hour. The casinos on the other side of the river twinkled in the distance. We'd stopped at the Safeway for some Bombay Gin, tonic and limes. Gin and tonics on the Colorado River with our brothers and sisters of the road! We were dry camping next to a Hispanic family, their picnic table covered with huge bags of chips and snacks. Nearby sat a dust-covered toy stroller, dust-covered plastic lawn chairs set out on a dust-covered bamboo mat. The younger kids played tag; the older kids listened to their iPods.
After we parked, I went back to the fridge, opened the freezer. It was empty, except for a package of frozen taquitos we'd sprung for at Safeway, and a pair of empty blue ice trays. I remembered seeing a sign for ice up by the entrance and walked Lolita Gordita back up the road. I put my face against the glass door of the closed office. No ice machine. I was forced to walk around the building, where Toothless Joe was posted and where, just behind him, I saw two big white freezers with the thick red lettering: ICE.
"Don't get excited, mama," he said, "I can't sell you any ice".
"But the machine's right there," I said.
"They don't pay me enough," he said.
Back at our spot overlooking the river, Jerrod was on his hands and knees in the dust beside the RV. One of the panels was open and he was peering inside. The generator was dead. Which meant no electricity. Which meant no taquitos, no ice for the gin and tonics, and no living room or bedroom, since we needed electricity to work the sliders. Jerrod stood up and dusted off his knees.
"Let's have a drink and discuss our options," he said.
"No ice," I said.
"What about -- "
"He's not paid enough," I said.
"To open the -- "
"Nope, not paid enough," I said.
"No one is!" yelled one of the Hispanic guys in the spot next to us. I looked over at him, straddling the picnic table bearing the giant bags of snacks. He toasted me with a Cheeto.
We drove south on Highway 99, through eastern San Joaquin Valley. Joan Didion territory. In the decades I've been travelling this route (the scenic alternative to the deadly dull I-5, which runs parallel to 99 down the western side of the valley) the sky has never been anything other than weak lemonade yellow. Brown hills hunch on the horizon. There are crop-dusters, billboards advertising bail bondsmen in Spanish, and towns that have taken a beating by the recession -- Manteca ("lard" in Spanish), Salida ("outlet" in Spanish), Turlock ("outlet stores" in English). Still, the only thing that seems to have changed over the years are the number of Starbucks. Like Taco Bell and Subway, the round green and white logo looms above the highway on thin pole legs eight hundred feet tall.
Just like when you're pregnant and every woman you see on the street is pregnant, every vehicle on 99 is an RV. The drivers of giant motor coaches wave to us, like we're part of their tribe. I wonder if, upon passing us and glancing in their enormous bathmat-sized side mirror, they wonder what we think we're going to do with one bike. Like, how stupid can we be? Where is the SUV we should be towing? Or the trailered twin Harleys? When I think about the bike, I try to envision it tooling around an East Bay neighborhood, steered by a kid who now thinks his luck has changed.
To get to New Mexico we must turn left at Bakersfield onto Hwy 58, over the Tehachapi pass and into the Mojave. We cannot possibly come this way without making a slight detour at the Rankin Ranch. The Rankins are old friends of my father.
Before he died, the last place my dad wanted to go was the ranch, where he could ride the Rankin cow ponies up into the rocky, wild-lavender-covered hills, eat barbequed tri-tip and Helen Rankin's locally famous "patio potatoes," and chat with Bill Rankin about his alfalfa crop. If you click on this, you can read all about what the ranch offers, and see how, as in Lake Wobegon, all the Rankin women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children are above average. But the biggest testament to the magic of the place is this:
No, these horses are not dead.
They're napping. If you know about horses you know that, as prey animals, they prefer to doze on their feet. To throw themselves on the ground and have a deep, lip-twitching nap takes an enormous amount of trust. They need to feel relaxed and safe. Look at these guys. Running dreams and snoring like your grandpa. The Rankins offer that feeling to their guests as well.
Getting to the ranch, however, is an awesome nuisance. There's a Y in the road, and you've either got to traverse nine miles of hairpin curves up Caliente-Bodfish Road, never knowing when you're going to swing around a blind turn and run into a herd of cattle, or you've got to go the long way, around the base of the mountain. The long way is less steep, less curvy, less littered with small shrines -- white crosses, plastic flowers -- on the narrow road's outside curves, but it is much longer.
We reached the Y in the road and proceeded right. Once again, it is too late and too dark to be driving this huge beast of a vehicle. We have apparently learned nothing from driving around San Francisco only days earlier. As characters, we can exist only in an unwatchable French existential play, or a blog. Here we are again, having learned not one thing.
It's spring and the snow has begun to melt. The run-off has begun. Our headlights illuminate streams gushing across the road, making the curves slick, our brakes wet and unreliable. We drive for an hour. It can't be this far. Houses are set back against the hills, their pale porch lights glimmer between branches.
Jerrod asks if anything looks familiar.
"I've never gone the long way," I said.
"You've been coming here for thirty years!"
"In a car. Taking the short way."
We did not have it in us to argue, until we reached:
(Imagine this place on a dark night, which, obviously, is every night.)
"We need to turn left on Walker Basin Road," I said.
"We are on Walker Basin Road," he said.
"No. We just past Walker Basin Road. We need to turn left, or we're going to miss the ranch completely," I said.
"I don't know what left hand turn you saw, but we're on Walker Basin Road," he said.
"That's impossible. We just passed Walker Basin Road," I said.
"No, we're on Walker Basin Road," he said.
"Just go back," I said.
In the dark, with a billion stars all around (thank you, Eagles), Jerrod backed the RV up about a half mile. Our relationship works so well because, even though he was right (and so was I), he still did what I asked. Five minutes later, we arrived at the ranch. We were four hours later than expected. Rudy, the Rankin cook, saved us some tri-tip.
The thing about just hitting the road and not planning ahead is that you have to be prepared to be stuck at somewhere that is not your destination. You have to be willing to be going for days on end. Life is a journey, yadda yadda yadda, but if I am to be honest, I want to be in control of where the actual journeying begins. I'm not much interested in journeying to the journey. I was ready to submit myself to the searing blue skies of New Mexico, where I knew we would be eating world famous enchiladas, shopping for beautiful pieces of turquoise jewelry made by real Indians, making bad jokes about manufacturing crystal meth (one of our favorite shows is "Breaking Bad"), and hopefully having a transcendent O'Keeffian experience or two.
All a way of saying that we left San Francisco after a single night. Did I already mention that the main reason we stopped in the Second Hilliest City on earth was to see my daughter, who was a freshman at the University of San Francisco? We did. We glimpsed her. In between class and rehearsal (she was performing in the spring dance concert) or rehearsal and a party or a party and a required viewing of some dance performance in the city. She graciously wedged us in for forty-seven minutes because, I suspect, she missed her dog.
Lolita Gordita is half blue heeler and half Australian cattle dog. She is a good dog, even though she endures a life of genetic conflict: the blue heeler side wants to herd from back and the Aussie side wants to herd from the front, so she spends most of her life running around us in circles. To have both of us stuck in the RV, within six feet of her at any given time, allowed her to relax for probably the first time in her life.
Here she is on her spot. We could say, "Lola, spot!" And she would jump up and settle in.
We left the city about ten a.m., heading south to Bakersfield. It was great to be off that hill(s) and on the road! We had some old Beatles tunes playing. We had some coffee in our Go cups. We had In 'n Out Burger to look forward to. Then, technological disaster struck. My smart phone (an HTC Evo-4G, for those of you interested in such things) started rebooting itself randomly, of its own free will. Within an hour, it was rebooting itself every time I pressed a button. This would not have been a big deal, except that unbeknownst to us and for whatever reason, the email server the Man of the House maintains in our basement at home had also failed. Meaning: even if I had been able to get to my email, I wouldn't be able to get to my email. Not that I was expecting any email.
Reader, am I the only one who has become an insane smart phone addict? We were tooling down Hwy 101 on our way to Gilroy (the Garlic Capital of the World) and the panic I felt when I knew I would be unable to use my phone, to access my email, to Google Gilroy (why was it called the garlic capital of the world?) was as ridiculous as it was real. My anxiety translated into a fear that everything in my life was going to fall apart immediately and irrevocably because my phone was on the fritz. The universe somehow knew that I was unreachable, and would orchestrate it so that my daughter would suffer an emergency and need me; my agent would be calling with some boffo, but limited, offer; the MacArthur genius grant people would call me and, not being able to reach me that second, give the half a mil to the next person on the list. The stupidity of my anxiety cannot be overstated. I've travelled through India and spent weeks on a dive boat in the waters off Micronesia and backpacked through Europe at a tender age, when the only contact I had with anyone were the letters I did or did not pick up at the American Express office in Rome or Paris or wherever.
I've never been a fan of the phrase "it goes without saying," because obviously if it goes without saying, then why am I saying it? The proper wording should be, "I wish this went without saying, it should go without saying, but, alas, I feel the need to say it anyway, because otherwise you might miss the point."
These idiot phones are ruining our lives. Happiness resides in being here now. Every spiritual leader and a lot of old hippies know this. It's why we go to yoga and resolve to meditate. It's why everyone I know who goes camping for more than 48 hours is clam happy until the exact moment they come back into cell phone range. These phones may make our lives easier, but they also rob us of a boat load of joy. I'd checked my email that morning, for God's sakes. I was driving down the road with my man and my dog, listening to great tunes and looking forward to a tasty cheeseburger. I was healthy. My kid was healthy. I had some money in the bank. I was heading toward big sky New Mexico to have a transcendent O'Keeffian experience. Could life possibly get any better? No, it could not. And I wanted to share this great revelation with all my friends on Facebook? Could I? No I could not.
Once we got to this place, I felt better. We bought a half flat of strawberries and a braid of garlic.
The RV looked a lot smaller in Bend, where it was parked out in the back of the yard near the stables. In San Francisco it was gargantuan. People took one look at it, and thought we were part of a movie production team. Who else besides a Teamster would drive a 27’ RV up and down those insane hills?
The moment we pulled into the Greyhound Bus Station we leapt out of the RV and ran to the back. No blue bike. We stood in the parking lot with our hands on our hips for a good five minutes, staring at the bike rack, in the event that perhaps the bike was hiding beneath some heretofore unsuspected cloak of invisibility.
Then, we squabbled. The situation was similar to when my daughter was an infant and when she yawned she was so surprised to find her mouth wide open, she just naturally assumed she was in the middle of a howling crying fit and would start screaming. Jerrod and I had been so amazed at our ability to roll along without having to stop (we’d already mastered switching drivers while in the slow lane) that now we had pulled over and were standing outside the vehicle with our hands on our hips, it must mean we’re having an argument.
We were exhausted. We were trapped beneath those awful orange-yellow sodium-vapor lights that would make Angelina Jolie look like she’s just been zombified, in the Greyhound bus station parking lot of the second most hilly city in the world (at that moment we were convinced we were in the most hilly city on earth, but Google set us straight: it’s La Paz, Bolivia), minus a pretty good mountain bike. Now that the bike was gone, it was an excellent bike. It was an excellent, expensive bike that I loved, and that Jerrod had not strapped on to the bike rack with the love and care it deserved.
“You were rushing,” I said. “You did a half-ass job.”
“I don’t think the bike just fell off. I think it was ripped off when we went through the toll booth. That’s when all those people started pulling up next to us and honking.”
“It was held to the rack by little woven straps. Just because we're just hopping in the RV and going, that doesn't just mean we can hop into the RV and go. We should have used the bike lock."
“Think of it this way, some child in need probably has a new bike now.”
“Child in need? Because kids hang out around the toll booths on the Bay Bridge waiting for bikes to be ripped off bike racks?”
“That actually doesn’t sound like a bad racket.”
“I thought you said they were children in need?"
"Who needs a racket more than children in need?"
"Now you're being ridiculous."
You get the idea. I totally loved that bike. I totally saw myself tooling around Santa Fe wearing a bandana over my hair and a black Zorro hat over that, just like O'Keeffe. Actually, when I imagined that, my head felt really hot. But the point is, I felt bereft.
We climbed back in the RV and made our way up to the top of Market St. As part of our just-picking-up-and-going-in-the-O'Keeffian-manner, we thought we'd drop in an old friend, my roommate from grad school. Since we obviously couldn't park the RV on Market, or risk having the entire side bashed in by a Prius, she'd found us a place to park on a steep side street parallel to Market, hidden from view by a long, narrow dog park, shrouded in trees.
Here, we learned yet another RV lesson: don't expect to get any sleep if you park your RV on a hill.
Even though we live in Portland, we're not really cyclists. We ride our bikes on nice days, but we have no cycling credo. Our mountain bikes (yes, we're that behind the times) have nothing to do with our identities. They sit in our backyard, along with the lawnmower and old lawn chairs. When it rains, one of us goes out and throws a tarp over them.
But we had visions of ourselves biking around picturesque downtown Santa Fe, where I was going to be doing some research at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center. Neither of us had ever been to Santa Fe, but had done enough Googling to realize that as the Oldest State Capital in the Nation, the streets would probably be too narrow for us to tootle around in our 27' RV. We'd had visions of parking it in a nice RV park just outside the city and riding in every morning. That there are no RV parks "just outside the city" never occurred to us, and we also forgot , if we ever knew, that Santa Fe is 7000 feet elevation, while our neighborhood in Portland is 22 feet. That's another story for a later time.
There are two ways to get to Santa Fe from Portland. The long, boring route sends you down the sad spine of California, cutting over at Bakersfield and taking I-58 through the Mojave desert and Arizona; the shorter, recommended route involves the scenic by-ways of Idaho and Utah. We didn't even consider that one because my daughter is going to school in San Francisco and, more importantly, there's a In 'n Out Burger in Redding.
For many native Californians who live elsewhere, the Double Double served animal-style is our madeleine. Even those of us who swore off Big Macs after having been traumatized by "Supersize Me," cannot say no to In 'n Out Burger. Every time we drive down the sad spine of California we stop at the first In 'n Out Burger we come across (In 'n Out Burger is a California institution. There's one in Las Vegas. I've heard there just opened one in Dallas. But there are no In 'n Out Burgers in the Pacific Northwest. Not one.
But weirdly, even though the main reason we took the unattractive, longer California/Arizona route was In 'n Out Burger, we didn't stop at our usual In 'n Out Burger. We were too busy digging our new RV lifestyle. Hey look! Here we are rolling down the I-5 and I can unhook my seatbelt, stagger back to the galley and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I can even take quick pee! It's no worse than going in a train, plane or boat. All while rolling along.
Things got bad near Berkeley. Note to California, you are not Zimbabwe. That washboard stretch of the 580 needs to be repaired, pronto. It was around ten o'clock. We'd been driving non-stop for twelve hours, because we could, and Jerrod had realized an hour earlier that he needed glasses. Everything inside the RV rattled, the plastic sections of the hull shook and shifted, the glass platter in the microwave, the pots and pans in the drawer beneath the stove. It was the same sound an old plane makes during a bumpy landing. We trundled through the toll booth on the Bay Bridge, arguing about whether we were making a mistake even coming into the city in a 27' RV. A hundred yards or so later a red car pulled up on the driver’s side, the girl in the passenger seat madly gesticulating at Jerrod.
"Yeah, I know I know! I'm driving a behemoth and have absolutely no business driving this thing into the city," he shouted out the window.
This was the gist of it. Actually, he cussed them out, most unattractively.
Then another car passed on the other side, and the driver and passengers were madly gesticulating. It occurred to me that maybe Jerrod hadn't cut someone off but that something was wrong with the RV. I looked in the side mirror and where there had formerly been the front half of two front bike tires strapped snuggly to the bike frame, I glimpsed the handle bars and front tire of one bike, hooked on one peg of the bike rack, swinging around in the breeze.
Mad swearing from me. The s-word, the f-word. "We lost one of the bikes!"
We crawled along the Bay Bridge at ten miles an hour. There is no stopping on the Bay Bridge. The world as we know it will end if you stop on the Bay Bridge. We jounced over the rumble strips. We waited to hear to hear the squeal of brakes, the crash of sheet metal as our remaining bike bounced off the rack and on to the hood of the car behind us, belonging to the most litigious people in California. Nothing happened. We took the first off-ramp, Fremont/Folsom, pulled into the Greyhound Bus Station, and found the blue bike gone, the gray one attached by a single strap.
I couldn't see writing a book about Georgia O'Keeffe without making a pilgrimage toO'Keeffeland: Santa Fe, Taos, Abiquiu, and all the northern New Mexican big sky spots in between. For less explicable reasons, it also seemed important to conduct my journey in an O'Keeffian manner. She was a big believer in just getting up and going. Once, when she was in her twenties and still teaching in Texas, she decided she should hop on the train and go to New York. She woke up the bank manager on a Sunday morning, to cash out her savings account and buy a train ticket.
In these modern times no bank manager will open the bank on Sunday for us (much less reverse that overdraft fee incurred when I stuck that latte on my debit card on the way tothe bank to deposit a check), and unless you're a hobo, hopping on a cross country train is a thing of the past. Jerrod (a.k.a The Man of the House)and I could have flown to New Mexico and rented a car, but the mere thought oflogging on to Orbitz or Expedia and clicking on Flight+Hotel+Car felt so dispiriting and un-O'Keefian, so dull and unromantic, we did the only other thing we possibly could: borrow a giant RV and hit the road.
I kept a log of our travels and our travails (one of our bikes fell off the back of the RV on theBay Bridge) on what we came to call The Georgia Trail. I hope to post a new installment every few days.
In her sixties, after her art star had risen, then fallen, O'Keeffe set out to see the world. She liked traveling so much, she bought a ticket for an around-the-world tour. After it was all done she concluded, "I like the dirty places in the worldbest," by which she meant she preferred Peru to Paris.
Of course, she didn't spend a month with Jerrod, Lola, the Bad Breath Dog, and me in the RV.