I couldn’t see writing a book about Georgia O’Keeffe without making a pilgrimage to O’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 to the 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 of logging 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 the Bay 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 world best,” 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.