Typecast by its name, the thought of driving through Death Valley made me more than a little nervous. I heard the rumors of gas-price gouging and stories of cars overheating by the side of the road. I was prepared for anything. I wasn’t prepared, however, for just how freaking pleasant it was. Highs never reached more than the lower 90s. My bucket list to do item… a sunrise 6 through the dessert…turned out to be almost effortless. The wind can sometimes come out of nowhere, and the sand along with it, but even that only caused problems for a couple of tents not tied down. I followed the advice of a fellow traveler (Thanks, Devin!!) who suggested I hike a trail just across the way from the campsite. The hike led to Mosaic Canyon. In many places, the rocks have been worn marble smooth by eons of water erosion. Pretty sure I picked just the right time to visit.
Im back in California now, catching up with friends and family…even got a photoshoot coming up. The air is crisp and clean and I could tell you with my eyes closed that I was near San Francisco. Im here for a few days until I make my way south to Fresno to see my brother.
Part 5. I landed in Saint Helens Oregon on April 9th. So very glad to drop the 9000lb brick attached to my car. I took a few days to rest and restock my supplies before hitting the road again for the next part of my drive. I’ll head south down the 101 to my beloved bay area for much overdue time with dear friends and family. While taking it easy for a few days in Oregon, I got the chance to check out some new areas for running and wheeling. There is a stretch of beach just a couple of miles from me, along the banks of the Columbia, thats unbelievably great. Weird old shit poking out of the water…barely a soul there. Also, Bubbles the pug is less then enthused.
The first few days have been fairly smooth as I have made my way from Virginia, through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and now Kansas. My little Kleenex box of a car has struggled somewhat with steep grades, but so far so good with nothing but sweet, sweet flatness. Until I get to Colorado. But that will be another story. I stopped in on my friend Travis in West Virginia. He and his wife Brandy prepared an amazing dinner for me and we celebrated with some very fine Scotch (courtesy of a certain silver-haired Charlottesville musical-legend-friend of mine) and some very fine reminiscing on our time at Crutchfield Corp. as coworkers. Travis is a truck driver now and so ridiculously happy it just makes you want to puke…or give him a hug. Meh…either way. Travis and my now new best friend Obi (his neighbor), rescued me from getting stuck in Travis’s driveway by the way. A tow strap and a well piloted four wheel drive tractor prevailed against what would have been the world’s shortest cross country road trip otherwise.
At my first campsite I met David and Denisha, who were not only very kind in helping me figure out a route for the day but also contributed a much needed dollop of milk to a struggling cup of campfire coffee. They tell me they do this just about every weekend.
Also, some where in a men’s bathroom in Indiana, I may or may not have picked up some early stocking stuffers for y’all. Nuff said.
Total number of dogs photographed so far…3. That’s Peanut and Norman by the way…intersected on my morning walk to the bathroom.
Sometimes you get to photograph dear friends. And sometimes, you get to photograph dear friends to help their small businesses. Both of these things make me very, very happy. My last official photoshoot before I move to Oregon next week, and I’m so thrilled to go out with love and wonderful photographs of Naomi Beck and Anne Marie Vincent on a perfect spring morning.