Researching and making lists is one of my favorite things to do. I’m guilty of tearing off a post it note to redo it because I’ve spelled something wrong, or put things out of order. I have a fear that I will drop my post it, with my list of needed groceries, in Safeway, and that someone will find it, laugh at my misspelling and post it on the internet for all to enjoy. My mother’s top two list blunders are “Vodak” (vodka) and “Scones” (sconces). Judge me all you want on my list of tampons, gatorade powder and highlighters. I don’t want someone judging my list making.
Dale and I are going camping in a few weeks. We’re making stops in Pinnacles National Park (the newest in the park system) and Joshua Tree National Park. With a stop at Hearst Castle on the way back, I’m excited to get out of the city for a bit and get some fresh air, a little history, and a sense of the trip Dale and I were unable to take because I didn’t reach my Kickstarter goal. When I get back, I hope to have 20-30 pinhole images to develop and scan.
I’m going to my parents this weekend for a visit. The weather suddenly turned winter-like last week. The last time I was at my parents was mid-Augst, it was 90 degrees. Last Sunday, it snowed. Mom and I will work on my upgraded pinhole camera that I want to take on the Pinnacles/Joshua Tree trip. In my previous model, I neglected a ridge to rest my film carrier on while shooting horizontally. I’ll be using my previous foam-core model as reference, and I’ll be using a lighter wood. Hopefully I can fashion a movable felt cover/lever to use as a shutter instead of the cork piece I’ve been using.
I’ve been to Joshua Tree once before, about seven years ago (holy crap, that long ago) with my friend Jessica. At the time, we were just getting to know each other better and this was the trip where we realized we were good old-fashioned soul mates and we loved camping together. I was so scared earlier this year camping with Dale for the first time because I was so used to camping with Jessica. If Dale and I weren’t camp-compatible I didn’t know what we would do (we are, no worries). Our trip seven years ago was structured around some night photography that I wanted to do for a landscape class. The images I got are still some of my favorite. I wish I had a Hasselblad to take again. This time I’ll be taking an old film camera for some black and white shooting. I’ll develop it at the photo center when I get back.
Let’s hope it’s not raining hard, that more roads are open, and that I can shoot to my hearts content.
I’m happy to announce that my Kickstarter project, Across America: A Photo Book is now live. Please watch my video and read about my project.
I just finished doing minor adjustments and cleaning on the best shots I got from Yellowstone. The first batch of developing I did had the shot of Old Faithful in it. Seeing it for the first time, knowing that it came out, and that waiting in the sun and heat was worth it. Dale says I squealed. I’m developing the last six shots from the trip (The Grand Tetons) tomorrow, and I should have them up to show right after I make my Kickstarter live this week.
Until we hit them
With our car
This morning we left Yellowstone National Park. Packing up the campsite was pretty efficient. There is definitely a lot less food in the car, and there was tons of space in the ice chest for random things. I’m sitting in the back seat of our car now with tons more space than I had when we stopped for groceries in Bozeman. I’ve got more leg space here than on a plane!
We said goodbye to Yellowstone and drove through the Rockafeller National Forest. The lady at the Flagg Ranch outpost was lovely and recommended the Leek’s Marina pizza place for lunch. We started into Grand Tetons National Park and stopped to eat. The place sits rights on the water and has great pizza and a good selection of beers on tap. Their music they played was right up my alley. The employees and some customers started signing when a song came on. It kills me that I can’t remember it right now. Dale and Jessica are also having brain farts. It might have been I’ve Had the Time of my Life. Either way, Electric Avenue and Tainted Love bookended it, and well, I’m impressed. We stopped quickly in Coulter Bay for stickers, postcards and to stamp Betty’s passport.
Coming up were two of my required stops for the day. After driving around Yellowstone for four days, I was surprised as how quickly we got through the park. I got one inspiration stop at the Snake River Overlook, setting for one of my favorite Ansel Adams photographs. There was the first time in a while I had signal and could get some information on my phone. Dale’s phone also picked up 4G and he was able to check his email to find out his GoToddle app was OK’d by the Apple Store and is now available for purchase!
A short car ride later and we took a turn off the main road to Mormon’s Row to see the Moulton Barn. You’d be hard pressed to be a photo student or a barn enthusiast or a collector of calendars to have never seen this barn before. I’ve probably spent 10 hours of my life staring at digital files of this barn. It is the generic landscape photograph, with fields, flowers, buildings, all standing before the majestic majesty of the purple tetons on the background. We had to drive through some bison to get there and I got a hilarious shot of a bison crossing the road in front of us, while Jessica’s scared face is reflected in the rear view mirror.
Before stopping in Jackson (not to be confused with Jackson Hole, the conceptual valley this all is in) we thought we might stop at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. At $12 a piece, I had to balk, but maybe for some next trip. The building it was in was spectacular, in the architects concept of building it from the local rock and having it blend in with the hillside. It looks like an outcropping on a hillside that has been there for years.
DQ was an awesome stop in Jackson for our brainstorming session on where to stop and how far to go the rest of the day. I sit in the car now on our way to Provo, UT. I like mixing Provo, Parvo and Provolone together in my mind. A dog with Parvo eating Provolone in Provo. Something Meta like that.
Zion is looking hot and dusty right now, but Vegas looks pretty nice. I’m in need of a Martini at the Chandelier Bar. This air conditioning in the car is nice, but it’s wreaking havoc on my lips and nose, in addition to the pollen festival that was happening in Yellowstone.
Wyoming is really growing on me. We’re finally in towns that look populated with America than tourists. We just passed under the worlds largest elkhorn arch in afton. These are towns with old signs old buildings and posters for the Barnum and baileys circus. Stuff here is “yumbelievable”…the LDS churches look the same yet different.
Woke up this morning around 7:30am. Slept well considering the temperature (probably around 43 degrees). The new sleeping bag worked well. I was able to turn around in it, and stay pretty warm throughout the night. Sometime in the night I woke up with what I call “different temperature feet.” I’m certain I don’t want to call them cold, because I know what cold feet feel like, but they were just slightly cooler than the rest of my legs. I pulled off my socks and rubbed my feet a bit. I put the socks back on and pulled down my long johns to cover my socks. I guess that’s the advantage of having not yet hemmed them. I still can chuckle about my bad joke last night when I said they were so long I could probably pull them over my feet and tie them in a knot like Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump. Jessica got up right after me, and we got to making the coffee. At 9:30 or so we made breakfast burritos with the leftover lentils, eggs and slices of american cheese. It was nice to have something warm in our bellies to start the day. We’ve planned a hike to Cascade Lake nearby. We didn’t even want to get into the car to go to a trailhead. I’m ready to get dressed and start cleaning up breakfast messes.
Our hike to cascade lake was beautiful.
We got to the lake and in our moment of departure saw our first bison over the hill. Jessica also spotted an elk. We played a good few round of 20 questions and Dale had a good stumper with “cowpie”. We stopped in canyon village for ice cream and coffee.
We woke up to news of the DOMA and Proposition 8 Supreme Court decisions. We were having breakfast in the Days Inn, located in Brigham City Utah. We were notified by the Fox News reporter while we noshed on bagels, waffles and cereal. The continental breakfast was pretty good for a side of the interstate. I’m thinking our luck tomorrow morning won’t be as good.
We set out on a Tuesday morning after squishing all of our equipment into the car. The foggy San Francisco June morning had starting releasing its moisture and the mist had turned into rain.
This isn’t what we planned. We also hadn’t really planned on this much stuff. There were a few things left behind such as Mr. Fuzzy (Dale’s faux fur Burning Man blanket) and my REI folding seat. We still had all of Jessica’s stuff to cram into Betty, and we didn’t want to be totally overloaded. Dale is the only one tall enough to get all the things into the roof rack holder and close it. I appreciate having a little extra space to expand into, like an empty shelf or drawer, or in the case of Betty, a place to put my feet. We armed ourselves with the final dredges of coffee and set out from Benicia.
I drove to Winnemucca, where we stopped on Potato Road. I was finally able to play with my phone and take some pictures.
We rolled into our hotel an hour later than thought (thanks, Mountain Time) and I fell asleep to an old episode of Friends.