In 2006 I took a Road Trip from San Francisco to New Mexico and back over the course of a month, writing and taking photos all the way. Two years later I had a show of paintings based on those photographs. This is one of a series of twenty-nine posts of those paintings accompanied by the relevant diary entries.
22. May 15th, 2006.
Horrible night last night. No sleep. security lights, road, train, freeway. Got into the car to “sleep” at 2 am. Didn’t get moving until after 7:30 am, but I have gained an hour today. Took a while to get out of Gallup, lots of road works. I made a detour to the Hubbell Trading Post. Nice older lady there. She told me her father had been in Ireland twice-invited to do sweat lodges and seminars-she remembers him talking about a big wall. I think it must have been Scotland.
Anyway I couldn’t imagine anyone in Ireland having anything to do with sweat lodges or even taking off their clothes before 1975.
Old ladies doing weaving in the visitors centre. I looked at the rugs, I will probably get one at some stage, they’re not really that dear.
That is the famous Navajo rugs…I still haven’t got one..
Then back onto the freeway and whacked it all the way here to Kingman. Bye bye Navajo nation.
I went to Winslow, Arizona and sang the Eagles song because it had to be done. I stopped there for lunch in a great Mexican cafe. Sat in a booth…oh the excitement. Casa Blanca Cafe, 2nd street. Got talking to an American couple. Feel OK today. Nice to talk to people.
Impressions…flat scrubby desert to the south, cloud cover later in the day, turbulent looking, some rain, relief from the heat. Dead animals on the road. Wind beating the car around. Indian hitch-hiker, loping along with his back to the traffic and his thumb out. He had a bag slung over his shoulder and his turquoise shirt flapped in the wind, embossing him on the bright, dry landscape.
All these years later, that picture is still there…
I didn’t pick him up, though I wanted to, I wasn’t sure. There was middle-aged hitchhiker at a Freeway entrance, in the rain. I may not attract serial killers but no point taking the risk. Busted up tyres all over, from blow outs presumably. Huge Dinosaur models stalking the scrub at Holbrook. Buckets of Blood Street in Holbrook…
A hang out for villains in the late 19th century…
I’m in room 109 in Days Inn. I couldn’t find the cheap one I was looking for but I think I was looking at the map the wrong way, the freeway exits are confusing and there are a lot of roadworks here too. Checked in by 4:30 and went to…Wal-Mart! I shouldn’t like it but I do. I even know the lay out. Got a bag for my camping gear and spent a couple of hours packing and repacking the car.