A journey is best traveled with a good group of friends who appreciate the simple pleasures of being on the road. Without my friends, this trip would’ve been nowhere near a good time. I also had an eye-opening reality check after a sketchy run-in with locals on BLM land in Taos, NM. That reality check being that even though I’mAmerican, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m welcome everywhere in my own country.American Indians are indigenous to America and we must respect their home and wishes.
There were many highlights: roasting a whole rockfish & batch cooked chickens over the campfire, Buffalo Thunder tattoos, Indian school skate ditch in Albuquerque, launching way too many fireworks in Taos, white water rafting down the Rio Grande, bouldering in Flagstaff, Christmas chile, scoring the best dispersed campsite in Sedona on our last day, discovering a photography playground inHolbrook, AZ, and driving 1,400 miles in 14 days in a 1978 Chevy G20.
The low point was getting freaked out camping in Taos by some locals down in the gorge where the RioGrande flows. We were woken up at our campsite at 1am to a loud truck revving its engine and honking its horn with its headlights beamed on our tent &cars. Four drunk locals chased us out of our campsite with guns telling us we were in no man’s land and didn’t have cell service.
After being chased out, we decided to park at a nearby casino to sleep in our car’s because we thought they offered free 24 hours parking. At 3am, a security guard woke us up by knocking on our cars and told us that if we didn’t leave in 10 minutes the tribal police would press charges on us for trespassing. That night we didn’t sleep and ended up getting coffee at a gas station at 530am and watched the sunrise in a dirt lot in the back of the gas station.
My second night stay in Santa Fe was unexpected and an utmost pleasure. My buddy’s work friend invited us to his family’s ranch on the outskirts of the city. The house was a beautiful adobe structure surrounded by golden fields and snow-capped mountains. It was a dream to hang out there for the day/night. That evening, we made an epic family dinner and got to know the owner of the house who’s a total legend.
My favorite Slow &Low shot is of the van in Holbrook parked at the last drive-in liquor store inNavajo Nation. A cool guy named Paul opened it in 1952. He still works there to this day and the drive through window is still used by the locals.
My favorite recreational photo was near the border of California and Arizona where there were two of the furriest Dr. Suess trees I’ve ever seen standing alone next to each other.
Pull over and take the shot. Don’t keep driving.
Terminal Jape - TheeOh Sees
Sun King - The Beatles
(Ghost) Riders in theSky - Marty Robbins
It means to get after it when the opportunity arises. There was not a dull day on the road trip because I was thirsty to experience everything and enjoy every little moment that I could. Turns out, that attitude works well when you’re constantly on the go. A good attitude goes a far way.
Straight from the bottle or can. I don’t need no fixin’!