Saturday, May 14, 2016


I left Columbus and my new best baby friend and assorted family and started the drive back west in mid-December. My first stop was St. Louis. I think. It's been so long I'm not entirely sure. I stayed in a rather swank hotel, which had a lobby that used to be a train terminal and quite a light/Christmas display on its ceiling. The following photos, from the look of things, are not chronological. After St. Louis I think I may have stopped in Oklahoma City? Yes. I stayed in a decidedly dingy hotel there, but had a pretty authentic steak at Cattlemen's Steakhouse, which was perhaps the most 'no frills' steak-centric establishment I've frequented. After that it was Tucumcari New Mexico. Then Santa Fe. Then Cottonwood, Arizona. Then? LA maybe? Ha. Geez.

I traveled I-40 for a good long part of the drive and decided that I'd get off at one point and drive about 25 miles on the true old Route 66. This was, shall we say, an idea I should have thought through a bit more. It was neat to see just how simultaneously desolate and beautiful the landscape can be, along with the many no-longer-lived-in houses, but the road itself was definitely sketchy. Not pavement. Not gravel. More like silt and mud. I drove no more than 30 miles per hour and fishtailed a good bit of it. I imagined getting stuck or sliding sideways and the dilemma I'd be in, but luckily I only had to imagine it, not live it. This is a photo of a building at the beginning of the stretch of 66 I traveled.
This I think is in Sonoma.
Oh my god there is absolutely no order to these photographs at all. I decided last minute to go through LA on my way up the coast, and managed to stop and see three people in one afternoon. First was L., whom I hadn't seen since she left the farm this past summer. I hung out with her and her friends for a bit and it was lovely.
These are some otters and otter babies I saw when I stayed the night in Morro Bay after departing LA. Oh they were the cutest of the cute. It was a true dream to see them all floating and frolicking. Morro Bay is okay by me and my hotel was very small but nice.
I met up with Dad in Berkeley. The weather wasn't entirely spectacular while we were there, but the sun did shine at one point or another.
We were able to enjoy some dim sum, though there were no carts. You just ordered off the menu.
Dad humored me and went to a nearby dart bar for some rounds. He won, which was impressive.
My double chin probably somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona.
I stopped to see the cadillacs in the middle of a field. I guess it was worth it.
Detail of Cadillac. Man it was muddy.
Another ghost town building on 66, a bit east of Tucumcari.
Further down the road on 66.
What my car looked like on the 66 road. Dirt. Loamy dirt. Loamy? Maybe not.
Another 66 picture. I lost one of those earrings and I'm sad about it. Not in the photo, in real life right now.
In Tucumcari I went to a dinosaur museum.
I had stopped in Tucumcari when I drove west the previous year. It's not really that much of a town, but the motel I stayed in that last time was lovely so I figured I'd return. Nice neon along the main drag. Not necessarily a place I'd want to live, but fine for an evening. I had chile rellenos for dinner.
The neon at the motel I stayed at. Very great place and well-run by its family of owners. Recommend.
The dirt buildup in my wheel well after the 66 drive.

Also in Tucumcari.
I decided to have a lighter driving day after Tucumcari and clocked in about 5 hours to get to Santa Fe. I went to its Audobon Center to see what I could see, but there was quite a bit of snow on the ground so I didn't wander or explore as much as I thought I might, nor did I see too many birds.
I stayed in a kind of kooky hotel in Santa Fe, which was next door to a store that I think was called Jackalope? This was the store's resident cat.
Somewhere. A train. This was at a rest stop. I really am not all that interested in the desert.
The same rest stop maybe?
This was in Arizona when I started heading south in the direction of Sedona. The photograph doesn't do it justice, it was a beautiful view with clouds and mountains and stuff.
Sedona. I wish I had more time and money and had done a little more true hiking/exploring, but mainly I just stopped in parking lots at looked at all the red rocks and whatnot from afar. Very pretty though.
Most hotels in Sedona were too pricy, so I ended up driving about 20 miles further away and stayed in Cottonwood, Arizona. My hotel was on the small main street, which boasted a number of wine tasting establishments as well as a few restaurants. My interest was piqued when I saw one wine tasting place also had a tarot card reader. So I ended up getting my cards read while enjoying a robust red. The woman was incredibly thorough - the reading was at least an hour long - but I'm not sure what I gained from it.
I believe this might be California on Route 10?


Also in LA I saw S. from college. He took me around the studio on which he works. This is a statue of Napoleon Dynamite, because obviously.
In LA oranges and lemons and avocados are growing on trees everywhere. I find this absolutely perfect.
This is along the PCH outside Malibu.
Back to Morro Bay and a heron I saw hanging out.
The big rock of Morro Bay.
Me in front of the big rock.
Water breaking over rocks in Morro Bay.
Me. Morro Bay. I think we all get it. Morro Bay was a good day.
Morro Bay at night.
Big Sur? California coast somewhere that's for sur. Heh. I am terrible.
Morro Bay. The above is probably Morro Bay as well, now that I think about it.
I was quite excited when I read that further north I would get to see elephant seals, and boy did they not disappoint. SO COOL. I really could have watched them for hours, but it was raining and I had to get somewhere.

Pleased as punch to be so near so many monstrously large animals. The fact that they can move at all is incredibly impressive.
Maybe Big Sur?
Definitely Big Sur. Panorama shot. Another area I wish I cold have checked out far more than I did.
Dad and I went to a winery in Sonoma one day during the Berkeley times.

Geez I get chubby when I'm not at the farm.
Also in LA I played with M.Lady. We went to a holiday party thrown by a client of hers. It was fun and funny.
We saw a number of familiar faces in Berkeley.
A drawing I did to entertain some kids.
Christmas treat.
San Francisco seals. They seemed like they were content, but if I were them I'd prefer to be an elephant seal.
San Francisco cable car. The Berkeley/San Fran trip was totally marred by my hearing about Stan and his accident. It was hard to be in the 'now' when all I could think about is what they were going through in Washington.

That said, we did manage to have some pretty tasty sushi on this San Fran day.

Views of the Pacific? From a park in San Fran.
I went back to the dart bar on a different evening to play in a LOD. I didn't win, but it was nice nonetheless. Dart people are very similar no matter where you go. Such a strange hobby.
We went to Chez Panisse and had a lovely meal.
Me and a red wood tree.
This may be in Oregon.
This is definitely in Oregon as I started heading east and away from the coast. I saw some very, very pretty vistas and light and clouds on that day.

And that, apparently, is that.