Route 66: more Missouri …

DAY THREE: We drove the old road as much as we could today! Sometimes we got a little bit lost, but that was OK, because usually it led to a good discovery…

And then we DID manage to visit a few places we really wanted to stop at… like “Gay Parita,” Gary Turner’s place in Paris Springs MO! Gary is an amazing guy! He greeted us as if we were long lost friends… and he took the time out to chat with us a bit about the Mother Road and about the places and people along this stretch…

We enjoyed Gary’s hospitality, and would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had to get back on the road…

It seems like, even with all the time that we have, there is just never enough time to do all that we would like… We need to keep up our pace or we will fall hopelessly behind!

The funny thing is that this was supposed to be the ultimate trip… and in fact, it is turning out to be something of an introduction rather than an emphatic conclusion… and so, for me personally, it makes me think about coming back and doing each section in much greater detail…

I guess I have been bitten by the road bug…

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

Route 66… the beginning…

DAY ONE: We left Chicago in the morning, and had to drive to the starting point for the original Route 66… but we did it! We started at the actual beginning… driving through the city in the early morning calm before losing our way in the suburbs, then finding it again a few turns later…

The first thing we realized once we were on the road was that the road is something of a puzzle… Even with the directions and the maps and the signs, we still can easily miss a turn or misinterpret a direction and suddenly find ourselves off the Route… and yet, even those unintended detours led to some incredible discoveries…

The road is a collection of imagery… of sensations… of ideas… all threaded together by this ribbon of asphalt… taking us from one to the next. I have decided it is like a “treasure hunt” where we have maps and directions that give us clues, but it is up to us to find the road and keep our eyes open for the delights it has to offer along the way…

Day One took us from Chicago all the way to St. Louis (though we did have to get on the interstate a bit to make up time), and we spent the night camped at Meramec State Park in Missouri… satisfied with our day’s drive and happy to be on our journey!

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Under the Hood…

With freedom comes responsibility… And I have the great responsibility of getting us all there and back again safely. Which is exactly what brought me to the Jeep dealership the other day.

We need to make sure our vehicle can withstand the grueling workout it is going to get. Our greatest concern is the extreme conditions of Death Valley in August where it can get as high as 130 degrees farenheit!

Our Jeep becomes more than  just a mode of transport out there. It becomes a critical tool for survival. So having it checked out by our mechanic is important. And it is also important that we be able to do some emergency service in case something breaks down out in the desert.

So that means, we’d better know how to change a flat tire, and it was also suggested by those more experienced with Jeeping in the desert, that we carry some spare hoses, fan belt and so forth… and following up on that, I found myself getting a tutorial in changing radiator hoses and replacing the fan belt!

It was interesting to learn about what is under the hood of my Jeep, even though I hope I will never have to use that knowledge in the field!!!! But somehow it just seemed appropriate to start the story of our road trip with the hood of the Jeep open…

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The team is here!

So we are finally all assembled together here in NY!

It was a bit hectic at the end, as Cactus Killer and Silly Squirrel arrived kind of late… as in well after midnight!!!! But all was good… They were just a little tired (and I was too! … still nothing that a bit of sleep can’t fix)…

We drove out to Nesconset where the Big Weasel was waiting, and we shared a welcome drink before heading off to bed at 3:30am!!!!

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have Comments (2)

Hey there it is silly squirrel

Today , cactuskiller and I are FINALLY going to America!!!!!!!!!! To N Y though. We’ re hitting the road of route 66 on the 9th great hein? Just in time to see the world cup and the 4th of july yipiyipi the firecrackers and the fireworks!!!!!!! soccer fireworks

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LA ROUTE M’APPELLE!

C’est le jour du grand départ! Nous sommes prêts, les sacs sont prêts aussi …

Comme toujours, j’ai un poids sur le coeur de laisser certaines personnes, pendant que je serai si loin. Mais LA ROUTE M’APPELLE! et c’est plus fort que tout. Tout à l’heure nous serons dans le feu de l’action : pousser, tirer, s’informer, faire la queue … et puis le bonheur d’être dans l’avion … c’est encore entre le rêve et la réalité … et je rêve!

Cactus Killer et Silly Squirrel arrivent !!!

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A monumental decision…

The trip is having a profound impact on me already (and we haven’t even left NY yet!)…

I always said that this trip would be about more than just re-discovering America… it would also be about re-discovering ourselves… and for me I think that is tied up with my relation to the image… as an artist… a photographer… a videographer… a filmmaker… defining reality thru imagery… it has been central to my personal and professional evolution.

Over the years I have adapted to changes in technology, changes in economic realities, and changes in my own view of the impact I could make thru imagery…

It was roughly ten years ago that I stopped making photographs (well, anything beyond the odd snapshot with my phone or a throw-away camera on family occasions), replacing my Nikons with a Sony video camera, and following the superior storytelling opportunities offered by the documentary film format. That choice was influenced by many things, and I am pleased with the work I continue to do as a filmmaker. But…

… the siren song of the still image has never truly dissipated. And the potential for imagery offered by this trip is too powerful… And so I am taking the leap… I purchased a new Nikon digital SLR and I will treat myself to a rediscovery of this old companion, while we roam the backroads of America…

posted by Blue Coyote in Anticipation and have Comments (2)

Counting down…

Now we begin the real countdown and put our preparations into overdrive as the trip is fast approaching…

In just 5 weeks Cactus Killer and Silly Squirrel will be in NY!

Everything needs to be ready for D-Day… 9 July!

Overall we are in good shape with the planning and trip prep. Luckily we started so far ahead it was not a mad dash of planning… However, we still have more to do to finalize plans and get everything into place.

posted by Blue Coyote in Planning and have No Comments

100 days to go…

That’s a long time. And not that long anymore. The countdown clock moves to double digits… And our trip preparations become more concrete.

D-day is still pretty far off. A whole season away. But our planning is mostly done, and we now just have the administrative tasks, reservations and permits to do. We are ready (or i should say we WILL be ready when D-day arrives)!

posted by Blue Coyote in Anticipation and have No Comments

Started making some reservations…

Over the last couple of days we have started actually making reservations for some of the definite stops along the route (starting at the beginning of our trip, in Ohio, and working westward).

It feels good to be doing something as concrete as this — it is like becoming more of a reality as we are working through the details, down to the banal task of making the reservations and printing out confirmations (which i am storing in a folder dedicated to the trip so i don’t lose them somewhere in the pile of papers all over my desk).

The process is a bit interesting, because we have to strike a balance between making some reservations for places that are either “definite” way points or that risk being full if we just show up late in the afternoon, and between keeping a certain amount of flexibility within our plan so that we don’t get tied down to chasing a schedule along the way.

We want to keep as much room for maneuver as possible, while still keeping to enough of a schedule so that we are actually back in time for Cactus Killer and Silly Squirrel to make their flight (preferably with a few days to spend in NY before leaving)!

We have tried to set up a number of “checkpoints” where we have reservations that require us to arrive by a certain date. As long as we make our checkpoints on schedule, we will get there and back within our timeframe. And if we have to speed up in between to make up for something else, we can do it in reasonable chunks… kind of letting us “catch up” and get back on track, rather than having delays build up until at the end we find ourselves physically just too far behind the timeline…

posted by Blue Coyote in Planning and have No Comments

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