February 17, 2014
This past weekend I watched the converted 8mm films from my youth growing up in Kingman, including ambitious "movies" I talked my friends and relatives into filming with me. These would include "The V-2 Rocket Farm" "The Blond Indian" and "Ben Gas," the most ambitious of all. Lots and lots of effort went into doing these with the end result being they are all spectacularly weak in every respect. Not sure what I was thinking would happen but it was unnerving on one level: I have to face the realization that I felt then like I feel now about "The 66 Kid."
Ouch! That hurts.
We turned in Sig 7 last Friday and here is Command Central this morning at 6 a.m.
Command Central Eight, Five Sigs to Go
I found most of my old driver's license in the garage (the pack rats got the rest) and they tell a story all by themselves (they're lined out above). Also noodled a couple "66 Chix" and that would include Judy, Terry and Gail from our high school annual (xerox from annual, upper left). I had the hots for quite a few girls in that school system and in fact still do. Frankly, I loved them all.
Here are random notes I jotted down yesterday:
• Down the road a battered water tank, a toothless windmill skitters in the stiff spring breeze, for there is always a breeze in Mohave County.
• Romance may surround the Great American Road Trip, but the harshness of the landscape to the West of Kingman speaks to the daunting challenge this area gave to the early pioneers.
• As we neared Seligman the road turned a tawny red for the simple reason the pavement was tinted by the quarry pits near Flagstaff that picked up the red, volcanic ash which mixed into the asphalt gave off a reddish hue.
• It is still spine tingling cool to follow along parallel to the phantoms of the trail, the outlaws, the renegades and the path finders. I have spent countless hours just looking out there at the passing scenery, zipping across modern bridges and imagining how long it took them to traverse that dry wash, or that muddy embankment (half a day?), and as the miles pile up, you reach a serious appreciation of the distances they covered in such primitive conveyances.
• The harshness of the Mojave Desert is hard to love but harder to forget. It sneaks up on you.
"It's the heart of youth culture, the land of dreams, skateboarding, choppers, lowriderss. I would move there right away because the sun is always shining. Everything there is faster, cooler, freer, bigger vibes, more challenges."
—Some European Dude pining for California
• After we had been in Arizona for about a year, I dreamed of my Iowa home and wanted to go back. I felt this very strongly until we did go back the next summer and I saw all my friends had moved on. Half didn't even know me.
• An artery to the heart of the world. The days of wrath were yet to come and I knew it. The wheel turns.
• We were the Norweigian version of "On The Road," but with coffee instead of benzedrine and silence instead of sex.
• The great blazing stars came out and the painted desert got dim and I felt great affection for the harsh land but it was like petting a panther. I knew even as a kid, especially as a kid, if you messed up and got stuck out here there would be no forgiveness.
• We zoomed through the little New Mexican towns out past the trading posts where the wagons were parked and the glowing light from inside highlights the Navajos tall, straight forms as they traded and caught up on gossip.
• All the magic names flew by, Lupton, Saunders, Crazy Horse, Geronimos, Grants, Cubero, Laguna. Soon is got dark and the cars continued on, but my father was looking for a place to stop for the night. He didn't like to drive at night.
• The obits, where more and more people look like me.
"Perfect is the enemy of good enough."—Good Ol' Ben Rux