Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Open Road Is A Western Road

October 23, 2019
   It's Paul Andrew Hutton's B-Day today. Happy Birthday Top Secret Writer! We have been down many a dirt road together.

   Speaking of dirt roads, or, more specifically— Western roads—there's a new book out called "What Is A Western?" by Josh Garrett-Davis and in it he talks about desert highways and the uniqueness of the long ribbons of pavement slicing across so many a desert floor.

A Long Ribbon of Road south of Shoshone

   In October of 2018, when Kathy and I were on our way to Death Valley we traversed this long stretch of highway north of Baker, California and as we climbed the foothills towards Shoshone, I turned around to see this long ribbon, and I had to stop to take a photo of it. It is, by far, the longest I have ever seen.

   Quoting Garrett-Davis again, "The open road is a Western road. And an Indian road." He goes on to point the many cars with In-din names: "Pontiac (after the eighteenth-century Odawa military leader, 1926-2010); Ford Thunderbird (after a multi spiritual symbol, 1955-97, 2002-5); Chevy Malibu (from a Chumash place-name 1964-83, 1997-); Chevy Cheyenne (1975-79); Jeep Cherokee (1974-); Dodge Dakota (1987-2011, including a short-lived edition, the Dakota Warrior); Chevy Tahoe (from a Washoe place name, 1992-); GMC Yukon (from the Dene name for the eponymous river, 1992-); Toyota Tacoma (from the Coast Salish name for Mount Rainier, 1995-); GMC Denali (from the Koyukon name for North America's highest mountain, 1999-); Pontiac Aztec (200105); Toyota Sequoia (from a tree that may be named for the Cherokee literary giant, 2001-); and Hyundia Tucson (from a Tohono O'odham place-name 2005-)."

   He goes on to list many of the Western themed car names, like the Ford Bronco, the Jeep Wagoneer, Chevy Blazer, Ford Maverick, Ford Pinto, Ford Mustang, GMC Sierra, Nissan Pathfinder, Dodge Durango, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Silverado, Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Canyon and the Chevy Colorado.

   It makes you wonder if any of the car names are from back east? Oh, yes, there is the Metropolitan and the New Yorker, but I don't remember if there is a Dubuque? Or even a Nashville?

"On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitas rising up through the air. . ."
—The Eagles, "Hotel California"

1 comment:

  1. In the fifties there were several cars named after places in Florida, none of which come to mind right now.


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