Category Archives: Nevada

USA ROAD TRIP

Elvis’ favourite booth, Arcade Restaurant, South Main, Memphis.

The 80 posts, videos and photo galleries, written, edited and uploaded – fast – in motels during a 3 month road trip are instant snapshots of life as I saw it in passing. I mapped a route from Detroit to Alabama, across to LA, up the west coast and back that took me to the places I knew nothing about (Dripping Springs, Hocking Hills) to see what was there, and to places I knew not enough about (Montgomery, Little Rock, Memphis). I went to Marfa to see Prada Marfa and find out more about Donald Judd, to West for a taste of Czech culture, and to Breaux Bridge to eat crawfish, and went to plenty of places to find out more about the tiny house movement. I saw the Grand Canyon, Big Sur, Hoover Dam, stayed in LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, New Orleans, but it was the smaller attractions, people in ordinary places and the stretched spaces in between that I enjoyed more.

“The Lord told Job ‘Pull your pants up, punk!'” – baptist preacher, local radio, Alabama.

There are some useful travel tips in there including a list of the motels I stayed at, but this wasn’t a sponsored or supported or commissioned trip and it was done in late 2012/2013 (with a friend who drove). Each post is a slight vignette. If as a whole they serve any purpose, I hope it is as a reminder that wandering is a joy and the ordinary is extraordinary.

The trip runs backwards. The posts are listed under Contents, but here are some favourites.

America: In conclusionMotels and Shootings  |  Czeching Out West, Texas   |  To Grand Canyon & Beyond  – just a video shot from the window in changing weather with a brief interlude at one of the wonders of the world  | Dam Boring – just because the Hoover Dam is big, doesn’t make it interesting   |  Mojave (the drive to Vegas) – another dreamy drive, into sin capital  | Palm Springs House-Hunting – mid-centuries for when I win the lottery   | Ghost Town, New Mexico – rough edited video of one of the most atmospheric AirBnBs  | Visiting Marfa, Texas   |  On the (Texas) Road – a through the window video  |  New Orleans  – this post just colourful doors.

On tiny houses: Shelter founder Lloyd KahnReclaimed Space, | The Bone House | Interview at The Bone HouseTiny Texas Houses | Tumbleweed

Dam Boring

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Spotting blue water between bulbous barren hills on the road  east-ish out of Vegas, I suggest we have ourselves a picnic at the Hoover Dam. Quite how ridiculous this idea is only becomes 100 percent clear once we are snarled into the dam system. The whole dam area is congealed with crawling coaches and slow cars. There’s no place to turn back and potential stops are limited to the high security checkpoint, the visitor centre car park, and a parking area with a view of water in a bowl of concrete. I know it’s very important and useful, but I don’t understand why we are all looking at it as if it’s going to do something. What everyone is really thinking as they stand by their cars gazing down into it in reverent silence, I can only imagine. I bet most of them are thinking they’d better stand there for another five minutes now they’ve come all this way even though they’re bored sick.

The good news is that Boulder City, Nevada, just before / beside it, is worth a visit because it has excellent retro motel signage in Old Town area, and the The World Famous Coffee Cup. I’m enjoying the use of ‘World Famous’ in front of everything from pecans to saddlebags across the USA; I like the bravado. The World Famous Coffee Cup is inevitably just a diner, albeit a friendly, popular one, and you probably wouldn’t know it was there unless you happened to pass it which . . . anyway. . . I’ve had better coffee (most everywhere) but the bacon and eggs and great piles of whatnot were perfection. One further incentive for at least slowing down in Boulder if not moving there for life, is the un-sugar-coated choice offered by the signs at a junction on the peripheries: Veterans’ Home to the right, Veterans’ Cemetery to the left.

There was a further sightseeing stop one and a half hours to the south-east. Kingman Airport, Arizona, was one of the designated dumping grounds for retired and surplus fighter planes after World War II, and, to this day, old planes are ‘retired’ here.  If looking at a row of old planes through a chain link fence is your thing, you’re going to really, really enjoy it. I understand a lot of people do. Actually, if you like scrap regardless of whether it was once a plane, car or (ouch) Airstream, you’ll find the nine-mile drive to the airport from the turn-off extremely interesting. Personally I found it all rather depressing.

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