Wednesday, December 23, 2009

East Bound And Down!!!

I had finally reached some warmer weather when hitting the Panhandle of Texas. There ain't shit up in that part of Texas either. I camped at Caprock State Park that night. It was hard for me to believe that I was back under the stars of Texas. I set up camp and was enjoying a cold beer when the wind picked up and started blowin like hell. I noticed to the wind was filled with dirt. A dust storm, Great, and I was about to ride it out in a tent. Sounds like fun doesn't it. Mother Texas welcoming me back with kisses of dust!!!
Dust was everywhere in the tent. I ran and got a tarp out of the jeep and tried to wrap it around my shelter to keep the dust out. I also grabbed two more beer to wash the dust out of my mouth. I climbed back into the tent, and found it was hopeless, some how dust was still getting in. I ended up having to drink two more beer just to keep from chocking to death. It was horrible!!!
That morning I woke up in a pile of beer cans and there was red dust everywhere. Well, everywhere but my lips and mouth, good thing I drank all that beer, it helped everything but my head. Hey, "everything" was covered in a blanket of red dirt, I looked at myself in the side view mirror of the jeep and my face was even red. I looked like an Apache warrior. Cool!!!

I loaded up and headed out. Sometime last night while keepin all that dust out of my mouth I thought it would be a good idea to cut across Oklahoma. Hadn't seen that much of the state, so off I went. And there's not much there to see I found out. Maybe if you like tractors and farming you would like it here. I hauled ass all away across to the South East corner of the state to a place called Beavers Bend. It's a favorite hideout of mine, I do a lot of canoeing and camping there, I also caught my first trout there. Yes, Oklahoma has trout fishing, don't tell anybody, it's a secret!!!
After makin camp, I built a small fire and decided to have a Moose Drool (It's a beer that's brewed in Missoula, MT). I brought a case of bottles back with me, I love'em and they love me. Thanks Charlie for the beer, keep up the good work at the brewery. Millions of us are depending on you, and I'll be back soon to replenish... I'd duct taped the case of beer closed and wrote on the top "Don't Open Till Texas". I figured Hell, I'm close enough, I'm pretty much in my back yard. Plus I'd snuck one out in Flagstaff. I thought I was going to die in that blizzard so I enjoyed a Moose Drool just in case!!!
That night sitting there by the fire my mind raced with all kinds of thoughts and ideas. What now??? That was the one that keep popping up the most. I've finally come full circle on my trip. I'd been on the road for seven weeks and traveled over 6000 miles, and only about 200 of those were Interstate miles. I came across the country on two lanes and back roads, I was on the slow train back to Texas. I'm glad I could share it with everyone though my photography, and this Blog I've come to love. Even thought I was Han Solo on the trip with the Blog and Facebook I still had a army of good friends with me. I just hate that y'all only got to see and hear a fraction of what all I seen and experienced.
I would like to thank everyone for reading and thanks for all the support that was handed out. It helped boost me up when I needed it.

Thanks Everyone and Cheers!!!

Oh, By the way, this isn't over yet. There's still more to come.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Mexico!!!

After leaving Telluride, I headed South to Taos, New Mexico. Its a nice little artist town hide out in the North Central part of the state. Arriving there I just footed around downtown, I also stopped and payed my respects to a hero of mine, the one and only Kit Carson. He lived his final days in Taos and is buried there. He was a living legend among Frontiers Men and Mountain Men all along the country in his time. He was one hell of a guy who lived life wide open, just like this other guy I happen to know...
I did get to see the sun set in a way that I had never seen before. I drove to the out skirts of town to watch it. On the way out there I passed by the Earth Ship Homes. There homes out in the desert that are built out of recycled stuff. I'd seen them on the DIY channel a time or two, and I think there pretty damn cool... I wanted to tour the one that is open to the public but it was CLOSED. Anyways, back to the sunset!!!
I found a good place out in the middle of no where to watch the big ball of fire in the sky burn into the horizon. I had always heard about the sunsets and the beautiful afternoon light of NM, and its no lie, it's absolutely amazing. The best part is I had some strawberries in my cooler, so I enjoyed some nice cold strawberries with my NM sunset!
Getting ready to photograph the sunset, I started watching the sky start doing its magical change of colors. The sky behind me even started changing colors. Wow!!! I've been chasin sunsets every afternoon on this trip and never had I seen one like this... Colors were everywhere. Not just where the sun had set, but all behind and above me were colors of oranges, purples, and reds. It was crazy!!!
In photography, it was one of the best magic hours I've ever witnessed.

After Taos, I stopped in Santa Fe. I spent most of my time there going into Galleries and checkin out all the art and photography that the town has to offer. This is one GIANT art town. Everybody and there dog is an artist here, no shit, I seen in a local paper were a dog made a painting, and it fetched some big money. Maybe I need to tell Athena at RMSP about it, she had a very talented dog that was a great phodographer...
After eating some tasty Mexican food and drinking some locally brewed beer in downtown Santa Fe, I headed out to photograph.
I soaked up one last amazing NM sunset outside of town. This one was bitter sweet though, and I'm not talkin about the strawberries that I was still eating on, for tomorrow I would be back in Texas.
The trip was coming to an end... Almost home...
With that in mind, I dug deep in my ice chest for the coldest beer that could be found. I sat on the hood of my jeep till all the colors in the sky faded to black, and it was just me, the moon, and the cool desert breeze...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To Hell You Ride!!!

I’d tried to make it to Telluride a few days ago, but had to turn around 25 miles into the trip due to several avalanches coming down on the road making the mountain pass impossible to cross. When I reached the top of Coal Bank Pass a snow plow had the road blocked and the driver said “it could take hours to clean up”. I headed back down to Durango, and drove though blizzard conditions. It was 25 miles of white knuckle driving down a huge mountain with very few guard rails, covered in snow, with visibility of about 20 feet. It was one of those times when you ask yourself, how in hell did I get knee deep in this bullshit??? Well, good luck stung me and I made it down with no problems after stopping several times to clean the snow and ice off my windshield...
All bullshit aside, it was the scariest drive of my life!!!
Once back in Durango, I rubbed and kissed the dashboard of my jeep and thanked her for getting me safely down the pass. I then went to the nearest saloon, found a warm bar seat, and watched the Cowboys get their asses kick.

The next day was blue skies and sunshine. I went around to Lizard Pass, not wanting to take a chance on the road not being cleared at Red Mountain Pass. Making it to Telluride I found a motel and hit the streets. The small mountain town is boxed in by beautiful mountains and has a nice warm charm to it . Staying there for two days I meet some nice people, but I never really felt like I fit in. I’m sure it’s because “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SKI” and this is a major ski destination. It was pretty damn good odds I was the only person in that town that couldn’t ski. I was worn out from the roads and hiking around, so I caught up on some rest and just chilled around town. After riding the free ski lift “ The Gondola” over the mountain to the next town of Mountain Village several times to drink beer and listen to all the rich folks from all over the world talk shit and flash their money. I decided it was time to pull the pin and roll out .
Damn, I wish I could ski though... Oh well, “ Where’s the beer? I’ll learn to ski later...”

Back over a hundred years ago, word around the campfire has it now that when miners packed up and headed into the mountains of Telluride to find their dreams and a pocket full of gold. People would tell them” To Hell You Ride” as they rode off. Supposably, because the road there was hell to travel, and that’s the way the town got it’s name.
I don’t know, but I do know hell froze over for me to get there. The ride out of hell was beautiful though, driving along what is known as “The Million Dollar Highway”. 13,000 foot snow covered mountains, half frozen pure flowing rivers, and million dollar views everywhere I looked. This land is big magic the Indians may say!!! And they would be exactly right, this part of the country is paradise, and then some!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

West Coast - Southwest Mix

If you happen to be one on the lucky ones that has
Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) on your computer or your Ipod.
Then play it, go to the top of the Blog, and don't start scrollin till the drums come in, HARD and HEAVY!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Monument Valley...

I stopped in the town of Kayenta, Arizona to fill up before heading into Monument Valley. Its just a little town located on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Standing there pumping gas and admiring the lay of the land I could hear the faint sound of Indian canting. What the hell is that I wondered. Walking away from the pump it was louder. Focusing on the giant monument rock formations that were in front of me, I thought, " This land is sacred and full of spirits". Making myself stop thinking and just listen, I realized that it was coming out of the speakers from the store. Shit, I just walked back to the pump laughing at myself...

Pulling into Monument Valley, I ran up to the information center to get a map of the jeep trails on the valley floor. On the way there walking out onto the back balcony there was an amazing view of the valley. I walked over to the rail and stood beside a man that was drawn in by the view too. Beautiful isn't it he said, it sure is I replied. Hearing my accent he asked where I was from, Texas I said. Looking over at him he said that he was full blood Navajo, and lived there on the Reservation. What brings you out here in this cold weather he asked. I told him my story and we talked a bit. I see he said, your on a spirit walk. I just grinned and looked deep into his weathered eyes and replied, Yea, that's exactly what I'm on!!!
It would have been pretty cool if a hawk would have flown over about that time and cried out, but it didn't happen!!!

He said his people didn't go on spirit walks, but that they had visions. I said yea, I have visions too... Most of them come when I've had a few beers and they mainly consist of naked cowgirls floatin across the ceilin. He just laughed... No No No , I said, all bullshit aside. To tell you the truth I've had a vision about talkin to an Indian looking out over a grand view just like this once, but the Indian that was in my vision had long hair and didn't have a Led Zeppelin shirt on!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Grand Canyon...

I shouldn't tell on myself, but if my mother had seen some of the rock out croppings that I was standing on just to look over the edge and see the bottom of the Grand Canyon!!! She would have said "Pack up your shit and you come home this minute, David Lee"!!!

No shit, Every edge took my breath! I had to step backwards from the views, SLOWLY!!!
I love you Mom, and don't worry, I'll be home soon!!!

Let's do a little talk about photography. Today walking around the rim of the Grand Canyon, I found myself thinking about photography more than I ever had before. I've been shooting photos for the pass 6 months at a crazy rate, and I love it. Today was different though. I found it difficult to shot the canyon. Trying to expose for the sky, the walls of the canyon, the snow, and the shadows. You could say I had the shutter speed blues! I need a damn wide angle lens too!!!
A lot of times I have to tell myself to slow the hell down, focus, and take a good slow look around. Look at the subject, the light, compose it all together, then all the camera shit, and the light is fading with every second of thought. Can you feel the pressure???
So many times after a shoot I look at my photos, and see that something was just a little bit out of place. Why didn't I see that when I took the damn shot I ask myself. That, and a thousand other thoughts kept my gears turning today...
As my eyes soaked up the views of the Grandest Canyon in all the world...
I could do this forever!!!

I must say though, I enjoy the hell out of it, and there's nothing like getting that one shot that you just can't stop looking at!!!

That's why I do it!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shelter From The Storm...

It was good to get back on the road today. I held up in Flagstaff over the weekend to work on the blog. Monday morning I awoke to find a blanket of snow covering the ground. I flipped on the T.V. and seen that Flagstaff was under a blizzard warning. A blizzard I said out loud, where the hell did this come from. So after debating on what to do, I decided to bed down there for one more night.

That night after a few cold beers at the local brewery I headed back to the motel. Laying there in bed I awoke all the sudden to hear the wind blasting threw the cracks around the door, snow was even blowing in. I could hear the wind raisin hell outside. Throwing on my jeans and work boots I opened the door, and no shit, it was crazy out there. The wind was blowin so hard I thought it was going to rip the flag off the poll in front of the City Hall, and the snow was pouring white out of the sky. I ran over to look at my jeep buried in a huge snow drift, and then I heard my room door slam close. Shit, the wind got it, and I don't have the key!!! Damn it, I high stepped threw 20 feet of snow that was a foot and a half deep to get to the lobby, and it was locked and lights out. I just held down on the buzzer that was by the door. It took the lady ten minutes to come to the window. She looked at me like I had a horn growing out of my head. Thought the speaker hole of the window with a stuttering freezing voice I told her what was up. It took her two more minutes to clean her glasses, scratch her ass, find the key and pass it over to me . I ran back to the room and slammed the door behind me. I thought I was going to pass out my body was so cold. I was frozen solid and was only out there for ten or so minutes.

Kiss my ass Bear Grylls, lets see you try that one... I'll even hold your beer for ya!!!

And that my friends, is the story of my first encounter with a BLIZZARD!!!

Shelter From The Storm

It was in another lifetime, one of toil and blood

When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud

I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.

"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm.

I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail,

Poisoned in the bushes an' blown out on the trail,

Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn.

"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there

With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.

She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns.

"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved

Everything up to that point had been left unresolved.

Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm.

"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

Now there's a wall between us, somethin' there's been lost

I took too much for granted, got my signals crossed.

Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn.

"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm.

And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured

I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word

In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm.

"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

Bob Dylan
Shelter From The Storm

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What would Jeremiah Johnson do???

I've spent most of my nights in a tent camping since being on the road. In Yosemite it was down right freezing cold, and on the coast I battled rain and cold. Ill soon be heading to the Grand Canyon and into the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. I know its going to be freezzzzzzzzing to the bone there. I know this because I've been in a motel the pass two nights in Flagstaff watching the weather channel from my warm bed. I ask myself what would Bear Grylls and Jeremiah Johnson do. Oh well, I just have to be tough. Like my old man always said, David, if your going to be dumb you better be tough. I'll make the call when I get there!

Sedona, Arizona...

No No No!!! I said Sedona, not Oklahoma. It's out in the middle of Arizona!

Wow, What a magical place, and to think that I nearly let it pass me by. I was settin in a bar in Flagstaff, when I meet two beautiful ladies. We all exchanged stories and jokes and was having a big time. One of them began to talk about Sedona, Hell, sounds like a place I need to see I said. They told me all about it and how to go in the back way, (to Sedona that is). I left out the next evening and it was an amazing drive. If anyone ever seeks inspiration, then they should take a trip here.

Once again, I just don't have the time to stay here and explore!

Onward I Push!!!