Mariah and I really missed Harry during the three and a half weeks we were traveling without him. Now that Harry has joined us, he has relieved Mariah from the arduous task of unpacking our car every evening and repacking it each morning. As for me, after driving thousands of miles myself, it is blissful to sit back and relax in the passenger’s seat. He has even installed a rooftop car carrier that gives us a little bit of much needed breathing room in the car. However, there is one small unexpected complication with which Mariah and I have to contend. Evidently, Harry thinks we are all in a spaghetti western. He has adopted a B movie western accent, insists on calling me “lil’ darlin’ ” and feels the need to use the word “butte” every few sentences. As in, “Look a there lil’ darlin’, now that’s a right fine large butte there in the distance”. There are no signs this behavior will abate anytime soon. (A photograph of a butte is included below for your viewing pleasure). Today we traveled to two remarkable national monuments. So we don’t replicate information, Mariah asked to blog about Mount Rushmore and I offered to blog about The Devil’s Tower National Monument. Both sites were fascinating and ample reward for the long drives to their locations. I have to admit that I have become something of a National Park Service Groupie. My crush […]
My oh my. A rough draft of my previous post was sent out inadvertently. (The photographs were not even attached.) Please forget you received it and read the post in its final form on the website instead. Damn. Please go to: https://arewethereyet2k15.com/2015/07/05/without-the-elmers-glue/ Sorry about that!
This morning we left Cheyenne, Wyoming and drove to Nebraska. We were greeted by inquisitive cows. In the seldom explored recesses of my mind, memories of my earnestly created Wyncote Elementary School science projects are stored. Today, there was reason to retrieve the details of a particularly unwieldy fourth grade project on crop rotation. One third of a large and flimsy white poster board was devoted to depicting a verdant summer crop comprised of rows of leafy vegetation constucted using little cotton balls dipped in gloppy green tempura paint. Next to it, a section of equal size featured the already harvested spring crop, represented by broken toothpicks encased in translucent mounds of drying and dried Elmer’s white glue. Completing my agricultural wonder was the third section, painstakingly crafted to look like dormant land. It was covered with sand that despite the application of a veritable sea of Elmer’s white glue (carefully spread with popsicle sticks) subsequently deposited a trail of grains on every surface on which it was placed. Centered at the top, encroaching on the middle parcel, in black magic marker, I printed the imaginative title, “Crop Rotation by Maggie Greenfield”. Check out the photo below. Personally, I was genuinely thrilled to see each of these different phases of crop rotation on display on a working farm. An hour or so further down the road we stopped to photograph a rock formation with a colorful history located smack on […]
Mariah and I said goodbye to Mary Ann and Bruce this morning. Thanks to their gracious hospitality, we left their home well-rested, well-fed, with clean clothes and wonderful memories. If there were a Tripadvisor-like site where one rated visits to friends and family, these guys would garner the top-rating. On reflection, we have been incredibly fortunate in this regard throughout our cross-country road trip. Mariah and I are traveling with more luggage than my grandparents brought with them in steerage on their boat from Russia to America. And yet, all of our friends and family have opened their homes, refrigerators, and washer/dryers to us, entertained us, and treated us like royalty. Mariah and I are incredibly appreciative. We drove to the Denver International Aiport to pick-up Harry midday. Then, with our newly installed chauffeur at the wheel, we continued onward to Cheyenne, Wyoming. This was the longest period of time Harry and I have been apart since the day we met in 1986. Harry survived this Herculean test rather well thanks to our daughters, Hannah and Rebecca, who hosted Harry for a weekend in Philly; the remarkable Jenny, who manages our lives with equal parts brilliance, humor and love; his fraternity brother, Ed, who visited for a few days with his son; and a bunch of friends and neighbors who went on play dates with him. It takes a village.
Yesterday we drove from Pueblo, Colorado to Eagle, Colorado. Along the way, we passed a sign by a builder that suggested he would benefit from a close read of “The Three Little Pigs”. The tremendous quantity of state forests and endless undisturbed plains along our route was overwhelming. A sign announces that you are now entering a state forest about which you know nothing. Thirty minutes later another sign thanks you for visiting. There are so many beautiful, unspoiled spaces and so much space between places in this part of the country. Having spent more than half of my life living, studying, and working in Philadelphia and Manhattan, the vast areas that are entirely undeveloped here, save for a two lane paved road and the occasional sign, is stunning. It occurred to me that we were regularly driving distances that were greater than the length of Manahttan without seeing another car or anyone’s home or business. Occasionally, we would pass a forgotten cemetery, a very small church or unattended cattle. After a while, we realized that other things we were used to seeing were missing, too. Where was the roadside litter? Mariah and I realized that neither of us had any memory of seeing any litter along the roads in New Mexico or Texas. Anywhere. We started looking for litter along the side of the roads in Colorado, certain that someone must have disregarded the occasional no littering signs. After […]
We might have never left our little home away from home in Taos this morning, if not for the damned roosters. It really was an unusually lovely place, so I am including a few photographs of it so that you can see where we were staying and we can remember when we look back. The balance of our day was spent taking a very long drive through an utterly breathtaking part of the country. We drove on fairly empty two lane roads most of the way from Taos, New Mexico to Pueblo, Colorado. Of course, the astounding beauty of these places is not news to anyone who has already had the great joy of settling there or visiting. However, this gorgeous outdoors thing is all above-the-fold, headline news to me. I am by nature an avid indoorswoman. (In my regularly scheduled life, one of my favorite books contains only seating charts for Broadway theaters). My previous exposure to the vast outdoors usually involved John Wayne, Jason Robards, Lee Marvin or Clint Eastwood and concluded with movie credits after about two hours. The views I am seeing with Mariah during our cross-country drive have been eye-opening for both of us. The plants that are growing wild by the side of the road are beyond cool. The animals in the fields that look at us with sympathy because we are not able to take the time to graze alongside them are captivating. […]
Because the distance we needed to travel from Alamogordo to Taos was so great, Mariah and I only allocated a few hours to visit Santa Fe today. This was a mistake. Santa Fe is situated in the middle of crazy natural beauty. The town is so equisite that it almost doesn’t look real. We spent the insufficient time we had touring the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. Each of theIr nine rooms were simply presented, thought provoking, and solely devoted to her work. I was particularly intrigued by a short film narrated by Gene Hackman, which featured archival footage of Ms. O’Keeffe being interviewed in her late eighties, interspersed with a variety of images of her work, friends, and family. It presented O’Keeffe as having consciously crafted her image as a strong, solitary, lone wolf, painting in the desert, in response to her discomfort with Alfred Stieglitz’s (her husband) earlier depiction of her as a sensual woman in his photographs. The film also conveyed O’Keeffe’s view that her paintings were not at all sexual, and that this misinterpretation was made by a public collectively influenced by her husband’s portrayal of her. And yet. Just look at the image from the exhibit at the museum which follows this post. I had never seen her hubby’s photos of her before viewing them today, but the image in THIS painting nonetheless definitely reminds me of something. On our way out of Santa Fe, we stopped […]
We cruised by the 4,000 mark on our rental Jeep’s odometer today. When we add in the 379 miles we drove before picking up our little rented friend, we have now seen 4,500 plus miles of the United States in three weeks. In the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that thus far, despite 4,500 plus miles of practice, Mariah has yet to master the subtleties of “the license plate game”. She has confessed that she is uncertain of the precise number of different states’ license plates we have seen since she may have inadvertently added Maryland 284 times to her list. It remains a work in progress. Yesterday we visited Abilene, Texas and slept in Hobbs, New Mexico. Today we visited the National Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico before bedding down in Alamagordo, New Mexico. It has been an interesting two days since our route took us from Texas to New Mexico, then back into Texas (and an impromptu inspection by US border guards) and then back again into New Mexico. In Texas, we regularly drove on secondary roads bisecting endless flat expanses void of development without seeing another car or much else except for the occasional cluster of cows, horses or other livestock separated from the road by a hint of fence. During these long stretches, the roads were reasonably well maintained, and each and every bridge was preceded by a bright, government-issued, official yellow sign warning […]
Texas is much, much, much bigger than it appears to be on the familiar Rand McNally Robinson projection maps that are thumbtacked on school bulletin boards. In the last two days, Mariah and I have driven from Dallas to Austin to Abilene. With speed limits up to 75 mph (thoughtfully slowed down to a leisurely 60 mph when there’s construction for the safety of the workers) we have been in the car for what seems like forever each day. Texas feels in a tangible way as if it is a nation unto itself. A bold, confident, proud, brash, Ford-truck driving, cattle-raising, state-flag-flying, line-dancing, God-fearing, barbeque-eating, much-bigger-than-you-think-it-is, boot-wearing, bilingual, tractor-repairing, gorgeous nation. It is a good thing we like it here, because it is a one helluva challenge to get across this oversized state. Before we left Dallas we visited The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (the Texas School Book Depository Building). The site has been transformed into a remarkable and reverential museum. Exhibits, eyewitness accounts, and video footage highlight John F. Kennedy’s life, depict the circumstances of his assassination, and describe the official findings and the ongoing questions and theories questioning those findings. Visitors have the opportunity to look out the sixth floor window and see what Lee Harvey Oswald would have seen in the plaza as Kennedy’s motorcade drove by below. The feeling that I had looking out the window was similar to the one I had when […]
When Harry and I were newlyweds we rarely turned on our television with one weekly exception. DALLAS. Inexplicably, we were both hardcore fans of the show and arranged our work and social commitments to ensure that we would rarely miss an episode. As Mariah and I drove into Dallas today, I anticipated seeing something, anything, that would let me know that we had arrived in the land of Southfork, the home of the Ewings. It did not happen. I am trying to remain strong for Mariah, but I am experiencing this dissapointment as a solid punch to the gut. In an effort to keep my spirits up, Mariah and I visited the Nasher Sculpture Center. I have wanted to see their permanent collection since their opening in 2003 (after they refused entreaties by several of the most prestigious museums in the country and founded their own museum to keep their collection in Dallas). Time spent with the sculptures of Picasso, De Kooning, Gauguin, Moore, Calder, Matisse, Oldenburg, Giacometti, Rodin and Noguchi is prime time. Unfortunately, a number of their other marquee pieces recently were removed from view in a highly unusual move by their senior curatorial staff to make room for an installation of contemporary work. Dallas. Dallas. Dallas. I have driven my youngest daughter a couple of thousand miles to get here and I just want to hear your theme song rise to a crescendo, see JR and Sue […]