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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Last Leg....

So it's down to the last few weeks of motorcycle riding for me here in the U.S.A. before I drop the bike off at Schumacher Cargo in Gardenia CA, and onto a ship bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
This is what my last couple of weeks traveling here is shaping up like,finally ending up at the Port of Long Beach by March 9th or so:

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As of this writing,Thursday March 4th,2012,I have left my friends Alan and Felicia Sean's house in Prescott Valley AZ and am making a pit stop at the Overland Journal office which is close by as I head to Quartzite AZ and then the Salton Sea for the weekend.

Meanwhile,I received an email from my friend Garth down in Fl  after he read the Austin TX post,so I thought i'd share it here with his permission.It's nice to know that my posts and writings are not all just for myself,that they do reach some others too.
I like how Garth writes,he conjures up some great images.
Garth,thanks for taking the time to write,and I'm happy that my images brought back good memories for you.



Murph,
I liked the Austin TX pictures.Like all good images, the picture brings up my own memories which gets me thinking.I guess a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the spirit of editing myself I will only give you a few hundred words of my own…

Pictures of  Austin reminds me of a great Springsteen story.Springsteen toured in 2002 and 2003 in support of his album The Rising which had songs that were about 9/11 and all the feelings that many of us had about that day.It’s an absolutely amazing album (if you don’t have, then I will send to you!).I saw several shows that tour and was an avid follower of the various blogs and other fan sites where set lists were discussed and debated.As most folks know, Springsteen is reknowned for mixing up his set list based on the city, the feeling and the mood, often calling audibles in mid set to keep the band engaged and the audience inspired.

Anyhow, Joan and I went to Austin TX for a show in 2002.It happened to be the day that George Bush had told Sadaam that we were going to attack within 48 hours if he did not leave.So, we were in Bush’s hometown state of TX on the eve of war, getting ready for a Springsteen show that was sort of about 9/11 and our ambigious feelings about it.We were psyched as we got very close to the stage in the GA section and anxiously awated the start, even if only to be diverted from the awful proclamations on the news. 

The consistent pattern of the springsteen show in those years was that Springsteen lead off the show with the haunting “The Rising” before breaking into different songs. After all, why not start a show with a song that says “come on up for the rising tonight…”  So, all the crowd fully expected the opening chords for that song to start off the show, lights dim, to take us on a rising…..

Instead, the band walked up, well lit, and pounded out the classic anthem “war” (what is it good for?).Luckily there is a version of it on youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAX5H8K3bVo

That was friggin awesome ,and captured the feeling of the crowd.Of course,Springsteen was early to the “anti-Bush” view of the world.Maybe more of us should have listened – after all, what was it good for?.

So,the other springsteen note of interest is that he is releasing his 17th album on March 6th and once again touring.  He is over 60, but is still pounding out the rocker,s and still making comments about our times.His new song is especially appropriate for our times, signing ironically that “we take of our own” which he juxtapoes with lyrics that seem to say otherwise.It’s obvious from viewing his new video (below) that he wants us to understand what he is saying so we are not confused by the seeming patriot chorus of the song.  (remember that his anti vietnam diatribe “Born in the Usa” was coopted by Reagan as if it was a rah rah song…)

Anyhow, as you drive across the country, “wherever this flag’s flown”, I figured you may want some good thoughts and music.


Garth Graham





Back at the Overland Journal offices in Prescott AZ,I bumped into Jeremy from Expedition Ops returning from a Baja trip.Jeremy and I seem to just "bump into" each other as we travel from place to place.Last time it was the 2011 Overland Expo in Amado AZ,in 2010 it was at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats,both of these events I will unfortunately miss this year,and probably the next year also.
It was good to see Scott and Stephanie Brady too,and to know that I have their full support and that of the Overland Journal and Expedition Portal staff as I embark on this multi-year adventure.Scott has already traversed the globe many times over by now in a multitude of vehicles,so it's great to have him on my side.
I also caught up with Ray Hyland at the Journal,Ray is the Director of PR and Marketing for the Overland Journal,and another invaluable friend who has offered me his full support on this journey.Thanks Ray,I appreciate it.







I had just returned from Datil,New Mexico after photographing the Very Large Array,a series of 27 antennas,82 ft wide in a Y shape configuration on the plains of San Agustin in New Mexico.



This little trip from Scottsdale AZ to Datil NM started out all nice and pleasant,but as I pulled into Datil NM as the sun was setting,the temperature started to plummet rapidly.At an altitude of nearly 7000ft,it gets quite chilly at night,so as I had already missed the golden ally of sunset to run off a roll or two of film,I decided instead to try to figure out where I was going to set up camp for the night.


You hit the entrance to the Datil Well Campground on the right as you come in to the town from the weston Hwy 60,and at this time of the year,the BLM campground was empty,too cold for most I guess.It did get cold that night,it got down to about 19°F,I had a -10°F rated sleeping bag that wasn't doing it's job,I was freezing all night long.
But after I had thawed out with my morning infusion of turkish ground coffee,I made my way over to shoot the VLA........













The VLA is just a very interesting place,and at the right time of day(which occurs often out here),is a photographers wet dream.The light and cloud formations can be stunning out here on the plains of San Agustin,but you have to be very quick,as some of the most spectacular Kodak moments are fleeting,there one minute,gone the next.You don't even have time to change lenses.

This was one of those fleeting moments,the sun,peeking from behind a cloud and behind one of the Antennas,I had maybe a couple of minutes to get this before the cloud had passed.



Heading back West on Hwy 60 from Datil NM toward Prescott AZ,just as the sun sets.



Hwy 87 heading north just before Strawberry in Arizona.




San Diego and LA will be my next stops,see you there.






Murph








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