The Road to Reno

While we were in Reno we stayed with Sue’s friends, Darlynne and Paul.

Paul and Darlynne

Amongst the many other kind things they did for us, they assisted us in making our next video.


Out the Window: Salt Lake City to Reno, 9/10

When one of us is driving, the other is taking pictures.  (Actually, sometimes the driver also just points out the window and clicks, without really looking… because ya just never know what amazing thing the camera will capture!)

We got in late to Salt Lake City on 9/9.  Basically, we blogged and slept, and left early on the 10th for Reno, where we’d be visiting my friends Darlynne and Paul.  On the way there, we saw a lot of SALT:

SLC_MortonSalt_01 SLC_Lots oSalt SLC_MoreSalt

The first picture shows the Morton Salt girl, but it’s hard to see.  (You can click any picture, and it’ll get bigger so you can see better).  The other two:  mountains of salt!  Think about that next time you use your little salt shaker! 🙂

The landscape from SLC and along Nevada reminded me of the moon… not that I’ve ever been on the moon, of course, but it’s what I’d imagine it to be.  It looked like white quicksand, but there were tire tracks along the perimeter, so that was really interesting:

Moonscape wTracks_Utah Moonscape wTracks_02 SLC to Reno Train

And there was a Train to Nowhere… at least that’s what it looked like to me.  We saw a few of these, trains in the middle of nowhere, not necessarily moving, either.  Like ghost trains, perhaps?

I love funky roadside signs.  This is when we were approaching Nevada, I think:
Goin toReno
I kept waiting for some showgirls to come running down from the mountains!

We stopped for gas shortly thereafter… no doubt we were in Nevada now!


Once we reached Reno, Darlynne and Paul showered us with kindness, food, hospitality, and comfort.  Everywhere we go we’ve been the recipients of kindness, friendship and care.  But, practicing brevity:  more on that in another post! 🙂

Roadside Attractions #1

I am a sucker for  uniquely odd over-sized roadside attractions.  To me, they are a bright spot on a long drive and they make me smile.  I make it a practice to stop the car and take pictures when traffic, time, and my traveling companions allow.  Lucky for me, Sue is not only amenable to spontaneous stops along our journey, but she’s all about interacting and posing with said gigantic Americana delights.

First, here’s a little oddity that was parked at our hotel in Hays, KS.

I want one of these!
I want one of these!

Classy trailer, eh?

Next, I must document that we drove through Alma, CO and I stress “drove through” because we did not stop to visit any of the local marijuana dispensaries.   I had it in mind that I might need to visit such an establishment…just because I could.  But common sense prevailed and we drove on.

South Park Hydroponics
South Park Hydroponics

On our long drive from the South Park area to Salt Lake City today we drove through Dinosaur, Co. and saw a number of choice roadside dinos, but the traffic situation was tricky at the time.  Oh, the one that got away – a smiling pink behemoth!  I was lamenting that missed opportunity when we drove through another town, Vernal, UT.  and caught side of a real gem.  “We have to stop!”, I whined; and Sue abruptly whipped the car into a gas station, sending my camera flying to the floor of the car.

First, the pumpkin.

Pumpkin - Vernal, UT

I don’t know why the pumpkin.  But then again:


Why is the dinosaur wearing a hat, eating a watermelon, and grilling a burger and hot dog?  We don’t care, do we!!?

Sue is hungry.
Sue is hungry.

Honestly, what more could one ask for in a roadside attraction?

Sue on dinosaur leg

Colorado: Part 1, Red Rocks Amphitheatre!

We left St. Louis on 9/6, spent a blessedly uneventful night in Hays, KS, then drove in to Colorado, where we stayed with Jane’s brother Rich and his lovely wife Heidi.

Jane, Rich, and Heidi at Red Rocks
Jane, Rich, and Heidi at Red Rocks

The first night there, I met up with dear friend Nancy Walker (formerly with Sons of the Never Wrong; she moved to NY, and last year, to CO).   Suffice to say that there’s nothing like reconnecting with old friends and catching up, and picking up right where you left off.  I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture!   Nancy looks great, is happy, and loves her new home.  So glad we were able to meet!

The next day, Jane and I followed Rich and Heidi up to Red Rocks Amphitheatre — you’ll never guess what color the mountain rocks are! 🙂

RedRocks 9-8-14

Here is what the amphitheatre looks like:

RedRocks_Stage 9-8-14  RedRocksStage_02 9-8-14

Amazing to see those red rocks, the long rows of seats, the little exercisers working out on the steps… and down below, the massive stage, blending in with nature, and imagining all the amazing artists who’ve played there, the sun going down, illuminating the rocks… as Jane said, it was awesome in the true sense of the word!

Inside the visitor center, one could see plaques with naming all the performers, from Nat King Cole to Igor Stravinsky.  Duke Ellington, Fleetwood Mac, Dan Fogleberg…  An entire wall full of names, from the 1940s to the present.   A heady lineup indeed.  And, on another wall were amazing posters, and pictures of those who’d performed there… including my “boyfriend,” Bruce Springsteen!  (Doesn’t this picture look like he’s patting me on the head? 🙂 )

(doesn't it look like he's patting me on the head?)
photo by Jane Godfrey

Although we were only there for a brief time, I feel as though we’re now part of this history.  I’d love to see a show there some time, but for now must use my imagination.  Definitely worth visiting!

Display at Red Rocks visitor center
Display at Red Rocks visitor center

More info on this venue can be found here.

I Brought My Friends and Family With Me…and My Stuff!

“I’m taking a road trip to freedom, but wait; there are few things I might be needin”

Pardon me for quoting myself.   The above is a line from “Stuff” (co-written with Melanie Johnson).   As if Sue and I didn’t have enough stuff to squeeze into the car, I unexpectedly acquired a “few” more things two days before we left.

Here’s my sister, Margie, and I with the gifts she brought: J and M Stuff

Do you see what she did?

Road Trip List

And the topper…look at the card she made. That’s my dad, my sister, Mary Kay, and my little brother, Tom. There are six more of us are in there somewhere (and two yet to be born). We’re headed to the family cabin on Daggett Lake in Minnesota.

road trip card

I was so thrilled by this surprise, and so touched by her creativity and effort. (Seriously, she got me a copy of Air Supply’s Greatest Hits!)

Since then, Michael P Smith’s beautiful song “I Brought My Father With Me” keeps running through my head. Because, dear friends and family, I do feel as if I am bringing you along on this epic adventure. Thank you ALL for your encouragement and support!

Here’s a link to Michael P. Smith’ song.




Driving to Jane’s, or: the Solo Drive

On 9/4, I left Chicago for Jane’s around 6pm — only six hours behind schedule, a new record for me.  I’m always running late, but this was ridiculous!  Now I’d be driving mostly in darkness… which would completely change my CD setlist.

It’s always the setlist that makes the drive, that informs the journey.  Before I leave, when choosing which CDs to bring, sometimes one will say, “no, I’d best stay here” and another says “why not choose me?”  and I do as I’m bidden.    Once in the car, it’s a matter of which gets played when.  Sometimes I reach for a CD and it says “not yet.”  The right CD always gets played at the right time; it’s the soundtrack to the adventure, it informs you, on some cellular level (cells in your body, NOT cell phone service!) what’s going to happen next.

In this case, I’d just received Steve Dawson‘s new CD, “Funeral Bonsai Wedding,” shortly before the trip; I’d pre-ordered it, knowing that I’d be missing its Chicago release on 9/12.  When I tried to play it pre-trip, I couldn’t get past the first song:  I love it (“Ezra Pound and the Big Wood River”), Steve played it solo in an in-the-round we’d done in May, it’s epic, and I’d been waiting for its release for months.  It’s so amazing that as soon as it finished I’d just play it again… and again, and again.  It’s like eating a particularly tasty food item in a meal, you just don’t want to rush to the next item, you want to savor each item separately.  So I saved this CD for my trip.  (Plus, I love anticipation and delayed gratification! 🙂 )

I played other lovely CDs first, and waited until I was whipping along I55, the sun completely gone, total darkness.  In went “Funeral Bonsai Wedding.”  Played the first song, and forced myself not to re-play, to move past.  I’ll just say:  the vibraphone is prevalent throughout.  It’s insistent.  It’s the voice of someone’s favorite aunt, a little jarring at first, that distinctive laugh, you wonder if she’s doing it on purpose; then you don’t notice it anymore, other than that without her voice the conversation would be so much duller, and now she’s part of your family, too.  That was like the vibraphone for me.  At first I noticed it constantly; then I didn’t, unless I thought about it.

There was one song that was so forceful and rhythmic, I had the distinct feeling that if I rolled the window down to let in the night, I might veer off into blackness and space and never fully return.  I finally got the guts to do this, but I had to really concentrate on staying here on earth.  This is a powerful album, folks, from beginning to end.  I don’t fully understand everything, which I like.  I’ll be giving it multiple listens and getting something different out of each one.  And Jane and I will listen at some point, too.

By the time I arrived at Jane’s, at 11pm, I was fully energized.

Driving solo is a completely different energy than driving with a companion… but both Jane and I feel the same way about CDs making the trip.  More on that in another post!

…or, Jane & Sue's Excellent Adventure(s)