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Shadow of the Road: My Chronicle of American Life

Shadow of the Road: My Chronicle of American Life
Author Photo (Sedona, Arizona)

The morning is darkly pleasant, a bit cool and hinting at better things to come. You survey familiar surroundings for the last time, noting the emptiness of your old home, now a place of memories. You close the door, never to return, and fire up the U-Haul to head for parts unknown. Now, you are a nomad.  

The Story Begins

Author Photo (Lake Mary)

I recall my departure from San Diego, quite an eventful period of life, as I sip morning coffee at the dinette of my RV. I find myself enjoying a cool summer here in Payson, Arizona, monsoons gracing us with regular thunderstorms, cicadas invading the evenings with their percussive strains. Smalltown life continues from day to day with a peacefulness I never experienced in Southern California. Go figure. At any rate, what was once a bit sad--being coerced to leave my twenty-year career in the face of vaccine mandates--has turned into a remarkable opportunity, as I had always dreamed about touring the nation in an RV. These days, I find myself delighted to chronicle American culture from a refreshed outlook, observing carefully, taking note of multifarious details, and photographing glorious landscapes.

Times of Upheaval  

The changes we face, as a society and as a nation, grow more challenging with each day and require careful study, not only the affairs of politics but the lives of ordinary people, as well. And here I am, roaming around in a motorhome with my two dogs, thrilled to embrace that endeavor. In the time that I have explored regions of Southern and Northern Arizona, boondocking in the mountains and visiting RV parks, I have met so many wonderful people. Times of upheaval, although painful and challenging, can also be enriching and filled with new opportunities.

Change, whether personal or of a great historical nature, is indeed the only constant. Amen.

On a personal level, as much as I enjoyed being an urban park ranger (in case you hadn't noticed) the job left me rooted in place for many years--pun intended--spending too little time on the road. That is to say, I had grown bored without realizing it, driving the same routes day after day, embracing the coldness of Southern California culture without reprieve. It was time for something new.

Once a Suburbanite, Now on the Road . . .


Actually, I've twice been a suburbanite, having grown up in the foothills of Los Angeles, eventually making my way to Eastlake and Otay Ranch in San Diego County. With that, I can remark on the strangeness of being on the road permanently.

At once unnerving and liberating, the mysteries of RV life remain uppermost in my thoughts. Where will I be in a year? I do wonder, which is, perhaps, the curious joy of being a middle-aged nomad. Happily, however, there is a certain method to the ongoing madness of it all. By necessity, one moves in harmony with the seasons, enjoying winter sun and avoiding extremes in temperature. This was a rather harsh lesson I learned at the beginning of my travels, roaming through Southern Arizona.

After having spent a number of months at the KOA in Apache Junction, a truly wonderful experience, I sought cooler weather in Payson and Flagstaff, both glorious destinations I had not yet discovered. For the fall, I plan to visit Monument Valley in Utah, traveling to Quartzite and Apache Junction (once again) for the winter. Perhaps you've noticed that I'm in no hurry to see every last square foot of the nation. I simply wish to savor the moments of my journey, one landscape at a time. And how amazing they are!

Author Photo (Southern Arizona)

Author Photo (Flagstaff, Arizona)

Author Photo (Sedona, Arizona) 

After the rolling hills of Southern California, the mountains of Arizona filled me with awe, those buttes and crags, cooled by innumerable shadows and haunting tales, many of which pertain to the Superstitions. I recall the moment I first saw saguaro cactus limbs dotting the landscape, gathered strangely at the foot of those mountains. What a sight! With that in mind, it was a blessing to leave the confines of suburbia and delight in a change of scenery--the open road and miles of desert, landscapes both majestic and deadly.  

I do hope that you will join me for further adventures on the road, and in the library, as well. Grants Pass, Oregon and parts of Montana are on the agenda for next summer.

Thank you for reading and remaining in touch!