Sometime in early
1988 (I think), (update: 1989) living in Orem Utah, recently dropped out of high school and floating along with classes at the community college, recovering from an epic car crash, my Grandpa rolled up in his old Chevy citation and suggested a road trip. Original thoughts for a few days but extended into much longer as we drifted down into Mexico.
With his “golden eagles” (or something to that effect), National Park pass, and affinity for small highways and no agendas plus his usual travelling style which included switching off driving responsibilities every two hours regardless of situation, choosing quirky / classic motels and diners on the fly, flirting with waitresses and continuous cigarette smoking and diary-keeping within the car, it was a most excellent journey.
I was studying photography at the time and took a heavy Japanese-made but Swiss-branded “Alpa” 35mm camera and black-and-white film, and a tripod and set up various shots along the way.
As usual, more evidence exists (including self-timer’d shots – often nekkid) and a photo essay of Petrified Forest) including a small spiral notebook chronicling where we stayed, various mileage and other ephemeral information about fuel efficiency, parks visited and what not, but for now, here are three of my favourite shots from the journey which I developed and processed myself in the dark room at the old ” Utah Technical College” Provo campus dark room.
The locations are unclear at this point but along the way, we visited every State / National Park/ Monuments anywhere near us, plus Tombstone Arizona, Four Corners, various places in Baja and mainland Mexico (in which I crossed the border with nothing but my old expired high school ID card or something… It’s all a bit hazy) I also recall buying a comically huge terra-cotta pot and huge woven basket in Mexico which was really a poor decision as we were taking turns resting in the back of the vehicle and well, space was at a premium.
Note: I wrote a story about a bit of the trip and specifically one morning on a First Nations “reserve” with a few observations while waiting for something to open (note to self: post that up sometime) and read some of it in a Postcard from Gravelly Beach podcast too as well as a tribute to him in another.