9 Months, 31 States, 15 National Parks, 40 Thousand Miles

Over the past nine months I have given birth to an exciting new lifestyle.

I traded in a brick ‘n mortar condo for a dot com URL. My day job now is prowling the highways and byways of the lower 48 States.

Here is a brief overview of my recent peregrinations.

MARCH 2011

Florida to Arizona

1. Map of Florida to ArizonaAs a native Floridian I guess I didn’t fully appreciate that it can still be cold in other parts of the country in March. (“In like a lion, out like a lamb!”) I also rather naively expected Spring to be bustin’ out all over.

Not to be.

But I did hug the southern corridor, took the so-called “scenic route” through several of the Gulf States, and loved every frosty moment at Big Bend National Park alongside the Rio Grande.

I meandered throughout Southern Arizona down along the Mexican border – particularly the Patagonia area, winter home of writer Jim Harrison – and fell in love with sparkling, easy-going Tucson.

APRIL 2011

Arizona to Florida

2. Arizona to FloridaI knew from the outset that this first road trip was going to be an experiment lasting only about six weeks, as I had some loose ends to attend to back in Florida.

I could not have been more ecstatic at the success of my adventure, however, as there were no hitches and every aspect far exceeded expectations.

Well, I did have some qualms about Texas. It is grossly bloated at the seams, especially East to West, and immensely boring to drive through. The trip from Tucson to Naples is a little less than a week – as in, 2 days plus Texas!

So I did my best to jump over the Lone Star State on my return to Florida.

MAY 2011

Florida to Michigan

3. Florida to Michigan

On a leisurely drive North to visit Linda – former colleague who winters in Tucson & summers in Bear Lake, Michigan – I was able to reacquaint myself with a number of places from my past.

In Covington, Georgia, I found the cabin where I used to live out on Lake Jackson, and the manufacturing plant (C. R. Bard, Inc.) where I was once the Personnel Manager.

I stayed for about a week on the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains, but the weather was dull and there were no Spring flowers to speak of.

I spent a couple of days walking around North Manchester, Indiana. I visited my childhood home, my grammar school, and my father’s grave.

And at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, I discovered that there are five or six former colleagues of mine who are still on the faculty!

Oh, yes – almost forgot to mention that I stopped by Nita’s in North Carolina to get a haircut. When you live on the road there is no such thing as a place being too far “out of the way.”

JUNE 2011

Michigan to California

4. Michigan to California

I took the Northern route up through the U.P. to Yellowstone, where I stayed a week in Gardiner, Montana. While shooting a black bear I found myself standing next to a woman with a Nikon on a tripod whom I “knew” as a mutual ‘contact’ from the Flickr.com photo-sharing web site.

Then I dropped down into the Tetons, bought a tent, and by trial & error learned some rudimentary camping skills. I was extremely fortunate to be able to spot grizzlies and their cubs on a daily basis.

I darted up to within a few yards of Canada, then over to Washington and down through Oregon into Northern California.

I was able to revisit as well as rekindle some poignant memories from when I lived in a commune high up in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.


California to Michigan to Florida

5. California to Michigan to Florida

From Redding, California, I headed back to Wyoming where I tent-camped for a week over the fourth of July in the Tetons again.

After a second visit to Yellowstone I made a point of staying in Livingston, Montana. That’s a quaint working-class town where the writer Jim Harrison (Wolf, w/ Jack Nicholson, Legends of the Fall, w/ Brad Pitt, etc.) spends his summers. I had been there before, and liked it.

But much to my surprise, just a few miles away, I discovered Bozeman, Montana. And Bozeman – along with Redding, CA – became (although both are too cold for year-round living) my two favorite towns.

A few more weeks in Northern Michigan and then a straight shot back down to Florida to see relatives.


Florida to Arizona to Colorado to California to Florida


I stopped briefly in Tucson to make some audio recordings for Linda (Happy Birthday!) and to help her with some Powerpoint presentations for a Shakespeare class she was teaching.

Then I took off with no real destination in mind other than to explore the Colorado Plateau. I often backtracked and circumnavigated but touched down in such cities as Taos, Durango, St. George, Las Vegas, & Lake Havasu. I drove from Summer to Autumn to Winter seemingly over and over again. One week I hit five National Parks in five days!

I used to live in Northeast Los Angeles up in the Sunland-Tujunga area, so I spent some time there. Then down to San Diego, San Ysidro, and the Tijuana border.

Then it was time to run the gauntlet again through that massive eyesore, Texas, back to Florida.


Naples & Lakeland

Naples to Lakeland


Currently, like any good snowbird, I am in Florida – biding my time between Naples, where I lived & worked for 20 years, and Lakeland, where I grew up and where I still have family.


More of the same. I can’t wait for the new year so I can hit the road again!


Not really. Everything gelled so marvelously for me these past nine months, absolutely without a hitch! I have always known – contrary to popular opinion – that the less you plan, the more likely good things are to happen. Of course, ‘good things’ is relative. It’s all a matter of having the right attitude in the first place.  I mean, like, if you want everything to happen just like it does in fact happen – then how can you ever be disappointed?


Absolutely! I feel like I am just getting started. In addition to travel updates & photoblogs, I have plans to return to the world of ideas. Like some of the so-called “Great Human Questions,” for example. I want to serialize & explore thorny topics like, ‘Does God Exist?’, ‘Why Do Good People Suffer,’ ‘The Meaning of Life,’ ‘The Existential Predicament,’ ‘What Is Art,’ etc.


Yeah – all 4 or 5 of them!

I hope to define my life, whatever is left,

by migrations, south and north with the birds

and far from the metallic fever of clocks,

the self staring at the clock saying, “I must do this.”

I can’t tell the time on the tongue of the river

in the cool morning air, the smell of the ferment

of greenery, the dust off the canyon’s rock walls,

the swallows swooping above the scent of raw water.

Jim Harrison

3 Replies to “9 Months, 31 States, 15 National Parks, 40 Thousand Miles”

  1. Wow, estupendo!! great!! I think you are the “travelmen”. Olvidaste citar a tu compañera de viaje , la chica de la voz sensual que te dirigio todo el tiempo jijiji (el gps) 🙂 You forget to mention your travel companion,the girl with sexy voice led you all the time jijiji (GPS) 🙂


  2. Oh, Zuri, you gave away my secret! Yes, the sexy GPS girl was my constant companion 🙂 Oh, Zuri, que regaló mi secreto! Sí, la chica sexy GPS era mi compañero constante 🙂


  3. “I have plans to return to the world of ideas. Like some of the so-called “Great Human Questions,” for example. I want to serialize & explore thorny topics like, ‘Does God Exist?’, ‘Why Do Good People Suffer,’ ‘The Meaning of Life,’ ‘The Existential Predicament,’ ‘What Is Art,’ etc.”
    Oh please please please…. may you find time to do that someday (very) soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s