Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer Wrap-Up

Classes start in 3 weeks. I have to work for those 3 weeks if I want to be ready, so vacation is basically over. But what a summer vacation! In the last 30 days I have:

Traveled almost 9,000 miles by road.

Visited the following states:

New Mexico
New York
New Jersey

Crossed or visited the following water bodies:

Mississippi River
Arkansas River
Pecos River
Red River
Rio Grande
San Antonio River
Missouri River
Seneca Lake
Hudson River
Susquehanna River
Atlantic Ocean
Long Island Sound

Reconnected with some old friends.

And, last but not least, I've started dating a remarkable young woman.

Now I just need to do all the work I was going to do during my "quiet summer."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Last On The Trip Post : Gallup

I've had a great time these last two weeks. The last few days have been amazing. I can't post much now, I've gotta crash out here at the Gallup Super 8 (on historic route 66!) so we can start back for home eeeearly in the morning. I'll post more pics and other stuff soon, probably the week after next. I have some things to attend to this next week :) Good things.

Here's one picture from our time in Arizona to tide you over.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Update: Trip Cyber-connectedness

I went ahead and upgraded to a flickr pro account. Lots more pictures coming up. I also managed to massage youtube into accepting a video upload today, so I have a few videos to share. They are silly, but folks might like 'em.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

On the Trip Post 5: Las Cruces and New Mexico Adventures

The image above is about the best representation I was able to make of what I'm looking at right now, sunrise over the valley where Las Cruces, New Mexico is located. The picture is lousy, the actual view is insanely better. Waking up to this the last two mornings has been a real treat.

The climate here is also a treat, after San Antonio's muggy oppression. The air here is dry, and feels comfortable well into the 90s. At night, things cool off dramatically, and there is a breeze off the valley. It's quite wonderful.

The drive out here was fun. East Texas was neat, but still looked somewhat familiar. The trees and foliage weren't the same, but there were plenty of trees and foliage. Once you cross the hills west of San Antonio and head into West Texas, however, things become more arid and the flora becomes the sort of scrubby desert plant life you expect from the stereotypical "west." We also saw our share of mountains and canyons. That drive is fairly well documented on the flickr page.

Yesterday we took a side roadtrip and went up to Roswell, New Mexico - site of the supposed 1947 alien saucer crash. They were having a convention to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the crash, and there were lots of brightly costumed folks about. We also stopped in White Sands to see the national monument and missile base there, and in Alamagordo so I could buy a T-shirt with the name of the first Atom Bomb test site on it. I posted a few pictures of that trip on Flickr, but I'm running out of bandwidth on my flickr account!

Today is Carlsbad Caverns and El Paso, Texas. El Paso is of interest because it is closely connected with its counterpart city immediately across the border, Juarez, Mexico - so it becomes a site to investigate US/Mexican relations and Chicana border culture. Carlsbad is mostly of interest because it is home to a species of massive, man-eating bats. I am unafraid, however, because I am extremely brave.

Friday, July 06, 2007

On the Trip Post 4: Finishing Up San Antonio

We leave San Antonio, Texas in the Morning to drive to Las Cruces, New Mexico. We've decided to take a smaller highway and stay off Interstate 10, the better to see some area towns and sights. Our new route bounces us off the US/Mexico Border several times, which is appropriate for a class devoted to the study of border culture. I'm looking forward to the trip. Some more pictures of San Antonio are up on my Flickr, mostly they show the Spanish Missions here. I'll be uploading more, sending pictures to Flickr through these KOA wireless connections is like sending them through a tin-can telephone. Some key moments here in San Antonio:

-Hanging out with Chicano artist Joe Lopez, checking out his studio and his work and hearing his stories about growing up here and becoming an artist. Then heading out with him and a friend to a local restaurant where they served about the greatest chicken-fried steak ever.

-The constant presence of flights of egrets, which always seem to arrange themselves in these staggered V formations, like a checkmark, in the sky especially at dusk.

-Watching a rock band composed of 3 anglo air-force master sergeants, in full dress uniform no less, play "867-5309" to a crowd of folks from the west-side Barrio here before the fireworks on the fourth of July.

Fun stuff. More as soon as I have connectivity again.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

On the Trip Post 3: A bit more from San Antonio

Check the flickr for a whole bunch more photos from here in San Antonio, Texas. Normally I try to do a bit of photoshop work before I upload and clean things up a bit. No time for that now. I just thought I would share.

Most of the photos in that set show the students checking out Say Si!, an after-school community art program here. It was a really interesting program and the man introducing the students to it, a former student of one of our faculty, was really great and friendly and informative. I also took some shots of an interesting looking factory that I think was producing sugar for the pioneer sugar company.

After that, we brought the guys to the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, where we talked about resisting war and oppression with some of the folks there. Esperanza is a center for the queer community here, and that was a bit of a challenge for some of our kids who come from rural communities, but it was a great experience and really broadened their horizons.

After that we went by the San Antonio Riverwalk, which was crap, but I did see the worst lounge act ever at this silly "Irish Pub" there. Mike L., if you are reading this, he was like some bizarro world version of you playing the piano.

Monday, July 02, 2007

On the Trip Post 2: Briefly from San Antonio

For Chris, who likes pictures of plants.

More Soon.

On the Trip Post 1: Driving West

I took a lot of pictures from the car, but uploading files here at the San Antonio KOA rather taxes the limited wireless internet connection I have access to. Also, many of them are crap, as pictures taken from a moving vehicle so often are. Here is one kinda decent shot of the mighty Mississippi, as we crossed it near Cairo, Illinois.

Otherwise it has been an uneventful trip thus far. We covered parts of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas during our drive, which took up 20 of the last 48 hours. The interstate never changes. The strip-mall that effectively extends from Austin to San Antonio could easily have been mistaken for a strip mall anywhere else. I do find it kind of cool that the radio stations have gone from the "w" prefix to the "k" prefix, thus indicating we are officially in "the west." But mostly that just shows that I am a nerd.

Today is our first day checking stuff out in San Antonio. More updates to follow.