Showing her age but still smiling, a full-bodied example of roadside advertising survives from an era when rounded usually meant but one thing.

I was the first woman to burn my bra – it took the fire department four days to put it out. — Dolly Parton

The Bridge Of Time

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By happenstance, I scanned this Kodachrome of the Golden Gate Bridge this morning—it’s one of a handful of slides that remind me of a brief trip south from Oregon, in May of 1972.

I don’t recall where I stood to take the shot (along the famous piers, most likely), but I do remember that I snapped it because of the sailboat. Perfect timing, in just the right place.

Other memories are provoked by the picture, too, but they’re fading, almost lost. Mental images are like that. That’s OK, though—sometimes it’s better to cross a bridge without looking back. Because…

Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.
—Don Henley

Afraid Of Ladders

I will walk under a ladder, but (unless it’s very short) I won’t climb atop one. Metal, wood, plastic … whatever it’s made from doesn’t matter. It’s the balance/height combination that makes me shy away.

I almost fell from  a tree when I was seven years old, though. Luckily, it was a friendly willow.

These days I usually drive up to look down.

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Death Valley is famous for SCORCHING HOT weather. But at Dante’s View (above) you’ll appreciate a fleece jacket in the mornings—even in late summer. And at an elevation of 5,476 feet, you’ll feel like you are on top of the world.

The photo below was taken from Zabriskie Point. It’s much lower than Dante’s, but still able to separate the foreground/background and give depth to the view.

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I’ve been a big fan always of getting my camera in different places and trying to seek the unusual vantage point. —Joe McNally


Detour To A Tutu


Toward the conclusion of my trip last autumn, nearing a highway junction for Death Valley, I spied a collection of buildings ahead, just beyond our intended right turn—a detour. I’d only driven eight miles that morning, and Ulrich and I were anticipating all we’d see in Death Valley. We didn’t get any farther than Amargosa.

A mostly-forgotten magnet for history buffs, artists, daydreamers, and tumbleweeds, it’s a place you think you’ll stop at for a few minutes, a picture or two, until you’re suddenly booking a room for the night.

The Amargosa Opera House and Hotel, and the artistry of Marta Becket, are the main attractions there. If you look closely, there are many intriguing details, such as a flower in a tutu (one of Ms. Becket’s originals).

The next day we moved on to Dante’s View (a beautiful sunrise) and then Zabriskie Point, where buses of tourists overran everything, selfie sticks in hand. Perhaps Amargosa wasn’t the detour, after all.

Marta Becket danced until she was 85 years old. On January 30, 2017, at 92, she passed away at her home in Amargosa. The link to her name features a short film on her life and art (on YouTube), California Dreamers.

The fine still images my friend Ulrich Rossmann took in Amargosa may be viewed on his online portfolio.

Still round the corner there may wait,
A new road or a secret gate.
—J. R. R. Tolkien


Window Shopping


Eastward across Nevada, following Highway 50 to Ely, Ulrich and I stopped briefly in Austin and Eureka. Just enough time to scratch at the surface of both towns.

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. —Bo Derek