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Natchitoches, Louisiana

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It’s sweet to be back in the lush south and out of the bizarre, barren state that is Texas. On my first drive east in 2002, I stopped here in Natchitoches because I had read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and wanted to see where she had lived. The little town charmed me. It’s less touristy than Charleston and the river is just so pretty. There is the expected urban sprawl and strip malls a mile out on either side but that’s okay. I’m in de Nile right now. Chillin. I have a long challenge ahead of me in Charleston so I figure it’s okay.

Tomorrow is Easter, my favorite time in Charleston. The shops and restaurants will be closed here so I’m going out to Oakland Plantation. It’s a National Historical Park now with a beautiful main house but, more importantly, 27 out buildings, or slave quarters, kitchens, etc. A building called The African House is architecturally significant internationally. And yes, I’ll take photos.

Santa Fe

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The drive from Moab to Santa Fe was beautiful for the most part. There were arches in the distance and lots of multi-colored sandstone mountains beside the road. It even traveled through a smaller version of Monument Valley. Not much traffic and 75mph limits made quick work of the day.

When I arrived in Santa Fe, I found my little adobe home just 5 minutes from the Governor’s Palace downtown. I have my own bedroom, bathroom, sitting area and outdoor terrace for $65/nt! Thank you, airbnb. That’s the view into the dining room and kitchen. My room is to the right. And that’s Riley in the window.

Today I explored the neighborhood. I started out with breakfast at The Tearoom (bad service, so-so food), where I met Minda.

MindaMinda is on her way to NYC to study decorative arts (I hope that’s right, Minda!) and we had a wonderful conversation about many topics. She is perfectly lovely and was a joy to share breakfast with. I wish her all the luck in transitioning from Colorado to New York 🙂 Oh, btw, Josie, her dad got his Master’s at St. John’s. So I drove by the college today. Turns out it shares the grounds with the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops schoolrooms. Their photo journey to Cuba is on my bucket list.

I wandered Canyon Road where there are a ton of art galleries and found this little place tucked in there.friends

My mom was a Quaker and grew up going to the Friends’ Meetinghouses in Pennsylvania. I thought she might like a print of this once I get settled.

It’s been so much fun to talk with folks on this trip. I hope this continues as I head southward. Tomorrow is another day in Santa Fe and then I take off for Texas and Louisiana.

Moab, UT

IMG_1109Into Moab

I swear, here and now, that I will never drive through Idaho again. It was sooooo booooooring.

It was a 9.5 hour drive today, the longest of the trip. But once I got into the red rock country of Utah I was energized. It’s so amazingly beautiful to me. I have 100s of miles planned on the back roads, scenic highways, off the interstates. When I stopped for gas in Price, UT, the attendant told me the Jeep rally was this weekend in Moab. Eeks! Well, there are a ton of Jeeps in town, for sure. But there are also a ton of bicycles which is cool. This is definitely a tourist town. There are too many crappy restaurants on the strip. I was kind of surprised to see that, but I suppose it was to be expected.

Strangely I have no desire to take photos. I think I’ll feel differently in Santa Fe when I have a few days to actually see the place. Time for rest.

Kuna, Idaho

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Not exactly the destination of choice for many, but thanks to airbnb.com, this is where I’ve landed for my first night. 10 miles from the interstate in horse country, I drove up to a new, large, empty house out on the prairie. A phone call later, I got a tour of my huge bedroom and huge private bath and was invited to my first Passover Seder. So, Cheryl (my hostess) and I walked down the road to her neighbor’s house. There I ate Passover dinner with the neighbor (a Christian), Cheryl and her husband (agnostic), a friend (Christian), a Mormon minister and his wife.

The food was great and I was so thankful to have a wonderful dinner with friendly people in the middle of nowhere! But my friends and family know what it took for me to keep my mouth shut when theology became the topic of conversation. You all would have been proud of me. So now I’m going to watch a movie on my laptop while I work on my knitting which has been ignored during Josie’s graduation, packing and moving.

I have no photos of Kuna yet. The one above is from my current project called “Turn Around.” It’s about the details we get distracted by, and what we’re missing by not opening our eyes…or turning around. Tomorrow it’s off to Moab, UT!