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Friday, July 8, 1994

My On the Road: 2500 miles of hitchhiking in the desert, 10,000 miles of driving -desert camping, Haight-Ashbury, New Orleans, Bryn Mawr College, Toronto and much more

Being written. These are very rough draft notes working towards the eventual blog entry.

Timeline: July 8, 1994 till late Sept 1, 1994. My age: 31. Location: Most of the lower 48 United States, especially the deserts and high plains of the west, one jaunt to the East Coast. Main characters: My travel partner was Beth Feagan, then 20 years old and enrolled on full scholarship to Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia. She was a nationally noted writer since the age of 16, and thoroughly immersed in Jack Kerouac. We logged an amazing amount of miles, living in abandoned cowboy line shack trailers, million dollar homes in San Fran, sleeping bags in the desert, riding with Dr Dre's bodyguard (and he bought us ice cream)...seen through the lens of two people prepped by years of intense scholasticism. To this day I have not heard or seen another story like the one we experienced. Yes, I know there are people who have went through something much more intense while moving across the great continent of Eurasia. Beth and I can claim to have experienced a lesser understood thing: extreme luxury and beauty almost for free. One day on the trip we happened upon an abandoned antique house trailer in a beautiful forest above the Grand Canyon. We swept and cleaned it out, set up our stuff in it. Walked to the door, and a small herd of horses were gathered at the fence. That is the kind of magic that fell in our laps for free. And that is just one day, and many things just as magical happened to us on other days, all over the US.

I love writing, but in this case I feel defeated that I won't convey the depth of this experience, the Universe gave me something too large and full for words. But if I use paragraphs with some acumen, maybe I can pull this off.

The first trip began July 8, 1994. Left Little Rock Arkansas for Rock Point Arizona (map) (Wikipedia). Beth Feagan had gotten herself to Rock Point by volunteering a week of work at a church mission there. She spent the week helping lay concrete for a sidewalk.

Cottonwood Canyon Road (between Hwy 89 and Cannonville Utah)
We left from Rock Point and camped somewhere in or near Chinle Arizona. The next day we went to the rim of Canyon De Chelly in the morning, then started making our way to Page Arizona. After Page we went along Highway 89, then turned north on the Cottonwood Canyon Road (Wikipedia), an unpaved and dangerous road that links Highway 89 to Cannonville. The Cottonwood Canyon Road has not one house and no services whatsoever till Cannonville. At one point there was a creek that crossed the road. I drove my Ford Fiesta right on through the creek.

Cannonville Utah
Cannonville Utah was the most idyllic place I've ever encountered on Earth. Hidden at the end of a state highway, with a population of 148 (about 50 households), a middle class median income and no one in the town living under the poverty line. All the homes are bunched up in the town, with a little park in the middle, and rugged desert all around.