In 2001 I traveled from Los Angeles to Maine with one of my best friends in a black sport utility we’d nick named “Black Dog” in honor of Led Zeppelin. It was to that song we drove into downtown Camden, ME and our VIP access, premieres and beachfront haunts slipped into memories. As the sunset and new friends poured drinks I thought of my time on the open road. Simply said nothing beats it. The wind in your hair, great unknown and adventurous spirit a welcome constant.
The Grand Canyon is the only place we could imagine starting our journey and so it was with this landscape we headed down the highway.
In Santa Fe we purchased beautifully crafted silver and turquoise jewelry, filled our bellies with traditional Southwestern fare like chicken enchiladas with mole sauce, visited a number of galleries around The Plaza and admired the sheer number of strands of dried red chiles which seemed to hang everywhere.
Austin was full of cheerful hipsters, a brightly painted motel I think has gone out of business, outside dining at local landmark The Shady Grove, really good coffee and a considerable selection of music (pre iTunes when one still shopped in person for music) at Waterloo Records.
In Amarillo we visited a cattle yard, got lost trying to find Cadillac Ranch (we eventually found the ten Cadillacs half buried in a cow pasture) and moved on to Fort Worth where we toured the National Cowgirl Museum and opted out of a mechanical bull riding session. After a somber visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and welcome visit with family we landed in New Orleans in time to venture down Bourbon Street. Apart from the elegant Commander’s Palace I’m not sure what remains from our visit. Surely the cemetery and Café Du Mondewith its delicious coffee and beignets, but what of the engaging and fun people we met.
A couple hours south of Birmingham we scored by a tour of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio were everyone from Lynrd Skynrd to Etta James recorded hits and retraced the steps of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. With these lessons in history we realized taking time to explore America was really a no brainer.
For more pictures of Cadillac Ranch check out www.sandrafreylerphotography.com.