Tag Archives: The Girl Riding Shotgun

America is mostly empty

The clearest way into your own mind is through Wilderness

Once one gets away from the big cities, the USA is mostly wilderness.

On my recent road trip, sometimes the only thing in the wilderness was the road, a broken down fence, and a distant power line.

Sometimes there’s a road sign.  Zzyzx is actually in San Bernadino County, California, and you get there by the 4.5 mile long unpaved Zzyzx Road.  We didn’t go there, because there’s bugger-all there.  However, Zzyzx does feature in music and films, (movies).

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken by the girl riding shotgun with a Lumix

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Cars for Road Trips

Nissan Rogue SUV

I’ve been on long road trips, (Tuscany, The Loire Valley, back to Tuscany, Exploring California, and driving 3,000 miles to witness an eclipse), in all kinds of cars; Triumph TR6, Lotus 7, Ford Mustang, and lastly driving from California to witness a total eclipse of the sun in a Nissan Rogue.

Although it isn’t always completely possible, the car should completely suit the trip.

And this choice of car comes down to where you’re going, how far it is, what’s the weather going to be like, what kinds of roads are you going to be driving , and exactly who is the girl riding shotgun.

For my recent trip I knew I was going to be driving up to 600 miles in a day, on a mixture of LA freeways, long desert roads, and mountain climbs.  Also I knew that the girl riding shotgun was going to want to feel safe, be comfortable, and carry an unconscionable amount of luggage.

There also had to be room for Marmaduke.

Ergo, I chose to rent a reasonable-sized SUV, and Enterprise at LAX could offer me a Nissan Rogue, which was vastly over budget, but my friend with all the luggage was worth it.

What’s good about this car?  It’s big enough for two on a long road trip, (swallows luggage with ease), it does good mileage, (we averaged 29 mpg, and that’s US gallons), it’s quiet, comfortable, holds the road well, and the engine has a lot of low-down power.  What’s bad, well, it was very over budget, and has some annoying blind spots.

Would I recommend this car to a friend?  Yes.  In a New York Second.  With definite confidence.  (Of course, you may find your dream car on a long road trip.)

Another important thing on a long road trip:  don’t have a girl riding shotgun who thinks she can drive better than you.

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jack collier

jackcollier&@talktalk.net

some long wide roads out there

 

Marmaduke and I went to the USA to witness a total eclipse of the sun.  To Marmy and me, the USA seems to be doing pretty well right now.  We saw quite a lot of people driving Jaguars.

Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse.  All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night…  The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.  ~  Victor Hugo

During our trip we travelled some 16,000 miles, including driving 3,282 miles in our rented SUV.  (We needed an SUV rather than a Mustang convertible to take all the luggage the Girl Riding Shotgun brought on this long road trip.)

Marmaduke and I visited Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, Dublin in Ireland, Amsterdam in Holland, LAX, Orange County, drove through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and into Wyoming, (then back again to Orange County in sunny Southern California).

We also visited the Queen Mary in Long Beach for a champagne Sunday brunch, went up to Big Bear Lake, and kicked back at the Southern California beaches in Little Corona, Aliso, Laguna, and best of all Crescent Bay.  Went shopping in the local Mall and sundry thrift stores, checked out the Parks in Orange county, and generally hung out in some cool bars.

Finally flew back to the UK from LAX, via Paris and Dublin before arriving back in the UK on September 10th ~ broke, exhausted, and filled with amazing memories.

Right now, and back in the garret, Marmaduke and I have 1,111 unread emails in my inbox, 3,970 pictures on my camera, a good suntan, a little jet-lag, and a pile of laundry from our trip.

Marmaduke also wants to know why he couldn’t stay in SoCal… dude…

My advice?  Go on a very, very long road trip in the USA.  But, whenever and where ever you travel, take half the luggage you think you will need, and at least twice as much money as you think you could possibly spend.

It’s best not to stare at the sun during an eclipse. ~ Jeff Goldblum

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Pictures taken with a Panasonic Lumix

Scenes on Sunday ~ Marmaduke USA

It’s Very Nice To Go Traveling.

But it’s so much nicer to travel home.

Carrying a teddy bear from England to the West Coast of the USA isn’t quite as easy as you would think, what with curious Homeland Security sniffer dogs and all….

On the other hand, I know Marmaduke did better than me when it came to exploring the romance and attractiveness of California Girls.  Although that wouldn’t be so difficult. I can be so very stuffy, preppy-style, repressed even, some of the time.

On the other hand, poor Marmaduke struggled a bit in the desert ~ what with his fur coat and everything.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

all these shots taken with a Panasonic Lumix

arachnids

A Spider sewed at Night

Without a Light

Upon an Arc of White

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If Ruff it was of Dame

Or Shroud of Gnome

Himself himself inform

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Of Immortality

His Strategy

Was Physiognomy

Emily Dickinson

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Unlike a close friend of mine,

I am not a big fan of spiders,

nor scorpions, nor octopuses.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Senior Adventures

There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still a fire inside.

As we grow older, we are justified in taking far more risks, embarking on far more adventures, pursuing far more dangerous dreams, than is someone in their more youthful years.

It’s not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.  ~  Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I read an article in my news feed about a 101 years old great-grandfather who has just taken up skydiving.  You may think that sounds crazy, but what has Verdun Hayes got to lose?  The veteran of D Day has already lived a long life, and if he kills himself doing something dangerous, by how may days, months, or years has he cut his life short?  Not that many I’d bet.

Contrast this with a man in his twenties, who has just started a family ~ just the kind of man we would expect to go skydiving.  If he kills himself, not only has he cut his life short by maybe 50 years, he’s also orphaned his children and widowed his wife.  Maybe that young father should be careful, risk averse, not very adventurous.

I would argue that as we grow older we have much less to lose than we had when we were young, so why not gamble more, take more risks, become more adventurous in our senior years?

A twenty-three years long study in Ohio determined that people who saw growing older as something positive lived a whopping seven and a half years longer than those who didn’t.  ~  Victoria Moran

Later this year I’m flying out to California, picking up a Mustang convertible, meeting up with ‘the girl who rides shotgun’, then driving across California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming to witness a total eclipse of the sun on Monday August 21st.  I think that’s a pretty crazy adventure, but what have I got to lose?  Not a lot.

Taking risks with your wealth, health, and happiness, (not to mention taking risks with your life), is not really for the young.  As we grow older we can afford to gamble more because we have much less to lose.

Don’t waste your life by working another 10 years slaving away in that 40 hours a week job.  Have fun instead, add adventure to your senior years, you have nothing to lose except your unhappiness.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday ~ Mt. San Jacinto

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway & Mt. San Jacinto

just a time being you and me

cool at the top of the mountain

that’s where we both want to be

long way to the top of the mountain

at the top the air is crystal clear to see

a far piece from the top of the mountain

the majestic view of land and town still free

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better if a cool guy isn’t afraid of heights

words and pictures by jack collier and the girl riding shotgun

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday # 27

feeling a little blue in January is normal

the stillness of the bluest night

the way you look in the moonlight

shining dress silvered turquoise bright

and night sky sapphire eyes melt my heart

with desire for you until bright azure daylight

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pbwords and pictures by jack collier

and the girl riding shotgun

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday #25

California Road Trip.

Echo Beach, Route 66, Hotel California

Gorillaz, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

California Girls, Breakfast in America

California Rain, California King Bed

Dog Breath, Champagne, Back to California

I’m Going Home, Get Back, Grateful Dead

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P1020195pictures by the girl riding shotgun

jack collier doing the driving

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday # 22

California Sunshine

You know what?  Today I’m sick of the miserable English winter.  I’m a bit fed up with all the Xmas false bonhomie and commercialism that precedes the real joy of Christmas.  So, just to please myself here are some shots from road trips I took in the warm Southern California Sunshine.  These pictures were taken with a Lumix pocket camera.

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P1020119All these pictures were taken by

jack collier and

the girl riding shotgun

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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