This month I took a real walkabout, driving out west for several reasons, including booksignings, a master writers’ class and some research/picture gathering for the Elf Clan series.
The first week, I gloried in the Adventure of the Road. For the first time in a long while, I had time alone. Miles and miles of it. I love seeing new places, so while good old I-80 was a familiar friend, this time I drove across Nebraska to Colorado, new territory.
(I’m not counting the time I nearly got arrested in Colorado when M was a baby, when the trooper thought I was trying to outrun him to the state line. I wasn’t. And I still don’t think cigarettes are a good idea.)
Surprised to find that Colorado wasn’t all snow-topped mountains, at all. In Denver, I took photos of the places my characters visit in my post-apocalyptic story, which I’m getting back to if I can ever finish the contracted work I have. 🙂
(I know. Complaining about “having to write.” Ridiculous.)
Then I went on to Golden, where the muse on the mountain, Margie Lawson, imparted great wisdom and I met some wonderful sister writers. I’ll talk more about this experience here.
Unfortunately, my body didn’t adjust well to the 8,888-foot altitude, and it colored the rest of my trip. But seeing the continental divide from the top was spectacular, especially at sunset:
Then back down out of the mountains through all the high desert I ever want to see, on the way to Reno and back. I don’t find that scenery in the least inspiring, all tan and brown and scrub green. The mountains both north and south are much prettier in my estimation.
And then there was this, which is not in fact a bunch of metallic Tinkertoys, but a gas refining plant in Sinclair, Wyoming.
And this, which is called “Metaphor, the tree of Utah”:
See more about it here at the Weird Roadside Attractions site.
But right about there, on the way back, the trip began to fall apart. I was still woozy from the altitude issues, heading back into the mountains. My camera had some kind of lens error issues and quit working. The van’s “check engine” light came on and started blinking at an alarming rate.
I realized being out on the road alone wasn’t really all the adventure I’d expected.
I’d had a wonderful day with B and her friend in Reno, wishing there was more time, finally getting a grown-up trip to the casino (we each went in with $20–he came out with three or four dollars, I have a receipt for seven cents, but B won $60. So I guess we’re even), and a walk in the forest with the ebullient Elbee. My sister Shawna rescued me on the last day and let me crash there while we determined that the car was just needing routine maintenance service and would make it the rest of the way home.
So I survived, coming home a little more tired and a much better writer. Ready for booksignings the next two weekends, and nearly ready to get back in the routine.
Oh yeah, and I received two contracts for more novels while I was gone, one for my vampire thriller, and another for a lawyer-over-40 romance. Seems to me I’ll have plenty to do, staying home cozy in my office this winter. Here’s to the Adventure, and here’s to the comforts of Home after a long trip away.