Blue Highways, USA (Part 1) – 2012
We drive west from Eugene, Oregon on a winding two lane highway, through shanty logging towns and the towering Redwood forests on which they so paradoxically depend. The day was old and windless and with winter approaching the air crisp and fresh. Rattling along in a nondescript, white mini-van my Uncle Mark, his girlfriend, Ellen and I passed another dilapidated shack fenced in by barbed wire along with a disparate mingling of farm animals that Noah might have left behind. “STOP”! I yelled. Coming to a halt worthy of an emergency I pulled the sliding back door open, gathered my camera and strode back down the highway to the T-junction where the shack stood. Two young girls, maybe 30 years between them and apparently oblivious to my presence, lazed on the shingled roof, swigging from a super-sized bottle of bourbon whiskey. As I negotiated the scene through the prism of my camera, an older man who I could only assume to be the girls’ father who had been working at some machine or other down the way registered my presence and, like an impatient predator, gave chase with too much distance between he and his prey to nab me before I bundled myself back into the van, now yelling, “GO, GO, GO!” It was an episode both corroborative and at odd with the concept of The United States of America that I’d brought with me. And so began my journey through the backroads of a country rife with absurd contradictions.