SANTA FE NEW MEXICO

Santa Fe. The adobe buildings are as awesome in person as they are in pictures. And I like any town that has St. Francis of Assisi as a patron saint, but it feels a bit like a set. Still, eat all the food you can. And the people are very nice.

We found a cute little park inside the city to stay at for two nights. Camping for two days in a place gives you time to to be social. We met super people—adults as well as kids—from Texas, Indiana and all over. And as luck would have it, we met up with a neighbors' son who is working down here with some family friends.

LITTLEFIELD TEXAS

This is Waylon Jennings' hometown. Tonight we're staying at a free city park—Waylon Jennings' City Park. It's 11:30 pm and I can still hear people playing horseshoes. Up the road is a party store where Waylon's brother James has an amazing museum inside. They'll tell you about Willie Nelson playing dominoes here, Buddy Holly and Waylon's first record, Jim Gardner and Charlie Pride—all family friends. Go in and get yourself some ice, some booze and some stories. 

FREDRICKSBURG TEXAS

We've been here before and we like it. Hill country. Limestone buildings in a cowboy town. Home of LBJ and the Admiral Nimitz War Museum—make the stop if you're coming this way.

GALVESTON TEXAS

Galveston, oh Galveston... ( yes, the Glen Campbell song! ) It's the 4th of July so Texas seems like a good place to be—and Galveston is a place I've always wanted to see. We left NOLA late morning and arrived at our campsite near the beach right around dinner time. We set up camp, poured some drinks, and fired up the grill. As the sun went down we watched the fireworks on the beach. 

Galveston was cute —almost like the Florida Keys of Texas. Just watch out for mosquitos!

NOLA RESIDENCY 2017

Our time in New Orleans —as always—went by too fast. We spent the mornings feeding ducks and afternoons working. We did take breaks to visit with friends, sit on the porch and ride our bikes. In the end I finished up about 10 paintings with 6 more in the works.

Now it's time to pack up the airstream and head west. I am excited to hit the road, yet don't want to leave New Orleans. That's the problem with me: I want to be everywhere all the time.

PHASE TWO

New Orleans.

We've finished Part One of our journey—traveling over 5,000 miles across the country to get here.
Home away from home.
Now comes the the unpacking and the settling in. Setting up our work zones and getting down to business. 
I will miss Mr. Salsa and being on the road, but it feels great to be back.
Time for a bourbon.

ALABAMA

And welcome to the heat.
Tonight we used our AC for the very first time. Damn it's muggy! We're in a state park called Chewacla just outside Montgomery, Alabama. A whole herd of deer rolled through our campsite as we were having coffee and all of us stared out the window. No good pictures to show, but it was a sight.

Tomorrow it's New Orleans...

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

As much fun as it is to roll into a place and not know anyone, there is nothing better than rolling into a town—a driveway—and seeing the faces of your friends who live all the way across the country. And that's exactly what we did in Asheville.

Bill and Margret were in the middle of a bathroom remodel, but that didn't stop them from opening their house to us and our menagerie. Soon we were having drinks and snacks ( including homemade pimento cheese ) on the porch. It was a little bit of home far, far away.

We spent some time touring downtown—stumbling in to a great gallery ( Blue Spiral Gallery ) and seeing some beautiful work by artist John Cleaveland.

It was only two nights, but it included barbecue, thunderstorms and great conversation.

AIRSTREAM ONLY

Tonight we camped in our very first 'airstream only' campsite at Virginia Highland near Roanoke, Virginia. Most of the sites are permanent residents with just a few available for guests. The site was on the top of a great little hill with a gorgeous array of airstreams all staring into the sunset. I really wanted to tour inside every single one—and even though that didn't happen— everyone came out for an evening walk and we traded tips and travel stories. And very early in the morning I got up to get some water and saw a deer staring into our back window.

progress for today...

progress for today...

SHENANDOAH RIVER

New Jersey > Delaware > Maryland > West Virginia > Virginia was yesterday's route—settling on a campsite on the Shenandoah River. Originally we were heading for a different campsite in the National Forest here, but after one crazy dirt road and a 'private property/no trespassing' sign at the supposed campsite we had no choice but to keep heading down this path. I think it was more like a steep gravelly driveway than a road, but you get the point. Then we accidentally ran into this place— Low Water Bridge Campground and no harm came to Mr. Salsa on the ride so it all worked out. Plus, they have bunnies here!

We did, however, need a bourbon after that road.

Wednesday May 10th progress

Wednesday May 10th progress

WILDWOOD NEON

This addition to our route was worth every single mile. I have dipped my toe into the Atlantic Ocean and I love the New Jersey shore! 

This place has it all. I am serious. Wildwood is like heaven for neon signs. But it doesn't stop there. This place has farms, roadside markets, turtle crossing, dolphins, WWII look-out towers, fishing shacks on piers, swans, horses, and lots of trees. It's like midwestern rural town mixed with an east coast fancy beach town—plus southern style roads. Add to that all the neon and I think I could live here. Yep. A nice old Colonial sitting way back on a big long field.

RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES

Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate and there's nothing you can do but adjust your plans. Luckily Cleveland has a lot to offer—and two of our favorite things are good for a rainy day: The Cleveland Museum of Art and a drive through Lake View Cemetery.

Lake View is the permanent home to many well known people and families. Steel magnates, presidents, and even Elliot Ness are all buried here. One of the most impressive tombs is the Garfield Monument—with its stone tower and Tiffany glass windows. The entire cemetery is a botanical garden so the drive is both architecturally beautiful and incredibly lush.
 

And because Cleveland became such a wealthy city during the Industrial Revolution it had plenty of money to spend on art. It has plenty of everything, but I am most fond of its collection of American painters that includes George Bellows, Charles Sheeler, William Harnett, Grant Wood, Jacob Lawrence, Fredric Edwin Church, John French Sloan and John Singer Sargent.

CLEVELAND

"oh-Hi-oh"

We left northern Michigan around 12:30. Down past Saginaw, Detroit and Flint. A very rainy drive the whole way. Arriving in Cleveland around 8pm.

Here in Ohio we toured downtown, the Westside Market and the Flats. The Flats has always been one of our favorite places in Cleveland—all the bridges, the industrial brick buildings and Hart Crane Park. The bridge in park has been repainted and upgraded. I painted this bridge years ago because of its rust and peeling paint, but today it no longer looks like that. 

We have family here too, so we get to catch up, meet pets, hang out and drink wine.
 

ANIMALS AND THE LAKE

Northern Michigan is quite beautiful. Big open farms and rolling hills. Old red barns and cherry orchards. Bright, sunny days and dark, dramatic skies. 

Neither the cat nor the ducky have ever seen such land for roaming. Kitten is now a mini panther roaming the woods and Pepe has discovered the biggest bathtub ever. This is proof that life is always better at the grandparents' house.

PAINTING IN THE AIRSTREAM

I've been able to get a few hours of painting in each day since we've been here and am making good progress on a couple pieces I started before we left. My set up could use some tweaking, but I have a pretty good—albeit small—studio. There is more prep work and clean up than I am used to, but I have to keep things organized, tidy and well ventilated if I am going to painting in here. The pets are cooperating and not getting into my stuff while I am working. Pepe is content to rest his head next to me on the bench as I paint while kitten sits in the window looking out or sleeps under the table on Pepe's bed.

MORE MICHIGAN MORE SIGNS

Today was sunny and Pepe went for a swim in the lake. He's been enjoying following us around the property as we take down the deer fences for the season. It's cold here, but sunny, so we went in to Elk Lake to take pictures of some signs.