Connections: Sabbatical 1998 • Description
4. Timeline and Directional Sequence of My Travels
My sabbatical trip started with travel through the East Coast, the south through Florida, Louisiana, Texas, entering Mexico through Matamoras. I then traveled through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and returned through Mexico to the US. In the U. S. and eventually Canada I visited and recorded as many Native American Sites as was practical. I covered 32,000 miles from start to finish. Time elapsed was approximately six months starting in February, ending in August 1998.
Throughout my travels I was constantly encountering formations and landscape that was truly awe-inspiring. I knew that this was going to be one the more interesting aspects of my Sabbatical, but I never realized what an inspiration and enlightening experience it would be. The rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and the Canadian Rockies, to name just a few, were truly as sculptural as anything man could dream up. In fact, a sign marker explaining how the formation were formed by natural processes in Joshua Tree looks like an explanation for executing a stone sculpture.
My visiting Purchase, New Paltz, and the Pepsi Sculpture Park adjacent to Purchase in New York State south highlighted my trip through the East Coast.
The Pepsi Sculpture Park was the beginning of my parallel connections to my European roots. The Pepsi sculpture Park is located adjacent to The State University of NY at Purchase. It is privately owned and maintained by the Pepsicola Company. This is a wonderful bonanza for the art students' faculty and others at the University. It is basically a reasonably complete survey of sculpture produced over the last seventy-five years.
Before my visit to the Sculpture Park I stopped to inspect the in progress building site of the New Visual Arts Center at New Paltz. I let myself around to see every area. It is a fine piece of planning and the sculpture area is patterned after my design. The foundry area is a much smaller version of my set-up. They have a larger staff and broader curriculum and so their priorities are different. They visited with me previously and observed my facilities.
2/2/3 /98. I then visited Grounds for Sculpture at Johnson Atelier, Hotel Econo Lodge at Burlington, NJ. The most impressive sculpture at Grounds for Sculpture, in my estimation, was the "General Bronze" by Marisol. This facility is the result of a close affiliation with the Johnson Atelier foundry and shops. Part of its function is to display works cast for their clients. It has an interesting layout with a central all class building for smaller more intimate works that might do better inside then outside.
Throughout my travels to many of the finest museum and sculpture park collections I would be constantly reminded of my studies in both traditional western art and contemporary sculpture that for the most part has traditional western connections. I know that Dwayne Hatchet would disagree with me on this because he believes that American Art developed separately from European traditions. To some extent he is right. Certainly it is apparent to me that Tony and David Smith have had a significant effect on world art. Although I do not share their esthetics, I enjoy their work and I most likely have Dwayne to thank for this. It is coincidental that my father and mother were working at the Watervaleat Arsenal during the Second World War at the same time that David Smith was perfecting his skills as a welder working on tanks. My father received a severe hernia and was sent to the Navel Hospital in New Jersey. He contracted pneumonia complicated by pleurisy and almost died. He had to have part of one lung removed. My family and boyhood fiends would often visit Bolten Landing near where David Smith had his studio. David Smith was killed in a truck accident near my home outside Albany.
I visited as many National Parks as possible to cut down on my expenses (free entrance & senior citizen camping). Since most are located nearby or on Native American sites, both historical and contemporary, this worked out to my advantage.
2/3 to 5/98. Hotel, Best Western. The two National Parks on the East Coast were Cumberland National Seashore and Everglades N.P. On my way to Florida I stopped in Washington D. C. to see the F.D. Roosevelt Memorial, U. S. Holocaust Mem. Mus. and the Catholic University to see one of my early teachers work, Earnest Morenon. They are located in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the Campus.
The F. D. Roosevelt memorial is the most successful contemporary memorial I have seen in my travels. Although the artists selected would not necessary is my choice; I feel that for the most part, choices were well selected. Robert Graham was my favorite because I share his enthusiasm for his use of the positive / negative attributes of sculpture. The architects use of waterfalls and clever brickwork in the open air makes the negotiations through the memorial, a pleasant journey while reading the most memorable quotes from F. D. Roosevelt.
The U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was certainly effective in its message to enlighten and to help sensitize people to the horrors of the 2nd. World War. As a sculptor I could not but think that, for me at least, holocaust museums and memorials will never really convey the deep profound horror of so many people, massacred in a totally dehumanizing fashion in Nazi Germany. No matter what is portrayed in any art form, including film can not really succeed, because all the senses must be involved including the pain and mental anguish.
In Washington D. C. I am constantly reminded of my travels throughout Europe with two Travelling Fellowships from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Three of my most important teachers the school were Harold Tovish, Ernest Morenon and Peter Abarte. Two Students that were there in classes one or two years ahead of me were Louis Cohen and Lloyd Lillie. Both have had a strong influence on me as a sculptor and person. Lou and Lloyd became head of the Sculpture Programs at the College of William and Mary and Boston University, respectively.
It is really quite extraordinary how many public commissioned sculptures have been done by sculptors who I have been closely associated with or for which I have had some knowledge of their execution. Lloyd Lillie in Richmond Virginia did a navel composition of heroic proportions two statues of Thomas Jefferson. One statue is at University of Virginia and another under the arch at St. Louis. In addition, he completed for Boston and vicinity several pieces, similar to the one of Mayor Curly. Louis Cohen has done one of the first president of William & Mary College and is presently working on one of John Singleton Coply for Coply Square in Boston. Marianna Pineda did the Last Queen of Hawaii, Lili'uokakalani, for the State of Hawaii. John Shan created a heroic portrait of F. D. Roosevelt for Roosevelt, NJ. John Wilson created a monumental head of Martin Luther King for Buffalo and for the Capitol Rotunda in Washington DC. Jeff Slomba one of my graduate students created the figures on the Dortmund Sister City plaque in Buffalo. My only piece on public display is "Compulsion" in Buffalo. All these are of cast bronze. Dyuane Hatchett did several public sculptures in other materials than bronze. He did one enormous piece in core ten steel for Flint Michigan. Dyuane also constructed an aluminum piece for Pittsburgh across from the Carnegie Melon. He has also has done others for Rochester, Buffalo, and Fredonia. George Smith has done several public sculptures in various materials. Ken Payne also has done a mixed media piece for the waterfront.
On my travels for the first museum School Traveling Fellowship, Ellie and I covered all of Italy, including Sicily, landing at Genoa. We then traveled north crossing the Alps into Germany at Colmar, France, having passed through Switzerland. We traveled throughout Germany on my quest to especially see the work of Tilmaen Riemenschneider. Of course I tried to find as many of the German Expressionists as possible. We also visited as many Cathedrals we could find in every country we visited including all the ones that are listed in Rodin's illustrated writings on the "Cathedrals of France". We traveled through Belgium, Holland and Luxinburgh. We traveled from there to Paris where we stayed with Lou Cohen and Tamara Gorin.
We subsequently traveled through France to Spain and settled in a little town on the Ebro River called Ampolia. I executed several sculptures there, including the "Threatening Bureaucrat". We traveled throughout Spain. We made a return trip to Pistoia, Italy to have the sculptures "Shelter", "Threatening Bureaucrat", "Francois" and a portrait of "Ellie" executed in direct plaster cast in bronze. We then traveled back to Spain staying the rest of our time and finally returned to Genoa, Italy to return home.
We were in Genoa waiting to connect with the passenger ship when President Kennedy was assassinated. We were in Pompeii during the fist walk on the moon. It is the generosity of the Italian people in our pensions that in both instances they shared both the joy and tragedy with my wife and I as the news unfolded on TV.
Our second trip, a Traveling Fellowship for Alumni, our travels was mainly throughout southern Italy, including Rome. My wife and I stayed with Lou Cohen in their Rome apartment. Lou was in residence at the American Academy in Rome and doing some wonderful female figures. We then traveled to Greece and the Peloponnesian Peninsula. We traveled some of the Islands as well, staying on Mykonos for several days.
"Compulsion" was cast in Rome along with "The Meeting" and "Energy".
Since this is not supposed to be a journal of my previous travels, but realizing that there are connective threads to my previous travels and studies. I will eventually enlarge this selective journal so that it will become my autobiography. It will then include those cities I have visited many times or worked in on the East Coast including, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Toronto, and Ottawa.
2/3/98. 1 visited Virginia Commonwealth Univ. at Richmond, Virginia. Visited the Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Univ. of Georgia Museum of Art.
2/6/98. I Stayed at the Hotel Jamison Inn-Wilson, NC, and visited Busch Gardens, then stayed with my sister for two days. Visiting Busch Gardens reminded and reinforced my determination to pursue animal sculpture. I stopped in Atlanta to see the Museum and Martin Luther King Memorial N. P., High Museum of Art.
2/13/98. After 1 camped outside Atlanta at the Stone Mountain Memorial to the Confederacy. I visited Town Creek Indian Mound State Park., Mt. Gilead N. Carolina.
Stone Mountain Memorial is the Southern States Mt. Rushmore. It portrays in monumental relief the leaders of the Confederacy, General Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson
Town Creek Indian Mound State Park was the beginning of my travels to Pre Colombian Native American sites. Much had to be constructed from scratch as little evidence was left in tangible form. It was mostly dirt and wood construction. It looks as if they did manage to do a credible job of reconstruction.
2/6/98. 1 boated out to Cumberland Nat. Seashore and camped. The island was overrun with Armadillos who were all over my campsite. Although it was interesting to run into so called wild horses all over the Island, their state of health remained something to be desired. The beach on the Island is a wonderful long stretch of fine sand with dunes and no people. It was mysterious at night with the sun setting and subsequently the beach bathed in rising moonlight and wild horses silhouetted against the glowing sand.
2/14/98, 1 traveled to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral and observed rocket launches. (Camped)
2/15 to 22/98. 1 solo kayaked through Everglade National Park from Everglades City to Flamingo. The trip was one hundred miles and took eight days. I camped on Chickee platforms modeled after a Native American design. I had many adventures, the most harrowing being when my kayak and I overturned at dusk in a swiftly moving tidal river. I had to hold on all night until the sun rose so that I could right myself and continue. I thought I saw what appeared to be a hammerhead shark cruising just a few feet from my kayak. His fin was approximately two feet in length and blue gray in color. On this trip I had to cross many large inter-coastal lakes connecting the tidal rivers.
I did stay on the only remaining privately owned real estate in Everglades National Park. It is owned by consortium of fishermen who leave it unlocked so that other visitors will not force the door. The National Park Service actually has domain over it. After my experience in the water all night, coming on this structure was just too tempting. It had bunk beds and even a water jug on the table. I hung all my gear out to dry and had a good night’s sleep. Before I left the next morning I left a calling card and a ten-dollar bill under the still full water jug. When I arrived home, many months later I found the most interesting note of appreciation and a history of the cabin on my e-mail. (See enclosed e-mail message from the owners.)
I will mention here that the kayaker traveling alone feels the need to keep on the National Park Services strict schedule that is laid out by them before you leave. If I were not to show up at Flamingo within a day or two of my schedule they would send out a search party. They have boats and a helicopter for that purpose.
Common sense dictated that you always kept the fore and aft hold of the kayak sealed with the neoprene covers secured. I would always keep the kayak tethered to my belt in the event that if I were to somehow become separated, I would not loose the kayak. Whenever I would have to leave the kayak I would also tie up the kayak first before attempting to exit. I also followed the same procedure with the paddle, tying it to the kayak by tether and making sure I had it secured to the Chickee before attempting to land the kayak.
Once I flipped the kayak when attempting at low tide to climb the four by four support pole up to the Chickee. There are no ladders on the supports to discourage critters from trying to gain access to the Chickee. By mistake I left my cheap watch and a bottle of hot sauce in the passenger compartment of the kayak. I looked out across the water and saw two very large alligators intersecting each other directly paralleling the Chickee, approximately thirty yards away. I waited for them to move far of, before they returned to intersect each other, to dive in to the water and retrieve the hot sauce. I left the watch to the Gaitors. I shimmied up the pole so fast that I tore my leg. There I was, with blood running down my leg, holding the hot sauce up in triumph for the Gaitors to see. From that point to the end I used the sun as my timekeeper.
On the first night I learned that you do not keep food on the Chickee or around the campsite but secure in the kayak. I put some food under my head for a late snack. As a result had to fight off cold snouted critters all night.
Once when I was cruising across one of the lakes I had four dolphins surface about three feet in front of my kayak. They seemed to be looking directly at me as they arched though the water. In others, I saw the ghostly silhouettes of manatees in the water. Another time, at dusk, entering the ocean from Broad Creek, having just passed through Nightmare Creek entering the Gulf of Mexico, I saw the most beautiful sunset but I was suddenly startled by several crocodiles pushing off into deep water. That night I became stranded on a mud flat in the Gulf of Mexico. I had to wait until morning for the tide to rise to free myself. Hordes of mosquitoes arrived so I covered my self with protective mosquito clothing, and a resident bat, that looked like a pterodactyl in the darkness, took care of the others. I did not dare sleep all night because of the fear of overturning in the deep mud. I listened to the harrowing cries of wadding birds being attacked by trashing crocodiles. (Gaiters, snakes, bats, etc.)
One picture that I have included here titled "Visitors" was of the only two people that I encountered in the eight days of my odyssey. One was a gynecologist and the other was a pediatrician. Like true doctors they became concerned about me. They offered me advice about drinking plenty of water and wearing my hat more often. My L. L. Bean Alagash hat with the mosquito net was just too much. One of the doctors gave me his soft floppy cotton hat and insisted that I wear it. He said that he had this hat as a youngster at summer camp. I still have this hat. The two doctors would go of in a corner and talk out of earshot from me. I would wonder what it was they were discussing, but was afraid to ask.
2/25/98. 1 visited Miami and the Holocaust Memorial and Museums Vizcaya, etc.
I strolled around Miami Beach front with the still preserved Art Deco beachfront real-estate, just to get feel of the place.
2/23/98. I traveled to Key West and camped on a sailboat with some young sailors. They were very kind and shared their sumptuously prepared vegetarian meal with me. Visited Ernest Hemingway's home and walked around looking at the houses and followed the crowd to the setting sun on the beach. It looks like every body does this at night as some sort of ritual, weather permitting.
2/24/98. I stayed at the Riviera Court Hotel.
2/26 to 28/98. 1 camped at Myakka River State Park, and visited the University of Florida, the Maclay Gardens and the Harn Museum of Art.
3/l/98. I camped at Swannie River State Park. There was a flood, with the river overflowing its banks and I unknowingly set up camp in the dark near a railroad track. I woke up in the middle of the night, startled, and thought I was being run over because of the shrieking whistle, vibrating of the ground, etc. Throughout the night this would happen every hour or so.
3/3/4/98. At New Orleans I camped on the bayous at St. Bernard State Park. After New Orleans I camped at Sea Rim State Park in Texas.
I traveled out into the Bayous to see how Cajuns live and work. I listened to some fine Cajun songs accompanied by the accordion and tried some of their cuisine. I visited the most interesting exhibition devoted to voodoo altars or shrines. I took some pictures of them. Few of the pictures were successful because to the limitations placed on me by my equipment and museum rules. Flash would have destroyed the effect because light played an important part in the mystery.
3/5/98. 1 visited several museums in Houston - and recorded the Cullen Sculpture Garden, Contemporary Arts Museum, Menil Collection – a large Rauschenberg retrospective, Rothko Chapel, Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum.
The Houston Museum of Art had an excellent sculpture garden being visited by many people. It was easily accessed with lots of handsome benches and fountains.
3/6 to 8/98. San Antonio was one of the most interesting cities that I visited. I followed the old mission route and found it fascinating. The river walk is a delight with the mix of cultures, especially the music. There is a wonderful mosaic mural by Juan O' Gormen given to the city as gift by the Mexican people. I visited the museums including the San Antonio Museum of Art and its new Nelson Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art and the McNay Museum - O'Keeffe exhibit. I camped at Guadeloupe State Park. It was so cold in the morning that I had to keep the car running so that I could warm myself, as I broke camp. I visited President Johnson's ranch. I left San Antonio for Mexico.
President Johnson’s ranch was a total surprise for me. I was one of those that had protested the Vietnam War and opposed his reelection. The ranch was very small and unassuming. The airfield that one would see often with people, like the president of Mexico flying in for a barbecue, was just a cleared field with no tower, hangars or anything to make it stand out. The one room schoolhouse that he attended as a child was nearby on the property. When a school boy he used to sit on a rail fence near this schoolhouse and wait for somebody, anybody, to show up so that he could strike up a conversation.
The Pedernales River runs through his ranch and when dignitaries would visit, who had not been there before, he would take them on a ride, lickety-split to the river. He would suddenly turn on a dime and head directly into the Pedernales River. His passengers would yelp and lower their heads. The car would dip into the almost dry riverbed on the other side of a dam, that his passengers could not possibly see from inside the speeding car. After his practical joke he would have a good laugh at their expense.
3/9 to 16/98. 1 camped on the beach for several days at San Padre National Seashore near Brownsville and Matomoras, on the banks of the Rio Grande. I traveled its full length (60 miles one way) with my four-wheel drive. My old canvas family tent was used for the first and last time here. It was torn to shreds by a storm of almost hurricane strength. My crossing into Mexico was such a completely different experience from my crossing over the Rio Grande at Laredo nearly fifty years ago. In 1953 I purchased a bus ticket at Nuevo Laredo for Monterrey. At Monterrey I purchased a train ticket to Guadalajara and waited in the station for the train. It arrived nearly twenty-four hours late. When the train entered the station everyone piled on by, first rushing it and then those that secured a place inside would open a window and pull their family or friends and baggage through the windows. I was left on the platform. I gained a space on the little platform between the two cars. This was of course, very dangerous, as there was not even a rail to hold on to. As we rolled along, evening arrived, then night with the cooling breeze, a full moon reflecting off the desert quartz sand crystals and the cactus, creating their metamorphic silhouettes against the rolling hills. I gathered my courage and crawled my way inside and managed to create a space for myself. I slept and when I woke that morning, I found myself in the arms of a Mexican family that were sound asleep. It was very intimate setting as many of the women who were not sleeping were breast feeding their infants.
Crossing at Brownsville into Matomoras was uneventful other than I wanted to immediately leave, as it hit me as being a very depressing border town with all the failings associated with such places. Shortly after leaving Matomoras, I was stopped by the Mexican police roadblock and was asked by the inspector "Tienes una pistola?" That I answered in the negative. He replied "Por que?", laughing!
I spent my first night in Mexico in Tampico. I arrived there in the late evening, so I parked my car at the main square. I purchased some coffee and food at a restaurant and sat within eyesight of my car reading and simply enjoying the fountains and flowers. I eventually fell sound asleep and when I awoke at dawn there was a local fellow sitting at the other end of the bench. He looked at me smiling saying in English, "Good morning", I replied in the same.
9/17/98. The first major site I visited in Mexico was El Tajin, then Xalapa, and the capitol of Veracruz. The Archeological Museum in Xalapa had a fantastic collection of Olmec colossal heads and other works from this area and culture. This was one of the most unique museums that I visited. The architect tried to recreate as much as possible the coastal lowland vegetation and atmosphere where most of the heads were found. I was absolutely spellbound by this wonderful collection.
El Tajin was architecturally unique because the stone work surrounding the ceremonial structures appears to resemble windows or niches. The relief work is also of a sophisticated level.
3/18/98. 1 then continued traveling south through Veracruz (hotel). I arrived in Veracruz very late at night and went to the nearest drive-in hotel. I entered through a gate paying for a room. I parked my car, in a port with a curtain, so that the identity of the occupant would be relatively secure. The room was up a flight of stairs on the floor above. This room was covered with mirrors top to bottom. Veracruz is a port for sailors and truckers. Entering the city there would be guys running along side you with their index and thumb held in circle and their other index finger doing the motion. I exited the next morning before I was Veracruzed for a freighter headed for South America or some such place, and headed for La Venta Archeological site.
3/20/21/98. I stayed at Villahermosa in the Real Del Largo Hotel, visiting La Venta Outdoor Museum, Tabasco. There is an excellent park containing many of the sculptural artifacts found at La Venta including a group of small figures in the Olmec style measuring only a few inches high. They remind me of the Egyptian burial artifacts that I am familiar with. I have no doubt that these were used for the same purpose, that is, to accompany those who were entering the afterlife.
3/23/98. Palenque (Camping at Mayabell) and Bonampax.
I had many memorable experiences at Palenque. One was a group of Mayans claming they were priests of the old rite and befriending me to the point of inducting me into their religious rites in the main square; Copa incense and the whole bit. They also wanted me to share their tent with me but I declined. This turned out to be a very wise choice, as their tent did not have a floor. There was a deluge that night and their sleeping bags and clothes were soaked. I also thought that one female took a strong interest in me and thought I had better avoid that situation. I climbed the Temple of Inscriptions and climbed down to the crypt of Kinich Hanab Pacal the Great.
The first night at Palenque as the sun was just beginning to set behind the jungle covered mountains; a chorus of chattering began, slowly at first, but soon grew into deafening roar. Just when I thought I could not stand the sound any longer, it abruptly stopped as though someone had flipped a switch. In the morning I asked my Mayan neighbors if it was a pack of Jaguars or something because that was what I had imagined. They laughed and said of course not, it is just the Howler Monkeys. They said that as soon as the sun goes down they become insecure and communicate with each other to make sure everyone is alright. When they are satisfied they stop.
The fresco paintings lining the "Templo de las Pinturas" at the top of the Bonampax ceremonial platform were excellent. From descriptions from previous visitors regarding their having faded, I expected to be disappointed. They were beautifully preserved and the colors were vibrant with finely delineated, sensitive imagery.
I traveled through the state of Chiapas to Aqua Azul N. P. It is hard to capture on film the subtle and unspoiled beauty of the many interconnected falls and divided steams as they make their way down the mountainside. The calcite buildup with blue green subtle coloring is wonderful and a balm to the spirit.
Tonina -An image in stucco at Tonina was most impressive. It represented a skeletal death god named Turtle Foot and wears a turtle shell on his instep, hoisting a severed head by its hair. It was the Tonina people, I am told, that were responsible for eventually overthrowing both Palenque and Tikal. After viewing their artwork and the intimidating maize at the bottom of the complex, I can see why their reputation as warriors may be justified.
It was here that I was stopped by the Federales and told that my papers were not in order and that I must stop in San Christobal de Las Cases and get them straightened out. I just think they were keeping close tabs on me for fear I was a troublemaker wanting to aid the Sandanistas. There was a lot of bad blood between the Government and the Mayans. Their had been, approximately a year before, a massacre of Indians by the Government. Immediately adjacent to this checkpoint there was a large Mexican Military Training Camp.
3/22/98. San Christobal de Las Cases. (Camping). I saw just a few reminders of the problems that the Indians were having. There was a stall set in the main square where Indians could ask question and pick up material on the negotiations. There were children selling little hand made wooden trucks and stocking masked Sandanistas with weapons. I purchased one from very insistent young boy. Later, on another visit, I experienced a festival at San Christobal de Las Cases of much interest to me.
3/22 to 24/98. 1 traveled back to Palenque (camping) Traveled through the state of Campeche route 186 to Chetumal, Quintana Roo. Explored Calakmul, Becan in the state of Campeche and Kohunlich in the state of Quintana Roo. This route has many ruins that are relatively unexplored with few tourists.
Becan was a fascinating site where intensive archaeological work is presently in progress. When I was there a French team was just nearing the end of its tenure. On a temple structure there was a stuccoed altar facing that had just been exposed. It was really quite surreal but subtle in its imagery. Like Kohunlich they reminded me of the sculpture that can be found on the temples and structures in Southeast Asia. There was a woman laying out a mask consisting of stone pieces. The mask was lying face upward in the sand and she was fitting it together like a jigsaw puzzle. She was very upset that she had only a few days to complete her task before she had to turn it over to the next team. The next team would be from another country so that I had the feeling that there was a bit of national pride at work. The leader of the team of mostly Mexican restorers was very pleased that I felt that the main temple that they were reconstructing was unequally harmonious.
At Calakmul after first visiting Becan and back tracking, I arrived in late afternoon and gained entrance to the site as the Park rangers were just leaving. I was completely alone visiting the site. It is over a hundred-mile round trip through Jungles, towards the Guatemalan border. When I left, it was night, so I encountered many wild animals crossing the jungle dirt road and thought I saw a jaguar. When I arrived at the main road the rangers were waiting for me. I asked them where the nearest gas station was and thanked them for allowing me to see the site. They said that I would never make it and gave me gas from the extra cans on their jeeps. I offered to pay, but they would not hear of it. They asked if I would like to go jaguar hunting in the morning, but I backed out of that one.
Kohunlich was extremely interesting to me as a sculptor because of the temple with its stairway of masks. They are in excellent condition with some of their stucco still intact. Like Becan, they reminded me of the sculpture that can be found in Southeast Asia.
3/27/28/98. From Chetumal I traveled through Belize and Belize City. I spent just a short time in Belize but the people were very pleasant and I found that many of them are retired military from the US. I met one fellow who wanted to buy my car right from under me and put me up in his hotel.
When I was being processed at customs by the Mexican authorities before entering Belize, the customs agent started a shell game with my passport, hiding it under some papers. My eyes were following his every move as he deftly moved it from one place to another and under papers. He then waived me through with all my other papers without returning my passport. I held my ground asking for my passport and he feigned innocence and insisted that I continue with, "avante, avante". I reached down under some papers on his desk and pulled out my passport, holding it up for him to see. Terminado!
Another thing that stuck in my mind in Belize was the truck after truck of sugar cane I would see idling in rows along the road. These lines would extend for miles and at the end would be a factory belching out thick black smoke.
Belize City is a very attractive city that is mostly harbors and canals holding pleasure craft. People leave from here to fish and to deep-sea dive along the reefs. I did not do this. Instead I headed directly for Tikal. They sprayed my car inside and out with insecticide before they would let me cross the border. I had to pay for this service as well. On the way back I refused to let them do it a second time. They let me pass. I suspect that there is a certain amount of animosity between Guatemala and Belize.
As soon as I crossed over into Guatemala from Belize I passed a large Guatemalan Military Camp. Everyone was supplied with M16 riffles and marching fast lock step.
3/28-31/98. Tikal N. P. in Guatemala. (Camped at the park). The ruins, of course, is the main attraction but the wildlife was something else with monkeys, flocks of parrots flying overhead, oscillated turkeys, and snouted animals like the Coati. (Insert picture #31) I stayed up in the ruins through the night when there was no one present. It was eerie but beautiful, seeing the ruins turn to silhouettes and the jungle sounds come alive. I was becoming used to the Howler monkeys by now.
3/31/98. 1 then traveled back north to Tulum where I camped for two weeks at Camping Santa Fe, visiting both Coba and Chanmax. It was at this site that my foot became badly infected by a very large wood sliver. I approached a Mexican Marine Mash Unit that was set up on the beach. The officer in charge operated on my foot, much to the humor of the other Marines, thinking no doubt of revenge for "Los Ninos".
Tulum is without a doubt the most pleasant ruin in the Mexican Caribbean. Its structures huge the cliffs that line the shoreline. This probably created a natural fortified protection from invaders or pirates. It is thought that it also allowed the people of this area to collect taxes or tribute from those continuing their trade inland or proceeding further along the coast. The architecture of one building is very unequally curious because it s walls flare slightly outward to a corniced top with inlaid sculptural motifs. There is a natural cleft in the middle of this complex leading down to the sea and natural sandy beach that would allow small native craft to unload and load. It is still used by visitors to sunbathe.
Camping Santa Fe was just half mile further along the coast.
It was here that I experienced something that will always be remembered. One glorious day when the sky was deep cerulean blue and the water appeared the color of jade; there suddenly appeared two beautiful chestnut horses, a majestic stallion and a sleek mare. All the women on the beach and some men as well, began ridding in the surf. They were nude ridding the horses bareback, on a nude beach. After a time they exhausted the horses and had let them frolic in the surf unsupervised; they sure did frolic!
My seeing at this beach all kinds of people both bronzed Mayan and light skinned Scandinavian types always brings to my mind Courbet's painting of two women spent, lying legs intertwined, with a string of broken pearls strewn between them. I first saw this life-sized painting at an exhibition of his work in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I kept returning to it over and over again.
It was here that I would go swimming in a crystal clear Cenote very near Camping Santa Fe on the road to Coba. It had fish and turtles that you could swim with, in addition to some water filled tunnels and rooms that you could explore. It was a welcome break from the hot sands and blue salty waters of the Mexican Caribbean. Since this was on the ancient main road that the Mayan's used for commerce and communication between Coba and Tulum, I imagine this was one of their watering holes as well.
The only two other animals that I saw in profusion here besides horses, donkeys, and dogs, were iguanas and big scorpions. The iguanas were everywhere. The scorpions could be seen by the light of a flashlight in the fibers of the thatched roof, because of their phosphorescence.
I had carried with me about ten tee shirts that I had purchased at the Tuskaronan Indian Reservation, located near me at Niagara Falls. They are black with a picture in white of Joe Jacobs's soapstone sculpture. I have been closely involved with both the Tuskarorans and Senecas on casting projects through my student-training program. I had made friends with some of the Mayans that were at Sata Fe. When they saw the tee shirts they began pestering me for one. I finally ended up giving them all away. They were thrilled and for the rest of my time, several Mayans were strutting around with their prized possessions on display.
There were many Scandinavian women staying at Camping Santa Fe. All of the campers would spend the evenings in conversation drinking Corona beer after a hard day at the beach. I was alone waiting for two weeks for my wife to arrive at Cancun. Cancun was approximately sixty miles from Camping Santa Fe. I did not want miss our rendezvous, so this place was ideal for killing time. I would naturally seek out others of both sexes to enjoy the evening conversation. Even though I made it obvious that I was married, one woman became very interested in seeking me out. I thought nothing of it until one night after I had retired to my tent on the beach, I heard someone outside, that began without a sound, to feel around for the zipper to the tent door. I asked who was there and still no answer. Then this person went to the other side of the tent where the door was actually located and felt around again. I became alarmed and thought someone was going to rob me. I impulsively pushed through the wall of the tent shoving the person away with the command "Who’s there". There was still no answer! I realized after a few anxious seconds that the body I pushed was soft and curvy. By then my visitor had gone and I was probably saved from a very compromising situation.
3/11/98. 1 met my wife at Cancun (Hotel Plaza).
4/12-14/98. We both stayed at Isla Mujeres. (Hotel Posada del Mar.) We ferried out to the Island with my car. I did not dare leave my car on the mainland.
This was a fine choice for our stay. The hotel was more then adequate with a fine choice of restaurants and excellent beaches. There is a rugged coast to explore facing the open deep sea, directly across from Cuba.
4/15 /16/98. Chichen Itza and Merida (Holiday Inn) One of the most memorable experiences among many at Chichen Itza was climbing up onto the chamber inside the pyramid to see the Jaguar throne chair. One of my earliest remembrances of it was through Migel Covarrubias’s rendering of it. I was not disappointed.
The Holiday Inn in with the rooms and hallways richly decorated in Mexican Colonial style was fine. Each evening they would have a large sumptuous outdoor self serve prepared to order with live music and dancing for entertainment. (Insert picture # 43/44)
4/16/98. We visited Celestun Nat. Park, and back to Tulum (Cabanas in Mayan style, Hotel Osho) and to my wife's return to the States by way of Cancun. (Insert picture # 20 )
Celestun was a short drive from Marida and a pleasant resort / park on the ocean facing towards the Gulf of Mexico. My wife and I enjoyed some leisure time on the beach with fantastic whole fish dinners.
My wife and I traveled back to Tulum, which she hadn't seen yet. Rather then staying at Camping Santa Fe which is primitive so say the least, we stayed about a mile or two further away from Tulum in cabaña like sleeping quarters directly above the beach, on grassy dunes.
4/18-19/98. 1 drove back to Chichen Itza (Camping), I wanted to explore this site more since it was on my return direction of travel.
4/19/20 98. Merida (Hotel) and Dzibilchaltun. I visited Progreso.
Dzibilchaltum was very interesting for its main temple and extremely interesting figurative sculpture executed in a naturalistic manner. The sexual organs on the figures are portrayed graphically.
Progresso is closer to Merida so the local residents frequent it. It is not as pleasant as Celestestun and is more like a US style beach.
4/19-20/98. 1 then traveled south to Mayapan, Oxkintoc, and Uxmul. I observed the light show at Uxmul. (Camping). It was on this drive that I approached a group of young Indians on the side of the road. They were posing in a sort of "Station of the Cross" grouping, absolutely still, carrying a large wooden cross. My initial observation was that this was some kind of unique statue but when I stopped my car and looked closely, I realized that it was blood and glistening sweat that I was observing, not bronzes! They were standing on the opposite side of the road from a small church. I did not dare take a picture, as I feared I would offend them. The picture will have to remain in my head.
It was here that I got lost trying to find my way out of small but complex town. I stopped to ask some Indians the way out and they, I thought, pointed for me to follow the guy on the tractor just pulling away. I followed him to find to my embarrassment that he led me to a dead end, his house! He dismounted and ran to the door and entered the house looking back at me with a troubled look, closing the door behind him. It was then that I realized that he probably was wondering what this loco Gringo was doing.
It was in this area that I also spotted on several occasions, Quetzal birds. They seemed like spirits not birds. They would appear and just as suddenly disappear as they flew from tree to tree, fluttering their azure, iridescent, and unnatural tails.
Uxmul was unique in every way from its complex and diverse architecture to its sculptural decorations. I stayed two full days to see as much as I possibly could. The first evening I attended their excellent light show. The lighting brings out and accents the relief decorations that are spellbinding. The main temple has rounded corner very much like a smaller temple that is located at Coba. Since an extensive complex of roads linked Uxzmul and Coba there was most likely a strong architectural connection as well.
4/21/98. Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak, Labna, Nocuchich, Dzibitum, Tohcox, and Hochob. This list of sites that I visited each had a unique aspect about them.
Kabah was striking in its Chaac mask facade running the whole length of the main western facade facing the courtyard called the Coda Pop. On the backside of this same structure there are sculptures, approximately life size, looking like they might portray rulers. They have hands that look robotic or like they could rotate 360 degrees. Each wears distinctive headdresses and has raised facial scarification patterns. I have never seen anything like them elsewhere.
Labna is known for its unique arch. I also found the still largely intact combed temple structures very near by of great interest as well. My photo here shows the backside of the arch that is rarely portrayed.
Hochob with its complex combed structures surrounding a central courtyard is certainly most impressive. Two structures that are still intact have doorways or openings to their inner chambers that look like jaguar masks with claws on the raised patio in front.
I should point out here that these structures were originally covered with a thick layer of polychromed stucco that hid the angular cuts and / or imperfections of the stone.
4/22/98. 1 traveled west to Edzna, Late Peten, south to Palenque (Camping Mayabell).
Edzna, Campeche was obviously a major Mayan City State with still remarkably intact structures that reminded me of Tajin, Veracruz. I was totally surprised by its size and complexity as I heard little of it until I visited the site.
4/23 - 26/98. From Palenque I traveled south.
4/26/98. San Cristobal de las Casas (Hotel) It was here, on my second visit, that I encountered all the different styles of native dress that the descendents of the Mayans still wear to this day. My visit just happened to coincide with a festival where all the different groups of Indians came down from their mountain retreats to celebrate together in town.
I found the main open and closed market in San Cristobal de las Casas. While I was taking pictures a very old, small Indian women, who came up to no more then my elbow, stuck her finger well into my ribs. Startled I turned, and she said "no" and wagged her finger at me. I guessed that the pile of dried brown leaves I had found interesting was the markets stash of hashish.
4/27/28/98. I traveled southeast through Guatemala (Hotel El Dorado). I became completely lost trying to find the way out of the city to the Rota Atlantica. I prevailed on two policemen to help with showing me the way. It took them 45 minutes to guide me out, as there were no street or route signs. They refused to take any compensation.
The route going south to Guatemala was a very narrow road where barely two cars could pass each other. There were no guardrails and the shoulder was practically nonexistent and crumbling. There were new tractor-trailer trucks transporting Chiquita bananas to the coast to ship north. I saw two trucks burning at the bottom of very deep ravine. I did not see what happened to the drivers. I just gripped the wheel very hard and kept driving. Remembering this, I still have nightmares rolling down bottomless ravines like a football, especially as I was driving Ford Sport Utility "Exploder" with Firestone tires. I think I am suffering from post stress syndrome due to hindsight.
I took a short cut on the border through the mountains on my trip to Copan from Guatemala. After a very torturous route on a dirt road with high cliffs on all sides I arrived at little unpainted customs shack. Inside in bound volumes with the year and month stamped on them, surrounding the room from floor to ceiling, were the names, origin and dates of every one who has ever crossed at this point.
Copan Honduras (Hotel). One of the most interesting stories is related to the formation of the Complex at Copan. A Classic ruler called Resplendent Quetzal-Macaw, appeared as a stranger at Copan-after having walked the trails from the "place of the reeds " (almost certainly a reference to Teotihuacan) for a total of 157 days! This shows more then anything else how there was commerce and sharing of ideas throughout the whole continent.
Archeologists have uncovered a completely stuccoed temple complex under a relatively more recent structure. The colors are still intact and give an excellent indication of how all temples must have appeared when they were first constructed. The carvings that are located throughout the ceremonial squares are some of the most elaborate and finely carved sculptures to be found in Central America. The carvings remind me of the sculptures of Far or Southeast Asia. There is a stone carving or Alter Q that tells the story of the complete succession of ruling dynasties at Copan.
I did not visit the museum on the rise near the site because it was closed for display renovation. This was especially disappointing because I understand that the reason for this is that they have found so many artifacts while excavating under the temples. I had a letter of introduction addressed to the director that would have allowed me entrance. I never approached him. I had caught the flu and I certainly did not want to pass it on to him.
I made a most curious observation while I was staying in the town of Copan. I noticed that there were quite a few blue eyed fair-haired light skinned young adults. It is my guess that the graduate anthropologists have left their mark.
4/29/98. 1 then traveled back through Honduras to Mexico. I returned by another longer route and crossed just short of the El Salvador border. I took this route because the short cut I used to Copan was very likely washed out from the torrential rains. I was also in fear that I may just slide of the road because of the mud. At the alternate crossing I got into a real tug of war with the authorities, as they wanted me to pay all sorts of fees before I could be on my way. Since I didn't have the correct denomination and there were no banks near by, they said I would have to drive back many miles to secure the correct funds. After making a ruckus and staring down a guy with an M –16, the officials realized they had a very tired flu stricken individual on their hands and after much discussion they let me go. Their parting comment in English was, 'Take it easy, mister"!
I had contracted a flu virus during the last day I was in San Cristobal de las Casas and it became progressively worse until the border crossing from Honduras into Guatemala. I had had flu shots before leaving the U. S. but evidently this strain was not covered.
4/1-4/98. My return through Mexico included Milta, Yagul, Monte Alban and Oaxaca (Hotel). Oaxaca had many fine colonial churches and winding intertwined streets. The main square, the Zukolo had the most fantastic evening display of monumental papier-mâché figures playing out dramas relating to the revolution. Tamayo Museo is a fine museum and has a collection of Pre Colombian artifacts that Rufino Tamayo donated to his hometown.
The excellent brick decorative work at Milta reminded me of the cloth weavings I had seen in Chiapas.
Monte Alban was truly an enormous complex with many fine relief carvings. I got the sense that the many complexes were connected in diverse ways both above and below ground. It was here that I saw a definite connection or tunnel between the raised pyramid and the raised platform located away some distance in the Mane Square. From Oaxaca I traveled north on route 150.
5/5/6/98. Puebla (Hotel Del Portal), and Cholula.
At Puebla I witnessed the most important celebration and holiday in Mexico in this city where it all began, the Cinco de Mayo. The women, men, and horses dressed up in the traditional riding outfits were just splendid in leather and silver. I visited the Amparo Museum & and the sculpture of Manual Tolsa in the Cathedral.
I will mention here that I passed by two volcanoes on a trip through Central America. One was Acatenanango near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and the other was Popocatepetl near Puebla. I did not attempt to climb or explore them because of time constants. I was satisfied seeing their snow capped summits. I have mentioned in my memoirs under the heading "First European Trip" that my wife and I climbed Pompeii and Mt. Etna. I go into the particulars of volcano climbing in that section.
When I am reminded of volcanoes I always think of Dr. Atel, a Mexican painter, who used that subject quite often. He influenced the Mexican Muralists and had taught, or had contact, with most of them. He is rather highly respected in Mexico. At the present time he has been consigned to the back burners of art history. His paintings and pastels are charged with vibrancy and an impressionistic handling of color.
At Cholula, the church constructed on what was obviously the main temple platform was certainly a sobering reminder of Spanish suppression of native cultures. There is another example of this disregard at Dsibilchaltun with the erection of the Capilla de Indios in the sixteenth century.
5/9-l2/98. I then traveled to Mexico D.F. (Hotel Cathedral) visiting Teotihuacan and Tula. The museums included the National Museum of Anthropology, Modern, Tamayo, Contemporary Art, Freda Kahlo, Trotsky and the wonderful Templo Mayor and its relatively new museum. There were murals by Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, and Tamayo. I also visited the Nat. Palace, Bellas Artes and Luis Cuevas museum.
Freda Kahlo's studio and home was one of the highlights of my stay in Mexico City. I was very disappointed that they did not allow me to take any photos. I sat in a patio under the overhang of her upstairs studio. It was by chance that I looked up at the ceiling above me to discover a vibrant cadmium red mosaic portrayal of the hammer and sickle. Some of her collections of papier-mâché figures are still there. Her kitchen area, while very simple, was striking with its completely tiled bold patterns. In contrast, the Trotsky complex just a few blocks from Freda Kahlo's complex was dreary with bars on all the windows. I saw the room where he was murdered with an ice pick to his head. On the other side of the courtyard I ran into a major meeting of the communist party. The Russian communist party flag was prominently being displayed outside the entrance.
The new Templo Mayor Museum has wonderful terra-cotta life size Bat God figures with their internal organs erupting to the surface. What dramatic visuals effect this has! I have do not know how others interpret the symbolism of such compelling imagery, but it is my guess that the Aztecs were intrigued by the Bat Gods internal organs and their similarity to their own organs. The dismembered circular stone goddess can be seen from two different floor levels. It measures approximately ten feet in diameter. These are all relatively recent Aztec discoveries.
There are no superlatives to describe the National Anthropological Museum. They have gathered some of the best examples from all over Mexico.
The only thing that was disappointing was to see the Diego Rivera mural that was originally in the lobby of the Del Prodo Hotel moved to a special museum at the far end of the park. This was the result of the horrible earthquake. It was such a festive fresco in the hotel. There was a real interaction with the space and the people it was created for. The poor Cathedral is held up by an elaborate internal structure that wasn't esthetic or reassuring. My hotel was to the side of the Cathedral and in its shadow. That may have been why my room was so reasonable.
To me the Mexican muralists stylistically have something in common with the paintings of Delacroix and Ingres. I like Orozco's work because it has an exuberance of energy that is palatable. I like Diego Rivera's work for its precision and intellectual discipline. It cannot be said that Rivera’s work is without passion. His work exhibits a social intensity found in few artists. It is for similar reasons that I like both Delacroix and Ingres.
It is my honest opinion that Diego Rivera is one of the most thoroughly trained and versed Painters of his generation. He has the work and explorations to prove it. His work covers the gauntlet of techniques and styles that is truly extraordinary. He gives Picasso a run for his money. Orozco is not far behind.
I made a trip from the Hotel Cathedral where I was staying to see Teotihuacan. I took a bus tour that the hotel said would be the easiest way. I did not want to drive around in Mexico City traffic if I could avoid it. This tour also stopped at the shrine to the Virgin of Guadeloupe and the Monument to the Three Cultures. Originally, when I began the tour I really was not interested in visiting the last two but I must admit to finding it fascinating.
Historically the Monument to the three Cultures was interesting from two points of view, the killing of innocent participants of the Olympics who were protesting and their enshrinement; to see and talk with some Mexicans who feel very strongly that their culture is a complex amalgam and shouldn’t be oversimplified and represented by only one cultural faction.
Visiting the shrine to the Virgin of Guadeloupe was another type of experience for me as I had visited this shrine on my first visit to Mexico in 1951. I had been raised in the Roman Catholic Faith and educated by the Sisters of Mercy. I visited this shrine 1951 with all the enthusiasm of one wanting to see the place and evidence of this great miracle that had taken place in the New World. What I saw disturbed me greatly. There were long lines climbing up the rough steps on their knees. They recited the Rosary as they climbed along the way, and there were venders selling all sorts of objects. I came away with a sick feeling that there was something wrong with this experience and I never wanted to return.
Today, it has all changed, not necessarily for the better. Now there are several churches surrounding a square, one holding the relic. To see the relic the visitor passes along in front, not even walking, but riding a mechanical walkway. At the end is a store with highly upgraded objects, many in precious materials, at very high prices.
My education with the Sisters of Mercy was very intense. From the eighth grade through High School my homeroom and English teacher was Sister Mary Bertrand who had been published in Joyce Kilmer’s anthology of Catholic Poets. For some reason she took a deep interest in my education. I remember her reading to me Chaser’s Canterbury Tales in the archaic English. She was also the head person for a number of years at St. Rose College in Albany before taking her position at St. Johns Academy. She explained to me that she did this in order to spend more time writing. Periodically, I would work at the Mother House where all the nuns were housed. I would take out and burn trash, and clean and do other chores as needed. Once when I was long out of school, they visited me at my residence in Boston inquiring about my welfare. Since that time I have never stayed in contact with them.
Because of the first two places that I visited, my visit was too short at Teotihuacan. Since I was there on my first trip I was already familiar with its layout and I did manage to climb both pyramids and explore the large complex at a very strenuous clip. What interested me the most on this visit was the raised relief decorations that were found more recently and still had the painted embellishments still intact. I was the last person to return to the bus leaving for the hotel. We stopped for food and to visit a tequila distillery. The bottles I purchased lasted me the rest of the trip through the remainder of Mexico.
My trip to Tula was on a very hot day with a blazing noonday sun and an intense hot gray sky. Those wonderful monumental figures of warriors or Gods that grace the top of the ceremonial platform could have used their, most likely, thatched roof for shade. I found the raised friezes and frescoes at the base of the ceremonial platform to be of great interest to me. There are especially wonderfully expressive portrayals of the Jaguar.
Tula reminded me of the brilliant interpretation that van Gogh did of Millet's "The Sower". There is a very large blazing sun that looks as though it has just landed on earth. This is the sense of what I felt at Tula. I am sure van Gogh felt the same way about his painting.
The large stone sculpture to the left represents the Aztec Goddess Coatlicue, "Goddess of the Serpent Skirt," from Tenochtitlan (State of Mexico), Aztec culture, 14th-15th century A.D. This sculpture has always fascinated me because it is one of the finest examples of metamorphic art I have ever encountered. The creation of gods and men, of heaven and earth and all the symbols important to the religion and philosophy of the Aztecs have been integrated into this exquisitely carved stone sculpture. Most metamorphic art represents animal with human bodies as in Egyptian sculpture or animal with human upper bodies as in Greek sculpture. This is truly one of the more successful attempts where it is hard to find a definite human or animal connection.
One contemporary sculptor that has executed one of the finest metamorphic sculptures is Jacques Lipchitz’s portrayal of "Mother and Child". A cast of this sculpture can be found on permanent display as a part Frank Lloyd Wright’s "Falling Water" residence in Pennsylvania. On closer examination, it also portrays a bull’s head. Whenever I look at either sculpture I think always of the other.
I will quote Pedro Ramirez Vazquez's explanation of Coatlicue:
"The goddess of birth and, death. Coatlicue gave and took away life; she was the incarnation of this duality in all human life - two moments of a single process of experience the acceptance of which was of the outmost importance in Aztec thinking. Because she represents life-in- death and death-in-life, Coatlicue is portrayed headless. In place of a human head, she has huge serpent heads, symbolizing the earth bound character of human life. She has no hands; in their place are two more serpents, in the form of eagle- like claws, which are repeated at her feet. These eagle-images symbolize the sky-bound aspiration of human life and are, therefore, opposite to the earth-bound symbolism of the serpent. Hanging from her neck is a necklace of open hands alternating with human hearts. The Hands symbolize the act of giving life, and the hearts, the taking of life through sacrifice to the gods in exchange for their preservation of cosmic order. In the center of the collar, in front, hangs a human skull with living eyes in its sockets and another identical one attached to her belt. These symbolize life and death together as parts of one process. In sum, Coatlicue depicts the contradictory but necessary principals of existence: the expectation of an after-life within a natural, mortal world."
5/13 /14/98. 1 left Mexico City traveling to Cuernavaca, Taxco and Acapulco (Hotel Mirador). I left Acapulco traveling along the pacific coast highway 200 to Colima.
When traveling from Mexico City to Cuernavaca a young policeman stopped me. He wanted to fine me for an infraction that I didn't understand. I rolled up my window because I thought he was going to take my money. This had happened to me outside Mexico City as I was entering from the south. I bargained with them and gave them eighty peso's instead of eighty dollars, simply because I did not have that amount in green backs. I rolled up my window. That turned out to be a big mistake. In about five minutes, four squad cars pulled up with sirens wailing and light flashing. This fellow stepped out of one of cars that looked right out of "The Treasure of Sierra Matre". He said, "Sigue mi". I looked at his dark frozen eyes, coarse mustache, gold tooth with two 45 revolvers on his hip, and I did as I was told. We traveled through a maze of back streets until we entered the police station with a yard full of impounded cars. I thought my car and I were going to next. They collected all my papers and after a time two policemen came out with all the others looking on. The female policeman winked at me and said that all my papers were in order and I could go, but not before they asked me to pose in front of my car so they could submit it to the local paper.
I didn't spend much time in Acapulco. Just by complete coincidence, I drove to the top of a steep hill to view the city and there was the Mirador Hotel where the famous divers do their stuff. My room was perched right on the cliff side so that I could watch them from my room. After the performance, I shook hands with each diver. I would rather fight bulls in the ring then attempt their feats. In Ampolla, Spain I watched the locals fight bulls in the surf. It is sight not to be forgotten, seeing the blood mixing with the foam and sand. I thought on this day that I was going to see blood on the rocks.
5/13 /14/98. Guadalajara, Museums and murals of Orozco. (Hotel 5/15/16/98). My initial impressions upon revisiting Guadalajara was tempered by my remembrances of the little colonial town I had known almost fifty years before. As I walked around the town I began to accept the enormous changes that had taken place. It is charming and in spite of all the modern convinces it has kept its colonial heritage. The Orozco murals are still there and as vibrant as ever. There is a modern highway going directly to Puerto Vallarta.
When I visited the Orozco studio and home on my first visit to Guadalajara in 1951, I copied several drawings and I still have these in my collection. While I was drawing I heard a disturbance behind me and it turned out that it was Mrs. Orozco who was still living in the house. She looked over my shoulder and nodded in agreement. She then offered me a cup of tea. There were several easel paintings in the collection hanging on the walls. The one of his mother was particularly striking and also I believe a small frescoed self-portrait. I also remember the balcony above that would allow Mr., & Mrs. Orozco to have private showings of films.
One kind of interesting observation I made while in Guadalajara was the quantity of marimba playing throughout the city. I think this may be because Guadalajara has become relatively affluent. They can earn money just by playing around the streets and in the cafés. I saw one player, using two mallets; two players, using three mallets; two players, using four mallets. In one instance I saw one player, using four mallets. I am well aware that Chiapas and Guatemala are the origins of Middle American mallet playing but I missed it there because I really am not interested in making the rounds of the bars alone. It could be dangerous.
It might be interesting to note that my son Robert is just completing his Doctorate in Music Composition at Cornell. His final requirement is to complete his dissertation, the subject being "new developments in keyboard percussion during the 20th and 21st centuries."
5/17/18/98. 1 returned to Colima and followed the coast road, route 15. I slept in a car because I thought I was running out of gas. I proceeded the next morning to the bottom of a hill where I did run out. I left the car and approached a farmer sitting by the side of the road and asked him where the nearest gas station was. He jerked his head to the side and pointed his thumb over his shoulder. The gas station was there in plain sight. If I had gone another yard or two I would have seen it, so I really didn't run out after all!
Puerto Vallarta (Hotel Posada Rio Cuale) From there I traveled on the coast road 15 through Mazatlan (This port is most likely the busiest in Mexico. It looks as though everything from orient passes through here.)
I spent a few days here in Puerto Vallarta where director John Houston made "The Night of the Iguana". There is a real funky statue to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton entwined in each other's arms. There is also a life-size statue of John Houston in bronze. It is located on a little Island at the base of a stream, drooping down from the mountainside and emptying into the ocean. Vallarta is "La Playa" for the people of Guadalajara as well as others from north of the border.
Los Mochis (slept in car.)
At Los Mochis I was going to take the rail trip into the canyons and mountains of Creel. It turned out there was at that time one of the worst forest fire seasons ever to hit Mexico. The air was thick with smoke so that I knew it would be a waste. This was a big disappointment. I also elected not to cross over to the Baja Peninsula at this point but to head directly to Nogales. I traveled in one day to Nogales and the U. S. This route through the Mexican Sonoran Desert was taken over by the migrant workers commandeering the tollbooths protesting the high tolls levied on the migrant workers. They waived me through all the way. This turned out to be a smart move as I headed into the Southwest.
5/20/98. After customs processing at Nogales, I traveled through Tumacacori National Park to Pipe Organ Cactus national Park (Camped.) I then traveled to Tucson and from there to...
5/21/98. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
This is a very mysterious ruin even though it is located in a wide-open space. It is honey combed with rooms and connected by doors and strange passageways. The fact that it is large and has been weathered just adds to its mystery.
5/22/98. Montezuuma Castle National Monument.
5/22/98. Tonto National Monument.
The two above ruins are gems of the Cliff Dwellers art
5/22/98. Tuzigoot National Monument.
Since the three above examples of Pre-Columbian ruins were small and within easy driving distance from each other, I visited them on the same day.
It was here that I was reminded of an old friend of mine, Larry Calcagno, who loved this area of the country and had a place in Taos. He died in 1993 before I had a chance visit him there. I had known Larry when the both of us were residents at the McDowell Colony. He always hit me as being very lonely and since I am basically kind of shy, we became fast friends. He was gay, but I am not. This did not discourage our friendship. I photographed him in his studio and just found out that he used one of my photos on page four of his biographical catalogue for his exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum. The title of this retrospective catalogue is "Journey Without End - The Life & Art of Lawrence Calcagno."
5/23/98. Walnut Canyon National Monument I camped in the woods nearby to wait for the park to open in the morning. Two other early bird visitors and I were detained because there was a murder victim left by the side of the road. We waited for the Park Ranger to show up and I gave them a description of the probable killer, I had seen him speed up to the park gate, and make a U-turn in his red sports convertible. The police found the sports car abandoned on the main highway. I was cleared!
5/23/98. Wupatki Nat. Mon. The architecture at these sites stands out. The day I visited the sky was a deep blue and the surrounding desert was the color of deep rust red. The shadows turned to alizarin crimson because of the intense light. The Cohonina and Kayenta Anasazi built wonderfully complex structures, incorporating them in to the natural landscape and washes of the area. Structure upon natural structure makes this a place of utter beauty, with a spiritual quality not to be forgotten.
5/24-25/98. Grand Canyon Nat. Park South Rim. ( Camped ) Hiked the Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River. I camped within a few yards of the unfenced rim of the Grand Canyon. I would arise in the morning to have my coffee, observing the sunrise and colors change from subtle pastel shades to intense washed out shades of the noon sunlight. In the evening before I turned in, I would observe the light again, turn from the intense light of the day to the deeper opaque rainbow colors of evening with the sunset eclipsing it all.
5/26/98. Grand Canyon Nat. Park North Rim. There is much more seclusion here and a wonderful lodge run by the Park Service.
5/26-27/98. Zion Nat. Park. ( Camped ) Zion was a study in contrasts in textures and natural structures.
5/27/98. Cedar Breaks Nat. Mon. This is an area of monumental proportions that just swallows the visitor up.
5/27-29/98. Bryce Canyon Nat. Park. ( Camped ) For three days I explored the rim from end to end observing the canyons from dawn to dusk. I climbed down into the floor and in and around the many intriguing natural structures that resembles Goudi's Santa Familia and Giacometti's sculptures.
5/30-31/98. Arches Nat. Park. ( Camped ) This is a famous and much used park that is overrun with visitors. I still found it charming and to a person like me whose life is form, I found the arches fascinating, especially Delicate and Landscape arches.
6/1-2/98. Canyonlands Nat. Park. I entered on route 211 by Newspaper Rock (Insert Picture # 29/4) Four wheeled drove into Molar an Angel arch in the Needles section. I drove to the confluence of Colorado and Green Rivers. In order to do this I had to start out by climbing Elephant Hill. There was a sign saying "Jeeps Only". I found out that my vehicle is not a jeep. When I arrived at the first switch back I tried to maneuver by three point turning. I ended up with my rear wheels hanging on the edge of the cliff. My emergency brake would not hold because of the steep pitch so I had to keep my foot on the foot brake and gas at the same time. I started to shake all over and my hands started to sweat. I thought I would simply bail out and let the vehicle roll of the cliff. I realized that the vehicle was pitching down to the rear and that the door would sweep me off the cliff with it. I finally just pulled myself together and gave it the gas while keeping my foot on the brake to get out of that mess.
I had had the same experience in Korea when I was driving a jeep with a few fellow jokers who jumped out and were laughing their fool heads off at my expense. Finally, after about half-hour a "Deus and a Half" showed up and he winched me out with his tow motor. In that case, my emergency brake was completely gone. This is often true of military vehicles.
6/3/98. Hovenweep National Monument. These are a series of remarkably preserved structures built around a naturally protected narrow deep valley open at one end. There are also structures in the valley below, with pathways both natural and man made, interconnecting the entire complex. The surrounding open Cajon mesa extends out in all directions. It is obvious that the towers and some other structures allowed all to be observed for protection and communication. It was built between (900 and 1300 AD by the Anasazi.
6/3-6/98. Traveled to Mesa Verde Nat. Park (camped at Morefield). It seemed as though most of the Pre Colombian and Native American architectural structures were located primarily where there were natural resources and or esthetically (pleasing) environmental surroundings. This is most apparent at Mesa Verde, Palenque, Mexico, or Tikal, Guatemala. The location was not, solely for defensive purposes, although it may have been of some consideration. In the case of Mesa Verde, the choice was one of compromise between the native men and women. The water was in the valley below, gathered by the women and the hunting of game by the men, was on the plateau above. The logical solution was to move the housing in the already naturally created cliff walls, halfway between both places. This also provided the extra advantage of water seepage from above, used for drinking, and the natural protection from the elements due to the natural overhang. I have tried to use photo's that are unusual views accenting details that are not normally seen in the literature. Places such as this are photographed over and over in much the same way where photographers wait hours just for the right light, etc.
6/6/98. Visited Aztec Ruins Nat. Monument. There is a reconstruction of an enclosed kiva ceremonial room based on the natural archeological site already in place that gives one some idea of how all kivas must have seemed when they were in use. It is full size for community use. Kivas could be several sizes, some for family use and some for community use.
6/6-7/98. Traveled to Chaco Culture Nat. Historical Park. (Camped Gallo) Chaco structures, when observed from the cliffs above were most impressive in their complexity. Unlike anywhere else, this location pointed out what must have been a tremendous change in climate that drove most of the Anestasie to the south and maybe even to the valley of Mexico. Although there were washes where streams must have been, the water was long gone and even in the wet season, there must be very little, as evidenced by the surrounding desert.
6/8 to 10/98. To Canyon de Chelly Nat. Mon. (Camped Cottonwood) Four wheeled into the canyon with a Navajo guide. Visited Petrified Forest Nat. Park on 6/10/98)
6/10/11/98. Traveled to Gilia Cliff Dwellings Nat. Mon. (Camped) Very far back on a mountain road with very few visitors. It is well worth the trip because you can climb around the ruins and they are extremely interesting and well preserved. To my knowledge, this is the only ruin that a visitor can negotiate around without supervision. I do not think this attitude will last much longer.
611/12/98. Traveled to Guadeloupe Mountains Nat. Park (Camped) I visited Carlsbad Caverns Nat. Park 6/12/98)
6/12-14/98. Traveled to Big Bend Nat. Park (Camped) Very hot! 115f to 120f by my car thermometer.
I again visited Mexico here. The Rio Grande is so narrow and shallow you can just walk across and there seems to be few people around. I saw many distinctive tracks of snakes here with their rippled sidewinder pattern.
6/14/16/98. I left Big Bend and traveled all the way to Joshua Tree National Park in California using route 10 (Camped Cottonwood Spring). The rock formations were some of the most sculptural forms I have observed at any location. In the picture here, if you look very carefully at the split in the rock and look at the very bottom where it meets the ground, you may be able to see me crouched in the split.
6/16-19/98. Drove to Los Angeles, visiting the Getty and Los Angeles County Museums, among others. UCLA Sculpture Park. (Camped Buckhorn in the Angeles Nat. Forest)
I ran into my first rattle snake, and it was a stand off! I would drive back and forth each day from Buckhorn in Angeles National Forest. This is just above the Hollywood Hills from the coast.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles was everything it was cracked up to be. The architecture was inviting and accessible and presented the work well. The flower gardens, waterways and fountains were a pleasant diversion. The restaurants were extremely interesting and the food was good and priced right. The artwork was displayed well and the aforementioned amenities just made it more pleasant for children, seniors, and every one else to enjoy the work with out stress. I wish I had time to use their research facilities. As it was explained to me, they are state of the art, and have the latest technologies. My only criticism would be that all decorations or artwork are formal and lacking content. This, I am sure, is my personal view because of my esthetic preferences. I am sure most would disagree with me.
The Los Angeles County museum has a wonderful collection that includes a fine collection of Rodan's works.
I would like to mention here two other museums built recently that could give the J. Paul Getty Museum a run for its money. They are the Royal Art Museum of Ontario at Ottawa Canada and the Anthropological Museum across the river in Hull, Quebec. The Art Museum is a wonderful play of light using glass and large open spaces. It is pleasant to negotiate and the work gains from the well thought out display areas. The Hull Museum is specially designed around the totem poles of Northwest Indians, which incorporates
interactive displays with the cultural connections. These interactive connections extend outside with powwow sits for celebrations. Joe Jacobs, a Tuskoran Indian, has a soapstone frieze at the rear terrace entrance.
I am really looking forward to the new Guggenheim Museum that is projected for New York City. I believe that there are museums dedicated to the American Indian to be built in New York and Washington D. C.
6/20-21/98. Route l to Death Valley National Monument (Camped Mesquite Spring), Colors and rock formations were spectacular. I had to fend of the kangaroo rates at the evening campsite. Actually they were delightful, hopping around, grabbing the least morsel I would drop on the ground. I also saw more rattlesnakes.
6/22/98. Traveled route 190 to Lone Pine north to Mono Lake (Camped - Tioga pass snowed in) north and west on route 108.
Mono Lake was a surreal place with weird formations emerging helter-skelter from the lake like little apparitions. As I tried to cross over the shortest route to Yosemite that evening, I found it to be still snowed in, approaching July. It was interesting to see snow. It would not be the last!
6/23/98. Yosemite Nat. Park. Had to travel a few hundred miles out of the way because of the snow. (Camped at Overflow) I got a kick out of the line up of people tying to duplicate Ansel Adams picture of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. I took a picture of them taking a picture. I observe the light changing over the whole valley from dawn to dusk and observed a wolf with a very determined look, traveling in the woods.
6/23 to 25/98. South to Fresno and Kings Canyon & Sequoia Nat. Park (Camped Azalea) (Snow) The Sequoia forest was truly surreal to me as a sculptor. That anything could grow to such a size, was a revelation. When you see pictures of these trees, it just does not give you any idea of what their true majesty really is. I was to see all the largest trees in the North American continent, the redwoods of Northern California and the Tule tree of Mexico near Oaxaca. The Tule tree is almost treated like a sacred object, with a church built near by and the tree being lovingly cared for. They water it every day. Its circumference is enormous.
6/25-26/98. San Francisco and Pt. Reyes National Seashore (Camped at Sky Trail). Visited San Francisco Art Institute, SEMOMA, Berkeley Museum of Art, etc. I camped at Sky Trail, hiking up and down each day. I had to register early every morning for that evening because they discouraged people staying more then one night at any campsite. I would go into San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge each day and back that evening. I did hike and explore Pt. Reyes Nat. Seashore Park on some days.
I saw the fresco that Diego Rivera painted for the San Francisco Art Institute. I have always wanted to see this one first hand because it is unique in its portrayal of the arts in the making. This includes Diego sitting on scaffold with his considerable backside to the audience. The one at the Detroit Institute of Art is unique for the same reason. It s subject is completely different. (Or is it?) The subject is industry, workers, management, machines, and science all working for the betterment of man. (Or is it?) The Detroit murals are very ambitious and surround the visitor. I have never factually compared the measurements of his murals but think those in Detroit are his most ambitious in size. Others he has done in Mexico may be more complex in subject matter and complexity of design. This was necessary by the challenge and constraints of architecture.
6/27-29/ 98. 1 traveled north to Redwood Nat. Park (Camped Hidden Springs, Humboldt State Park) I entered the beach area at this location with my four wheel vehicle and promptly got stuck. I had visions of being sucked up by the tide and running after my vehicle as it floated out to sea. Several guys drove up with their specially designed large wheeled beach buggies, pony tails, pierced jewelry and leather jackets. One said "what's the trouble dude, lower your tire pressure to 20 lb. Dig out, back up further in the surf. Exit the beach at a angle." It worked!
It was near here that I ran into a L.L.Beam outlet store. I took the opportunity to return a mummy type tent for a sleeping bag. I had used only a few times in Everglades National Park. The fiber pole stay used for keeping the mosquito netting and head covering away from the face sprung out of its grommets and flew into the swamp. Having the mosquito netting against the face is not comfortable, to say the least! I had been using the EMS two-man tent that was literally torn to shreds by abrasion and cactus.
The store gave me a new L.L. Beam two-man tent in exchange for the mummy tent. I was back in operation!
6/30/98. Crater Lake Nat. Park, Oregon. This Park has to be thought of as one of the crown jewels of the park system. It is very small as Nat. Parks go but it is breathtaking. I was there before all the snow had melted but that only made it all the more interesting with the snow creating a frame for the dark blue water. The black ring of volcanic deposits in the crater interrupted this and capping the natural composition, is an only slightly less intensely blue sky. The pyramidal cone called "Wizard Island" in the center, just made it perfect. I traveled north on route 5.
7/1-2/98. Portland (Camped Mt. Hood Nat. Forest) I saw a great show called the "The Hands of God", Tribute to B. Gerald Canter.
There is a wonderful equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt located across from the museum in the park by James Earl Fraser. This sculptor was the right hand man for St Gaudins. He executed the horses for Saint Guadens. The wonderful equestrian statue of General Sherman at the head of Central Park in N.Y. is one that he collaborated with him on. Fraser also did a monumental marble statue of Benjamin Franklin for the City of Philadelphia’s Franklin Center.
7/3/98. Then to Mt. St. Helen's Nat. Vol. Mon. Traveled to Mt. Rainier Nat. Park. Then west on 84 & 4 along the Columbia River.
The Columbia River and gorge has such history attached to it that it was a thrill to be exploring it. It is also one of most dramatic rivers in the world, with the surrounding mountains and gorges occupied by many waterfalls.
My traveling to all the above mentioned Mountain Parks including Crater Nat, Park reawakened my love affair I have had with mountains. I climbed the Adirondack Mountains when I was a young man and with my son Robert, climbed Mt. Marcy, again when he was only eight years old. The poor kid had to be put up in another hikers tent for the night when I misjudged and came just short of the top, before night closed in. We had to hike back down to "Lake Tear in the Clouds." (The source of the Hudson River.) . I had to roll up in my rain poncho and sleep without cover for there was no room for me in the tent. We finished the hike the next day but I was exhausted from the tension and lack of sleep. I grew up in Defreestville NY, Rensselaer County, across the Hudson River from Albany, the place of my birth. Three brothers lived next door, Donny the youngest, Milt the middle child and Billie the oldest. They were like brothers to me. Donny and Milt became F. B. I. Agents. Milt also was a professional football player and is in the Football Hall of Fame. We used to go mountain climbing, canoeing, and camping together. Billie was a very good violinist who also played guitar and introduced me to classical music as well as country western. The very first portrait that I did, that was not done in class, was of Jean Sibelius who Billie taught me to appreciate. I believe that the Graham family still has that portrait. My interest in music has always been an important part of life.
Milt has told me recently that he has done some serious climbing in places like the Himalayas. The mountains that I traveled and walked around, camping, and looking at, was fine with me. I did have the desire to do some climbing but I was on such tight schedule that I felt constrained. The mountains I visited all seemed so approachable. You have to do a lot of hiking to get even near the top of Mt. Marcy in N.Y. State. I got a kick out Mt. Hood living up to its name. There was not a cloud in the deep blue sky, yet there was this mystical hood of a cloud hanging like a white cap over the mountain with some snow still on its flanks.
When I returned from the service and enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts I lived on Symphony Road and Gainsboourgh Street, Boston MA. The very first apartment I rented was with two other painters, one being Larry Poons. The two painters took the only bedroom and I slept in the kitchen, putting my bed away every day. The two painters lived and died the Bauhaus and especially Mondrian. They tried to indoctrinate me but I was taking printmaking as part of my freshmen requirements and I was totally engulfed by the German Expressionists. I did many woodcuts and still have them in my collection. In my class was John Shan, so this might have had an influence as well.
Larry Poons was a student at the New England Conservatory of Music, just down the road, on the other side of Huntington avenue. He also had considerable experience in Asia. I always had a deep interest in traditional, classical and modern jazz. I cannot recall when this interest began but it seems as though it was just there. It was during my time on Symphony Road that I began my long love affair with classical music. I became obsessive regarding Stravinsky to the point of trying to collect every recording that I could lay my hands on. I also would go to the concerts when Stravinsky, Copland and Bernstein were conducting their own and other compositions. I went to the first performance of West-Side story with my soon to be wife.
7/4-5/98. Olympic Nat. Park (Camped and backpacked in park at Queets and on the beach at Hole in the Wall.)
I backpacked for several miles along the beach until I reached a landmark called Hole in the Wall. Along the way I passed several curious rock formations that looked like they were taken right out of a Chinese brush painting.
Just beyond Hole in the Wall, which is a natural arch jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, I set up camp on the grass just slightly higher then the beach. The beach is strewn with redwood of all sizes. I built a roaring fire that continued to burn through the night and a torrential downpour. When I awoke in the morning it was still hot enough to prepare my coffee. Once you pass through Hole in the Wall and the tide moves in you can not pass through until the next morning when the tide recedes. I enjoyed the whole experience, especially the rain, wind, and surf throughout the night.
Visited Graves Creek, observed a herd of Roosevelt elk from a few feet away, visited Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, visited Quinault, Quileute, Ozette & Makah Indian Reservations. The Native American Indians on the reservations located in this area are still practicing their ancestor pursuits of fishing and totem carvings with an apprenticeship program well in place. There is a spit of land jutting out into Puget Sound at the very tip of the state of Washington. The Oszette Indians built and maintain a wooden trail that guide you to a very high bluff with many inlets and waves pounding too and fro. This whole area was constantly being rained on and there were rain forests with yards of moss hanging from the trees.
Looking across from this spot, memories flooded back from the time when on Christmas 1955, I left Puget Sound for Korea and a two year tour of duty in the US Army. We had our Christmas dinner on ship while the officers were living it up in town. The weather was rough and the ship rocked too and fro. The result is that almost everybody lost his or her dinner. Not me, I am lucky and do not get seasick. The very troop ship that I went over on, on its return trip, split and broke up. The weather was horrendous. We traveled up along the Aleutian Islands with ice forming great sheets of ice on the deck. The ship would dip and rise like a rowboat. The waves would reach the Captains deck where I would hang out, because the lower decks would be a smelly, slimy mess. The ship propellers would rise clean out the water and the whole ship would shudder. I loved it!
On this trip I read War and Peace. As soon as I returned home my next book was Crime and Punishment. What are two of my favorite books? you guessed it! "Dana's Two Years before the Mast" because it changed maritime law and is so well written. Mellville's "Moby Dick", because of the excellent writing and for exposing the full spectrum of the human condition.
It is coincidental that my son David, who just completed his Masters in music performance and will be teaching in Brooklyn in September 2001, married a Korean student of music. Her name is Jung - ah and they have already visited Korea to travel and meet her relatives.
There is a site at the Ozette reservation where a community of Makah Indians were buried by a very large mudslide nearly three hundred years ago preserving nearly everything intact. Nearly 45,000 artifacts have been found. The Makah have created a museum to house the treasures of Ozette. The archeologist Dr. Richard D. Daugherty was responsible for doing the excavation with the aid of the community and installing the artifacts in the museum.
The Roosevelt elk I observed were at a stand of trees well into the interior of Olympic Nat. Park. They are spectacular animals with a large rack of antlers and white fur covering their whole rump. There was about five of them and the only reason I noticed them was by the flicking of their ears and tails. It is my understanding that it is hard to spot them, as it was my luck to do. Basically they paid little notice of me, even though I was standing only a few yards away. I have encountered moose in the same way in the Canadian Rockies.
I happened to see the Roosevelt elk because on my first night at Olympic Nat. Park I arrived after the sun had set and I followed a very small winding dirt road, that I thought would never end, to the deep interior of the park to camp. When I arrived there was one or two vehicles with campers. The park warden appeared out the blackness and she said to pick any spot that I liked. So I spent my first night in a soaked and moss covered camp area.
7/6/7/98. 1 traveled by ferry to Seattle and stayed with a friend that I met at Hole in the Wall. Visited the Seattle Archeological Museum and the Seattle Museum of Art. (Exhibit - Down From The Shimmering Sky.) This was the most thorough exhibit of Northwest mask art I have ever seen in one place.
On my way to Vancouver from Seattle I spotted signs along the road stating that there is a sculpture collection distributed around the Campus of the University of Washington. Free maps and directions were available. I took them up on the offer. I have to say that it was for me the most interesting collection of sculpture by an educational institution that I have come across. It concentrates on works from the past twenty-five years or so. The works that they selected are of excellent quality and distributed around the campus with a well thought out plan for them to be seen to their best advantage. There is an information booth that gives out maps with excellent directions. The booth has a large sign plainly announcing the sculpture maps. They are obviously very proud of their collection and I saw many other people taking the self-guiding tour.
7/7/98. I traveled north by northeast to Cascades Nat. Park (Camped Newhalem Creek) I traveled north to Vancouver and visited the Museum of Anthropology & Vancouver Art Gallery.
The Museum of Anthropology is a state of the art facility with cabinets full of native masks of every description and other artifacts as well. These are open and accessible even to the casual museum visitor. There are of course hordes of totem poles and even demonstrations by natives in their craft. Bill Reed is one contemporary native artist who has brought originality to work in the traditional forms of his people.
7/8//98. 1 drove east from Vancouver on routes 1-5-1 to Glacier National Park (Camped Monarch).
7/8//98. Yoho Nat. Park, north on 93 to Jasper- climbed the Athabasca Glacier. I should have heeded the signs, my shoes were wrong for the climb. I had to take baby steps, with crevasses and sheer ice all the way down. (Camped Wabasso) 7/8/9/98
The stretch of road from Banff to Jasper has to be one of most spectacular roads that have ever been engineered. It winds through the mountain range north and south in a relatively gentle way without compromising the environment. They even have over and under passes for the animals. Along the way you pass spectacular mountain ranges and emerald blue glacier fed lakes. Every so often there are glacier fed streams and waterfalls that ebb and flow as the glaciers melt and freeze according to the climate.
In both the Canadian and U. S. Rockies I traveled on trails that I suspected were made and used by bears, mountain goats, elk and very likely mountain lions. I have since heard about one woman who was stalked then killed by a Mountain Lion near Banff. When I was travelling these trails I always had the uneasy feeling that I was being watched. I had the same feeling when I camped at Gallatin National Forest outside Yellowstone Park on my first night there. I had to camp in a meadow surrounded by dense forest. I was totally alone with no one for miles. I set my tent up so that my door was facing the door to my sport utility. I kept pans and several flashlights in the sleeping bag with me, just in case! I have been told that a car is no real protection against Grizzlies.
Through out my travels I would often sense that another animal was near by. I was most often right and there would be an elk, moose, bison, bighorn sheep, black bear, etc. In the Rockies I was sensing but not seeing and this was making me very uneasy.
7/9-10/98. South to Galgory and Waterton Glacier Inter. Piece Park (Camped Rising Sun).
Traveled the "Highway to the Sun" over and back. There was still much snow still melting which caused loose rocks and gravel to come loose from above and end up on the highway. It was very dangerous to say the least. I followed a snowplow much of the way, whose job it was to push the obstructions out of the way. I also had one of the most endearing experiences with bears. A mother bear emerged from the forest into the road ahead of me only to stop dead in her tracks. She turned her head towards me looking directly at me, blocking the road with her body. I came to a full stop and only then did she proceed across. Then two cubs immediately emerged and followed her safely into the forest on the other side of the road.
My other experiences with bears have not been particularly endearing. When my children were young, we were camping in the Adirondack Mountains when we, just by chance, ran into one of my colleagues, Sheldon Berlyn. He was leaving the next day and he offered quite a bundle of cheeses that he had left over. We accepted the offer. We put them in a cooler on the picnic table under a screen tent. That night a very large black bear ripped open the tent and removed the cooler and sat against a tree with the cooler between his legs having a feast with the cheese. We of coarse were cowering in our tent but with first opportunity made for the car. Recently when we were visiting Algonquin Prov. Park, we had a bear climbing around on top of our car looking for food. Someone else distracted him so that I could run to the car to secure it and drive away. This bear looked like none I ever seen, It was long in body and snout with large paws. It looked more like a polar bear, only black.
Sheldon Berlyn was one the very first faculty member that befriended me when I first accepted my position at the University in 1968. When I think of him I always think of Henry Swartz who taught painting at the Museum School. Both of them liked to construct elaborate still lifes made up of all sorts of found, mostly discarded objects. It was fascinating to see them arrange them in disjointed, associative tableaus that somehow made sense. One day I photographed Henry Swartz's set-ups throughout several upstairs painting studios. I sill have these photos in my collection. To route 15 and 90 south to the west entrance of...
7/11/98. Yellowstone Nat. Park. (I camped at Gallatin National Forest area outside the park). This park is like no other; it creates a situation where the visitor can observe wild life in their natural habitat. I saw all the usual animals that are located here, including buffalo, elk, wolves, and one grizzly. I kept my distance. I could easily imagine that I was back a couple of hundred years ago, when observing bison swimming across the Yellowstone River.
7/11-13/98. (Camped Madison C. G.) to Grand Teton Nat. Park.
The Snake River with the Grand Teton's as a natural backdrop is breathtaking.
7/13-14/98. Visited Nat. Museum of Wildlife Art (Camped at Flagg Ranch) When I introduced my self the director of the museum gave me a personal tour allowing me to take as many photos as I wished.
7/14-15/98. Traveled north to Yellowstone and left by the east entrance 14 & 20 to Cody (Camped at Buffalo Bill State Park). Visited the Cody Museum with its fine collection of Western and Planes Native Art. There was a large relief version of the "Buffalo Hunter" by Charles Rumsey that was just donated by the Rumsey Trust.
7/16/98 Visited Mt. Rushmore area. Badlands Nat. Park (Camped) (Insert picture # ) All the hoopla that is going on at the base is a distraction. I visited it at night, which was unique.
Since I was there late into the evening and had not yet considered where I was going to spend the night, I drove up a small winding road that took me around to the back and topside of the monument. I found that there were several picnic turnoff areas. There were signs stating that there was to be no camping. I chose one that had a stand of trees so that I could hide my vehicle and spend the night.
I could not help recalling Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" with Cary Grant. If I remember correctly they had to build a set to create the illusion of the actors climbing over the faces of the presidents.
7/16-17/98. West to Pipestone Nat. Mon., Minnesota to La Crosse, Wisconsin (Camped at Big Isle, State Pk. MN) This is where the stone for Native American pipes was, and still is, quarried. Stopped at Chicago and continued on 90 to Buffalo, weighing in at forty pounds less.
In Chicago I explored the park along the lakeshore and visited the Chicago Museum of Art especially to see Ipousteguys "The Bather". I also took a tour of the Chicago Art Institute.