I'm clawing, digging, scrapping the dirt from underneath the tires of the RV with my bare hands.  The Arizona sun is pulsating on my stinking, sweating back and there's no hope in sight. It's 2:30pm and as I spit and pant I raise up on my knees from under the RV and look into the golden brown plains through my cheap sunglasses to a now common horizon, leading endlessly into one of the most beautiful oncoming sunsets my eyes will ever see. Even in the most dire times this landscape of our great west can stop you in your tracks. The Gaylenium Falcon is stuck in the dirt on some crud-hell side-road just feet from the freeway adjacent. We are completely screwed. Our transport, our lifeblood, our home... stuck in the dry Arizona desert dirt and I'm on my stomach ferociously trying to dig us out, a real last ditch effort. And It's all my fault. Kind of. Let me tell you what happened.

We're on route 40 west towards New Mexico, Shang-high-nooning it out of Arizona as fast as our feet will walk us. I can't quite explain it but... Well let's just eloquently say *EXPLITIVE* this stupid state. We're Down a crew member, Flagstaff was a bust and Jack, A.J. and I are on a mission from God to hit that New Mexico border on time. A.J. Is walking behind as Jack and I are approaching exit 203 when Holy swear word! Wouldn't you know it, a Petrified wood slash Navajo antique center slash Mannequin Vignette museum slash ostrich farm stands right in front of us!

So naturally I park the RV, interview the Ostriches for the film, who by the way are essentially the last of the dinosaurs and a surprisingly supportive faction, and get some great footage of the 'scene' presented in front of this nowhere land tourist trap. There is a huge dirt lot in front of the petrified wood shack with 1950s cars, forgotten ivory handless mannequins with strangely nice figures sexily posed in front of a landscape of unsellable blech. In the distance surrounding the lot are gigantic life size dinosaurs overlooking this fallout shelter of absurdity and a whole backyard full of pottery and petrified crap and God knows what else.

To stay safe on our walk, we do as best as we can to stick to the side roads, dirt roads and whatever comes up on the 'walking directions' platform from lovely google. It isn't always up to date. Jack and I leave this Jumanji of wonder to hit our meeting point with A.J. two miles up. Now, I know what our RV is capable of and believe me, this bird likes to fly. So we trounce through some fun dirt roads, a jolly chuckle the whole way, coasting aside the freeway  not forty feet to our right. The road gets bumpier. The waning hills we drive deeper and steeper. Soon it is evident, we're on an 'off road path'. Screw It let's drive! Not so much...

Two miles past the creepy radiation field of sexy mannequins, 1950s super cars, dinosaurs, petrified wood samples and ostrich farm Jack and I find ourselves at a halt. In front, a half road divided in two by a sinking hole on the left side. No place for a 28 foot RV. To the right, a 15 foot tall rocky dirt mound supporting the whizzing freeway ahead. Behind, a hilly dirt road that quickly snuck up on us as we were jollying about the ostrich farm behind. To the left...ahhhhhhhh to the left...

"We should turn around" Jack says in a voice that hits the tenor of 'we really shouldn't be driving here'

"O.k." I say, in a heroic voice of 'we really shouldn't be driving here'.

To the left is a steep dirt road incline, a mile long 'driveway' with typical Arizona golden nothing brush to either side and a ridiculously misplaced blue house standing alone in the panorama of it all. Who lives there? I make the turn, oh so carefully, and see ahead lays a dirt trench in the dirt road. Dirt. Shit. Dirt.

"K-Turning It" I confidently state as the RV begins her steep descent on the long driveway of 'we really shouldn't be driving here'. Quickly I see yet another trench ahead and pull the truck to the left into a flat clearing of brush. "Whatever, we've done this before" I claim from nowhere and in an instant I feel her sink. I accelerate and she moans further into the dirt. I stop and reverse. Nothing. I jerk it into drive immediately and we are moving. Then we are not. Drive, accelerate, nothing...

Reverse, accelerate, nothing. Drive accelerate, nothing. Reverse, accelerate, nothing. Drive accelerate, nothing. Rev! Rev! Rev! Nothing! Nothing! Deeper deeper deeper we go. Dear bazoinking god nothing shit holy hell Jesus no in the lord of all things no shit hll balls and all sorts of other obscenity! Not here! Not now! Please do not let this RV be stuck in the dirt in a made up un-map-able road in the middle of Arizona when we are so close to being out... It Is. It really is. We are stuck in the dirt. Our Ride, our lifeblood, our home... So, I make a call:     

"Hello Triple A, this is Stacy, you have been referred to us, how may I help you?"

Please keep in mind I have already been on the phone with Henry Kim, my personal AAA agent that I signed up with a month earlier, for twenty minutes before I actually get through to a towing service. Henry soon realized that I don't have RV insurance per se...and is on my side, per se...

Henry - "I'm going to transfer you to roadside but DONT say the words motor, home, or Motor Home ok? Oh or RV ok? Because you are not covered under that."

"I thought you insured the person not the vehicle..."

"Well yes, but, well, not exactly"

"I read you loud and clear Hank". Yeah I read him, like I read O.K. Magazine

Sweat drips down my face while I am on hold for AAA roadside assistance and I'm starting to enjoy the early spring benefits of desert heat loosening up my muscles. A woman answers and I'm on my game not to spill the RV beans. It went a little something like this:

        "Thats right ma'am, the corner of washboard and wanalanca...a big truck.....stuck in the dirt.....well it's a Ford E-350, technically....what do I mean technically?....yes that's right...well yeah, sort of, I mean she's a big truck...nooooooooooooooooo not an RV...define 'Motor Home?'...uhhh we sleep in it?... ...nooooooooooooooooo that's not us, nope. Not a motor home....See, what had happened was...uh huh...well yes we are within 100 feet of a paved road, why does that matter?....uh huh...ohhhhhhhhh, yep right of the highway I can see it from here...well no, you gotta take exit 303 and drive east on the west side...no, EAST on the west side...Yeah it's past this radiation field of sexy mannequins, 1950s super cars, dinosaurs, petrified wood, meteorites and ostrich farm...hello? 

So AAA eventually screwed us as every insurance agency is want to do because they apparently only provide 'Road Side' assistance to paved roading customers only. So here we are so close to getting out of this miserable state with our R.V. Stuck in the prettiest damn field you've ever seen. I suggested we claim the land and just live out our lives there but Jack and A.J. Differed in they're enthusiasm. So after a few more phone calls Enter, Williams and Son Towing.

The sun is fading fast when the hulking black tow truck arrives, hours longer than expected. He was driving aimlessly east on the east side of the highway instead of east on the west side. J. Williams Sr. Called me from the shop saying he couldn't get a hold of his son because the diesel engine was too loud to hear a cell phone ring. Given our predicament I'm glad we were getting some diesel help for this dirty disaster.

So out steps J. Williams Jr. With his beat up flannel, big rimmed glasses, greasy hands and sun leathered red face grinning with a great big toothless smile. He's almost sixty years old. I wonder if he got his dads good looks. We shake hands.

"Thank God you're here." I say in my best manly garage talk, guy voice. "Sorry about all of the direction confusion. We're really in the shit here!"
"Oh no don't worry getting here is our responsibility". I like him already. He doesn't use the words "Can't" or "Per Se".

So he drives down and ahead of us on the dirt driveway, stops inches before the trench and begins to let out some good old fasion American steal line. The truck is noisy and greasy and old school and I am glad as hell this is our rescue vessel. I ask if can use helpnlet out the cable. I can feel the Torque of the old girl as I take over holding down the metal lever and watch it slowly drag out. I'm like a kid at the fire house again. J. Jr. Is hooking the front of the R.V. But I know we are not out of this yet.

After ten minutes we are ready to go. I take over the drivers seat from A.J., put her in low gear and enter the zone. Work, work, work, work, work I keep repeating in my head as I feel the cable tighten and accelerate. The falcon starts to move but I realize it is dragging not driving. I rev slow and hard and inches at a time freedom comes closer. Then it hits flat ground, speeds immediately and I haul ass another ten feet over the ridge and back on the driveway having to slam the breaks before I single handedly turn the tow business to just J. Williams Sr. Towing.

J. Jr. Darts out of the way and we stop inches behind the truck, now fully on the driveway. There is minor celebration but I know that I now have to reverse this baby up the steep dirt hill, cut it tight enough so as not to hit the rock wall and stop short enough so as not to back into the gap. It strikes me we very well could get stuck again, blocking the tow truck and requiring a third truck to get us out in the dark. Not gonna happen. I know there is only one way to do this.

"Here we go!" I cry as I nail into reverse and slam the gas. The old girl starts fighting valiantly up the hill backwards. I'm cutting left, I'm cutting right, I'm running over grass and rocks and avoiding the dirt. I'm screaming, willing with every inch of my being.

"C'mon baby, c'mon baby, c'mon baby. Hit it! Hit it! Hit it! Push! Push! Push!

I sounded like an overly enthusiastic gymnastics coach or a Lemahaze teacher. We make it to the top and I hit the breaks right before the wall. After an intense series of pulling forward and reversing and damn near running over Jack who is operating the classic hand movement signal ground control game, we got it. There we are, completely in line on the dirt road and ready to get the explitive out of here.

Jr. Makes it up the hill just fine and is trailing us back to the highway. The horizon is warm and welcoming as we drive back past the old radiation field of sexy mannequins, 1950s super cars, dinosaurs, petrified wood, meteorites and ostrich farm. Of course we have to follow him back to the shop to pay dad the nearly $200 dollars this mistake cost us. The AAA membership for the year cost $97 total. I guess you get what you pay for.




Jack is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We're at the Afro-man, yes, Afro-man Concert at some bar in Flagstaff complete with a thirteen dollar cover, awkward bartenders, and a whole barrel full of underaged, wrangled up idiots and completely misunderstood drinks. I recommend the Maker's and Cranberry. Afro-man. He's the famed rapper of mid nineties funny weed rap fame with albums in cluding A Colt .45 Christmas, Fro-Bama Head of state and the infamous Beacuse I Got High with the hit single, "Because I Got High" being the pinnacle of his heavenly precipice of success. You may remember all of this. Your parents probably don't. Many may argue "Colt .45 and Two Zig Zags" is the better tune, but which one is more timely iconic of the mid to late nineties? We will never know. Now, they're headlining half empty college bars, its spring break' you know, in Northern A.Z. where he lets all of his buddies perform opening concerts for hours and hours. No Afro-man.
After a few Gin and Milks A.J. is in the front row heckling some wacked performer wearing pajama pants, a basketball jersey, some bling and the harlem globe trotters hair to match. His contorted white face glimmering in the faded stage light sing/rapping his lungs out in this scraggly high pitched comedic I don't know what. Oh and there is no band or D.J. Or any real music. Just this clown and his pre-school beats resembling Oscar The Grouch Dissing his homies and slamming down J's, blasting over the speaker system. It's bizarre and bad and amazing all at once, quite literally the worst thing I have ever seen. Do you know how incredible it is to see something that bad? Chance of a lifetime. Wow, Flagstaff.

So while A.J. continues heckling and begging this Vanilla Nice not to do another song, the sea of underaged beer zombies are cheering ferociously for this youtube famous I don't know what. In the doorway five bouncers are arguing with a guy who is getting thrown out because he complained to the management that he wanted his money back.

"I paid thirteen dollars and this ain't even a five dollar show!"

He's right. 

Jack is in disbelief of this Generation gratuitously prancing around the bar in full support of this atrocity. I am too. His face turns pale as "one of the best rap songs of all time" as he put it, is playing between two terrible sets and not one person in the crowd knows it. Jack looks nauseus and it's not from the Rum and Pickle juice. See, we're not too many years away from that generation. These children scurrying half bagged, drinking whatever is in their face and wearing froofy shirts and tiny skirts, collars popped and pants dropped, mutating every form of fashion some starlet sports in O.K. Magazine oblivious to themselves. Its hilarious, and frustrating. I sound like an old man.

This increase in technology, the rapid travel of communication, babble here to babble there like that and the power of knowing whatever you want right at your finger tips. It is breeding unearned knowledge and not being treated with the responsibility it deserves. I guess it's a lot like money. We are getting smarter and dumber all at once, with each generation, constructing these amazing tools just to master them. It is not an open loop. And with it comes the kids, just five, seven years younger than myself and I cant even recognize them.

So how do we balance this? How do we live with such easy incredible communication
devices the likes of which are widening the generation gap in human interaction and closing it in on years between?  I remember the first time I ever called a girl I was in high school, it was on a Wednesday at 9:15pm, I know because I planned it that way, and her dad answered. Holy Crap! Imagine that? On a home phone nonetheless. I really nailed it too, left a message with him and everything. And before phones? I guess the letter. Before the letter? I can't imagine. That's probably why we learn to talk before we learn to write...
The earth is quaking, shaking us from everyday life into a chaotic reality of our own constructions, the consequence of which slaps us in the face when these tides of our planet erupt. Imagine this, Waves crash, not networks, Waves, speeding from a turbulent epicenter which we cannot predict and in an instant, a nation gone. Power erupted. Power corrupted. Total meltdown. And it isn't bombs or wars or outbreak that is the cause. So who is to blame? Not a game worth playing, let the media and churches sink their fangs into that one.
It Must be a great age to be a journalist now a days. Dictatorships falling, wars erupting, A Black President in America, Natural disasters contesting coverage against man made, Football cancelled, Its getting colder not hotter, Our Banks bankrupt, Our Towers fell, our paranoia grows, Twitter, Myspace and all the rest are real and getting bigger by the day, there's  online video, online College, instant celebrities, live streaming up to the second coverage of every horrible thing to strike upon us, bam, right in front of our eyes with an advertisement next to it to help fix something I don't  have or need. And the more we think it, believe it, there it is and will be, happening just as we thought. All we see is all we see no matter if your awake or in a dream. What we have been blinded by is real experience.

Out on the road the rules of life remain as constant as the clock. Not in Arizona of course where they don't participate in Daylight Savings thus furthering my curiosity as to "What's the Dam Time?" My stay in Arizona is slowly becoming an episode of the Twighlight Zone. But as confused as I will continue to be there are still no need for any questions to one another, just respect me and I'll respect you. That has held true as we pass 500 miles of walking so far.

The elevation of Northern Arizona makes it tighter to breathe, lowers your blood pressure and makes your body work harder. It's a workout just to try to sleep. In these hidden snow capped mountains spring has finally arrived. The sky is clear, the weather tepid and the KOA park we are in is a private forest at the base of a mountain. It's a short world away from the Mojave just weeks ago and a life time from New York.. I think how good it feels, how timeless those hidden Arizona peaks seem in the early spring mornings, How without my computer, the papers and phones, without the luxury of it all contrasting the evergreens that hang over my restful head,  I would never know Japan even existed. I would just be here, smiling, not a care in the world.



You give us a crappy old donation funded four dollar museum and we'll give you a universe. We take any experience, any bland rocky facade, a truck stop in the middle of apathy, an unbuilt dream or aged town, a person place or thing that has been and we turn it on it's turned head. We thoroughly devalue the richest of treasures and hold the lonely forgotten on a pedestal. We ride this long trip down nowhere and turn roadkill into history. Legend. We think, we sketch,we paint, then we create. Worlds unseen. Honesty rarely scene. We fight, we suffer, we live lives not our own and taste droplets of others' gushing reality. We take a piece of paper, flimsy in the wind, and turn it into a long distance flying bullet in a few folds. We risk the burden of those with no voice so we may give them our gift of time, empathy and sight. We show what is thought, we present what can be. It's a harder job than anyone can imagine and we do it because it chose us. We question it, we hate it, some of us are lucky enough to embrace it. What else is there? We are artists and that is why we exist.   



I've lost everything. My keys, my wallet, my knife, my wallet, my hat, my mind, my aloe, my home and my wallet. Not really but half the time I don't know where I've put anything in this damn R.V. so I guess we'll say I misplaced them. Even time. Right Now I'm in northern Arizona which is literally on it's own time plain. Walking from the Hoover Dam Nevada side to the Hoover Dam Arizona side takes an hour in a second. It really puts time in perspective and it's fun to ask someone on the bridge "Do you have the Dam time?" They love it. Especially the german tourists. 

See, Nevada is on Pacific Standard Time but Arizona is on Martian Standard Time, so at 6pm Nevada time, Arizona chooses to be 7pm even though the next state over is New Mexico, which goes back to Pacific Earth time which goes back to my point of what's the Dam time? I think I've lost my Dam mind...See?  I read that Mars isn't this horrific flaming red bouncy ball planet but actually looks pretty much like the Arizona Desert with dry, arid orange flats leading to dry rusty orange mountains that outline a pale basic blue endless sky. I've been saying the desert feels like an alien planet this whole time. Now it makes sense.

So here we are on Mars, we crossed this great big crazy concrete Dam and walked another day further in to the middle of nowhere and we've gained an hour of light and lost an hour of the day at the same time and confusing as this is for me to understand it seems that things tend to go that way. As Andy would sing, one of our best friends back in New York, "The more things change...The more things change."  There's a give and take to everything and most of the time you're either the give or the take and you're too caught up in life to see what is right in front of you. A.J. Keeps quoting Kesey saying "You're either on the Bus or You're off it". I'm on the road and Im staying on it. 

I can feel this push and this pull, as we all secretly do, but it's becoming suddenly clearer when I'm walking. From my body straight to the winds, to the sky and the earth, to the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. From my mind to the plains, my heart to the Gods. It is everything ancient cultures would sketch on stones and temples and build sun dials and anamorphic statues and celebrate and have ceremonies instead of convoluting into writing. It is what we all know and can't explain so we fight it and ourselves and each other to pass the time instead. Drama us a great distraction. It's the black and white, Yin and Yang, the push and the pull. And if you don't believe me ask Mr. Einstein. He'll be back in 50 years to explain everything I have been talking about when his time machine finally starts working in 1945

So after walking another eight miles through the Martian wasteland this morning we reach The Last Stop, literally, a brand spanking new Roadhouse on Rt. 93 called The Last Stop, just 50 miles from the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam on either side and boy do they have the best Dam burger in the world. It's a wacky place, muraled left right up and down with cooky character drawings of Jack Nicholson riding a Harley or the Terminator arm in arm with The Blues Brothers staring you down and John Wayne saying Hi on the rest room stall. But it has a sense of Humor to it and the staff is great and it's got the best Dam burger in the world! I had one for breakfast and made the poor mistake of not having another one for lunch. Dinner's coming up soon...

Its 3pm, we've already been in this place for two hours having a blast, telling old war stories with Mike the eccentric cook and Linda the PR/Waitress extraordinaire and Russ, the owner, pours us all another round of Grand Canyon Ale on the house. He tells me that he made sure to order the burger meat from everywhere across the country, testing Kobe guys and rib eye guys, north west south east and this and that, but all American. He sampled everything to see if it was the right stuff for the best burger but nothing was the best until, he found a private distributor with home grown free range cattle. Russ pays a good dollar for what he gets but it's the best Dam tasting meat out there. I don't eat much meat but when I laid my taste buds into that medium rare Last Stop Burger at 8:45am before walking, oh baby. Fueled for the day. I could tell that Bull had lived some good virile days in it's lifetime and that's something that isn't happening enough in America. 

You see Russ had a bunch of residential real estate all over the place but was smart enough to to get rid of most it before the Banks imploded a few years back and screwed us all in the pooch. So Russ takes his money that he managed to not lose in the housing crisis and buys a run down gas station-lot-ice cream stand and all the land that surrounds it. Trust me, it is the only thing anywhere out here aside from a few other run down lots but The Last Stop just so happens to be on the way to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in either direction. Well good old fashion American Entrepreneurialism ensues and thus Russ turned the shack into a Roadhouse with great food, souvenirs, gas, mini mart, R.V. Lot, outdoor concert venue Grand Canyon Tours and Grand Canyon Ales. The service, quality and workforce are impecable and wouldn't ya know it, instead of walking our planned 26 miles today we made it the first 8 and haven't gone any further than the bar since we hit The Last Stop. I should have known this would happen.