There is not a better form of escape that comes to mind than other getting in the car with a friend,food, music, and having no one expect you at a certain place and a particular time.If an old water tower signals the location of a forgotten town, you are free to explore. If peeling paint and falling trim catch your eye, you investigate. Driving as far as you want and stopping for no real reason is expected. Curiosity reigns and the mantra is “No Maps, Just Drive”.The long, crazy school year vanishes after the first mile markers. I actually cleaned out my CRV, got new tires and am ready to put on miles! Tomorrow we are heading across Tennessee out towards Asheville, North Carolina, and excited about the opportunities to make discoveries. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share some new adventure in a week or so.
Many might choose Paris or Istanbul as a runaway destination. Having only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and an expired passport eliminated those possibilities. Instead, Memorials Park Cemetery was my destination, a road trip of about eight miles.The cemetery is home to the Crystal Grotto and its fantasy shaped structures.I chose my infrared camera because it would accentuate the otherworldly feel . I viewed the cave and tree as imaginary housing, fit for visiting sprites or hobbits.
The faux bois structures suit the park well and it’s hard to believe they are cement.A folk artist from Mexico, Dionicio Rodriguez created the vision from his imagination. Hired by the cemetery’s founder, Clovis Hinds, Rodriguez earned $75.00 per week over a ten year period during the Depression. His creations are dream – like and religiously significant.
Working in steel and copper to form supports, the structures were formed in cement over wire. Using his hands, twigs and dinner utensils for tools, he simulated wood structures that suggest fairies and woodland creatures.Calling his work, “el trabajo rustic”, Rodriguez built Abraham’s Oak that towers 15 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter.
There is the Cave of Machpelah which is named for a burial cave from the Holy Land. The reflecting pool is the Pool of Hebron, and the Grotto appears as a mountain shaped form which houses the crystal cave. All are entirely hand-built. Walking into the cave you are stunned to find formations of limestone, rock quartz crystal and cement forming backgrounds for murals of scenes of the life of Jesus.
The artwork and grotto are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mentally moving into the imaginative structures provided a needed break. I returned home energized and without expense or jet lag.
Sometimes you just need to start moving. Stand in one place and rust starts to creep in – into your thinking and you begin to still your senses until you find yourself frozen in attitude . So I’m off on a road trip. Hopefully the person who returns will be a bit more flexible and inspired. For the next two weeks, my posts will be more sporadic because of internet connections. If I’m late with a comment, it still matters to me and I will respond. Thank you for helping me to connect with so many wonderful new friends.
There is no longer a front door, chimneys, mantels or window glass.You can almost picture a swarm of locusts descending and eating their way through the house.No locusts. Humans. Scavenger is a more appropriate word. The house beckoned from a roadside between Nashville and Memphis. I wish I could be more specific but when we road trip, we’re never exactly sure.Empty to the elements and those that felt they had a better use for the brick than the chimneys that once graced the home, it is a carcass. Stepping over the threshold, I could find glimpses of what the home might have been.Traces of color and scraps of wallpaper provided detail. The bird’s nest meant it still could provide shelter.Late afternoon sun warmed walls and door frames. I wondered what the former owners would feel to see it standing naked to the weather and abandoned to its fate.
Route 66 conjures memories and mysteries. A sense of romance and forgotten adventure travels what remains of the road from Illinois to California. Every time I’ve found bits of it to ride along, I look for defeated telephone poles,leftover motels and tourist sites as an archeologist seeks clues. While I have found a good number, I always thought it could be an unending adventure. Last weekend, on a family trip to Los Angeles, we found ourselves in Santa Monica. Reaching the iconic pier left me stunned when I realized we’d come to the end of Route 66. I expected more than a sign and a few handfuls of tourists. The road could not travel any further. It had reached the Pacific.It’s job was complete, but I still wanted more. Just selfish I guess.
I’ll admit I love diner food especially when I’m on a road trip.The aroma says come in and visit. The food keeps me there. Grilled cheese, milk shakes, bacon and eggs,and meatloaf and amazing pies are too hard to resist.I think there’s an unwritten rule that road trip food adds no calories. My other reason for stopping is that I can’t resist taking photos. The stools, booths, and people just call for attention and I can’t ignore them. It’s the lure of another time and the stuff from which movies and novels are made. Maybe when I grow up , I’ll prefer four star French restaurants but it’s hard to imagine. Foie Gras versus a milk shake? No contest!