Archive for the 'Bruce’s Journey' Category

Bruce in Nashville

May 5, 2011

Bruce is back home, but still writing up his journey. Here’s his account of Nashville, and his encounter with untamed music and the joys of Beale Street:

Our road trip has been completed. We have been home a month, having travelled 7,985 miles. There has been a lot to do to catch up and repair what went undone at home while we were travelling. Now that I have some time, I wish to return to my growing travelogue in order to fill in some of the gaps.

On our trip west, we hit Nashville on a Friday night. It would have been easy enough to drive around it, but I insisted we drive in. Ms Keogh was reluctant, tired, wanting to continue on until the next Hampton Inn where she could bathe and sleep, needing to recover from the long drive. I could not bear being so close to this iconic town and not venture nearer. Pleading with Ms Keogh, she acquiesced to allow me to just drive through. I was taking it one step at a time, hoping by inches that if she saw things first hand, it might spark her interest. The next step would be to convince her to park and visit a club, where I would drink and we could listen to live country music. Read the rest of this entry »

Abilene and Points East

March 30, 2011

I’ve been away, so there are a couple of Bentzman bulletins to catch up on:

I’ve done most of the driving. Ms Keogh doesn’t like to drive as much as I do. She especially doesn’t like the twisty bends through mountains or driving at night when her vision is compromised. For most of our trip she has been the nagivator [sic]. On the straight highways across plains, I grow numb, begin yawning, and when I yawn tears fog my vision, so Ms Keogh drives. This give me a chance to nap or take notes, although it is very hard to take legible notes. But here are some:

[15 miles west of Deming]
<> Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman returns

March 28, 2011

Bruce is heading homewards. He writes:

We left Oakland on Saturday and drove south. Ms Keogh could not bear another cold, wet day, which seems to be what we would have encountered if went to Seattle, then took a northern route home. We went south instead, but we did try for a different southerly route.

575 miles later, we found ourselves in Needles, California again. We had stopped there on the way west for lunch and now it was on our way east. The waitress at Denny’s who had served us lunch the last time was there to serve us a late dinner this time, and she remembered us. I’m not surprised. I had asked her many questions about the community and her life. She appeared thrilled to have us again and we asked more questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Bruce in Santa Fe, haggling

March 22, 2011

Bruce continues:

We must backtrack to Santa Fe to finish the story of the Native American who sold Ms Keogh earrings, with whom I haggled over the cell phone and did succeed in having the price reduced.

When Honda completed the brake job and I was able to rejoin Ms Keogh, she introduced me to the woman who sold her the earrings. She was part of a group of Native American sellers who sat beneath the veranda of the Governor’s Palace with their wares set out on blankets. Upon being introduced, this Native woman claimed I was the first Jew she ever met. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman hits L.A. and is impressed by the plumbing

March 20, 2011

Bruce wrote a postcard to friends living in Manhattan:

We have made it. This afternoon I finally saw the Pacific Ocean from The Getty Center. At first I could not be sure if I was viewing the Pacific or a bay. There was a haze that erased the distance and I thought the shadows might have been the far shore. Came the late afternoon, I could see more clearly here was a plain of water extending to the horizon.

He adds: Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman in New Mexico

March 17, 2011

The journey continues:

We have reached Santa Fe where our friend Skip has opened his house to us. Skip is a retired professor of Psychology. All the houses area adobe in appearance and melt into the landscape. Skip’s home is no different. The homes dot the mountainside and are surround by scrub and dirt. His home, which is typical, has no attic or basement, the high ceilings are held up by timber beams that give confidence. Skip has made much of his furniture of wood scraps. His rough, hardy tables are massive and comfortable. Ms Keogh asked if she needed a coaster for her mug of tea and Skip replied, “are you kidding? If I really don’t like the stain I can sand it down.” We’ve been with Skip since yesterday and despite all the subjects broached we have not been able to find a difference of opinion we could have fun arguing.

Santa Fe is a different kind of tourist center than Santa Rosa. The merchandise here has an exceptional quality and sincerity. At the historic center it is clean and alive, so very different than Tucumcari. Ms Keogh is texting me about the fantastic lunch she’s consuming, teasing me with pictures. I’m stuck at the Honda dealership on the edge of town getting an oil change and my rear brakes pads replaced. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman in Texas

March 15, 2011

Bruce heads into John Wayne country:

Cruising along Interstate 40 west of Oklahoma City, I saw my first longhorn. They really do have long horns, so long as to appear awkward and clownish.

I didn’t notice any obvious demarcation like a river to announce we were entering a different state, leaving Oklahoma and entering Texas. The pavement changed beneath the wheels, that was about it. But other changes soon became manifest. Fields of grass gave way to scrub. The land appeared dryer and less hospitable. A sharp eye found abandoned homes and shelters collapsing because of neglect, clapboard and brick structures both long out of use. Ms Keogh’s impression of Texas is that it is rusty, dilapidated, and abandoned, but that was likely just the part of Texas we passed through. Several times I saw stables where horses were standing in small muddy enclosures, just standing and staring at nothing, looking sullen. Can horse be sullen? I know next to nothing about horses. The horses had been roaming grassy hills in Oklahoma, mostly eating, but at least in motion. I don’t think they like horses in Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman Goes West

March 14, 2011

Bruce writes:

I woke from my nap to see we were passing a field in which the cattle were standing like statues, so I figured we were in Oklahoma. Ms Keogh said, no, not yet. We were still in Arkansas. But a moment later we crossed a ridge and before us were the Ozarks.

It is difficult to write in the car, being hard to keep my hand steady. I have pulled out my laptop to compose this. Soon it will be my turn to drive again. Ms Keogh does not like to drive at night and she doesn’t like to drive in the mountains, although the Ozarks don’t look like much in the way of mountains.

From Monticello, Virginia, we drove to Greensboro, North Carolina to fulfill a specific mission. We were to find the Community Book Shop and tell its proprietor that there were people who loved him. Al Brilliant has a long history in books, selling, publishing, and writing them. Now in his retirement, he pedals a bike to his own bookstore which doesn’t open until noon, which meant we had to wait until noon to deliver our message. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman in Gettysburg, Staunton and Monticello

March 12, 2011

More reports have come in from Bruce and Barbara on their cross-continental journey.
First stop was Gettysburg:

Battle of Gettysburg (Image: Wikipedia)

I have this sacred spot entirely to myself, the ground Chamberlain and his Maine volunteers held against a larger force. From here he launched his desperate charge with bayonets when the ammunition was nearly gone. I see the ground slope away from where I sit. Below the Alabamians were trying to charge up. They were defeated.

It is a cold day, a solid overcast, the sky entirely grey. When I was last here it was in a sweltering summer’s day and all I cared about was getting out of the heat. I remember little of that visit… How odd that in all the time I’ve been writing this, I’ve been entirely alone. No other visitors, except a squirrel. Heavy rains are expected to arrive tonight.

Then they headed south: Read the rest of this entry »

Bentzman Begins his Journey

March 9, 2011

Bruce has begun his cross-continental journey to the Pacific and back. He writes:

Ms Keogh and I have arrive to the Hampton Inn at Gettysburg. We rely on Hampton Inns being reliably clean and comfortable.

During the long dull drive along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Ms Keogh talked about how it was that others suggested this or that travel guide. This is something Ms Keogh and I share, we do not want to follow in another’s footsteps. Our adventure requires us to take risks and make our own discoveries. She asked me why do other people go to so much trouble as to seek advice, make reservations, allow others to serve as guides. I suggested it was because they feared discomfort and disappointment. We both agreed those elements were necessary contributions to any adventure.

The adventure has not yet begun. So far we’ve only seen the narrow strip of highway that entered our headlights and the interior of a hotel room much like all the others. The morning will bring something new, so I should get to sleep and wake early to greet it.