Reflections on the Road Taken

Well – time to exhale deeply and slowly right about now in order to reflect on where I’ve been and what I’ve seen and experienced the past several months. I’ve been on the Burning Girl circuit for eleven weeks now, and time has alternately been both highly elastic and static, depending on the week, the surroundings and the folks I’ve been with. Time slowed down considerably as the first several weeks extended into more and more time on the road, and as with all vacations, the biggest chill came in the middle part of the journey, as I was far away from both the beginning and end of my sojourn and the end seemed like years, rather than weeks, down the road.

Weather, or more accurately temperatures, have also played a part during the trip, as things turned noticeably cooler each week up north (winter in Alaska had begun when I left in early October). Heading south from Alaska kept the cold weather at bay each week, as my latitudes dropped closer to the equator and the sun continued to shine. Of course, being in the mountains has added to the seasonal and temperature changes, yet I have had amazingly good weather throughout the trip.

Taking this trip was something I’d planned for the past twenty-five or so years, so it has really been a dream  come true in many respects. Since I love to be out there, seeing new and cool things, it really was right up my alley. I can honestly say now that if I could have done it differently, knowing at the start what I know now, I can’t think of a thing I would have changed. Burning Girl’s mechanical problems weren’t a lot of fun, but they became part of the journey, in a real sense woven into its fabric. I felt at times as though my patience and resolve were being tested, yet ultimately she settled down and began to perform admirably, as I’d hoped and expected. Good for her, as she’s taken me through 11,500 miles of the most amazing scenery and landscapes imaginable so far  (plus almost 3,000 miles by ferry between WA, BC and AK). Her last test on this trip is approaching, as I’m driving her back east for Thanksgiving to see the kids and my family, after which she’ll receive a well-deserved rest.

Here’s a set of photos which represent the geographic and timeline flow of the past eleven weeks. Hard to visually shrink-wrap this kind of spirit quest trip in light of all the places I’ve been, things I’ve seen and people I’ve met, but I figured it was worth a try. All photos enlarge when clicked on.

The Boys – Mt. Rushmore NP

Montana – clearing skies following afternoon rainstorm

Mt. Ranier NP

Squamish, BC Harbor

Lower Joffre Lake – Joffre Lakes Provincial Park near Cache Creek, BC

Smithers, BC – Morning campsite view

Off Prince Rupert, BC coast – humpback whale frolicking

North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward, BC

Alaska Ferry – northbound between Ketchikan and Haines

Alaska Ferry – northbound approaching Haines, AK early morning

Yukon Territory between BC and AK Coastal Ranges

East of  Tok Alaska, looking back towards Yukon

Into the Wild / Chris McCandles’ bus outside Denali NP

Denali from the north – mile 15 on Park road

Seward, AK in Kenai Fjords National Park

Palmer, AK near Anchorage – termination dust up high

Mt. Redoubt – Cook Inlet’s highest peak (mountains in foreground are 4,000′)

Looking across Kachemak Bay, AK from Homer

Outside Talkeetna, AK looking towards Denali

Susitna Glacier, Denali NP

Fall and winter colliding between Denali NP and Talkeetna

Talkeetna River meandering south

Kennecott Mine – Wrangell-St. Elias NP, Alaska

Early morning solitude – Valdez, AK

Hiking between Valdez and Anchorage

Miles from nowhere, Yukon Territory

On the road to Skagway, AK from Whitehorse, YT

Alaska Ferry – southbound off BC Coast

Mount Shasta – northern CA

Julie in Big Sur

Early morning, Death Valley NP

Grand Canyon NP

Navajo Tribal Lands, AZ between Grand Canyon and Zion NPs

Feeling small in Zion NP

Sunrise – Bryce NP

Park City

Early morning, Jackson Hole, WY

Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone NP

Yellowstone’s plumbing

The Tetons

SE Wyoming on the road to Boulder

Boulder family reunion (minus Matt) – Rocky Mountain NP in distance

Independence Pass, Aspen late afternoon

French Quarter, New Orleans

Matt and friends in NO after dinner and before heading out for some sizzling music. Hank, on right, just happened to own the club we were headed to (apologies – iPhone pic)

More to come heading back east. Heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has checked out and followed my blog these past months. It has made creating it while on the road with Burning Girl infinitely more fun and rewarding. Thanks also to Marvin and Harv for joining the traveling circus. Special thanks to Peter Bartley, who said to me after hearing of my proposed trip last summer “You’ve got to do a blog.” Brilliant idea, for sure. Pete – you’re the man.


About rcerick838

Just made a break for the hills after 30 years of the rat race. Hard to believe the dream has finally arrived, but the wait was worth it. This blog will chronicle my travels around the U.S and Canada's wilder parts in a VW camper named Burning Girl (more on her later), connecting with friends and family along the way. Hope you enjoy it as much as I plan to.
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2 Responses to Reflections on the Road Taken

  1. anncony says:

    Absolutely stunning, Richard. Great visual summary. I got no words to do it justice.

    • rcerick838 says:

      Ann – I had to revisit Alaska with this post, if only for you! Many thanks for all your comments and encouragement throughout the trip – they’ve made things much more fun and enlightening. Of course, I had to employ fact checkers for all my AK posts, since you’d see right through any gaffes.

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