Tag Archives: Road Trips

New Publications for Capitol Reef National Park

About ten years ago, Nancy and I did two publications for Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park, and they were both illustrated throughout with lots of my ink drawings. They looked good, but this time around, we upgraded it all with watercolor and ink sketches, and if you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll know why. I was just in the mood to do more of these colorful images, so the wonderful folks at Cap Reef let me do it. One is about Cathedral Valley (above), the big road loop north of the visitor center, and the other is for the Waterpocket Fold loop, that famous road that loops down into the Staircase-Escalante and up the Burr Trail. They’re both wild rides, and very exciting to to drive – true American West stuff. Here’s a page from the second guide. The images should enlarge with a click. I think there are about 40 of these little watercolors scattered throughout.

But there’s a little more to this story.When Nancy and I were down there a decade ago researching this, we had just been officially married, and the wonderful folks at the park put us up in a little honeymoon cabin complete with a gift basket (and where you’d even get a gift basket in that very remote park of Utah, I still don’t know). We had Nancy’s almost-new BLACK 4-runner (black is so great for desert off-road driving, isn’t it?), and the very first day of research, and the very first few feet of the Cathedral Valley road, we were required to ‘ford’ the 100′-wide Fremont River. We could see the road going into it, and see it coming out the other side – so what the heck, we went for it. Water OVER THE HOOD – and by the time we reached the far shore, we had it coming in the doors too. It was a ‘family’ moment for sure, but we all got calmed down and continued the 60-mile heavily rutted dirt road in somewhat strained but  peaceful silence. After 60 miles, the car was NOT black, but more a muddy brown. Oh, and amazingly, we’re still married.

Thanks, Shirley and Diana -the Elegant CapReef Ladies, for letting me whack away at this.

And, thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Twilight on the Hoh River

We’ve been camping along Olympic National Park’s famous Hoh River this past week, and the next few  posts will be watercolors I did out there, mostly after hikes in the late afternoon. I could have spent the time soaking my feet in the 49-degree water coming straight off the Blue Glacier, but thought better of it. It’s an amazing valley, that quintessential Rain Forest Experience, surrounded by miles of giant 250′ Sitka spruce, red-cedar and hemlock. The visitors are all pretty civilized there too. It’s as if they realize they’re in a special, almost sacred place, and treat it (and other visitors) that way. There’s a lack of amenities, to be sure, no water in the restrooms, no power, no showers, and the park store seems to always be out of our puzzles and books – but it’s also pure clean ancient forest an hour drive from the nearest stoplight. Wonderful.

And speaking of the nearest stoplight, that would be in Forks – the little bedraggled West End logging town that has fallen into a Hollywood gold mine. They should make Stephenie Meyers, or maybe Hollywood location people, the patron saints of Forks for their gift of filming the Twilight Series there. We delight driving through it nowadays, seeing every store in business and the town full of vampire-seekers (or maybe vampires themselves). I’ve never seen so many dark haired, pale makeuped teenaged girls with cameras in my life. Stores: there’s ‘Dazzled by Twilight’, and ‘Twilight Natives’, and even ‘Twilight Firewood.’ We saw a rows of girls all lined up in front of the closed-up high school, pulled over waiting their turn in front of the town sign, even photographing the Twilight Gas Station sign. Amazing!

So, here’s my Twilight take on it with this little watercolor of the Twilight on the Hoh River. Nancy says I’m trying to cash in on the Twilight Craze, but I know who has all the money – pale-skinned teenage girls, and I just know one of them will buy this. Oh, no vampires in it? Well, you never know. There could be one lerking behind one of those big spruce.

This watercolor and ink painting is on cold-press paper, 9″ x 12″ and $140 unframed.
A nice mahogany frame with a double mat and glass makes it a total of $180 and shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone or if you take the frame. This is the original painting, NOT a print.
Email us for details.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Next time I’ll tell you about the “One Square Inch of Silence” 3.5 miles up the trail on the Hoh.

End of the Road – A Fantastic Trip

Just one more episode of the Road Trip.We’re in Ellensburg, WA for the night, camped along the Yakama River. 150 miles to go. So, it’ll be something like 7800 miles in a bit less than a month. We went through 21 states and a couple more than once. We counted at least 12 different cultural areas that could almost be called different countries. Some of them were so culturally different we had great difficultly understanding anyone, even though it was English (or something like it). And, as Nancy said, it was a real adventure.

We’ve received several emails about what we’re using. It’s a Scamp trailer and a 4runner. The 4runner gives us good fuel economy, reliability and off-road use in a mid-sized bombproof car. The Scamp is our second. It’s only 16 feet, yet it has a kitchen, enclosed shower and potty, mid-sized fridge, microwave and stove. It has propane and electric heaters, air conditioning and, unlike the VW camper we had, it’s sealed up so outside noise stays outside. We’ve been averaging between 15 and 18 mpg, depending on headwinds or if the air is on. There’s a reason this is our second set of these vehicles. We simply can’t find a better combination that fits our needs of camping in strange out-of-the-way places, smallness and high-quality vehicles that hold together.

This trip gave us a new-found love for our crazy country. Everyone seems pretty together. There’s better food, better conversations and more friendly people than we’ve seen for decades of travel. In essence, I think our country is growing up. We never had a bad moment with anyone, including the con artist that took our $20 (the entertainment was worth twice that). The only real negative: this country is full over very, very large people, and it’s going to kill millions of us if we don’t get it together and demand better food. We ARE seeing better food in WalMart and McDonald’s (of all places), but most of the mom and pop stores and restaurants aren’t even trying. They’re still serving the same crap that killed our parents.

Best quote of the trip from Nancy: “Larry, it’s on your leg. I don’t know what it is, but it’s big, it’s bad and it’s going to bite. (it was an Everglades Horsefly, the size of a small dinner plate that broke part of the fly swatter subduing it.)

Best food: the killer caramelized onion and chapoltly pulled-pork tacos on Magazine Street in New Orleans.

Worst Food: the deep-fried chicken strips in South Dakota, with one of my puzzles mounted and framed on the restaurant wall nearby. How embarrassing is THAT?

Most challenging driving: figuring out an escape plan from the dust storm and interstate pileup north of Tucson, AZ.

Most interesting sign: Prom Dresses.com = HOT, Stylish yet modest – (a billboard in Salt Lake -and I thought Military Intelligence was an oxymoron).

Or the sign in the KOA rest room: Flush twice so you don’t leave your yellow stain behind.

Thanks for reading this stuff. It’s been fun telling you all about it.
Our blog is published at larryeifert.com/wordpress, where it’s in a proper form (but words are still mis-spelled there too).

Larry Eifert

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Road Trip – St Louis Cemetery #1

This should have gone out yesterday, but the server got confused. If you already received this, hit the delete key.

We’re now on past Texas and New Mexico, but I wanted to send this out because it was so interesting to me. I’d been here before, but the St. Louis Cemetery just a few blocks from the New Orleans French Quarter is one of THOSE places. It received its first “clients” in 1789, and all the tombs are above ground. This is partly because of the New Orleans water table being so close to the surface, but also because of French and Spanish customs at the time. It’s only one square block, but there are now thought to be around 100,000 people stacked up here. Some of the notables include Marie Laveau, the original voodoo priestess and Benard deMaringy, the guy who brought the game of craps to America. One recent addition is a full-blown new tomb for one of the Jackson Square street artists.

We were struck by the way it’s a very “living” place. There are brand new tombs, aging tombs that have recently been fixed up (maybe because of the flood that brought water in here a foot deep) and also completely abandoned tombs. There’s a section where they’ve taken pieces of iron work and broken headstones, and just laid them out and cemented them in place with no idea where they originally stood. A high brick wall surrounds the cemetery, so no city noise intrudes, and the sun bouncing off the whitewashed stone creates a very “hot” and quiet environment. There are also no guards, no cameras and no security, and there’s a sign that says so. It also says that this place is sacred and woe unto anyone in the next life if you mess with it. And no one does. Would YOU with the voodoo queen lurking about?

Thanks for reading. We’re heading north today, 5200 miles into it and 2000 or so to go.

Sign in the KOA restroom this morning: “Flush before, twice during and especially after use. It needs all the help it can get!”
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Road Trip – St Louis Cemetery

We’re now on past Texas and New Mexico, but I wanted to send this out because it was so interesting to me. I’d been here before, but the St. Louis Cemetery just a few blocks from the New Orleans French Quarter is one of THOSE places. It received its first “clients” in 1789, and all the tombs are above ground. This is partly because of the New Orleans water table being so close to the surface, but also because of French and Spanish customs at the time. It’s only one square block, but there are now thought to be around 100,000 people stacked up here. Some of the notables include Marie Laveau, the original voodoo priestess and Benard deMaringy, the guy who brought the game of craps to America. One recent addition is a full-blown new tomb for one of the Jackson Square street artists.

We were struck by the way it’s a very “living” place. There are brand new tombs, aging tombs that have recently been fixed up (maybe because of the flood that brought water in here a foot deep) and also completely abandoned tombs. There’s a section where they’ve taken pieces of iron work and broken headstones, and just laid them out and cemented them in place with no idea where they originally stood. A high brick wall surrounds the cemetery, so no city noise intrudes, and the sun bouncing off the whitewashed stone creates a very “hot” and quiet environment. There are also no guards, no cameras and no security, and there’s a sign that says so. It also says that this place is sacred and woe unto anyone in the next life if you mess with it. And no one does. Would YOU with the voodoo queen lurking about?

Thanks for reading. We’re heading north today, 5200 miles into it and 2000 or so to go.

Sign in the KOA restroom this morning: “Flush before, twice during and especially after use. It needs all the help it can get!”
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.