Car Doors and Campgrounds

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

On the road again for a special campout with old buddies in northern California…

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Though I had been to the Grand Canyon only a month before, given my plan to take the long scenic route to NorCal it was easy to make it the first stop of this trip, too.  I couldn’t believe how different of a visit it turned out to be, though.  There was nobody there!  But as you can see above, a different crowd starts coming out once the kiddies are back in school and the National Park Service is breathing a collective sigh of relief that the madness has finally died down.  (Or so I thought.)  In any case, I’m glad I was assigned to a camp spot far away from these obvious hellraisers.

I was happy the weather was kind of iffy at the start of the trip.  It meant I’d actually get a shot at some drama in my photos, complete with big fluffy cumulus clouds…

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Yeah, whatever.  Still pretty boring, eh.  Back to my favorite subjects on these trips- tourists!

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

I’ll forever favor a shot like this over a ‘pretty’ landscape photo.  Ansel is famously quoted saying at least two people were always represented in a photograph- the photographer and the viewer.  While I agree, to an extent, it’s always a little harder for me to “see” the photographer in the classic landscape photograph.  Maybe I don’t look hard enough.  Maybe I’m impatient.  Maybe it’s just that I reject the whole notion of nature as separate from us.  Hence, I have no need to escape into the woods or desert to recharge or get away from it all or see so-called natural beauty.  And it follows that I have no need for photographs of the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy these places as much as anyone else.  It’s just that I don’t believe they’ll help my existential neurosis in any way.

But ohhhh shit.  I decided to start giving my 16mp phone camera a chance on this trip…

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

And I kinda like it!  #NoFilter bitches!  Almost painterly, right? ( I.e., the optics are pretty rough, but it looks nice nonetheless.)  For one thing, just the composition alone makes it a little better than the one above.  That’s an important thing to remember when “everybody’s a photographer these days.”  I’ll leave it at that.  And it turns out I’m still bored with this one, too.

I stayed a couple nights in Mather Campground.  The one thing I always hope for  is that I can find something to do between the time the sun goes down and bedtime, which is normally pretty early when camping.  It was my great fortune that I decided to visit the lounge in the Bright Angel Lodge and found this wonderful couple playing great music together…

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

The place was pretty full, including the bar, and only one table was available when I walked in.  When a foursome followed me in shortly after I was happy to offer up the chairs at my table. And so began a fun night hanging with some Michiganders (I regret not accepting a dance invitation from the woman on the left above…her husband Richard sat next to me and joked that this was only after a single drink), some Germans (questionably decked out in plaid), and a bunch of others enjoying the classic country covers, a few poppier numbers, and a bunch of originals, too.  Silver Shoes made the time in between something to look forward to the following night.  And in fact, I made arrangements to make a portrait with them this coming winter when they’re back for another 2-week residency.

Back on the road to Page, Arizona with stops at Glen Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.  Give these thumbnails a click…

One thing about that storm in the distance from Horseshoe Bend is that the rain arrived just as I made it back to my car.  I was pretty stoked about that even though it’s not too much of a hike from the parking area to the rim of the bend.  But after I found my campground and saw this, I was that much more appreciative…

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

I sat in my truck looking for places to grab some dinner, but I couldn’t get myself to go out and tell them to wait 30 minutes until it passed.  I’m sure it’s a good story for them now anyway 😉

I ended up at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Page.  On my way there I noticed a bbq joint with a stage out front so by the time I was done with dinner I figured I’d check out the music.  Talk about Americana.  Or maybe Texacana…

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

I was fascinated by this barbed wire piece.  I asked about it and was referred to the owner, Angie.  She was real sweet and gave me some of the history behind the piece and the place which, if it isn’t obvious from the shot above, used to be a gas station.

roadtrip_to_reunion_0162

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Here’s Angie showing me their custom-built wood-burning smokers.  The meat we were looking at was for the next day’s service.  And it looked incredible.

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

These guys played mostly classic country covers.  All the foreigners there, and there were a lot of ’em, ate it all up, literally and figuratively.  Angie said it was real important for her restaurant to provide that kind of experience for anybody visiting the southwest for the first time.  I appreciated both her sense of patriotism and her down-home hospitality.

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Catty-corner from Big John’s is a high school.  It was Friday so the big game was on and you could hear the announcer in between the classic country songs.  I realized as I crossed the street to leave and saw these girls practicing cheer that this was quite possibly the most all-American night I’ve ever had.

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

Copyright 2016 Marc Allen Mintz

My campground, and camp spot, ended up being a bust, though.  It sat right next to a relatively busy road, and Page, Arizona must have the highest loud truck per capita rate in the entire country because I heard those damn things driving by ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  That, and then I had some very late arrivals next to me who got in and out of their car, opening and shutting the door each and every time, at least a dozen times as they set up their tent.  It’s a common thing to hear in campgrounds for sure, just not in the middle of the night.

And I claim to prefer it to the backcountry??

More to come from Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.

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