Paul Vlachos is a New Yorker who understands The West. And he is a New Yorker who understands New York. Wherever Paul goes, he finds signs of life…
I’m going to keep this short, as I’m on the road and want to keep moving. Whoa! Listen to what I just said. That’s my father’s voice talking. We would take a yearly trip up to the Catskills and have to be in the car at 4:30 in the morning. My brother and I called him “The Commando” and I may have made a semi-conscious vow to never be like that. Oh well, so much for vows.
Actually, I have done so many miles in the past four days that today IS the day I’m officially going to slow it down a bit. “Take it slow,” as an old road guy that I know always tells me as we part after a chat in the street. There’s a time and a place for long hauls, of course. The start of a long road trip usually demands a big push, a few days of relentless driving, just in order to break the gravity of home. I don’t take a lot of photos the first few days of a road trip, just so that I don’t slow myself down.
I don’t go fast, but I go far. I wake up before dawn and have my morning routine patented to the point where I can be rolling within 15 minutes of my eyes opening. Wash up, coffee or not – you can always find coffee – clothes on, bags in car, camera gear set up on the passenger seat – who needs passengers? – and I’m off. We can make the question of “who needs passengers?” the subject of a whole other article, even a book, possibly a series. Hell, I might make it my life’s work, but not just yet. The only passenger I’m looking for at the moment is a new dog. My last dog, the Mighty Elko, was a creature I discovered after just such a rapid morning departure – from the town of Winnemucca – one fateful June morning in 2006. But I digress.
I’m slowing it down today, in the town of Pahrump, Nevada, as I prepare to head south through the transcendent Eastern Mojave desert. I was going to write this piece, which is due today, this evening. As an exercise in taking it slow, though, I decided to finish it before I leave, which is how I find myself, at the late hour of 6:20 AM, trying to make sense of it all. I’m going to attach a few shots that I took over the past four mornings, as I was on my way to find the pavement and keep the rig moving forward and in a westerly direction. I’m also going to attach one shot that I took at night, as I was pulling into Las Vegas, New Mexico and a thunderstorm was rolling in.