Better than Grand Canyon

Posted in Road Trip by Jacqueline Iannacone on June 20, 2010

Point blank, if you haven’t been you haven’t lived… well maybe that’s exaggerating a bit. The best way to write about this wonder is to not write about it at all and just show you… hopefully these photos will do most of the writing for me…
Grand Canyon Landscape II

Grand Canyon Landscape III

Grand Canyon Landscape

Toward the end of the night Clare and I decided to chase the sun as it set, the view was amazing… the light was even better.  Being here I couldn’t resist taking a self portrait…

Grand Canyon

One of the best parts about the Grand Canyon experience is the old tyme decor, dirt roads and transportation around the park.  I don’t think anyone passed this train without at least being tempted to snap a photograph…

Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus

The couple of nights we camped at the Grand Canyon were memorable to say the least… Clare and I had the chance to eat (somewhat) good food, share a bottle of wine, talk about life, art, family and more. We touched on how the important things in life relate to one another and how we can influence and project what we feel is needed in the art world to the art world and to the world. We talked about how much we didn’t want to camp anymore (at this point it had been 5 consecutive nights), what we’d hope for in the next 4 weeks… about who we’re and weren’t going home to and how we both can become better. It was fantastic, it was needed and it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

View from the top...

The next morning we packed our things and headed off to sin city… the ride there was a combination of nerves, expectation and excitement… Would we love it? Would we hate it? Are the shows really as good as everyone hypes them to be?

For more on the meaning behind this journey click here.
Detroit . Chicago . St.Louis . Tulsa . New Mexico . Grand Canyon . Las Vegas . Los Angeles . San Francisco . Yosemite . Memphis

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Sunny New Mexico… where do I begin

Posted in Road Trip by Jacqueline Iannacone on June 18, 2010

Me in New Mexico

Let’s start with the best part about New Mexico; the accents… picture a mix of Native American, Southern and Mexican all wrapped into one out of this world; super chill lingo.  Now add in a dash of country with a Cowboy hat and a smile to top it all off and you have the perfect recipe for the locals along Route 66 in NM.  If it sounds like something you could only experience here; you’re spot on.  The locals here live and breathe New Mexican culture; hand-made quilts and pottery line the shelves at every corner store and gas station rest stop.  As one of the locals proclaimed, “If you’re not selling something in New Mexico, you’re a tourist.”

New Mexico I
This photo was taken as I was driving along Route 66. It best describes the culture of New Mexico…. local working man driving a clunker, Cowboy hat in place, riding into the sunset (or in this case, mid day sky… eek) no worries in sight.
New Mexico Local
Another part about New Mexico that I really enjoyed was the fresh air! The difference is quite literally breath-taking and can do wonders for the body and soul… the feeling of freedom hadn’t hit me until my first big breath of air, no words can describe how magnificent it felt… much like how no words can explain how beautiful the night sky is when unobstructed by city lights. I have to say; I never knew there were so many stars in our sky until I looked up while staying in Bluewater Lake State Park. I could not believe my eyes. For the first time in a long time I was speechless. The night sky was covered with glistening stars, one after the other after the other… the best moment of the trip thus far.
Clare Lakeside

The last part of New Mexico I’ll touch on… there are many, I could go for days if asked… was its landscape.  Gorgeous, magnificent, beautiful, majestic… all do not suffice.  There are so many different terrains in New Mexico that one word cannot sum up all its parts.  The first sight we camped in was in Santa Rosa State Park where there was basically a square area for your tent, a picnic table and fire pit among acres and acres of natural, untouched land.  Though it was gratifying because we felt like we were really roughing it (and we were) with this untouched terrain comes creatures of all shapes and sizes… we faced bob cats, tarantulas, the most viscous mosquitoes known to mankind, helicopter shaped (and 1.5 inch long) insects, eagles chipmunks and sakatas to name a few….

All in all I think it’s safe to say New Mexico gets my thumbs up

For more on the meaning behind this journey click here.
Detroit . Chicago . St.Louis . Tulsa . New Mexico . Grand Canyon . Las Vegas . Los Angeles . San Francisco . Yosemite . Memphis

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Nevermind why…

Posted in Road Trip by Jacqueline Iannacone on June 13, 2010

… the real question is “Where did the turtle tortoise cross the road?” And the answer would be on I-71 from St.Louis to Tulsa…  Now I’m not blind to the fact that seeing a gigantic tortoise cross a major interstate highway in the middle of the country is not necessarily the most exciting thing to be writing about, but it was out of the norm and to say the least, was surprising… in fact this quiet city [oddly enough] had a lot more to offer than I had ever imagined.

One of the best parts of Tulsa would be its Thrift Stores.  Along the way we found a few wonderful little hole in the wall thrift and vintage shops.  The Animal Aid store stood out in my mind for clear reasons… the $2.00 shorts, vintage picture frames, sweet women working the front counter and the fact that all proceeds go toward helping needy animals all led to a beyond satisfying shopping experience.
Animal Aid Thrift Store… and by beyond satisfying I’m talking 2 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, 2 purses, 2 picture frames all for $14.00!

After a morning of shopping we headed into town to purchase a cup of coffee from a local shop and to meet some locals around town.  Unfortunately when we arrived into town it was later in the day and many of the stores were closed.  We did have the pleasure of meeting Roger who is featured in the photo below.  He was eager to talk to someone about something, anything… this photograph got him going on a tangent about his children and his life…

A Local from Tulsa

As we continued on our walk we passed a Biker Bar!  This was a tiny detail of the day but very cool to see all of the motorcycles lined up outside with their leather wearing counterparts inside having a cold beer after a hot day cruising the streets of Southern America…

Biker Bar

The next day Clare and I got to celebrate, relax and plan for our camping adventure to come.  Luckily for us, Roni had a pool in the complex she lived in… so instead of hitting the streets of Tulsa again (and being tempted to stop at some more vintage stores!) we relaxed poolside.  Then and there… life couldn’t have been better.

Clare Poolside

That night we celebrated Clare’s birthday with some delicious cake Roni bought for her.  Clare and I were extremely lucky to have been staying with someone as kind-hearted as Roni was…

Happy Birthday!

While Tulsa was great, the real adventure hit when we camped in New Mexico… more on that to come

For more on the meaning behind this journey click here.
Detroit . Chicago . St.Louis . Tulsa . New Mexico . Grand Canyon . Las Vegas . Los Angeles . San Francisco . Yosemite . Memphis

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The Sweet Smell of St.Louis

Posted in Road Trip by Jacqueline Iannacone on June 6, 2010

How does a free jazz and blues concert in the Botanical Gardens where you can bring your own booze and dance the night away under the stars sound?  I’m thinking perfection.  And perfection it was.

The first night we arrived in St.Louis; Steve the person we were staying with, invited Clare and I to the Whitaker Music Festival right up the road from where he lived.  What we were in for was a lot more exciting and phenomenal then one could imagine.  Denise Thimes, “St. Louis’ celebrated jazz diva” as Rob Thurman from the Missouri Botanical Gardens described, was breath taking.  I didn’t know what was better, the little six year olds dancing on the stage to her sounds, the cross dressing flamenco dancer behind us or the fact that at one point everyone attending the concert got on there feet and began dancing and singing “… Aint gonna do for love, what I would not do…”.  For someone coming off an eight hour stretch of road, this night was beyond believe.  At one point, I stood up looked around took a deep breath and realized where I was, who I was with and how incredible this has been so far.  I came to the revelation that, this concert, these people and this night could not happen any where else but here… and I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to see such a fun loving group of people dancing, singing, drinking and laughing as if there wasn’t a care in the world.

The next day as we planned our next stop I had a feeling that nothing could top that night, and though I turned out being right, the City Museum did it’s best to prove me wrong.  Judging by the name… City Museum sounded like something I would steer clear of but I was soon corrected as Steve told me not to “…judge a book by its cover, this place is awesome.”  Turns out, Steve was wrong… this place wasn’t awesome, it was beyond and I have bruises to prove it.  It’s a place where you test your limitations, and test them I did as I scaled a cage that lined the curvature of the ceiling in the highest tower.  Needless to say, I made it to the top and I didn’t die or have a nervous breakdown, instead I had an amazing time and felt very proud once I realized what exactly I had done.

Next up was the St.Louis Gateway Arch which was a sight to see… a bit over rated but definitely something worth seeing once.  The grandeur of this structure is something to be recognized but I more so enjoyed laying on the grass talking about photography with Clare and Julia (Julia is a German photographer who was also surfing with Steve.)

Gateway Arch

Our final stop in St.Louis was Pappy’s Smokehouse.

Manager at Pappy's

Now remember… I’m a vegetarian… but for the night I crossed over to the dark side, broke down and ate some delicious southern barbeque the way locals would.  It was great and the people there were friendly as ever.  When I brought my camera in to document this southern hospitality the manager approached me wondering where I was from, how I enjoyed the food and the sights, then offered to photograph me and my friends.  He also told me about how Pappy’s Smokehouse had been featured on Food Network and TLC.  I was as impressed as I was full.

Julia, Clare and I at Pappy'sJulia, Clare and I at Pappy’s with our sweet tea and root beer.

St.Louis so far has been my favorite location… let’s see what Tulsa has to say about that.

For more on the meaning behind this journey click here.
Detroit . Chicago . St.Louis . Tulsa . New Mexico . Grand Canyon . Las Vegas . Los Angeles . San Francisco . Yosemite . Memphis

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“The Windy City”… or Mini Empire State?

Posted in Road Trip by Jacqueline Iannacone on June 3, 2010

Ah Chicago, with it’s man made beaches and it’s beautiful architecture… you make me feel like I never left the big city (minus the lingering smells here and there and the bustling crowds of people charging the streets) Chicago was not too far from the culture in New York.  I like to pin The Windy City as The Big Apple’s offspring, a bit cleaner, a bit smaller, more modern and fresh.

Chicago Architecture

Chicago seems like the place people go when they don’t like the constant activity the NYC lifestyle generates. What’s interesting is that I found bits and pieces of Detroit here also, the image below is the view of a dead cross street from Lake Shore Drive (one of the busiest streets in Chicago). If you don’t understand why this relates to Detroit, read this.

Didn't I leave Detroit?

My favorite part of the day was laying on the grass in Millennium Park. Two birds were chasing after each other in the tree above me and while this was adorable to witness, it was also a little nerve wracking as I thought, “Gee I hope they don’t poo on my face….”

Millennium Park II

Another wonderful part about Chicago is it’s people. I had an amazing time with Thurl, the gentlemen Clare and I stayed with for a couple of nights. He was inspirational to say the least. We sat around his kitchen table talking about life, photography, legacy, going against the crowd and why that’s okay, family, friends, good wine, music… you name it, we touched on it. Thurl taught me that it’s natural to have these desires to test your limitations, that doing what you want to do right now in this instance is why we are here, we make life interesting, we question that which others do not, and that as artists it is our duty to go where others have only dreamed of. Thurl knows who he is and he isn’t afraid to show it off… just one of the reasons why I fell in love with this kind hearted, kilt wearing, matridi from Maryland.


… next stop St.Louis.

For more on the meaning behind this journey click here.
Detroit . Chicago . St.Louis . Tulsa . New Mexico . Grand Canyon . Las Vegas . Los Angeles . San Francisco . Yosemite . Memphis

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