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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870. The "xothique" portion of the web address is a nod to Clark Ashton Smith's fictional continent of Zothique.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

2016 Trip Journal

In September 2016, I took a car trip through parts of Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, and Montana. I followed this excursion with time spent in Washington, D.C., and Providence, Rhode Island. I took the journey in part to mark the 30th anniversary of a cross-US railway voyage I made (Todd Mecklem published the resulting journal in 1990, through his imprint, Terata Publications). Following are the published version of the trip journal cover, by Roman Scott, a variant, unpublished cover he drew; and a lightly edited transcript of the 2016 notes. 

Original cover, by Roman Scott

Variant cover, by Roman Scott

A Trip Journal: 2016
by Jonathan Falk

September 11, 2016, Sunday
This day I drove out to Dry Lakes State Park, Washington State. The Missoula Floods have enthralled me for some time. The wind shrieked constantly in my ears as I hiked around Umatilla Rock -- like a paranoia-critical monument rising from talus. The ghost of J. Harlan Bretz played antique tunes. Soft reeds. Lonely hawks sailed in the draft. Austere -- bleak -- forbidding bluffs, the beds of the former ice age falls. 
From now & then, Trump-Pence signs rise on the sagebrush range. 
I am in Ephrata, WA for two nights, one day.
Long drive here. Stopped briefly in Toppenish, WA, which my mother visited as a child. Drove by an otherworldly viewpoint, faerie lava peaks and a paleaogean valley. 
15 September 2016. 
Dream last night in Hamilton, Montana, of a man/subway/interdimensional penny farthing. 
I am in Coeur d'Alene now. 
Today in Wallace, Idaho, gunning down mountain slopes at 80 MPH. Apparently I was there as a child.
Mining museum, scale models of mining shafts, mine bicycles, mine wars, the big burn of 1910.
Other part of my dream: A pit bull locked jaws on my throat.
I visited my aunt & uncle in MT. We went to the Daly Mansion, game room glittering glass eyes of gazelles and black bears, yellow screeching wallpaper & the bed where Mrs. Daly breathed her last
And Fort Missoula yesterday vegetable cellar cool as a ship burial. Hello at a chapel like the nave at a stave church. Ripple marks of glacial Lake Missoula a celestial shore seen from an observatory tower, over high grounds
18 September 2016 in Washington DC for the first time today. Humid air and crickets and birds shrill over Andrew Jackson in horse stride. Panhandlers near the White House. Sniper atop the Corinthian-columned facade. And a henna-bearded guy holding an Arabic scroll and calling prayers. Bomb scare, bulky secret service agent yelling whose camera bag is it. (Someone caused alarm, by abandoning a camera bag.) We were ordered to the other side of the street. The agent found the bag was empty. Shone his flashlight through it. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Truman, a bucket of warm spit, marchers from 1960s stride by.
Last day driving home in Gorge, Biggs Junction, Brother Speed bikers ahead of me. Shot through a red light. Yakama nation license plates handed food to homeless man. Feathery plangent sunset. 
At rest area, crickets voices swelled, twilight wind filled shore branches, navigation lights rang green and blue. 
Way behind on journal. This is written September 22, 2016, Thursday evening. 
In Warwick, Rhode Island. First time back in R.I. since August 1986, with dad. Previous three and a half days I was in Washington DC, first time. Steam drumming against vents -- walk by business women & men -- Peruvian chicken devoured in moist shape. Studded with mosquito bites on my arm,  bunks to coed hostel like Dana or Whitejacket, Hostel Manager asked me how I liked DC, MLK statue at golden sunset hour ferrous with night, excited cicadas in unseen blends.
The Washington Pillar rakes the music of the spheres, symphonic gloaming bars of the reflecting pool in the tragic rumples of the Gettysburg address writer's jacket, crepuscular mirrors of Vietnam Vets slabs, Jefferson Memorial an island of sagacity -- A kid screamed: "There's TJ." FDR Memorial, a maze supernal at night. 
24 September 2016 Derangement of the Senses -- Providence RI  This trip is almost over, as all trips shall be -- 
I found this is more about understanding my 1986 self & honoring & bidding farewell to those who are lost -- Today (or rather the 23rd) was a comedy in part of misadventures. Two bus drivers yelled at me -- one for putting a day ticket (in the slot he pointed at) in the wrong place. The other looked like Joe Piscopo, and screamed when I boarded -- the back door was broken, and I was supposed to know this.
I visited Lovecraft's grave, arriving by bus, then trudging through the hot sun rays. A pond nests in the cemetery, shaded and gardened. A security guard drove up to me and asked me what I was doing. He directed me to the grave and hung around, telling me no photos.. Where are you from? Oregon. "That's way out there." and he informed me of HPL cons, and "an HPL website."  The slab is angular midst Whipple, Robie, Susan and Winfield, trampled grass, bare ground. I paid honor to the ones and to the author of the Shadow out of Time, and left. 
And I walked to 65 Prospect Place, formerly 66 College -- Faint light within, Fanlight crowning, ghostly crickets mourning the breezes -- lunch at a bad sushi place -- 
White house, break dancers folding shoulder blades -- lights, inside -- Dreams of relatives faces alternating, Fake beards, woods 
10-17-16 Home, arboreal lava, dead rice

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