We started out early from our home in Northern Arizona for San Diego, the first stop on my SoCal tour for MAGICAL ALIENATION. I’m sometimes at odds with Arizona culturally, but, man, do I love its landscapes. Mostly. It’s a little less dramatic in the Southeastern part of the state, than many other parts, though.
I’m definitely a mountain person, so while I did watch for the occasional craggy mountain that pops up along the 8 Freeway though Arizona, mostly it’s all broad, flat expanses. To relieve the monotony, I retreated into my imagination. Because lots of this land probably hasn’t changed in centuries, I imagined how it must have been for lonesome cowboys making their way across dusty trails, punctuated only by low, spare scrub, from Yuma to Phoenix, or maybe Tombstone. The Old West is forever stamped on locale in Arizona through some of the names that echo with history: Horse Thief Basin, Little Squaw River, Bloody Basin Road, Dead Man’s Wash and others.
We also listened for a while to a nonfiction audio book about olive oil called EXTRA VIRGINITY, which I hoped would relieve the tedium, but sadly, only added to it. I actually find olive oil interesting, and have ever since I signed books in an olive oil store, where I listened to employees chat up customers. But now I’ve discovered there’s also a point of diminishing return.
My husband Joe and I brought our dog Annabelle along, as we often do when we travel. She’s a good traveler. A little different perhaps as dogs go, in that she doesn’t long to put her face out the window to feel the wind on it. She just curls up and goes to sleep, but she always seems to enjoy her walks in new places. New smells must be the best when you’re a dog.
The 8 got more scenic once we passed into California. Especially the dunes beyond Yuma and the sandstone rock formations in Eastern San Diego County. And I forgot how incredibly beautiful San Diego is! We drove to a park in Mission Bay, where we illegally walked our dog — because dogs are only permitted there during certain hours — but we three willingly risked arrest to soak in that glorious view.
I had a small, but enthusiastic crowd at Mysterious Galaxy and we had a delightful exchange before I signed books. It still seems strange to me that owner Maryelizabeth Hart isn’t there, because I always loved the way she conducted an author talk, but the staff at MG are always great.