Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Epic of Presston

Mission accomplished! After an epic journey that despite flawless execution somehow took two days longer than expected, Presston is settled in his new home.

I had intended to take loads of photos, but there are only so many view-out-the-front-of-the-moving-truck shots that one can tolerate. My picture-taking started out well enough:

I so rarely fly west, it was a surprise to find myself over
my own valley. That's Twin Lakes and the Forebay
in the center, and I think the controlled burn at O'Haver Lake
in the background.
And yeah. Snow.

My intrepid companion in adventure and I left Salida at oh-dark-hundred last Monday and drove to Woodland Park to leave my car and catch a ride to the Denver airport. From Denver we took a bare bones flight to Las Vegas ($57!), where we were met by the indomitable Suzanne Hackett-Morgan of the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

Suzanne and the Barbie Jeep drove us to Pahrump, Nevada to pick up a very large rental truck, and then we were off in to the Mohave desert to collect Presston and some other equipment. At this point I think G started to wonder just what he'd agreed to.

The schlepping team: Suzanne, David, Greg, oh SHOOT, 
I forgot his name, Dane, and Richard.

In Beatty Suzanne rounded up some help and we moved Presston, two tables, a cabinet, a drying rack, a hot plate, and other miscellaneous stuff into the truck. This is a far simpler statement than it was an activity. Presston alone weighs over 400 pounds and it was 90 degrees in Beatty... a cooling-off for the locals, but an abrupt return to summer for someone who had just left snowy peaks.

Last light from the Barn, click to embiggen
 But we managed to finish up and to get some other items schlepped out to the Goldwell Barn, just as the last light disappeared from Death Valley.

Suzanne treated us to dinner at the Sourdough Saloon, where we met some local characters and where I found the coolest door latch in a women's restroom in a bar ever. Well, maybe not ever. But certainly in a long time. Not that I spend much time in bars. Or in bathrooms in bars. Oh, nevermind.

We stumbled to bed (from fatigue, not bar offerings), and the next morning saw oh-dark-hundred AGAIN. Gas station coffee and breakfast sandwiches in hand we headed east. It looked like this:

And a little while later, it looked like this:

The good news is that those thin clouds became thicker clouds and we had overcast skies for the next two days of driving. Not so picturesque for photography, but certainly nice and cool for desert travel.

We ended up driving for almost 15 hours on Tuesday, arriving in Albuquerque, New Mexico well after dark and unfortunately also after they closed northbound I-25 for construction. Tired and cranky AND having to find a new route across town in a 16-foot truck? Definitely a trip low point. But we made it, found a place to stay, and were satisfied to only have a 4.5-hour drive the next day.

Wednesday we were in Colorado in time for lunch in Alamosa, and then the final push for home. G and I unloaded the tables and made some decisions about how to set up the living-room-now-studio-space, and then gave up for the day. (I had a plan, but of course it completely changed once we had the actual equipment.) Thursday it rained all day, but we finished sorting equipment and studio, put some items (like a huge drying rack that I can't fit in my space just now) in to storage, and welcomed a cadre of young men from the Salida High School cross-country team to help schlep Presston into place. (The scariest moment for me.)

Definitely NOT the hot, dry Mohave. Headed to Colorado Springs
for the last steps of the journey.
We were not quite finished yet, though. Yesterday (Friday) I had to pick up my car on the way to returning the truck in Colorado Springs and a piece of equipment that we brought with us for Colorado College had to be delivered. And of course I had to go cheer for the cross country team at their District meet in CaƱon City on the way home. I owed them that, at least.

So now it's Saturday, and although there are still some shelves to install and some lighting to sort out, the studio space is looking good. Presston dominates the scene, of course, as he should.

click to embiggen these funky phone-camera panoramas

For me the rest of today will be about post-trip bookkeeping, email triage, and a desperate trip to the grocery store. (And probably a nap.) But from time to time I'll get up and wander to the studio... find a little more dust to clean off of Presston... and start to find my way to a new working method. It's a new era for this printmaker!

OOPS! I almost forgot to mention that Presston made at least part of his journey on the infamous Route 66. The one photo I have from the trip that isn't from the window of the truck! (It's from the gift shop of our stop for Second Breakfast, but hey...)


  1. Thank you Sherrie for sharing the arduous but oh so worth it journey to bringing Presston home. May you have many happy years together. Xxoo

  2. Your new studio looks fabulous Sherrie! Can't wait to see the direction in which you and your new work partner head. May you and Presston enjoy a long and happy relationship.

  3. YEAH! CONGRATS! I know what it feels like to journey to get a press and bring it finally home. Very cool. And all best as you and Presston get to know one another!

  4. Fantastic!
    May I say a Chapter III in your life!?

  5. so very very jealous! :)

    and those photos are great, such an open sky in them all :)

  6. I've only dabbled in printmaking, but I have to say I drooled a little at seeing Presston. Very happy for you! (And that was a really cool door latch.)

  7. Thanks for your warm welcome for Presston, everyone, and thank you for your good cheer for this next chapter of my printmaking career. I've wanted a press since the first time I pulled the wheel of an old etching press in college. So it took thirty years for me to finally get one! Whatever! It's here now! :-)

  8. Wow, thirty years before getting a press! Talk about delayed gratification. No doubt you'll have to make some adjustments to the way you work, but I think once you have it worked out you won't know yourself.

    Time to give those sore wrists a well earned retirement. Happy creating!