Sneak Preview: Map of 2005 Mojave trip

Slowly over the last two years, I have been writing a book about the time I spent driving to, living in, and leaving Mojave, California in Spring 2005. The prospective title for this project has always been Mojave Road in the Sky, inspired by this photo I snapped in Death Valley National Park.

Quite a few of my memories from this time period are still quite fresh. Every week a few frames of the trip will slip into my consciousness: while driving I’ll think of the road from Van Horn to Guadalupe Mountains National Park; while running I’ll think of the hike to Lost Palms Oasis; while doing nothing at all I’ll think of the vast green sea of North Dakota.

One trick I’ve always had up my sleeve is my ability to learn things by associating them with a location. I’m not sure what this is called — it’s sort of like photographic memory, I think. Maybe not. You tell me. I used to clean up in my aerodynamics courses in university because I could remember flow characteristics and equations by remembering where these things were located on the textbook page. Translate that to a larger scale, and I remember roads traveled, music heard, people met by placing these things on a mental map of an area. It’s not a wildly useful skill; perhaps this will also give you some insight into why I don’t own a TV because this feed of memories and places is often playing in the theater of my mind.

Anyway. I’m getting away from the point.

Slowly, I’ve been transforming memories from this 2005 trip into placemarks in Google Earth. This has opened up a flood of forgotten memories. Sure, most are useless ones — I remember the name of the gas station where I stopped outside of dark and sinister Phoenix (Toor’s Chevron) — but it has been very useful in pulling thoughts and memories and insights from forgotten, unconnected dots.

If you like, you can have a look at the map as I’m creating it. It’s a mess now — but it’s a work-in-progress.

Illinois to California


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California to Illinois


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The original .kmz files are stored on my wiki:

Also note that if you go to the links above, you can download a network link file for each — download that to your My Places in Google Earth and it will be automatically updated whenever I update the source files on the wiki. It’s magic.

There’s not a lot of context associated with these points on the map; why should you care that I stopped at Brake Masters in Las Vegas? I don’t feel pressured to move quickly yet since I have only 8 subscribers to this blog, according to Feedburner. Eventually I’ll include pictures (if you’re impatient see flickr.com/photos/kittell) and other notes from this trip.

My secret, narcissistic hope is that someone — be it a stranger or, more likely, Mom — might see something they like or don’t like, and tell me about it. Interaction would be a wonderful motivator. I’m planning one more update to these maps before the end of March. If you’ve actually played with the maps above, is there anything in particular you would like to see updated? Anything you would like to see augmented with photos or notes?

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