Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 2012. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.

PHB

My Photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and an '86 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of '97 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 25 years--we're recyclers. I've published 2 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), and THE O'BRIENS (2012), and 2 collections of stories NIGHT DRIVING (1987), and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my book stuff at www.peterbehrens.org I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'll be teaching at Colorado College and Wichita State in 2013-14.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Salesman & the '64 Rambler: The Last Ride

Autoliterate: "I remember that chrome salesman marching off to work on the Rambler. Do you have a photograph of him on the car?"

AE: "Frayed knot , Peter. I'll send you a shot of it's last voyage ...being towed by Blake out to the compound [in Banff]. It wasn't running or registered and the place where I had been storing it kicked me out ...I was broke and decided to let it go. That was a mistake, but we all live with a few regrets. Wish I still had it. I had just removed the ornament."
Both photographs Alex Emond ©2012





Saturday, July 28, 2012

1956 Buick & American Road


from Rob Simonds: 
"My work still takes me west every summer and I have a habit...of taking pictures of trucks along the way...I'm about to start my drive west tomorrow and I thought I'd share a few with you from last year."--RS
   1956 Buick- Sonoma, CA

1966 F-100: Napa, CA

F-100, Nevada City, CA
Lifted Chevy. Cheyenne, Wyo.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chevrolet C10 Marfa, Texas

                                                                              Pinto Canyon Road
Truck used to belong to City of Marfa. There's one like it--but a longbed--in a scrapyard out near the airport. This one was reasonably well-preserved for a truck that had been on the city payroll for twenty-six years or so. It has a 305 motor, despised by hotrodders--but I'm not. Ricky Rojo rebuilt the transmission last year. It runs a smooth 70 mph on the highway between Marfa and the skateboard park in Alpine. We drove the truck from Marfa down to Big Bend in January. Longest truck trip this year was to Odessa, in March, when I was interviewed on the local CBS channel about my new novel The O'Briens. Odessa was maybe three hundred miles r/t, and no problems. Hector Sanchez painted it in April-May 2011, during last year's terrible fire season. Hector is a volunteer fireman, and I think he was pulling some 24-hour days on the job, but he still got the truck done.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nova Colorado

"That southern Colorado sun has had its way with the surfaces...[in its natural habitat]"--MSM

The unwritten history of work

I like old mechanics' toolboxes : if they are good they seem to last forever and I like the wear of them, the sense of a history--the hours of work worked into them. This one belongs to Michael Moore in Northern California. This link will take you to some earlier autoliterate posts on toolboxes...



Maine Lobsterboat, 1976 Chevrolet truck

One of the spring rituals was getting our sailboat ready for launching. Scout spends the winter at Bill Grant's boatyard in Sedgwick; when I was slapping on a bottom coat back in June there were still a bunch of lobster boats at the yard, getting ready for action. There's something tuned and form-follows-functional that I admire about the blocky, workaholic lines of the 1976 Chevy truck and the swooping, graceful sheer of a Maine lobsterboat.

Monday, July 23, 2012

1967 F100

Rust where you'd expect it, but not much, and that blue...Saskatchewan is like a rest home for old trucks.
                                                                     ©2012 Alex Emond

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fargo Trucks, Canada Sky

Dodge trucks were Fargo trucks in the great white north.


                                   both images ©2012 Alex Emond

'51 Chevrolet Truck & Walking Rain, Colorado

                                                              ©2012 Michael C. Moore
 J. B. Jackson was brilliant at the interpretation of western landscapes. His Autoguide to Northern New Mexico is hard to find but invaluable. Also try his Discovering the Vernacular Landscape and American Space.

1963 Chevrolet pickup


I liked this at the Sedgwick (Maine) Volunteer Fire Department show, at the fairgrounds in Blue Hill.





Willys Jeep Wagon, Maine Island Summer










all images ©2012 Laura Lewis

Saturday, July 21, 2012

VW Buses & The Netherlands

We go to the Netherlands in a few weeks. I will be spending six months as writer-in-residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, in Wassenaar, a village suburb of The Hague. Any tips or insider knowledge re. life in the Netherlands? Please contact  himself@peterbehrens.org

Of course I'll be reporting on Dutch cars & trucks.   Have always appreciated the no-nonsense aesthetic of euro-trucks. We hope to buy an aged VW bus for traveling around Europe: possibly heading to Spain for Christmas. Never have owned a VW bus so any tips on shopping for a used one appreciated. Don;t see many in Maine but there were dozens buzzing around Vancouver last month:




Friday, July 20, 2012

Astral Travel & Trompe-l'oeil in Saskatchewan

from Alex Emond, our man in south Saskatchewan:
                                                                                                 ©Alex Emond 2012
     "...from south of Hazlet, Sask., in the sandhill country just northwest of Swift Current. Gorgeous, subtle, soft terrain that I want to explore a little more. Way too much oil and gas shit going on so it may take another half century before all that stuff is gone. But there are still expansive views that turn driving into a sort of lazy man's Astral Travel. I mean miles and miles of no fence, no traffic, floating on gravel. Probably most seductive on a big motorcycle...
     "This painted truck has all the chrome bits off the real truck worked into the garage door/Sistine Chapel."--AE  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The O'Briens in Maine

I'm reading from my novel The O'Briens (A major accomplishment--NYTBR), talking about  Irish-Americans (and -Canadians), and showing slides from the O'Briens archive tonight, Thursday July 19, at 7pm at the Blue Hill Public Library in Blue Hill, Maine. There will be books for sale and I'll be happy to sign 'em. The childrens' librarian is organizing a kids' "campout" in the library at the same time, so children are welcome. You are too. More event info here.

Next Tuesday July 24 at 6p.m. I'll be doing the same thing at Falmouth (Maine) Memorial Library. No campout in Falmouth, though.

paperbacks at Vancouver International Airport this week.

Dodge Power Wagon Maine Forest Service

This one belongs to the Maine Forest Service.





Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dendroglyphs, Huerano County, Colorado

From MSM's ongoing western highway series: this is SR 69 north, Huerano County, Colorado.
" the dendroglyphs carved by sheepherders between the late eighteenth [maybe] and mid-twentieth centuries...these here most likely the latter:
"To get there you have to do some of this: SR 69 north, Huerano County, Colorado." --MSM
   

                                                                    all images  michael s. moore ©2012 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

John Brinckerhoff Jackson

Looking at these images I'm thinking it's time to read John Brinckerhoff Jackson, the great interpreter of Western landscapes, again.



                                                                         all photos Michael S. Moore © 2012