Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “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.


My photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Boatyard 1954 Chevy.

One of my favorite Maine cars. Great attitude.

Michael Heizer's City.

 In 1972, Michael Heizer began construction on the massive installation known as City in the desert of Lincoln County, Nevada. 
Thanks to Scott Dorrance for the heads-up on Michael Kimmelman's piece on Michael Heizer in the NYT last month: " “City” ... may be the most ambitious sculpture anyone has ever built, one of those audacious, improbable American dreams, at the scale of the West, conceived for the ages. More than a mile long, “City” is a kind of modern Chichen Itza in the midst of Garden Valley, a pristine, lunar stretch of stark and unspeakable beauty, an hour’s bumpy drive from the nearest paved road..."
There's a show--his first in years--up for a few more days at Gagosian in NYC: 18-ton slab of granite named "Potato Chip" and a 12-ton rock of iron ore called “Asteroid.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Nevada Oasis, and Bernard DeVoto

                                                                                                                                                   ©Michael S. Moore2015
Ah, the West. Always surprising. You head out across the northern Nevada desert--and see what turns up? 
I'm reading Bernard DeVoto, 1846: Year of Decision. His writing style can be annoying--kind of smart-alecky in a 1940s way-- but he certainly did the research and knew the country. His accounts of the emigrations along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails in the mid-19th century are very much worth reading. Born in Utah, DeVoto was a card-carrying liberal of his era, and bold politically. Made a lot of enemies. Unafraid. But it's hard to escape the blind spots of your own era, isn't it? In DeVoto's history of American emigration, invasion and settlement of the West, Native Americans are granted none of the respect or due diligence carefully applied to his other subjects. He just has not done the research. Pretty much everything he writes about Native Americans reflects bitter prejudices that must have been the village wisdom during his upbringing in Ogden, Utah in the late 19th century, a time and place still very close to "frontier". DeVoto is an impressive narrative historian but whenever he writes about the Shoshone, Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, or Crow, he ends up sounding like an ignoramus.
I plan to read The Uneasy Chair, Wallace Stegner's biography of DeVoto. From an Amazon review: "Born within a dozen years of one another in small towns in Utah, both men were, as Stegner writes, "novelists by intention, teachers by necessity, and historians by the sheer compulsion of the region that shaped us." From this unique vantage point, Stegner follows DeVoto's path from his beloved but not particularly congenial Utah to the even less congenial Harvard where, galvanized by the disregard of the aesthetes around him, he commenced a career that, over three and a half decades, would embrace nearly every sort of literary enterprise: from modestly successful novels to prize-winning Western histories, from the editorship of the Saturday Review to a famously combative, long-running monthly column in Harper's, "The Easy Chair." A nuanced portrait of a stormy literary life, Stegner's biography of DeVoto is also a window on the tumultuous world of American letters in the twentieth century."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

1959 Edsel Ranger Hardtop

Colin Washburn saw it, down the Peninsula. "Just off the Alameda de las Pulgas (Avenue of the Fleas) in San Carlos, Ca.. It had current tags so must be a runner. In case you can't read it, it's a "Ranger"  --CRW
Looks like it belongs in the neighborhood. Same era?

The Plymouth Valiant

From Jane Hilberry. See her poem, "The Plymouth Valiant"

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ventura Boulevard. California Blue Sky. 1963 Chevy C10

                                                                                                      ©Jarrod McCabe 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Car: 1973 Country Squire

A 1973 Ford LTD Country Squire. Highly optioned, apparently extremely well preserved 24k mile example that's said to run and drive excellently. A 429ci V8 powered car...up for sale...find out more on B-A-T

Saul Leiter's New York cabs

Michael Greenberg's piece about the New York School photographers is in July 9 New York Review of Books. Below: some of Saul Leiter's street photographs. When did NYC cabs go all yellow? Must have been the mid-to-late Sixties. When was the last summer straw boater worn without irony on the streets of Manhattan? Mid-Fifties I'd say.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mercury Comet & The Motherlode 400

One of the competitors in this year's Motherlode 400. We posted on another '64 Mercury Comet a while back. And there was the '62 Comet Chip Lord saw on the streets of San San Francisco.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Brooklin Maine Boatbuilding Capital of the World

So they say. Have a look at Foggy down the road and tell me which is more beautiful.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Boatyard Dodge, Sedgwick Maine

A truck that looks & works like a truck and not someone's fantasy of (ersatz) manliness.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Chevrolet c10, Angels Camp CA

from Colin Washburn, in the Sierra foothills: 
Spotted this beauty driving thru Angel's Camp yesterday. Don't know the year. In regards to the '72 Chevy K20 posted on June 13, they DO breed these short-bed trucks around here, I swear! Sonora is full of similar rigs ; Cheyennes, Scottsdales, Sierras, etc.. I must see half a dozen or more every time I drive around Tuolumne County. Seriously, they're all over the place. Seems most of them are 4x4's and are jacked up. A head-turning, cherry stock one every so often. They've got attitude. I want one, even though one must leave the tailgate down when carrying 8' long plywood!--CRW

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Marathon Moto Guzzi

from Dan Picasso in far-West Texas: "Wellsir, I'm Ed-Norton-ing toward getting ALL vehicles rolling again after spending a year or so working on the motorcycles.  The little Guzzi is now a full-on Cafe bike with all kinds of owner-made parts.  It's terribly proud of itself, starts/stops on a dime and is fast and terrifically loud. The other bikes are running well; tanks hold real gasoline and not a gelled and stinking Bush-era glop."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

1970 GMC Sierra. Echo Park, L.A.

 Oh boy, I miss the vernacular trucks of LA. Like what you  find parked on the street on any fifteen-minute cruise through a neighborhood like...Echo Park. I'm guessing, but I would say 1970? GMC C-10. Thanks to Jarrod McCabe for the eye and the photos.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Jarrod McCabe: Ranchero Ventura

 It's a 1965 Ford Ranchero. Thanks to Jarrod McCabe for these. We've seen some great cars in Ventura, like this El Camino. And how about a '61 Pontiac Ventura?

1961 Meteor Montcalm.

That's a 1961 Canadian Meteor Montcalm. Canadians like to name cars after generals who lose important battles. From the other side of the Canadian psyche, there's the Mercury Monarch. It wasn't named after the butterfly, either.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

1956 Meteor Rideau

"Just before Christmas last year, his neighbour dropped by to ask Ron Doling whether he wanted his parents' car, last licensed in 1974...."
It's a Meteor, and they spell neighbor with a U, so even before you see the Vancouver plate, it's a Canadian story, eh? In the National Post. Thanks to Aidan O'Neill for the heads-up

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bobwahr S-10 Blazer

Michael Moore spotted it at "Four Seasons Hardware, Alturas: the Bobwahr S-10 Blazer [Bobwahr a relative of Picketwire (River) aka Purgatoire down there around Trinidad, CO];

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

1600 Mk II MGA

Compare to that 1966 Austin-Healey we caught last fall.  British sportscars of the postwar era spoke a nimble language all their own,  until (was it c. 1970?)  those disfiguring black rubber bumpers got slapped on MGB's sold in the US.