‘The Journey to Ukazoo’ book project:
A preview of the first of 37 stories included in the soon to be published Book. Kickstarter Launch in March!
Slide One – ‘Steppin’ Out’ – June 3, 2013
It is June 3th, 2013, a clear Monday morning with warm hints of the temperature starting to rise.
I’ve been getting ready for this day for over a month now with both anticipation and apprehension. It’s to be a long 9-month trip and hopefully my preparation will give me the advantage of a successful journey. With all the groundwork I have done, I know there are parts of this trip that cast uncertainties in choosing paths and locations.
The few days before, in the midst of all my packing, I washed the van, cleaned, and vacuumed the interior to get her as fresh to go as I possibly could. The day before, I filled the gas tank and set the trip and gas odometers to zero.
Besides the usual suspects, the suitcases were packed with as many changes of clothes I could cram in, the ditty-bag bursting with every imageable heath and grooming concern I could think of, I also included the items I felt should be at my fingertips for this long drive.
Before packing the back of the van, I made sure my bike had its spot secured to one side. All other suitcases, boxes, and bags followed.
Of course, the camera, nudged between the seats, headed the list so that I could record as many sights as I possible. A ‘Trip diary’ book ruled and columned to chart my days, miles traveled, and include notes of people, places, and events.
Of most importance to this long drive and secured to the front passenger seat is a flat, full fitted, and sanded piece of plywood to hold four attached plastic containers with items of need within arm’s reach – three containers in a row and one to the left side. The third one back in the row holds the Trip-diary, extra pencils and pens, pen knife (for alligator attacks), a few Band-Aids, Advil, rubber bands, spare glasses, index cards, an old dented Harmonica, and other ’I might need’ items.
The first container of the row carries a familiar long trip snack, salted pretzel rods.
The middle one and the one to the left, without a doubt reflects my age. The middle one is an array of maps of the various states I anticipate, both driving through or stopping in. I hear all you saying GPS, GPS. Even if I had a GPS in the van, I would still be carrying the maps. There is a sort of romanticism about unfolding a map and perusing all the possible routes and the out of the way small towns. There’s also the trusting of our sense of intuitiveness to decide to sometimes take ‘a road less traveled’, see where it leads, and the personal sense of triumph in finding your way back to a familiar route. The important part is the deadline for finishing the trip. I need to end my Journey to Ukazoo February 10th, 2014 so that I can set up the Art Exhibit at Ukazoo Bookstore to open on February 16, 2014.
The container on the left will open the readers eyes a bit more. This container, houses music cassettes. Yes, cassettes with lots and lots of music I have selected to record, over lots and lots and lots of years. I have and listen to other forms of recorded music but for the road trips, the recorded music on the cassettes always fit nicely for the long drives. They, like the maps, envelope a certain sense of familiarly – old friends if you may.
Checked the stove and lights and with a turn of the key to lock the door, I made my way out to the van.
This first camera shot/selfie is of me taking that first step on my journey to Ukazoo. To be honest, the image is a little deceptive as I do sport a beard and mustache. The hair on the other hand, or should I say, ‘lack of hair’, is accurate. With the van packed, a small cooler with water up front by the camera and a small tin of homemade chocolate chip cookies to intertwined with the pretzel snacks, I am ready to go. Setting the trip odometer to zero and settling in for a ten-hour drive and Ferry ride, my first stop is Ocacoke, N.C.
Text and image: Copyright Craig L Haupt
Ukazoo: Trademark Ukazoo Bookstore, used by permission.