2 March 2017
Arizona Highway 64 mile 195, just north of Red Lake, there is a white cross of two-by-fours with a bedraggled white teddy bear and a stripped wire wreath. Nothing else except seven black hash marks. I wonder who is counting.
26 February 2017
This shrine for Clay or Ely is a space where the weeds are chopped on the side of 40th, which is basically an alley just east of 6th beside the Star Hotel, which don’t look like nothing nice. Been a lot of years and wishful thinking since a star strolled here. The shrine is simple concrete and steel but you can feel the love and care. Built and cast to last. Each carefully punched tin can covers a prayer candle. Via Con Dios. In these rodeo days and trick turning nights I hope you are walking with the angels, vatos, and spirits on the streets of South Tucson.
21 January 2017
I-10 westbound mile marker 276. Forever In Our Hearts — Hector Manuel Sanchez III. Black paper roses, a rubber spider, a penguin with ski poles, and The Virgin are among the talismans left on this gold painted crossed-guitar memorial under an ominous winter desert storm sky in a sideways wet sand wind out here just east of Houghton Road.
5 January 2017
I-17 in the median, mile 296 just south of the Cornville Rest Area. Rolling south out of the storm today. I’m liking that this memorial has been replaced but the old still stands like the shadow of new. I’m always touched by the ones that left in 2008 because it’s the same year I was resurrected. Active addiction is a spiritual death.
22 December 2016
I-40 westbound mile marker 91 at Fort Rock Road. I’ve stopped here before. The Angels read to me by the light of solar lanterns in the fog while Holly Williams whispers in my ear about her grandfather Hank and Jesus being here with us as we roll west into a rain covered winter Mohave Desert. I’m feeling real at peace today. Sending love out to everyone that had the good fortune to retire from the life. You know who you are. Something watches over all of us, no matter where we fall.
2 December 2016
Cindy. Dudleyville Arizona at Valentine Road by the Giant station. Welded chain, crying angels, and butterflies.
2 December 2016
Red chili today at Chalo’s works well with the white snowpack under my wheels rolling down Lake Mary Road out of Flagstaff as the snow begins to fly. Found this anonymous shrine a few hours later on Arizona Highway 87 at the turnoff to Globe hidden in winter weeds. It’s one of my favorites, handcrafted out of iron pipe, plumbing fittings and heavy swirls of hand bent metal. The Highway gives. The Highway takes away.
12 November 2016
I-40 westbound at mile marker 217. Glass angels, photographs; a purple cross and flowers, electric candles, solar-powered spotlights, and an airbrushed tee-shirt. I’ve worked this stretch of highway almost my whole grown life. It’s flat and it’s straight and it’s deadly. Feels like you can see forever. You can. The problem is forever can be over in an instant. It lulls you and then it kills you. This shrine won’t last nearly as long as the pain of the loss. I’m glad I caught it. She was clearly loved. We each honor our dead the only way we know how.
11 November 2016
I-40 Westbound mile 217 just west of Padre Canyon. Walked through the Bunch Grass and the beer cans so old they are made of steel to this monument. Steel pipe and mailbox letters. ‘Til death do us part ... Joseph and Lisa Jo Coffey 1/12/07.
11 November 2016
I-40 East Bound mile 210. These are simple, placed at the bottom of a ridge that looks like it could be a launch ramp into the stars. Two crosses welded up out of recycled galvanized fence posts and set in concrete. Two $40 Christmas wreaths marked down to $19.99. A little bit of tie wire. No names, no candles, just the memories in someone’s heart. The Highway Gives. The Highway Takes Away.
28 October 2016
I-10 eastbound at Riggs Road just east of Phoenix, Arizona. The dirt around it is still freshly raked. The only footprints are mine. Two dozen roses and a dozen rosaries adorn this cross. Two gallon jugs of clean water, countless photographs in frames, and a tiny solar powered child’s swing. Your heart can’t help but break a little in this sacred space as the eastbound traffic out of the soulless land that is metro Phoenix thunders by a few feet away.
10 October 2016
This shrine sits only a few blocks away right here on the Southside of little Flagstaff on the corner of East Brannen and South Elden. MNL gone but not forgotten — lover, stranger, friend — your memory stops us all in our tracks as fall bursts on a Southside ripe with apples and stone fruit. Positive pressure and dreams of something better keep me from suffocating in my sleep.
23 September 2016
Barrio Viejo, Tucson, Arizona
Found this mystic beer bottle, plastic flower, broken glass, and welded steel memorial complete with fading photograph on 22nd and South 8th around the corner from Isaac’s place. It appeared before us just as the monsoon rain drops began to force the dust devils to their knees across the empty street from ABC Cab (hiring drivers) and the 786 Smoke Shop. Built to stand tall even when the Devils fall.
8 September 2016
Wasco State Prison
Highway 46 and McKibben Rd just east of Wasco. Almond groves on my right. Fresh plowed fields as far as I can see and roadside shrines to my left. The prison is in my rear-view mirror. There will be no photos of that today. Only Faith and Love and Hope hidden among the plastic flowers that mark this piece of sacred dirt. The Highway Gives. The Highway takes Away.
2 September 2016
Shrine to a fallen Harley rider. Tucson, Arizona, on Swan. Metal Mulisha, swastika, prayer candles and a 5th of Fireball. I like the messages written on the curb.
19 August 2016
Roadside shrine with a hand and a Bud Light sign for a dog named Truck. Daggett is one of the roughest places I’ve ever been.
6 July 2016
Stillness of death in the foreground. High speed motion of life behind it.
6 July 2016
Roadside memorial on Highway 58 at 20 Mule Team Road. Seems like dying could be pretty easy out here ... behind this memorial a wooden handled kitchen knife is stuck in the ground. I don’t know if it’s there for trimming flowers or to express the pain of loss in the heart of the person who pressed the blade into the bloody sand.
26 June 2016
Show Low, Arizona
Headed home from the Cedar Fire I found this roadside memorial to a lone Canadian northbound on Arizona Highway 77. It reminded me of one I stopped at for years until completely disappeared on Navajo Highway 15 just south of the community of Leupp where a young Canadian couple died in a fiery head-on collision between their VW camper and a Ford pickup being driven by a Navajo guy. Nobody survived. Days afterward, in the presence of an FBI agent who had been raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation and all four parents of the Canadian couple, in the towing yard I used the winch to unfold the crumpled front end of the burned camper in a vain attempt to locate and salvage their wedding rings, which they were known to keep stashed underneath the dashboard for safekeeping. It was one of those terrible moments I had not thought about in years.
21 June 2016
I’m hauling 3,800 gallon loads of water out of Show Low, Arizona, south down US 60 to fight the Cedar Fire, but from my vantage point high up in the cab of my bright yellow tanker I spotted this shrine and memorial at the bottom of the embankment on a nasty curve just past the White Mountain Apache reservation line. I had to take a moment to climb down to that bench and just sit. Lots of spirits and wild horses in Apache lands. This is good country.
30 May 2016
A lazy highway patrolman and an inconsiderate person with a flat tire left me with an empty tow truck, empty pockets, and not much to do out here East of Flagstaff on Interstate 40 this Memorial Day afternoon so I stopped by to visit you. You are a hard one to forget Danny Boy. Hope you are smiling that sideways grin somewhere.
21 May 2016
I-17 Southbound at the Sunset Point Rest Area, overlooking the legends of Apache ghosts and hidden gold as well as the winding drop into Black Canyon City. Going off it loaded heavy I always say a prayer and put the stick in the top hole on the low side of my transmission. There are bones and tears and treasure buried in those twisted, unforgiving mountains. Wander the trails very far into them and you’ll be forever changed.
26 April 2016
Kino Viejo, Mexico
The Virgin changes a bit from place to place, context to context. Here she is on a wall in the Sonoran village of Old Kino Bay, a community that has existed and fed it’s people on the bounty of the eastern shore of Sea of Cortez. We see the dolphins traveling parallel to the shoreline of the sea in the mornings as we drink our tea and eat warm tortillas.
26 April 2016
South Interstate 19, Nogales
At the peak of a twisting dangerous pass, Kilometer 232 northbound on Mexico 15 on a super windy hilltop, I found this Virgin with a freshly opened cold Corona and a few tired faded roses.
11 April 2016
I-40 Westbound mile 205.5. After three years we placed it facing El Sur. Love is stronger than Fear. I miss you every day kid. Only God knows why...
3 April 2016
Arizona I-17 Northbound at the 305 mile marker at the start of a sunset when I can’t hide my own shadow and my left knee wants to collapse backwards underneath me. All I can do is kneel in front of this makeshift altar and bite my own tongue to keep from asking questions I’m afraid to answer.
10 March 2016
Found this beautiful shrine on the side of Mexico 15 outside a small town in Sonora about 150 kilometers north of Hermosillo. It’s funny how at home I feel in this space. To me this whole part of the world feels like the world as it should be. I guess lot of folks have an image of it as a dangerous place but I find a great deal of peace in it.
21 February 2016
Sidewalk shrine in an abandoned Art Deco doorway on 7th near the named alley Fierro down here in Tucson. I didn’t know him.
15 January 2016
Highway 46 at the junction with California 99 west of Wasco in the almond and grape groves.
25 September 2015
Roadside memorial North on Highway 83 in the weaponized zone Rio Grande Valley, way south Texas. The highway gives and the highway takes away.
27 January 2015
Lots of good things happened today. Feeling Grateful.
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