A letter from the Lost Sea Expedition Wagon
Polly’s tied up in the wind to a road sign that says “Pinon Creek Rd” – a road that leads from dust to more wind.
That’s how the letter started.
Traveling from Canada to Mexico with my wagon for the Lost Sea Expedition TV series, I kept in touch with friends largely through letters – occasionally a phone call. Toward the end of my voyage, crossing the parched expanses of the Chihuahua Desert, sending these letters got tougher. There just weren’t any post offices in this land of choya, prickly pear and wind. Forget about phone booths.
These simple paper and pen missives reeked of wind, the dust and the alone-ness.
Here’s a letter I wrote to my dear friend M. Looking back on it now, through the lens of all the electronic communications that’s eroded my attentions span since that voyage, I like how it feels better than ever before.
From Crow Flats, New Mexico, I wrote:
Polly’s tied up in the wind to a road sign that says “Pinon Creek Rd” – a road that leads from dust to more wind. I haven’t been able to call for over a week now so decided to write you a note and have one of the road construction guys mail it on his way home.
In the past week we’ve climbed and rattled down 2,500 feet of elevation. More important, we haven’t heard from the outside world, the “crisis” having a way of filtering into our every day lives.
With 2+- weeks left in the voyage, I’m already looking forward to returning home to spring, complete with fingers digging in moist soil, making tiny bed holes for even smaller roots.
I must bring you something home from this desert, something that a little water and prosperity won’t kill. Oh, wait, that could be me…
Well, better run. The gravel truck is heading this way.
Now this letter’s adventure begins. Please note the postmark so we can see where it was mailed from.
See you soon! Give my regards to J and W.
PS: Hope school’s going well. I couldn’t send you a cactus for your garden but I could draw one for your letter.
So that’s what I wrote. Now I just had to get that letter in to the US Postal system.
On board the Lost Sea Expedition wagon, I carried a few stamps. I stuck enough postage on my letter to carry it to its destination. The only traffic I’d seen were the occasional gravel truck I’d mentioned in the letter. It got me thinking.
Then I just waited. And waited. And waited some more.
Finally, a cloud of dust on the gravel road I was traveling. A gravel truck.
I flagged down the driver. Gave him my letter. Asked him to post it when he got home.
That night, alone in my wagon, I thought of the new journey my letter had begun. How that letter, entrusted to a flagged down stranger, would be making its way back to civilization. Outside, the desert wind blew. I felt a little less alone knowing word of my existence would reach the outside world.
Mule Polly and I are home now. Here’s how you can watch the entire Lost Sea Expedition series:
-Rocky Mountain PBS (Colorado)
June 7, 14, 28 and July 5 / 7p
– available at the RiverEarth.com General Store.
PS: I have a hard wired need to mail folks letters and cards. Oh, and to pay for my travels as I go. To help finance my half-year journey around Tasmania on a $10 bike, there was the Postcard from Tasmania….
That series sold out but here’s some of the cards I sent from:
– the southern-most pub in Australia.
-wallaby-thick Flinders Island, Tasmania
Yes, I discovered you can even send a beer can postcard from Tasmania to anywhere in the world