Monday, November 29, 2010

I Found Something Pretty in Kansas...

Hi Friends,
Greetings from Kansas! Yesterday marked the one week down three to go milestone in my trip! I feel like I have already done so much but have so much more ahead of me.  I arrived in Wichita to my friend PJ's apartment on Saturday night. I was starving so we went out to PJ's favorite local brewpub called the Anchor. We had great food and wonderful beer - and laughed really, really hard about high school memories. The next day we lounged for a bit and called a dear friend on speaker phone (Hi Jessy!) and then went to get Thai food which was delicious. The areas of Wichita that I'd seen up to this point were very much "run of the mill" in that there were Wal-Marts and McDonalds.  So when PJ offered to take me on a drive to see a wind farm that he helped build I said YES. The wind farm is the project that brought PJ out to Kansas and I was excited to finally see what took him away from the ocean. I wanted to see the unique Wichita away from all the stores you can see everywhere - and I definitely saw it ( the smallest, middle of nowhere towns I have ever seen). We also planned the drive so that we would be arriving at the wind farm around sunset - making this a beautiful drive. 

Pretty right? It was a great feeling driving so long then seeing forty turbines come into focus. Today I will be resolving some phone drama (still working on getting mine replaced) and heading to Old Town where PJ and I will be having lunch. I'm also sorting out in more detail my four days in Colorado.  There is a lot I want to see and do.  

Until then my friends.

PS - are you proud of me for not making one Wizard of Oz reference? Not even one! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Walking in Memphis

Today I :

...cried because Elvis died.
...saw the sun where stars were made.
...walked with my feet ten feet off of Beale.
...heard the ring, the ding and the zing.

(extra credit if you can tell me what those last two references are from.)


Today was let's be a tourist day.  I woke up at 7:00am (which is nothing to sneeze at when you went to sleep at 1:30am because Pretty Woman was on HBO) and sorted out my day.  I knew what I wanted to do but had to work out logistics. I'm usually a go by the seat of my pants kind of gal but today required a bit of planning and looking back on it I think I did a damn fine job...a damn fine job indeed.

First stop was Graceland. When I was planning my trip I knew I wanted to go to Asheville NC to see Eli and to Wichita KS to see my dearly beloved PJ - but I needed a stop in between.  Pigeon Forge TN was on the list (I'll let you figure out why) but Memphis had more to offer (sorry Julie) and it was more of a half way point. So of course Graceland was a must see. It was cool, but I'm not sure I was all that blown away.  It seemed very much like an amusement park in the way they shuffled you around from "attraction to attraction" and even shuttled you to the actual Graceland estate.  Getting there right when they opened and being there in the off season really made this a more enjoyable tour though.  I could tell by they way it was set up that they usually have way more people. I appreciated not having to use my elbows to get a decent view of things (which I'm not above doing). I understand people from all over the world come out to see this Historic Landmark and I know they need to accommodate them. It just took some of the magic away for me. The house was interesting and it was really moving to imagine Elvis sitting on that couch, or playing that piano and I also got to go inside his personal jets. I did embarrass myself and teared up a bit at his gravesite.  Even if you don't like his music you have to admit he was incredibly talented* - and he died far too young. This year he would have been 75. 

After Graceland I took the shuttle back to my hotel and picked up my car and drove to Sun Studio where Elvis was "discovered" and other greats like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and others recorded.  It was incredible to stand in the room where some of my favorite musicians recorded some of my favorite songs. At the end of the tour everyone was having a friend take their pictures with the famous microphone used in the recording sessions.  Except me - I just took a picture of the microphone. I'm realizing that while traveling alone you need to get creative if you want to be in any of the pictures you take (see above).

(The large photo in the far right of this picture was taken in that exact spot - you can make out the soundproofing tiles that are the same ones still hanging on the wall today) 

Following Sun Studio I drove to downtown Memphis and checked out Beale Street. A short but awesome street with lots and lots of music, food and neon signs.  I went to the B.B.King Blues Club and got myself a famous BBQ sandwich and a beer and watched live music for about an hour. It was awesome. My waiter was totally great and introduced me to the next act - a 17 year old who was incredible on guitar and had a great voice. He was backed up by a drummer, bassist and piano player one of which was the father to some American Idol contestant - I don't remember which one. 

Once I left the restaurant I walked around for about thirty minutes then hopped on a trolley to the arts district and visited the galleries. I also took the Riverfront Trolley that took me and a few others down to the Mississippi River and through some fancy neighborhood. At one point the trolley conductor (driver? steerer?) started singing Blue Christmas all Elvis - like into the speaker.  It really made me feel like I was somewhere new - completely different from the T's in Boston. If anyone is ever in this part of the country Beale street is a must and a ride on the trolleys.

Now I'm back at my hotel, in bed and gearing up for the big drive to Wichita tomorrow.  

Thanks for reading! 

*And sweet lookin'

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day Five: Asheville to Memphis

Oh hello again! This is my third blog post tonight - please don't unsubscribe, I'm just trying to make up for lost time...okay? Okay thanks. Today I drove from Asheville, NC to Memphis, TN. It was a long drive. It rained. It was hard to see. I took pictures in Nashville.

My drive through Nashville was actually a little sad.  I'm not sure if it was the construction sites everywhere (from the floods?), the complete lack of activity even in the tourist part of town (Thanksgiving?) or the impending doom the sky was threatening (I don't know what / who to blame for that) but there was nothing going on! I didn't even get out of the car. I can see the potential though. Was I just there on an off day? Has anyone been to Nashville and had a totally tubular time? 

I'm currently in my hotel room in Memphis, TN.  It's still raining so I'm glad I'm not in a tent tonight! I had Thanksgiving dinner alone at a local Cracker Barrel (actually it was just over the border in Mississippi) and really enjoyed myself. It was a bit lonely at first but a call from Emily, Dan and my parents made the world seem right again.  I get a bit lonely on the road by myself but also really enjoy having time with my thoughts. I really love the nights around the campfire but also am looking forward to time with friends in Kansas, Colorado, California and Ohio. I think it was just at the front of my thoughts today since I've spent every Thanksgiving with my family since I was a kid. Look at me rambling on, I promised myself I'd keep the third post short! 

Thanks for reading!

Thunder thunder, lightning lightning.


Day Three and Four: Asheville, NC

Hi Friends, 
I have the internet! Posting is slower than I'd like because for some reason trees haven't figured out a way to provide me with until then I'll be posting when I'm in a hotel, at a friends house, or in a car parked close enough to an establishment with Wi-Fi. 

After we last spoke I completed my drive to Asheville, NC in the rain.  I had plans to meet up with my wonderful friend Eli who has just returned from thru-hiking the Applachian Trail and called him when I neared my campground. Like I just said he's wonderful and invited me to stay the night at his house with his Mom and his lovely lady, Kandy. Yes please! It was raining out and a night with my good friend Eli and another good friend called a bed sounded amazing.  I made the forty minute drive from Asheville, NC to Clyde, NC and was greeted with a hug! Eli lives in a beautiful area with great views of the surrounding mountains. Because of the rain the fog was heavy and really quite mistical. (Get it? MISTicle?) pretty. We took it easy that evening with Eli telling hilarious and inspirational stories from when he was on the AT.  

Wednesday morning we rose pretty early and hung around the house for a bit. His mother was preparing for a craft fair and needed some things done before we could go have our fun.  I searched out some hikes and Eli and I left around 11:30.  First stop was Barber Orchards which was a great little (duh) orchard and shop filled with yummy goodies about fifteen minutes away in Waynesville, NC. 

After puchasing an apple fritter for myself and a turnover for Eli we made our way on to the Blue Ridge Parkway (realized we didn't have enough gas, went to get some, yadda, yadda, yadda) and drove 25 windy-ass miles in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to our first hike. THE DEVIL'S COURTHOUSE.


This is apparently where "the Devil holds court." It's also where Eli and I sat at the top to enjoy the breath taking (seriously) views and ate our "apple accessories."

The views from the Parkway are stunning enough but it was well worth it to make this "short but strenuous .5 mile hike" to the top to see even more incredible views. 

After this neither one of us was really game for the four mile hike we had planned to do afterwards so we went for a more manageable hike on the Art Loeb trail on Mt. Pisgah.  The Art Loeb trail is over thirty miles long - we hiked about two miles of it. Also, let me just point out that hiking with someone who just finished the Appalachian Trail is really intimidating. Props to Eli for being patient and kind as I huffed and puffed my way to the top - I'm exaggerating of course. Of course. The interesting thing about this trail was that we were hiking along what are known as balds. These grassy, treeless areas on the mountain are unique to the Southern Appalachian and somewhat unexplained.  The nice thing about this hike was we were at the tippy top of the mountain - this means 360* views! 

So while our hiking paths lead to the tops of mountains - they also lead to something else. That inevitable thing that comes after a nice day of hiking. Beer! (sorry Mom, it's true.)  Apparently Asheville is "Beer City, USA" beating out Portland, Oregon for that title. Western North Carolina boasts fourteen breweries! FOURTEEN! We met up with Kandy and had lunch at Rosetta's in downtown Asheville (I'd been here on a previous visit) and each got a local brew-ha-ha. Afterwards Eli and I walked around downtown and visited Firestorm Cafe & Books of which he is a co-operative owner. Check out their mission statement - you'll find it is a refreshing approach to a local, small business.  

This blog post is getting way too long so I'll end quickly.  Eli + Bea + Kandy + beer + a campfire = how we ended the night. 

The End. 


Happy Thanksgiving!

I usually don't wait until New Year's to make a resolution if I feel the need to make one. And just like I don't wait until Valentine's Day to tell someone I love them I don't wait for Thanksgiving to be grateful or thankful for all that I have. BUT, I'm alone in a Memphis, TN hotel room, and it's raining out and I actually have an internet connection so I'm going to put a list together of some things I'm thankful for, and you're going to read it...right? Here goes.

I'm thankful for:
- My wonderful and amazing family and friends (hey, that's you!)
- All of the animals I've had in my life (and my parents for letting me have                
  them and on *ahem* occasion taking care of them)
- My teachers - in all their many forms (see above) 
- Timothy at the Horn Lake, Mississippi Cracker Barrel for bringing me dinner 
  tonight and not asking why I was eating alone on Thanksgiving.
- The car in the hotel parking lot with the New Hampshire license plate - making
  me feel a bit closer to home. 
- My studio - oh my studio.  
- The door and the deadbolt that is separating me from the man down the hall  
  yelling terrible, terrible things.

And finally, I'm thankful to Blogger for giving me the ability to do this:

(that really dresses the place up a bit doesn't it?)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day Three: Virginia to North Carolina

Greetings from a Panera Bread somewhere in North Carolina! I pulled off the highway to take a break because it looked like it was about to pour...and now that I look out the window I see that it is pouring. That's going to make putting up my tent and building a fire a lot of fun tonight.


[sahr-kaz-uhm] –noun
harsh or bitter derision or irony.
a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark: areview full of sarcasms.

After leaving my ShopRite last night I drove the five miles back to camp and passed the coolest, coolest, coolest diner ever.  It was straight out of Grease but it was in the middle of nowhere. Upon further inspection I discovered it was also a drive in Movie Theater. I wished I could stay a few more days because they were advertising a Thanksgiving dinner special. If you feel the need, you can look it up...Mayberry Drive In Movie Theater and Diner. 

When I got back to camp I built a fire and stared at it for about an hour. It was nice to just have time to sit and think and think some more. I went to bed about 9:30 knowing I wanted to get up early.

I woke up around 7:00 this morning (with a little help from some woodland friends...details to follow) and went on a hike around Smith Mountain Lake. It was gorgeous and absolutely peaceful and quiet. I couldn't have asked for better weather. 

I also was coming across a lot of old wooden structures like this one:

I later found out they were used at tobacco curing barns back when people were "first" settling here. I saw a total of six over the course of about 50 miles.  Two of them were like the one above, dilapidated while others were re-inforced and being used as garages or sheds.  

The drive so far from Smith Mountain Lake State Park to Asheville has been the most scenic overall drive...about an hour more until I reach my campsite at French Broad River Campground. I will be there for two nights, and it will be really nice not to have to drive tomorrow. I am hoping the weather will clear up so I can do some hiking.  

Today I...

...learned that squirrels running around outside your tent at 7:00 in the morning will serve as a better wake up call than any alarm clock. Especially if there are leaves on the ground these little guys are capable of making a shit load of noise. Enough that will make you sit up straight in your tent thinking they are something much, much bigger. 

...realized how scary it is to have a North Carolinian cop drive behind you for ten miles when you have plates from a state whose residents are known as "MassHoles."

...followed an 18 wheeler for about 50 miles with the saying "You are not your past" written in the dirt on it's back end. 

...realized I need to buy a tarp. 

Thanks for reading're the best! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Adventure Time: Day One and Two

Hi Friends, 

I'm writing to you from the parking lot of a ShopRite in Hardy, VA...I'm stealing internet from a SUBWAY...two days on the road and I'm already a felon.  I am so happy to finally be on the road and have a lot of things to say but I'm going to keep this short...I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat and a fire to build. 

Yesterday got off to a rocky start because my phone ended up dying on me the night before my departure.  I spent about two hours in Connecticut getting a replacement, which actually worked out really well, it just took a long time.  It was no big deal except I got to my campsite at six o' clock instead of three so the sun had already set.  It was odd sleeping in a place having no idea what it looked like.  I set up my tent by the light of my headlights and went in to town to have dinner. I had a slice of pizza and it was seriously amazing. I went back to my tent and wrote in my travel journal for a bit and was asleep by 9:30 so I could wake up early.  This morning things looked completely different. This campsite has only five tent sites and the rest are for RV's...I was the only one tenting, apparently it's too cold to camp out but I found it perfect. Nice, crisp cool air.  I was a bit cold in the middle of the night so I remedied that by driving six hours south today.  It is currently 58 degrees in Hardy.  I'm staying in Smith Mountain Lake State Park which is really beautiful.  I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway in and that was an amazing drive. At one point I was at a twenty one hundred foot elevation! My tent is all set up and I just came in to town to buy fire wood and some PB+J supplies.  Tomorrow I'm waking up early to go on a hike around the lake and taking advantage of the park's hot showers! Next stop is Asheville, NC. Enjoy the photos! My stolen internet is too slow to upload photos - I'll get those to you when I find an internet cafe. Update! At Panera, here are the photos.
My first night's camp site at Dutch Cousins Campground in Denver, PA.  This was taken the following morning when it was light out.

Camp site at Smith Mountain Lake State Park.  Look at those leaves! It's actually really nice having them - it makes sleeping on the ground a bit more comfy. 

Thanks for reading! Going to go build that fire and sing camp songs. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Community Supported Art : Boston ARTchives

Hi Friends, 

There is a really exciting project that has formed in Boston and I'm very happy to be a part of it: Boston ARTchives 

"Inspired by popular and effective CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) models and innovative product-sharing models (Netflix, Zipcar, local tool banks, etc.), Boston area artists are pooling together their art and lending it out through Boston ARTchives.  Subscribers select pieces from the large, diverse ARTchives Collection and enjoy a rotating exhibit of local art on their very own walls.  Their membership fees are distributed evenly amongst the artists.  Boston ARTchives is operated by artists, for artists. Experience the thrill of being a collector without the prohibitive expense and storage concerns.  Experience the satisfaction of being a supporter of local arts in a new and exciting way.  Become a member today!"

I hope you will take a moment to check out the site and see what the project is all about - and help us spread the word! You can also become a fan of ARTchives on facebook and follow on twitter

Artsome. Thanks for reading friend.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bea Modisett: Tourist

Hi Friends, 

I am very excited to announce my first solo exhibition!  I hope you'll make it to the opening or to the exhibit during gallery hours.  The reception is two days before I depart on my cross country road trip - it's going to be a busy week! 

20 Rugg Road #2G 
Allston, MA

Opening Reception: November 19th 6pm- 10pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday - Sunday 12pm - 4pm

Hope to see you there! 

EDIT: For those of you who were unable to make the opening the exhibit will be up until December 24th. Contact Gallery Director Evan Gordon to make an appointment during any of the above times at

Monday, November 1, 2010


Hi Friends, 

A few months ago I was  asked by Barbara Moody to be her invitee in the annual Kingston Gallery Invitational, this year the exhibit is called Dialog.  The concept of the exhibit is that each of the members at Kingston invite an emerging artist to hang a piece in the show along side them.  The opening is Friday, January 7th as part of the First Friday festivities. Details to follow. 

Thanks for riding the friend train! 

PS- Today is November 1st, that means 20 more days until I leave on my journey