PANTOMERICA

Seeking Color In The US

desert

Full Moon. White Sands. Can't Lose.

Color 42, Color 37, Color 58, Color 40Maggie OwensComment

The White Sands of New Mexico is a vast stretch of pristine dunes protected by the National Parks Service in Otero County.  On full moon nights they keep the park open until midnight and just let visitors roam free across miles of empty white space under the lit up New Mexico sky.  I know, it’s crazy that people don’t talk about this more.  You drive your car out there, park it, then take your shoes off and just go wherever you want.  

And as if the setting wasn’t surreal enough, there’s a Mariachi band playing some where in the distance.  

Tons of locals come out for the event, but with so much open space it was difficult to not feel alone out there, traipsing around the desert waiting for the sun to set. 

Just before midnight, with the full moon high, and the guitarrón strumming dreamily in the background, we felt moved to open our hearts to each other, to lie in the sand and have one of those heart-wrenching moments that great friendships are made of.  However, after three weeks in the car alone together, we realized we have absolutely nothing to say to each other. I do believe the phrase “shut the fuck up — I can’t hear the Mariachi” was uttered. 

Here’s to hoping we find something to talk about in the next five and a half months together!!!!!!!!!!

Not Your Mama's Colma, CA

Color 6, Color 4, Color 5, Color 3, Color 12Maggie Owens1 Comment

Check out this colorful graveyard we stumbled upon almost immediately after getting into New Mexico. This place was unlike any of the graveyards we’re used to (SHOUT OUT TO COLMA, CALIFORNIA! WHAT WHAT!). 

Back in New Mexico’s colonial period, Catholics were buried in fenced-in yards outside of their churches. When the churches ran out of room, burial sites formed in open areas just outside of town. This means some graveyards are seemingly in the middle of nowhere. There’s no elaborate ironwork entrances, no guest books, no directories and no manicured lawns marking the pathways. 

But these grave sites aren’t just desert stretches that are easy to miss or pass by. That’s because almost every single one of the sites is decorated with love and (sometimes humorous!) consideration by loved ones left behind.  

Much like shrines associated with Mexico's Dia De Los Muertos, these burial grounds, or Campo Santos, focus much more on showing the vibrance of life than accommodating the logistics of death. Photos, trinkets and party decorations embellish each grave.

Fresh flowers are swapped for plastics ones, providing a year-round spectrum of color that radiates against the sun-baked desert ground. 

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Here's To Your Health

Color 28Maggie OwensComment

Even though we didn't "technically" bring a tent or "technically" pack any clothing for extreme weather (such as mild rain) or "technically" learn how to drive or "technically" ever find out where "Arkansas" is,  we did prioritize one thing: sandwiches. We studied sandwiches by each state well before we left for this trip. 

Arizona's signature sandwich isn't "technically" as sandwich at all. It's a mutha-fucking ASS WOOPING BOOTY-POPPING PILL POPPING QUESTION-POPPING PRINGLES-POPPIN MARY-POPPIN hot POPPIN DOG. 

... I'm sorry. We are writing this very late at night. You "technically" shouldn't be reading this for your health. 

Anyway, it's the Sonoran hot dog. We searched for hours in the desert for this mythical hot dog. Technically, it would've been easiest to find in Tucson but we weren't "technically" talking to one another when were there. So, with mere hours before we reached the New Mexico border, we had to find this jaw-dropping popcorn-chicken-poppin hot dog. 

Here are the ingredients: 

We would show you a picture of the Sonoran Hot Dog we found. It was truly delicious. But... we were starved when we finally find it in the town of Eloy, AZ so before we could take a photo of it, we had already eaten it. Plus, tensions were still high. We won't "technically" get into the "technicalities" of our fight but it can be summarized by saying Ceil is more than "technically" a bitch. 

We did however take a picture of an awesome sign we saw in Eloy.

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I didn't expect to cheers to my health with a hot dog wrapped in bacon and drenched with refried beans. But, then again, we also didn't expect to ever speak to each other ever again. So, thanks, Arizona. Here's to your health!

 

That booty though...

Color 37Maggie OwensComment

I mean... umm... "that blue, though..."

This photo was taken at Salvation Mountain which is essentially an adobe-covered homage to Jesus  built on top of a hill in the middle of the Californian Desert. What was once a little-known indie destination now attracts hipsters and families in Dodge Grand Caravans alike. 

You don't need to own a Dodge Grand Caravan to bring the whole family to Salvation Mountain. Just look how happy Pug-A-Boo is to see the sights!

You don't need to own a Dodge Grand Caravan to bring the whole family to Salvation Mountain. Just look how happy Pug-A-Boo is to see the sights!


Salton Sea

Color 20, Color 53Maggie OwensComment

Our gracious host / Maggie's godmother / Queen of the Desert Patti Rollins begged us (BEGGED US!) not to visit the Salton Sea. Actually, in her words, she said "let's talk about how you're not really going to the Salton Sea." When we insisted on going, she then asked us not to smell bad upon our return. That's how intense this place is. 

The Salton Sea was a failed resort area in the Californian desert. For a whole slew of reasons, the fish in the sea GOT DEAD and now the beaches are mostly crushed fish bones. 

For real. See that glorious beach pictured above? See that exotic white sand? That's not white sand. That's pulverized fish carcasses. That's literally dead bodies. And it comes with the smell to boot. 

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In case you stepped into this beautiful bright banana cabana and forgot that you were not on the Riviera, there is a gently used pair of underwear lying on the floor next to you.  That's the Salton Sea style.  

Why is this boat in the middle of the road?  Because no one cares. 

Why is this boat in the middle of the road?  Because no one cares.