A Change in Direction

And now for something completely different! While exploring New Mexico we received confirmation of an anticipated job photographing wind energy for a company we have worked for over the years. Here is a link to the Center for Art + Environment on my “Harnessing the Wind” portfolio of images and ephemera from shooting wind energy across America.

So, off we go! “Gig Economy” is a phrase that has become popular lately and one we find humorous, as this is how we have always made our living as did my father before me.

We will be photographing several utility grade wind farms across the country for the company’s tenth anniversary. This postpones our house hunting for the moment, but, we’ll be back at it next year when we’re finished with the project.

180913023180913001Clovis, New Mexico

After photographing two wind farms in New Mexico, we are now heading east across the Great Plains. We’re keeping to back roads and byways across this flat landscape, avoiding freeways as much as possible. This may take a lot longer and that’s the point, making frequent stops to create photographs along the way. We want to get to know more of this country.

180915294Texico, New Mexico

180909070Melrose, New Mexico

180912073House, New Mexico

We have never considered living in the Midwest and this trip totally confirms it! When we set off on this expedition I didn’t even think I was interested in photographing what I thought was a boring landscape. Boy, was I wrong! I found the landscape to be an amazing place to create images. I would consider returning, as I found some places that I would like to spend more time exploring.

180308079180308087Tall Grass National Preserve, Kansas

We thank science and Mercedes for having a de-humidifier in the climate control system of our Sprinter as the humidity here is unbearable. At camp, we are incredibly uncomfortable especially when you add all of the insects! There are all kinds of insects, some are noisy, some are annoying, and most bite. Between the humidity and the bugs, we don’t get much sleep.

180923090Blaine, Kansas

“Whatch ya’ll doin’ here?” is the most commonly heard phrase since heading across the backroads of the Midwest. Most folks we encounter are superficially friendly at best, but clearly not trusting of strangers. Others just glare at us with that “what the fuck are you doing here” look on their face (these people make us nervous). Once we explain we’re making photographs, they quickly want to know our religious affiliation and then where we stand politically to find out who we really are. Obviously, we dodge their questions, which generally confuses them. At this point they usually glaze over and the conversation ends… I understand not everyone is like this across the Midwest, especially in the cities. But, this is what we have encountered… Why do these things matter so much to everyone? I’m not interested in folks’ religious or political inklings, there are so many other interesting things to talk about… Like the weather!

180922003Kingman, Kansas

Revival tents, religious slogans and confederate flags seem to be the best way to decorate yards in the rural Midwest which makes for fantastic fodder for plastic cameras! That means I have a lot of film to process. Common bumper stickers: “Not a Liberal” and “Spank your Children They Might grow up to be Democrats”. Common graffiti we’ve seen include “I (heart) JESUS” closely followed by “I (heart) TRUMP”. You get the idea. Makes one embarrassed to be American…

180919422Hereford, Texas

There’s a pervasive smell all across the Midwest. An unbelievably strong smell of animal excrement and death, topped off with a hint of agricultural chemicals. Just add a ton of humidity and insects on a flat landscape and you have rural Midwest living…

Still, it’s a fascinating place to photograph…

_B4A1626Paxton, Illinois

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

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Looking for a Place to Make Art

180815040

We departed Carson City, Nevada back in August heading east across Highway 50 with the goal of investigating new places to call home and make art.

180805009Along Highway 50 in Nevada “The Loneliest Road in America”

Prior to our departure we had Rack Attack install roof rails and cross bars on our Sprinter so we could carry our canoe. Three times I said to them, “the cross bars are not far enough apart”. They insisted it was fine, showing us manufacturer’s displays saying it was the correct way to hold a canoe. By the time we got across Nevada with a strong cross wind, our 17′ Old Town Canadienne had pushed its way across the roof damaging the roof vent.

180822019McCormick, Utah

We lashed the canoe to the roof as best we could, but by the time we got to Hanksville, Utah it was clear the rack situation was not working. So, instead of spending time in Utah hiking and making photographs as originally planned, we found Denver had the closest rack installer. It turns out we found another Rack Attack location and they were able to accommodate us and our schedule. We just threw money at it… Hey Rack Attack, will you pay for a new Fan-Tastic powered roof vent that was damaged because your staff insisted it was the correct way to install our rack? No, I didn’t think so…

180825104Comanche National Grassland in Southeastern Colorado, with a roof rack that holds the canoe firmly in place.

After dealing with the canoe rack we turned south out of Colorado into New Mexico to explore places we might want to live.

180826038Kiowa Mesa, New Mexico

Special thanks to our friend, Astro Beck, who sent us to the Salinas Pueblo Missions. These missions are nothing short of gorgeous and the best part is so few people visit them. I shot a lot of film! I brought plenty of 35mm film for my plastic panorama cameras, but it turns out not enough 120 film. So, now I need to figure out how to purchase more film while on the road. That’s not so easy since we’re on the move, traveling the more rural areas to photograph, avoiding larger cities.

180829086Quarai Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, New Mexico

180829096Punta de Agua, New Mexico

180904031Gran Quivira Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument, New Mexico

One of our biggest concerns of living in the Southwestern United States is water. I need a wet darkroom. We found some communities had great water and others places everyone had to truck their water, and that won’t work for us… I will be implementing a new water recycling system to greatly reduce water consumption in the darkroom, but I still need a good water source. Any thoughts?

180905026180905013Carrizozo, New Mexico

New Mexico has several amazingly strong art communities in some very surprising places. We found many affordable areas filled with artists and like minded folks who welcomed us into their communities (how refreshing!). Our questions are: Do the artists in these communities make a living, or are they retired with a pension or spouses wealthy enough to pay for the art supplies and bills?

180909045Tucumcari, New Mexico

 

www.deonreynolds.com

www.trishreynolds.com

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

Where to Live and Work as an Artist?

160512079

Trish and I have been without a house or studio for 142 days now. We have been traveling around in our Sprinter looking for the next place to call home. Living in our van has not been a bad thing, although we do have our moments… Mostly, we’re having brilliant fun traveling around exploring new places, meeting new people and creating lots of images. We have zero intentions of living in a van down by the river! We do in fact, plan on purchasing a home/studio in the near future. So, our plan is to take our time and carefully choose where we want to call home.

2012Sprinter

We have spent months scouring Nevada’s real estate, first searching the internet for listings, then traveling to those properties spending time to check out the communities first hand. We found, if the property was affordable, it was located in an area that was undesirable at too many levels to be considered. We also learned that most of the locations that would help us connect to the arts in Nevada are WAY out of our price range. Our travels have very sharply pointed out that Nevada is not an artist friendly place to live or work. First off, Nevada has little to no affordable housing/work space options for creative people. Plus, very few Nevadans truly support the arts at any level. We applaud and very much appreciate those that do. Thank you for your support over the years!

180629002

After months of exhaustive house hunting in Nevada, we decided to briefly look back to the Pacific Northwest, as many of our friends were prodding us to do so. We are both done with the rainy damp weather that occurs west of the Cascade Mountains. So, the only option is to look east of the Cascades. After a month of touring the Northwest, we only came up with one somewhat viable location to consider. So, we have decided to expand our search, traveling beyond our range, looking further afield.

180713028

If you have any ideas or comments regarding where two artists would fit in and make a living, please let us know, we’re all ears! Feel free to contact us. Thank you!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

 

Day Trips Around Eureka

120316053The Geographic Center of Nevada is located not far from Eureka, Nevada.

For 13 years we’ve taken regular day trips around Eureka, shooting both film and digital images depending on our mood of the day and subject matter. This is what we will miss the most about living in the centre of Nevada. Sometimes during the Spring and Fall (our peak), we would take day trips every week. Winter and Summer are great times to be out too, but winter snows and muddy roads frequently makes back country travel difficult, not to mention dangerous. During the summer months it can get down right hot in the valleys, making it so you don’t want to get out of your air conditioned vehicle. The area around Eureka has an extremely low population density. What this meant for us is fantastic photographic opportunities, unencumbered by people getting in the way.

Please enjoy a photographic journey around the centre of the Great Basin Desert!

131108016Monitor Valley

040313c#6Kobeh Valley

150608110Smith Creek Playa

060815#30(SmithCreekValley)Smith Creek Playa

NV-2307Austin

101313#00(MustangWindmill)Diamond Valley

131013004Diamond Playa

052513#11Black Rock Desert

130714113Jumbled Rock Gulch

032313#16(BUMP)Lida Valley

NV-****Lahontan Valley

120330083Lunar Crater

111129082Potts Ranch

NV-1932*Buena Vista Valley

151013009Schell Creek Range

130106043Newark Valley

Thank you for taking the time to check out our adventures!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

13 Years in Eureka, Nevada

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, Trish grew up across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. We met in a camera store in Portland, imagine that! This part of the Pacific Northwest is what we call the wet side of the Cascades. In other words, it’s usually grey and drizzly if not down right raining most of the time. The rain is something we ultimately dread despite our excitement of going back to the Northwest to visit friends and family.

051298a#3(7thStreet)“7th Street” (1998)

“7th Street” is located just outside of Eureka in Diamond Valley. I created this image in May of 1998 when Trish and I were exploring the state creating images for a “NEVADA” calendar long before we ever considered moving to Eureka.

WARNING: sunshine is habit forming!

030609#11(DiamondMountains)“Diamond Mountain Sky” (2011)

For nearly a decade we had been creating images for “NEVADA” calendars and eventually our “NEVADA” book, both published by Graphic Arts Center. This was before we made the move to Eureka in 2005. So, we were already very much accustomed to the sunshine, low humidity and the high elevation of the Great Basin Desert. It wasn’t long before we learned the shoulder seasons were the best for our outback adventures that were just outside our door living in Eureka.

001“General Store” (2009)

Moving from the damp and rainy climate of the Pacific Northwest to a completely new landscape in a completely new climate zone was nothing short of exciting! Eureka is a small community (pop. 500ish) and at 1,975 metres, it’s high in the mountains of North America’s Great Basin Desert. Eureka gets about 22 centimetres of precipitation a year that mostly falls as snow. Eureka, also enjoys 300 days of sunshine and due to the high elevation it usually doesn’t get too hot during the summer. We found the artistic possibilities to be endless in every direction. The flip side however, it’s a very long drive before you find a real grocery store.

009“Eureka Angel” (2005)

123109c#33(NEVADA)“Snow On It” (2009)

111417#14(TwoHeadStones)“Two Headstones” (2011)

123109d#11(EurekaAngel)“Sky Angel” (2009)

Eureka has several very photogenic historic cemeteries, a frequent stop during our daily walks.

111417#16“Main Street Cowboy” (2017)

023“Walt’s Western Art” (2017)

070416c#8“Alpine Hotel” (2016)

111109#7“No Trespassing” (2009)

013“Hardware Store” (2017)

Eureka is filled with historic buildings in various stages of decay, or if the property is lucky, restoration. Trish and I walk regularly and most of the time I would pick a camera that inspires me that day and take it along on the excursion.

040313c#1(EndOfTheRoad)“End of the Road” (2013)

010210b#9“Mobile Living” (2010)

007“Little Trailer” (2010)

Eureka’s mobile living is not quite as old or as historic as other buildings in town. However, mobile living is part of a miner’s life, whether they are hauling their tree limbs from camp to camp, or moving their 5th wheel to the next big thing. I find these homes to be very interesting photographic fodder.

052013c#5“No Outlet” (2013)

Living in Eureka was an interesting experience to say the least. We were consistently amazed at an ever changing landscape, providing ceaseless inspiration for our art work. Plus, the wildlife we encountered while in Eureka was nothing short of amazing (I’m not a wildlife photographer, so don’t expect that). Our photographic library in both analog and digital grew exponentially, a tribute to the fabulous space known as the Great Basin Desert. And yes, we have images available for license.

So, why leave, you might ask? Several factors forced our move. Economics and death threats lead the list. Nevada Tourism changed how they promote Hwy 50, “The Loneliest Road in America” and at the same time, the Eureka County Commission cut funding for tourism and economic development. This double whammy effectively stopped tourists from visiting Eureka ending our seven year run of the Eureka Gallery. Next up, quite a few locals made our lives miserable. The so called art collector that encouraged our move to Eureka in the first place, turned out to be a sociopathic narcissist (run don’t walk away from these people). Plus, the last couple of years we received numerous death threats from newly empowered, uneducated, racist gun nuts. The last year we lived in Eureka we mostly hid out of fear, going out at odd times for errands and exercise. Just flat out being gone was our best option. Clearly we didn’t fit in Eureka, time to move on…

Photographic note: All of the images on this post were created on film with either a Kodak disposable, Holga or Hasselblad camera.

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

Rogue Wheat Paste Installations

171118023“Old Woman” (Nov. 2017)

Trish and I started collaborating and experimenting on this series of five wheat paste installations in October of 2017. We were given an opportunity to go through and scan what ever we wanted from several boxes of old photographs that came from a house being demolished in Eureka, Nevada. This started to give us ideas for installing large scale wheat pastes of old photographs of people who lived in the community, bringing them back into old abandoned buildings they may have interacted with back in their day.

180727043“Old Woman” (Aug. 2018)

These five installations are all within the Eureka, Nevada surrounding area. “Old Woman” was the first in the series to be created. The excitement surrounding the creation of “Old Woman” fuelled us on to create even more! She is very well protected inside this old house, subsequently keeping her in pristine condition.

Amazing note: Without prior knowledge we found out that the woman in “Old Woman” actually lived in the house we placed her in!

Photographic Note: Colour differences in above photos: Top image shot with snow on the ground reflecting into building, lower image with the yellow of dried grass reflecting into the space.

 

171118026“Five Sisters” (Nov. 2017)

180727034“Five Sisters” (Aug. 2018)

The spot we picked for “Five Sisters” experienced some water damage from the non-exsitiant roof in this particular mine shack. Plus, someone pulled loose paper off, vandalizing the work. I still like how it’s aging, even though I didn’t like the fact someone tried to pull it off the wall.

180117041“Chair Baby” (Dec. 2017)

This installation takes us to another mine shack in a different location near Eureka. When I saw this room, I immediately knew the photograph I wanted to place here. We found this room this way. We do not style any of the rooms we have put our installations into, other than the wheat paste mural itself…

180117052“Chair Baby” (Dec. 2017)

180727111“Chair Baby” (Aug. 2018)

Someone smashed the chair since we last visited “Chair Baby”… Glad they didn’t vandalize the image! But, I sure loved that old chair sitting there.

180207009“Baby Watcher” (Dec. 2017)

This room intrigued me from the beginning with its slatted walls, ceiling and blank slate wall framed at one end, not to mention “Chair Baby” down the hall.

Watch a time-lapse video of Trish and I installing “Baby Watcher”. (click here)

180727038“Baby Watcher” (Aug. 2018)

180727104“Baby Watcher” (Aug. 2018)

I’m amazed at how well this installation has weathered since there is no roof to speak of on this structure.

180127026“Twins” (Dec. 2017)

An experiment on what to do with a nice corner?

180727123“Twins” (Aug. 2018)

We added more paper over the top of the door frame to the right to give this piece a more finished look. “Twins” sits in a space that offers more protection against the elements than most, making for a longer lasting wheat paste installation.

So, if you think we’re just camping out lolly gagging, you would be wrong… We’re busy coming up with the next new thing and creating all kinds of new artistic endeavours. Contact us about your upcoming projects, we’d love to collaborate! e-mail me

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

 

 

Wheat Paste Installations over Time

Trish and I have installed several large scale wheat paste murals over the past few years. I’m really impressed with their longevity and the over all quality achieved with an image created with a tiny 35mm black and white negative, printed on 20 lb. bond paper, then wheat pasted to a wall.

180507011“Roper”, our largest mural to date is 9′ high and 22′ across (April 2018). It’s located at the rear of 310 Stewart Street in Carson City, Nevada (not visible from Stewart Street). This image was created with a modified Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable camera reloaded with Kodak Tri-X black & white film. The panoramic crop is created within the camera, so the negative is really quite small. Yet, I find the quality of this image to be nothing short of amazing, unless, of course you’re standing just a few feet away. At that point you’ll see the grain of the film and the wonderful flaws of a crappy plastic camera.

Watch a time-lapse of us installing “Roper” click here

161216052“Sorting” is another one of my disposable camera images, it’s 5′ x 13′. It is located in the alleyway behind the Western Folklife Center at 510 Railroad Street, Elko, Nevada. The image above was shot just after it was installed in November of 2016.

180728016Same mural in August 2018 almost two years on, it is looking a bit tattered, but it’s deteriorating in such a splendid way, I can’t help but love this wheat paste more as it ages.

With the exception of the top image “Roper”, these are true wheat paste installations, meaning we cook up flour and water with a little sugar at the end, let it cool and then roll it on the surfaces as well as over the top of the print as the only glue. For “Roper”, we used industrial grade wall paper adhesive, as Carson City was looking for a longer lasting “temporary art” installation. The Carson City mural site faces west and is blasted every afternoon by the hot Nevada sun. The Elko murals are in an alleyway protecting them from Nevada’s weather extremes.

161216032“Mustang Windmill” same camera, 5′ x 13′, was located in the alleyway behind the Carlin Trend Building in Elko, Nevada. It didn’t fare so well, as it got tagged shortly after it went up, but then, water from snow melt ran off the side of the building down the wall, mostly destroying the image all together. We removed it’s carcass after three short months.

160412_7427“Roping”, 5′ x 7′ by Trish Reynolds was created using a 1920’s Kodak Brownie camera loaded with Ilford FP-4 120 film. This was the first large scale public art installation Trish and I collaborated on (Nov. 2016).

180728010“Roping”, almost two years later, has taken on an entirely new look (August 2018).

170416079The alleyway behind the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada (March 2017)

161216026“Antelope Shute” 7′ x 7′ and “Horses at Potts” 7′ x 17′ Elko, Nevada (Feb. 2017).

170221016“Horses at Potts” at 4th & Idaho in downtown Elko, Nevada. This site too, didn’t fare well, as the abandoned building doesn’t have gutters and the water (snow melt) from the roof pours off the side down the walls, making quick work of destroying the murals. Only a small amount of “Horses at Potts” is visible between political signs as of August 2018.

We love putting these murals up. It’s equally fun to install them, as it is to watch them gracefully disintegrate. Looking forward to the next installation!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

 

 

Wild Camping

We’ve been houseless for over a hundred days now. The first month or so, we spent the majority of our time relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors. Relaxing was something neither one of us had an opportunity to experience for quite some time and experiencing the great outdoors is something both of us enjoy very much. Not to mention, I think the two work out quite well together.

170720015Wild camping on the crest of central Nevada’s Toiyabe Range.

During the last one hundred days we have mostly wild camped. Wild camping gets us to the places we want to create photographic images of nature. Some of the best wild camping spots are also some of the more remote spots, inviting nature to take centre stage and visited by few.

Wild camping lets us spend the night where we want to be for early and late light. Getting up really early somewhere, then driving an hour or more to get to that spot is not my idea of fun. Spending the night in a remote location surrounded by nature does.

180803132

180804204Toiyabe Crest, Nevada

Most of the wild camping we do is usually void of any kind of internet or cellular connection. It’s so nice to disconnect and pay attention to natures cycles.

180721236Monitor Valley, Nevada

We found that some county, state and national parks to be a better place to stop and use the facilities (shower/water/garbage) rather than a photographic point of interest. I’m not being derogatory towards the beauty of the parks, but moreover a reference as to how many images there are of the parks.

Below are just a few places we’ve been the last couple of months. I have been creating images on both film and digits, so it is going to be a while before we get to see what I’ve been creating on film. Unless there’s a darkroom out there, somewhere…

150608110Smith Creek Playa, Nevada

180721255Monitor Valley, Nevada

180714077Steens Mountain, Oregon

North America, Nevada, Churchill County, Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.Stillwater Range, Nevada

120108003Diamond Playa, Nevada

170505002Lake Abert, Oregon

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

Nevada Parks

180610006Our houseless travels started out circling around North America’s Great Basin Desert. This is familiar country to us, as Trish and I have lived pretty much in the geographic centre of Nevada for the last thirteen years. All but the southernmost tip of Nevada is within the Great Basin Desert. We needed to stay close to Carson City to fulfill obligations, so, we purchased a Nevada State Park “All Access Permit” which allows the permit holder one year’s entrance, camping and boat launching at all Nevada State Park facilities. As you can imagine, we stop at Nevada State Parks frequently, even if it’s simply for a picnic or a quick shower, the permit makes everything so simple.

180506003Washoe Lake State Park is the leader of our most camped at park in Nevada, due to it’s close proximity to Reno (24 miles to the north) and Carson City (8 miles to the south). Washoe Lake is a pleasant, if not windy respite from the two cities. When we lived in Eureka, Nevada we would have business and/or a need to shop Reno and Carson about every four to six weeks. We would drive to Reno, a four and a half hour drive and accomplish the list of Reno errands, then pick up some take away and camp at Washoe Lake where we could always get a good hike in, weather permitting. The next morning after hot showers, we’d finish tasks in Carson to get on the road for our four and a half hour drive back to Eureka. Washoe Lake State Park has always been a very mellow place to spend the night, rarely ever finding but a few campers over the years. Lately, however, things have changed as we frequently find the campground full or nearly full, plus a growing community of homeless, including homeless families camping the limit. Anymore, we prefer visiting this park during the off season.

180512047On one of our journeys into the Great Basin’s “outback” we stopped at Fort Churchill State Historic Park. It had been years since we had been there and the park had always offered interesting photographic fodder. Upon arrival however we found ourselves in a mass of insects that made staying a bit uncomfortable. Before long we were packed up and driving a few miles north to Lahontan State Recreation Area. The insects may not have been any better at Lahontan, but the wind there seemed to keep them at bay. Lahontan gets busy when it’s boating season. Penis boats roaring across the reservoir at breakneck speeds and twenty-four hour drunken parties dotted along the beaches makes for an unfriendly co-exsistiance between the two kinds of wildlife that is attracted to this manmade body of water. Trish and I found Lahontan to be a delightful wildlife area with incredibly beautiful beaches to camp and hike along. Just stay away during party season!

180515025A flooded Beach #4 along Lahontan Reservoir.

180515012Lagoon at Beach #4.

180525035Walker Lake.

We decided to head east looking for less people and more landscape to explore, but didn’t want to drive US-50 (The Loneliest Road in America) since we had been driving it for so many years. So, we headed south towards Hawthorne, Nevada (Home of the world’s largest ammunition depot), then Tonopah, traversed the ET Highway and then to Caliente.

180521059Walker Lake.

Just before Hawthorne is Walker Lake, our intentions were a quick overnight camp spot, but ended up spending several days as the weather turned stormy and very interesting photographically. We had a beach front camp, few people around us and miles of beach to explore.

180308020Walker Lake.

180526001Walker Lake.

180308008Walker Lake.

Our first park on the east side of Nevada was Cathedral Gorge State Park Cathedral Gorge is near Caliente, Nevada on the eastern side of the state. We would end up back in Caliente several times over the next few weeks as we found the little market in town “Great Basin Foods” to be a well stocked grocery store with most everything one could need while camping in the area.

180601042Moon Caves.

The Juniper Draw Loop trail in Cathedral Gorge State Park is one of my favourites to hike especially at first light. The trail also connects to the Miller Point trail, another great point of interest. We spent several days here, as I like to hike with one camera, one lens, so we would hike the same trail over and over again with a different camera/lens set up.

180601052Moon Caves.

180602043Juniper Draw Loop Trail.

180602045Juniper Draw Loop Trail.

There is a cluster of Nevada State Parks around Caliente. Our intention was to stay in the area for several weeks exploring them. We want to return to a couple of the parks when we have more time, as I noticed several good photographic ideas to pursue. We ended up departing the area prematurely due to high temperatures. High elevation camping was the topic of conversation, with the air conditioner blasting, as we drove north to Great Basin National Park.

1806060013The Cirque, Great Basin National Park.

1806060022 The Cirque, Great Basin National Park.

Wheeler Peak Camp is at over 9,800 feet offering a wonderful break from the heat below. We even needed to put sweaters on in the evenings. The trails from this camp offer several amazing hiking options.

1806060063Teresa Lake, along the Alpine Lakes Loop trail in Great Basin National Park.

1806060073Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park.

After several months of van life, we still find that less is more and spending more time at locations that turn us on artistically pays off big time. As much as we like the parks, both Trish and I find “wild” camping to be the best camping of all!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

The First 30 Days on the Road

2012SprinterTrish and I camp out a lot. Over the years we spend on average three months (accumulatively) out of the year camping in our Sprinter. We did the same in our Syncro Vanagon (4×4 VW Bus) that we drove for 24 years putting over 450,000 kilometres on it. But, before all this I was well trained by my parents, traveling extensively in their VW Bus Campmobiles and Land Rovers outfitted for photographic expeditions.

1969AlaskaOne of the many creative endeavours my father, Robert Reynolds, did was to create photographic coffee table books for Graphic Arts Center. He designed hundreds of books for this publisher and photographed seven books in their state book series. It was his first book, “ALASKA”, when the real adventures began. I was eleven years old when we packed up dad’s brand new 1969 Land Rover and took off for the great white north, camping for months on end in an amazing wilderness. Then, for his next book, “TEXAS”, he purchased a 1972 VW Bus Campmobile. This was the beginning of “#vanlife” for me. We traveled Texas in all seasons exploring every corner for his book. Many of these expeditions would keep us on the road for up to three months at a time. Well, at least for dad and myself. On many of these expeditions, my mother would start out quite enthusiastic, but it wouldn’t be too long before I would hear, “Bob, take me to an airport”. What this meant for the two of us was fewer motels, more remote camping and I got to ride up front!


On May 1st of 2018 Trish and I ended home ownership. Our goal, hit the road full time, explore new places, meet new people and eventually find a place to call home.

We departed Eureka, Nevada late in the afternoon on April 30th driving to Elko to sign escrow papers the next day. The Sprinter was totally overloaded with the final things out the door: cleaning supplies and boxes of jumbled thing we’ve used to the last minute and other excess stuff intended for our storage unit. This was in no way conducive for comfortable travel in the least bit. We had appointments in Elko and Reno making it impossible to make it to our storage unit for several days. In other words, a complete kerfuffle existed within our Sprinter!

SouthForkThis was our first morning out at South Fork State Recreation Area, near Elko, Nevada. Overloaded and overwhelmed with stuff…

Several days later, we finally made it to our storage unit to unloaded our extra stuff. It felt so good to have a bit of elbow room in the Sprinter again!

We had several events to attend and engagements on our calendar over the next month in and around Carson City and Reno, so we didn’t want to wander too far afield yet. We purchased an annual Nevada State Park Pass, embarking on a local journey checking out Nevada State Parks. We decided to start with the two parks we’ve never visited before. These journeys turned out to be incredibly helpful to us.

We treated this time as a shake down to hone our systems, refit and move items to places where you could actually get to them.  And taking too many clothes is really a problem so we had to make some hard choices about what stays and what goes. In our case, we thought adding a few items for long term travel would make life easier or more convenient along the way. They turned out to be nothing more than a hinderance and something else to move around. We found the lighter the load, the easier it is to have maximum enjoyment out of our travels. Stuff only complicates the adventure, distracting you from why you are out there in the first place. It is very true, less is more!

IMG_9590Washoe Lake

IMG_0111Lahontan

IMG_0416Walker Lake

IMG_0199Berlin/Ichthyosaurs

We’ve now visited every state park in Nevada with the exception of the two newest ones, and one isn’t open yet (mid July 2018). Many of the parks have some fantastic and very underused trail systems. At each park we visited we hiked every trail and in most cases they offered the best park experience with virtually no one else around. Look for further posts regarding Nevada State Parks…

At one point, we finally had a little more time to travel further out so we headed east across Nevada to visit more state parks.

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IMG_0874Cathedral Gorge

IMG_0961Beaver Dam

But, the weather suddenly turned hot, so we scrambled north to Great Basin National Park to go hiking among the Bristlecone Pines at over 3,300 metres.

IMG_1207Great Basin National Park

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IMG_1231And, lets not forget about Rusty the adventure cat. He takes to the road better than most people I know. He’s ready for that TARDIS door to open to find a new planet to explore. He has really calmed down since we’re done packing stuff up in Eureka and have moved in to the Sprinter.

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

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