Camino Real

Seeking the soul of America’s first superhighway

I scramble gleefully up a concrete incline six feet above the cobblestone road, but Hal Jackson saunters. We stand in the ruins of what was once a large house 20 minutes outside Zacatecas, Mexico. The air is cool. Scrubby mountains pocked with old silver mines sweep across the landscape. Jackson is uneasy. I collect several pebbles, fallen pieces of wall. Jackson shakes his head, wanders the brush. “This is disappointing,” he says, eyes scanning, GPS in one hand, notepad in the other, camera slung round his neck. Why?

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Southwestward The Great American Space

A journey through a wide and spellbinding land, and a look at the civilization along its edges.

The synthetic colors of the motel in Albuquerque, all orange, purple, and blatant red, shouting the triumph of American civilization over the surrounding harshness, quickly fade from mind as we head out for Santa Fe. The great desert is upon us, like nothing you have seen elsewhere, something “other,” the floor of the world from the first day of creation. Only an occasional crag sprouting from the cracked surface distracts you from the overpowering emptiness as the perfect highway snakes its way on and on this early in the morning.Read more »