Road Tales #3: To Dream & Dare

While in Patagonia, we gave talks and shared our discoveries about The Authors Road. First was to the junior and senior class of Patagonia High School, then at a fundraiser for Friends of the Patagonia Library (an incredible library, especially for such a small town), and then for the area’s Rotary Club. Our final joy came when we, the interviewers, were interviewed for a story in the Nogales International newspaper .

In the heart of Patagonia is a treasure of a store, Global Arts Gallery owned by Adrienne, an old friend of George’s, and farther down the street is the Wagon Wheel, a wild-west saloon and the only bar in dozens of miles. It was here that we often gathered for a cool beer and to share a thousand stories.

Our visit to this area was not just about play and discovery. We also worked hard. We conducted seven interviews, continued our search for corporate sponsorship (when will Ford Motor Company wake up and understand what we and Rocinante Tres are doing?), added dozens of new subscribers, and wrote day and night. Salli finished her project for the Willamette Writers Conference, and I published one short story, A Cowboy in Camelot, completed another, and continued work on one of my novels.

And what we’ve learned is that it’s not enough to merely dream. One must also take the dare to make those dreams reality, and drive the road that is less known and more dangerous.

We drove into Patagonia in the dark winter month of January, expecting to stay only a few weeks. We moved into a wonderful and picturesque place, the Patagonia RV Park , perched on the edge of town alongside a road that sweeps into the mountains and down to the wild and porous border, the most notorious lawless corridor for drug and human smugglers. But once here we began to make contacts with a number of remarkable people and forming new friendships. Seeing that our intended route east was still locked in winter ice and snow, we stayed. Now understand, Patagonia isn’t large. The town is less than ten blocks long, and the area population is under 1,000—yet Patagonia boasts a vibrant community of artists, artisans, writers, cowboys, eco-actives, and even a delightful public radio station, KPUP, that we begin and end our day listening to.

Over a mile high, the San Rafael Valley stretches from beyond the horizons in every direction. One night, two friends and we drove here to witness the rise of the full moon, and toast its rebirth with wine, a good telescope and hoots.

We also had the good fortune to reunite with old friends I lived near in Pacifica more than four decades earlier. And we had the sad experience of saying good-bye to Mike Haggerty, the patriarch of this unique family that also made dreams and daring their life motto.

Now the time arrives when we pull up stakes, repack our goods, and head east into the sunrise. We leave this magical spot knowing that one-day we will return. But we must move forward, driven, as I said, by dreams and daring.

Rocinante Tres’ gas tank is filled, Hardscribble House II’s storage is packed, and our hearts and minds blaze with the dreams and daring that brought us here and will lead us to the next chapter of our journey, New Mexico.

Thank you all for accompanying us on this remarkable journey, The Authors Road. And thank you for your encouraging notes of support and appreciation.

We dream, we dare, we move on ….

Just up the road where we’ve lived for a few months is this ominous warning sign.

Staying for a prolonged time has allowed us to sample the many wonders of this historic area. We never tire of venturing to the tops of the mountains to view the stunning San Rafael Valley . . .

Or learn of the area’s amazing history. . .

Ella explores the last remaining adobe structure of the ghost town of Harshaw, a community that once numbered in the thousands.

Downtown Patagonia provides a constant reminder of the contrast between old and new.

(Left to right) An afternoon quaff with JB Miller, journalist for the Nogales International and Valley Times, and authors Phil Caputo and Jim Fergus. Serving them is the always effervescent Tammie. Missing is the 'chairman of the board,' Jim Harrison.

Salli works inside Hardscribble House II, at her “office,” our dining room table.

George's "office" using a stool, a sofa and a laptop to write what he calls his 'stool samples.'

Life exists because it reproduces, but it evolves because it dreams and dares. And we, Salli and I, are no different.

From the earliest times, our most ancient ancestors dreamed and dared. Because of this they crawled from a primal sea to forage on nascent land. Later, much later, we grew bored rooting about on forest floors and learned to climb trees in search of something better. What followed has been millions of years of dreaming and daring; first, descending those protective trees and walking upright, away from our birthplace and into far lands. Then crafting those same trees we once called home into boats that carried us to still more distant lands. Soon, we inhabited the entire planet and could combine our thinking and resources into wagons and trains, autos and planes, space capsules and lunar landers that carried us farther still. And all because we could dream and dare.

For Salli and me, the same has been true. More than a year ago we began this dream, and six months ago we began the dare of hitting the road. Now, after departing our home of Portland, Oregon, we’ve driven more than 2,000 miles, through four states, and have met and interviewed two-dozen leading writers.