Friday, January 29, 2010

Sedona, Arizona is WOW. Pictures and story within...

This is an amazing place. Katherine and I took a scenic detour on our way from Phoenix/Tempe to Flagstaff, by way of Sedona. We are now sitting in a great coffee shop in Sedona called Posse Grounds, as per the suggestion of sports writer and friend Brad Berreman, whose uncle John owns and operates Posse Grounds. Zane Aveton and Paula Kelley also urged Katherine and me to pass through Sedona if at all possible - an urging for which I am grateful.

Many say Sedona contains healing energy vortexes among the astonishing rock formations and plant life. Some say you can identify the locations of these energy vortexes by the telltale twisted trees and tree roots.

Come to Sedona, people. You need to be here. It's worth the time and energy. This is unique.

I snapped many photos, and due to the participatory nature of this adventure, I am posting pics of Posse Grounds for the benefit of those who participated via their computers and mobile phones. Real life happens.

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things

Taking a breath to let you know what's going on...

I haven't gotten a chance to write a proper blog post about Westward Invasion, Road Trip 2010, or whatever you want to call this Kerouacian journey I am on. Currently I am in a Starbucks on the Arizona State University campus in Phoenix. There is free WiFi here courtesy of ASU. I have made a dozen coffee shop stops, but mostly to work. (I write how-to articles for Demand Studios and do freelance marketing writing/design.)

To date, my travel buddy Katherine and I have slept in Wichita, Kansas; Dallas, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Tucson, Arizona; and Tempe, Arizona. She found all our hosts through, a unique website that fosters cultural exchange through pay-it-forward couch surfing. is a true, real-life community of networked individuals who enjoy traveling and exchanging cultural DNA. I am astounded by our hosts and how willing they are to share their world with Katherine and me.

It has been a wonderful time. Everything is going pretty damn well. I have met so many interesting people, seen so many beautiful things, that I haven't even begun to be able to express it all. I have stories to tell, portraits to paint in words. I have videos and photos to show you.

I intend to get it all down eventually. I want to spend some time singing the praises of all our hosts. I want to write that review of Hunter Gatherers, an AWESOME play I saw in Dallas (replete with actor interview footage courtesy of my Flip cam). I need to spend a blog post putting this all in context. I want to share some lessons I have learned, or at least some observations.

Travel is nothing new to me. I have been traveling and learning the ways of the world and my vast country for the past decade. This trip is unique, however, in that it encompasses real life and my Internet life and attempts to marry the two. As I said at the beginning of this post, it is difficult to keep up communications and also experience this journey first-hand. It's a balancing act.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading this blog. Please pass the URL on to those who want to share my interesting experience in real time. I will keep it up-to-date as much as possible, and when the journey is over, I will have a chance to upload some of the hundreds of videos and images I have gathered since January 18th of this year.

Next stop: Flagstaff. Then: Vegas.

Then my new home sweet home: North Hollywood, Los Angeles. I got a hunger for that city and I intend to eat the whole thing.

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This building is downtown.

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things

Birds: An Experiment in Motion and Perspective on Film

Physicists and naturalists might like this. Birds flying in circles, feeding. Downtown Tucson, Arizona.

Katherine Makes Her Way Up White Sands

This is White Sands, New Mexico, about 40 miles north of Las Cruces off Highway 70. White Sands is a gypsum deposit. Gypsum, which is water-soluble, is formed on mountains and washed into the sea by rivers. This being the center of the 6500-square mile Tularosa Basin, the gypsum deposits at White Sands had nowhere to go, thus forming these stunning dunes the color of snow.

Don't be fooled by our cold-weather attire. There is no snow at White Sands. It was just a windy January day. The gypsum was packed relatively solid by rain the night before this video was shot, but you can still sink into the surface near the tops of the dunes, as you can see here. Watch all the way to the end to get an idea what happens when you finally emerge into the endless white vista beneath a New Mexico sky.

Being there took my breath away. Behind me there are mountains, not shown here, which just...just...just go there. There is nothing like White Sands. I was moved.

Joseph Skewers Own Face at Masquerade Ball in Tucson

Joseph is a fascinating artist. He does all manner of art, including face skewering, playing double-reeded woodwind instruments, DJing, painting, dressing up all rad, and being a nice guy. He is one tough mutha. I had the opportunity to record him on my Flip cam at Saturday's warehouse masquerade ball in Tucson, AZ and interview him a few times before and after his performances. Check out his extreme closeup near the end of the video, and what he says when I ask him how much it hurts.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mountain, Moon, Palm, Cloud

The corner of Spring and Campbell, Tucson, AZ, around sunset, outside Coffee X Change.

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sexy Silk Acrobatics at a Warehouse Masquerade Ball in Tucscon

We got into town two nights ago. Our host Kisani handed Katherine and me each a $2.99 party mask and told us there would be a warehouse masquerade ball that night, replete with silk scarf aerial acrobats, opera singers on stilts, self-mutilation performance artists, live bands and DJs, and much more. There were about 300 people in attendance, most of them wearing all manner of masks. In this video you will see those masks, as well as a clip of the silks performance.

More to come. This blogging thing is hard from the road. Videos take so long to upload and process when you're sitting in a WiFi coffee shop.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

15-second video: Two Minnesotans Get OWNED by a Texas Tumbleweed

Katherine and I are commenting on tumbleweeds like the West Texas newbies that we are. Then we get one in the face. Goofy hilarity outside of Odessa, Texas.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fast Forwarding Through Winter - Guest Post by Katherine Glover

My friend and travel buddy, journalist Katherine Glover, wrote a post on her private blog about Day One of our road trip as seen through her eyes. She granted me permission to re-post her words here. I enjoyed it. I hope you will too:

Driving south was like fast forwarding through winter. We got to see all the different phases: the slushy, muddy, melting phase; the scattered patches of snow phase; the snow-is-all-gone-but-grass-is-brown-and-u
gly phase; etc.

Now that I'm in Dallas, I keep doing that thing where I leave a restaurant and I feel like I'm forgetting something, because I'm so used to picking up my coat, scarf, hat and gloves before I leave anywhere. This happens to me every end-of-winter; it's just usually not in January.

We also drove through a lot of fog, which was kind of cool but also kind of scary. Here's a pic:

Photo credit: The Unfathomable Will Conley

We left Sunday morning (a day later than originally planned), stopped overnight in Wichita and then drove the rest of the way to Dallas, where we'll be until Friday. We're using couch surfing, an organization that lets you network with other travelers and find free places to stay. It's a great idea, not just for financial reasons but also because you get somewhere and you already have people to talk to and hang out with. So far everyone we've met has been awesome. The only thing more I could wish for at this point is an extra ten or so hours of sleep.

Katherine Glover writes a daily food industry blog at BNET. A recent post of hers reports that Hugo Chavez has nationalized yet another economic sector in Venezuela: a supermarket chain! Read it: