Pacific Vision Quest: Taking a Leap on the Road in Pen and Ink
About to embark on a spur-of-the-moment road trip from my home in Los Angeles to Seattle to visit my sister, I’m frustrated. My good camera lenses are on the other side of the country, inexplicably packed in a box in my parents’ garage, and all I have to capture my experiences is a gritty camera phone that makes even the best pictures look like accidental toss-aways from the 1800s. Well, I grumble, maybe I’ll find an out-of-the-way souvenir shop selling funny postcards. I do love crazy gift shops.
Then, an image of a vision board filled with gems and dinosaurs and palm trees that I once made as a child while holed up in a snowy cabin in the Midwest sparkles in my mind. Yes, that’s it! I’ll reverse engineer the idea of a vision board and draw my experiences as I have them along the way. I’ll have a keepsake after all! Never mind that I haven’t drawn a thing since fifth grade. I slip a few sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch cardstock and some felt-tip pens into my backpack, and off I go.
Vision Quest #1. My trip begins in Van Nuys, California where I travel north through the mountain outposts of Frazier Park and Fort Tejon, the oil town of Coalinga (the site of real-life Zorro Joaquin Murieta’s last stand), and the Central Valley irrigation projects. Then, I cut west through Gilroy to San Francisco and head northwards, up the misty, starry Redwoods Highway.
Vision Quest #2. Entering Oregon, I follow the Pacific coastline through small beach towns, over bridges and across the Lewis and Clark Trail. I arrive in Washington, where my sister and her boyfriend meet me for a hike above the clouds.
Vision Quest #3. On a rainy weekend in Washington, I hop on a ferry across Puget Sound to Orcas Island where I explore Moran State Park, Mount Constitution, Civilian Conservation Corps projects and agate-laden beaches, and cheer on the indomitable runners of the Orcas Island 50K trail race.
Vision Quest #4. My urban travels in the Emerald City take me to the Pacific Science Center, the neighborhood of Fremont, and many parks – including Gas Works, Alki, and Discovery. A hike up the gold-filled waters of snowy Mount Baker cap off my trip to Washington.
Vision Quest #5. After a final walk in the woods and a final spin around Green Lake, I leave Washington and return south, passing through Ashland, Oregon, and Shasta Lake, California.
Vision Quest #6. In central California, I receive a call that my Grammy needs a travel partner back home from Suisun City. Another adventure? Sign me up! After exploring Rush Ranch and the winding estuaries of the Suisun Marsh, I fly across the country with Grammy back to my childhood home in Maryland.
After completing the Vision Quest series, an artist friend suggests I scale up and use archival materials instead of water-reacting felt-tip pens. I agree. The following projects scale to 11 x 14 inches, and are drawn on acid-free paper using waterproof ink:
King Bison. One summer, my sister and I take a road trip from Wisconsin to Washington, camping at national parks along the way. In North Dakota, my sister and I arrive at our site at Theodore Roosevelt National Park after dark, but don’t realize our spot was directly in the line of travel of a herd of bison to the river. The next morning, the herd decides to also stop for a drink at a water spigot near the ranger’s trailer. We get an up-close glimpse of the herd and their twig-and-leaf covered alpha leader.
Riding in Cars in Taos. One autumn in New Mexico, I capture the sights of the desert, mountains, and river with pueblo friends.
About the Artist
Christina Myers is an artist and writer from Los Angeles. Always up for an adventure, she finds that new experiences spark great stories. Her work can be found online on Instagram @digitalchristy.