Author Road Trip, Day 3: Boise

I put my husband in charge of taking pictures during the book party at my in-laws, and therefore I have no pictures of the event to share. However, I do have these, of our day in Boise – enjoy!

Hiking near my in-laws house in the foothills

Hiking near my in-laws house in the foothills north of downtown Boise

Top of the hill

Top of the hill

Lunch at Front Door

Lunch at Front Door

Popped into this bookstore in downtown Boise and they had my book -- a fun surprise.

Popped into this bookstore in downtown Boise and they had my book — a fun surprise.

My niece, a pretty spectacular reason to visit Boise

My niece, a pretty spectacular reason to visit Boise

On to Bend!

Author Road Trip, Day 2: Jackson to Boise

Day 2 of our road trip: Teton Pass through western Wyoming, Hwy 20 across Idaho, to Boise (For Day 1, click HERE):

Antler arch in the Jackson town square

Antler arch in the Jackson town square

Just outside Jackson, WY

Just outside Jackson, WY

Deserted building in eastern Idaho

Deserted building in eastern Idaho

eastern Idaho

eastern Idaho

 

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Lots of "restricted access" and "do not enter" signs around this laboratory

Lots of “restricted access” and “do not enter” signs around this laboratory

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Didn't get a chance yet to find out what these numbers are for...

Didn’t get a chance yet to find out what these numbers are for…

Craters of the Moon National Park

Craters of the Moon National Park, central Idaho; tree petrified in lava

Just gonna park my plane in my front yard.

Just gonna park my plane in my front yard.

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We’ll be in Boise for the next day and a half before we leave for Bend, OR. More to come….

Author Road Trip Part I — Denver to Jackson, WY

There aren’t many things I love more than road trips. I’ll find any excuse to take one. So when my friend, Danielle, offered to help organize a book event for The Rooms Are Filled in Denver, where she lives, obviously my next thought was: “My brother- and sister-in-law live in Boise.” My thought after that was, “My uncle lives in Bend, Oregon.” And then: “My friend Melanie lives in Portland.”

A road trip was born.  I am hard-pressed to think of a more enjoyable way to celebrate my book.

My husband and I flew into Denver on Sunday and, being from Chicago—land of the polar vortex—we were welcomed with the gift of a snowstorm and 27 degrees. I gave a reading at The Tattered Cover on Monday night, and we left Tuesday morning in our rental car, ending the day in Jackson, Wyoming.

We’ve got 1,200 miles to go in 6 days. I’ll be posting pictures of my first-ever Author Road Trip along the way. Enjoy!

Speaking

I loved reading at The Tattered Cover. The staffers and their whole tradition was lovely. For instance:

writing in guest book

Here is events manager Michael Cruikshank asking me to sign their guest book–right alongside the likes of Amy Tan and Doris Kearns Goodwin. It took me about negative 2/10ths of a second to think about it, but I agreed. They also gave me a metal bookmark with “The Tattered Cover” on one side, and my name and the date on the other. I almost cried.

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Two lonely rock columns in northern Colorado. Aren’t they a wonder?

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The Rockies in northern CO.

I'm not sure if it's just the logo, or if an actual horse picks you up to take you home from the bar.

Laramie, WY. I’m not sure if it’s just their logo, or if an actual horse picks you up to take you home from the bar.

southern Wyoming

southern Wyoming

The REALLY want you to know there are deer in the area

They REALLY want you to know there are deer in the area. These are not like the little silhouette signs we have in the Midwest.

Our hotel in Jackson. They gave us the Cowboy Themed room, which really isn't as bad as I anticipated. Just a lot of leather and wood and antler lamps that are actually very cute.

Our hotel in Jackson, taken from a moving car. They gave us the Cowboy Themed room, which really isn’t as bad as I anticipated. Just a lot of leather and wood and antler lamps that are actually very cute. I wanted to take another picture of our hotel without the huge yellow walking sign, but I was too tired and my husband’s driving was giving me mini heart attacks.

The only bad view all day--the oil refinery in Sinclair. I know--I'm driving and complaining about oil wells. I'm looking forward to the day they make affordable, greener cars.

The only bad view all day–the oil refinery in Sinclair, WY. I know–I’m driving and complaining about oil. I’m looking forward to the day they make affordable, greener cars.

ON TO BOISE!

Road-trip selfie

Road-trip selfie. My husband isn’t mean, despite the picture.

Photos from the Book Launch

Though The Rooms Are Filled doesn’t officially come out until April 22, the launch party at Barnes & Noble was Wednesday night. It was absolutely wonderful and I am flushed with happiness from the support of family and friends, and their friends who brought more friends. We sold out!

I’m still a bit speechless, so I have absolutely nothing worth reading to say, but wanted to share with you some of that night. The good photos (you’ll tell) were taken by my high school creative writing teacher, Mr. Bill Leece, who also introduced me. He had people in tears, they were so moved by his words, as was I. I’m thinking of hiring him to follow me on the road for every reading.

Enjoy!

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Walking in, quite nervous, and my sister makes me take a picture. (I'm glad she did.)

Walking in, quite nervous, and my sister makes me take a picture. (I’m glad she did.)

 

This photo doesn't prove it, but I'm told I seemed comfortable

This photo doesn’t prove it, but I’m told I seemed comfortable

 

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My sister, Katie, sat next to me and offered support

Crowd

 

With Mr. Leece

With my high school creative writing teacher, Mr. Bill Leece

 

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The after party with friends and family.

Port Arthur, USA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory places Jefferson County (TX) among the very worst in the nation for air releases of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive disorders. In a state that regularly records in excess of 2,500 toxic emissions events per year, Port Arthur is near the top of the list of offending sites.

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Photo: Eugene Richards

The [oil] industry abides by the letter of the law, dutifully documenting thousands of emissions events, knowing that, in the end, practically no one cares. Refinery spokespeople acknowledge that their facilities are emitting toxic chemicals. But they follow up that acknowledgment with a question: are we, as automobile drivers, willing to help offset the industry costs associated with increasing safety and reducing emissions every time we go to the pump?

We–collectively–have admitted that we’re not. So these same spokespeople don’t even bother contesting the findings of this cancer researcher or challenging the EPA’s warnings about that contamination.

Port Arthur’s gravity is somehow pulling all of us in. From the Gulf of Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, the whole country has been stitched together by pipelines filled with toxic materials extracted from offshore platforms in Prudhoe Bay, from the tar sands of Alberta, from the fracking fields of North Dakota. Drilled, and spilled, and shipped overseas.

The endangered Alaskan coast is Port Arthur now. So is the benzene-laced Kalamazoo River. So is Mayflower, Arkansas, where an Exxon-Mobil pipeline burst earlier this year and dumped as much as 7,000 barrels of heavy crude onto the lanes and front lawns of a quiet suburban community. The Louisiana shoreline, striated with spilled oil and the dispersant chemicals used to dissolve it, and the river valleys and open plains overlying the Marcellus and Bakken shale formations where fracking rigs have appeared by the thousands: they’re Port Arthur, too.

These aren’t my words. They are words I’ve stitched together from an article in OnEarth, one I felt worth sharing, even though it’s nothing new, nothing new. I hope one day we all, myself included, wake up.

To read Ted Genoways’ entire article, “The End of the Line,” please click HERE.