La Tortuga

I am totally surprised by the fact that we have so little internet service along the California coast. Even in L.A. we had spotty net service even using a wifi mobile hot spot, we have been without a signal a lot of the time. This may end up being true all across the country. So if we are not posting, it is because we cannot for one reason or another.

Of course the most obvious thing is that at the rate we are going, we will never make it across the country. We have laughed and joked about this. Like what happens if we never even get out of California? Well, fact is, who cares? Certainly not us.

There have sort of been two concepts rolling together on this project. One is the American Family concept and the other Off For A Family Drive concept. Two related but different things. We have pretty much decided to go for the latter which opens up the freedom door. I mean I don’t think I can just photograph families and have that be the book. Just too pedantic no matter how good the portraits might be I will key off of this idea (from past and present) but it will not BE the book….

Just as I was ready to totally drop the camper van idea after one day, Bryan, Tony, Candy and Panos started painting it. That alone made me think differently about our camper. Suddenly the camper became an “art object” on its own. This morning I woke up , had my coffee and decided another important element would change the way we looked at the entire trip. Our camper will become literally a rolling living breathing GALLERY. We will stop today or tomorrow at a one hour photo service and start “decorating” the inside of the camper….with pictures from the trip…So the trip will always be present.

This is a way to make the trip synonymous with the making of photographs. It is the really easy to think about and do ideas like this change my mood and thinking completely.

The book will reflect the van and the van will reflect the book.

Of course I could change my mind again. Or modify this one. For now this is the “plan.” Smiling.

Naturally, we had to also come up with a name for our camper. Collectively we decided on La Tortuga – the turtle. Seemed an obvious choice for us and we agreed unanimously. For one thing my pets as a kid were box turtles. I loved the tortoise and the hare story as a kid and simply liked turtles. They had their home on their back and they always got where they were going albeit slowly.

Track us here. Come and meet us. Cold beer in the box for you and chips and salsa and paints available for you to make your mark.

26 Responses to “La Tortuga”

  • Is that Panos in the first picture doing Tai Chi?

  • PAUL

    yes…i am really limited in my subject matter!! smiling…..

  • ALL

    i am about to head back to our camp spot by the sea, and we enter the black hole of no internet….so we back here tomorrow morning…we had to drive away from the beach and high on a hill to do this….too long a drive to do more than once a day….after this on our way to San Fran we should be ok….

    cheers, david

  • David and Gang,

    You guys set out to do it and ARE doing it. That in itself is an accomplishment.
    How many people just keep ideas inside their brains? too many to count….including myself.
    Too afraid of the edge I suppose.
    How they say like licking honey off a razor blade.

    One question… many families have you approached on the road waiting? a few posts back you mentioned and showed us one but how many more?

  • oh…I just read your post and was going to tell you about San Fran been notoriously bad when it comes wifi.
    At least that was my experience and apparently it’s an ATT issue.
    All the best!

  • DAH,

    Maybe you just need to forget about the “book” and just enjoy the trip and work hard and what will come will come. Push hard but maybe without a pre-existing condition in mind (like the book is “this” or the book is “that”). Just shoot and then put the work away for a few months and come back to it and find surprises and be surprised how it may (or may not) fit in with what you’ve done already. That to my mind is getting loose….

    Secretly wish I was hanging with you all.

    Be safe,


  • Just to satisfy my curiosity, do you plan to get out of California anytime before Thanksgiving?


    you are exactly right….at least exactly what i am thinking as well….


    i just read your comment to the gang….laughter broke out of course…nervous laughter….as a writer i am sure THAT would be the best story of all..right?

    however we WILL TRY…i promise

    cheers, david

  • Clearly, it’s the RV’s fault. Hopelessly bourgeois. What you really need to make this thing work is one of these bad boys:

  • I’m asking, Mr. Harvey, because right now this road trip is beginning to remind me of Bunuel’s The exterminating angel and I was wondering if there is such a thing as take-out sheep.

  • In the unlikely event you find yourself with decent wireless, time to kill and nothing better to do, then I invite you to share a bit of my latest beach-community experience. For this time of year, the weather was unusually warm:

  • AKAKY,

    Only one of those was actually a touring car.

    However, I have no trouble at all envisioning you driving an Edsel.

  • Why not get some basic rubber cement and decorate the outside of the turtle with prints
    This way you have a rolling gallery,ready to go, wherever you stop;even if just for gas.

  • HOMAGE a los Tortugalleros (y a la Tortugallera),

    ‘Turtle’ in Korean is “Geobug” and I offer you the following Korean folk song:

    거북아, 거북아, 네 머리 내 놓으라!
    내 놓치 않으면, 구어 먹으리!

    “Geobug-a, geobug-a. ne meori nae noh-eura!”
    “Nae nohchi anheumyeon, gueo meogeuri!”

    “Turtle, oh turtle, stick your head out and show us!”
    “If you don’t stick it out, we’ll roast you and eat you!”


  • Okay, now it’s a real road trip, come what may … cool.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “Turtle, oh turtle, stick your head out and show us!”
    “If you don’t stick it out, we’ll roast you and eat you!”

    WE’LL ROAST you and EAT you”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    thank you SIDNEY!…:))) no further comment :)))

  • Sidney, I would find that insulting, but I have no trouble seeing myself in an Edsel either. As for the Geobug, is it just me or does that sound like a new Volkswagen hybrid car?

  • Putting names to stuffs that someone love is from ’70s… a very hippy idea indeed. When you have to name this or that, you refered with a funny/interesting name.
    So, what about this homework:

    The camper: La tortuga
    Leica S2 : …………
    Panasonic GF1 : …………..
    Wi-Fi spot: ………..
    THE driver of the van: ……….


    Safe trip to San Fran
    Patricio, simply burnian.

  • Spanish lady come to me
    She lays on me this rose
    It rainbow spiral round and round
    It trembles and explodes

    It left a smoking crater of my mind
    I like to blow away
    But the heat came ’round and busted me
    For smiling on a cloudy day

    Skippin’ through the lily fields
    I came across an empty space
    It trembled and exploded
    Left a bus stop in it’s place

    The bus came by and I got on
    That’s when it all began
    There was cowboy Neal at the wheel
    Of the bus to never ever land

  • AKAKY,

    I knew you’d understand about the Edsel…

    Yes, the ROK government-authorized romanization system for Korean currently in use is pretty ungainly and counter-intuitive for most English speakers, and after I posted that I realized that probably more than one person would see it and try to pronounce it the way you diid… however, 거북 is not pronounced like an “earth insect” (or greenie Volkswagen) would be, but closer to “cahw-boo(k)” in which the final consonant is a glottal stop with no aspiration or ‘air puff’ after the ‘k’.


  • “Get your motor runnin’
    Head out on the highway
    Lookin’ for adventure
    And whatever comes our way
    Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
    Take the world in a love embrace
    Fire all of your guns at once
    And explode into space

    I like smoke and lightning
    Heavy metal thunder
    Racin’ with the wind
    And the feelin’ that I’m under
    Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
    Take the world in a love embrace
    Fire all of your guns at once
    And explode into space

    Like a true nature’s child
    We were born, born to be wild
    We can climb so high
    I never wanna die

    Born to be wild
    Born to be wild”



    that IS what we are going to do…only the inside …i think the result of super glue on our rental van might be a disaster…i think scotch tape on the inside with prints everywhere will do….today we got THE sound system…tomorrow the lighting and cheapo prints….we WILL pick up character….we are thinking of buying a dog…..

  • David…

    Have you thought of getting a dog from one of the animal shelters? Give a good old dog a chance of a new and better life with you guys…

  • That image of Panos stretching…it was something I saw him do countless times at Look3. This becomes a memory-shot for me. Part of a family album.

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