No. 737

Impossible's Analog Travelog - James Joiner's Tretorn Road Trip

Patrick Tobin, | Feb 20, 11:00 AM

Taking you from the woods to the city, Tretorn celebrates a lifestyle lived largely outdoors with stylishly understated footwear and outdoor accessories.

Tretorn teamed up with photographer James Joiner to make a cross-country road trip from Manhattan to Salt Lake City and document it on Impossible film…

It’s so cold all you can feel is the dull ache in your extremities, a dull ache that soon segues into stinging, burning pain which belies the wind-driven, sub-zero temperatures. Eventually even the hot throbbing passes, giving way to a dexterity-stripping numbness, making camera operation a clumsy, fumbling affair. Even though you’ve only been out of the warm truck for a few minutes, and will soon be headed back, you now realize you probably should have remembered gloves. Ahead a faint purple crack fissures the pre-dawn horizon, its glow slowly spreading and reflecting off towering walls of rock surrounding you, theatrically unveiling their soaring and often precarious arrangements.

The violet light steadily, gradually, increases, almost imperceptibly transforming the landscape from pitch darkness to alien moonscape, each degree of visibility more face-melting than the last.

Deadened fingers fire off a few rounds from an aging Polaroid camera, each protruding frame hastily stuffed – wrinkles and creases be damned – into pockets that offer little in the way of much-needed development-friendly warmth. No matter… When the sun finally cracks the craggy horizon, driving bold shafts of color through rising mist and eerily red rocks, it’s an explosion the likes of which no film or sensor could truly, adequately translate.
Sometimes you just have to be there.

It’s moments like this one, trekking wildly unprepared through the relative wilds of Arches National Park in Moab, Utah with potential frostbite, hazy photographs and chattering teeth that make it worthwhile spending those days on the road; covering the wide expanses of our great nation, miles and miles and miles of asphalt and crazy truck drivers and psychotically psychedelic yet bland motel carpets, as if those very things weren’t already reward enough.

Sometimes, when trips are few and far between and I’ve paced a trough in my office’s wood flooring trying to find ways to balance the bank account, I start to envy those friends who’ve put their heads down and bent to what their responsibilities and civilization demand, commuting morning after morning to a status quo position with solid benefits and a dependable income, their lives predictable and stable.

I’ve tried it, the nine-to-five, eleven-to-seven or even a midnight-to-eight, and have no shortage of admiration for those who’s self-discipline keep them firmly rooted in reality. I wish, as does my wife, that I could pull it off.

Yet those instants, freezing away in a desert in Utah in the winter, or somehow winding up backstage at a Naughty-By-Nature concert at the Sundance Film Festival, or meeting a strange cowboy alongside Buffalo Bill’s mountaintop gravesite, that poison me forever from anything but the vaguest vestiges of participation in “normal” life. I’d rather finagle a way to get out and actually live.

Follow James’ ridiculous adventures on Instagram at @jjamesjoiner.

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  1. breathless! He really knows how to play with light and absensce of it! Amazing how even in darker surroundings the color and the lights make so much sense. Thanks for that!

    said Sandra | 1314 days ago
  2. YES. Beautifully expressed James. This 10 to 7 girl gets wanderlust every chance I can….and feels that same haunting while sitting at my desk, counting my earnings in when I can take my next trip.

    I might have to hop in the car and see how far I can go this weekend.

    Thank you for such an inspiring post.

    said Jetsetter23 | 1315 days ago