Invisible Trajectories

Maneuvers with Claude

December 15, 2005

On Thursday the 15th, I left from the Cucamonga studio and headed down Archibald towards Arrow Highway. My plan was to walk along 8th and 9th streets to observe the gradual transitions noticeable to anyone who follows the railroad tracks and slowly diverges from them. I never intended to wind up in Claremont Village, but that is what happened.

I crossed over Foothill (Route 66) around 1:20pm and eventually ran into Arrow Highway. I turned right and strolled by endless warehouses and manufacturing facilities. The horizontal structures were punctuated by large open spaces that seemed overgrown with non-native plants. I passed one strip-mall church and numerous housing developments on my left. During the first hour of my journey, I saw two black dogs, at different locations, jumping up to peer over high brick walls in order to bark at me. They seemed numb to the traffic, but were worried about me, 30 feet away, on the other side of the road walking on the sidewalk.

I eventually made a left after a large manufacturing plant that produces parts for automobile doors. Making my way towards the railroad tracks, I turned right onto 8th street where there was no sidewalk. Here I passed many old homes, some maybe 100 years old. Most were in poor condition. They resembled the types of homes we usually see in the Mojave, the kinds of places with lots of rubbish in front and at least one inoperable auto among the weeds. Looking for a new route, I went off-road, making my way through an old farm field and onto another access road for yet another manufacturing plant.

I came out on the backside of this plant, next to the employee parking lot. The building was white and had 3 large spaces near the roof where letters had been. One was an S, the other a C, but I couldn’t make out the third. The road was curved, and as I made my way around the bend I saw a no trespassing sign over my shoulder. A truck driver looked at me curiously as he rolled in, but I kept to my path. I was soon walking through the deteriorating suburbs of Upland. The signs of decline were evident: makeshift gates, patched fences, eroding stucco, and lawns that looked like they hadn’t been cared for in months. I peeked over some of the walls and was surprised to see so many trampolines. I counted 3 on one block. Odd.

I stayed on 8th and observed the changes as I walked. It was about 2:00pm and I was getting tired. I asked a fellow pedestrian how far it was to Claremont Village and he told me about 3 more miles. I stopped a few times to take photos, but I kept moving at a good clip. I made my way through Montclair, past the mall, and into Claremont, passing through the park near the railroad tracks and the artesian wells.

I walked through town and stopped in Rhino Records. Within minutes I was back on the street. A few blocks later I was in the Pomona College Art Museum. That was a short stop as well. 15 minutes later I was in Wolf’s buying a soda to quench my thirst. I was feeling weary by this point, but I kept going. My destination was the Montclair Transportation Center where I would catch the #68 Omni to Upland where I would change over to the #67 on Euclid.

When I arrived at the MTC, the sun was coming down. I waited with a group of African American teens who were having a good time joking with each other about going to medical school in St. Louis. Within 15 minutes the bus came and I climbed aboard. I asked the driver to give me a yell when he hit Euclid, but he almost forgot. I got off near the Upland library, just a few blocks from Deena’s grandmother’s house.

I walked across the road and waited at the bus stop. It was dark and a steady stream of headlights was moving towards me. I had Peter Lang’s Mortal City to keep me company, but I was still cold. I had shorts on and a light sweatshirt. As I flipped through essays about fortified ghettos, the lights from oncoming traffic bounced off of the sign above my head. Each time I thought I saw the bus in the distance it turned out to be a truck. By 5:45pm the bus was in sight. It pulled up and I was aboard.

20 minutes later I got off at the 7-11 just a few blocks from the studio. I found Zoe and Lambchop as happy as ever. Deena called as I closed the back door. We talked briefly and I went downstairs to get something to eat. It was 6:06pm. --CW

December 16, 2006 >