Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

High Tech Nomad chapters

Naked at the Epicenter

This little snippet from my Miles with Maggie series took place two months before the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that shattered our newfound Santa Cruz complacency. The foreshock impressionistically recorded here was but a teaser… yet deeply intimate somehow, coming as it did on the edge of sleep. The impact on the psyche was intense,…

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Standing in the Window

Somebody on the net recently asked me what my days are like. The popular image, I’m sure, is of a bustling Winnebiko lab with scurrying white-coated technicians fitting glittering surface-mount subassemblies onto a frame of high-tech composites and tightly laced bundles of optical fiber and coax. Surrounded by Sun workstations, I coordinate the efforts of…

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Born Toulouse

Above: the Rebirth jazz band in 1984 (photo by Steven K. Roberts) by Steven K. Roberts New Orleans, Louisiana — July 14, 1988 There’s a sort of melancholy about this city, you know, a strange melancholy that excites the lusts and touches the soul… and every descent from our balconied French Quarter suite into street-level…

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Notes from the East

by Steven K. Roberts Easton, Pennsylvania — 13,505 miles September 3, 1987 Somewhere in the Delaware River Valley of northern New Jersey, in the back yard of a hostel that’s supposed to be open, I drown in a sea of white noise. The tent around me roars with rain—the sound pouring into my head, saturating…

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The Other Woman

©1987 by Steven K. Roberts Ithaca, NY (13,231 miles) August 21, 1987 The road, once begun, never stops. Tonight in Ithaca, over a fine dinner of linguine and wine, coffee and sorbet, we spoke of travel. Hitchhiking marathons of 17 years ago were revived in candlelight; freight-hopping adventures came to life with all the gritty…

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Notes from Ohio

by Steven K. Roberts Pymatuning Lake, Ohio side — 12,819 miles August 1, 1987 The most effective way to make it rain is to pitch camp. For eight riding days, the sun has baked our hot flesh into sweat-glistened tan, streaked with the stark white of belly wrinkles and tinged daily with a hint of…

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Snapshots of Absurdity

by Steven K. Roberts July 22, 1987 Columbus, Ohio — 12,497 miles I can’t believe I used to live here. I pass my old Dublin house with a twinge of embarrassment; I shake my head sadly at the “growth” that frantically replaces cool greenery with hot traffic jams; I watch with horror as old friends deteriorate.…

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Hiking Heaven, Hiking Hell

by Steven K. Roberts June 29, 1987 Calf Creek (Garfield County), Utah This is hard-core wilderness.  The Escalante River area is a violent, convoluted land, a twisted marriage of desert and mountain with much infidelity on both sides.  Madness happens here; the land kills the unwary without remorse, yet delights the eye with so many…

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Solstice on Clouds Rest

by Steven K. Roberts Yosemite National Park, California — June 21, 1987 12,368 miles This is wild, wild country. I’m sitting naked with the computer sweaty on my lap, leaning in the sun against a massive boulder that somehow, millennia ago, rolled to a stop like a forgotten marble on this convex plain of glacier-polished slickrock.…

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Kinetic Madness 1987

by Steven K. Roberts Eureka, California — May 25, 1987 12,257 miles Eureka? Again? Is this a time-warp? If you’ve been following these tales for any time at all, you know we spent five weeks here over the winter… and you also know that we couldn’t have possibly pedaled back up the coast as fast as…

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