To find the unique stone for my sculptures, I travel to America. This year, I decided to combine the search for stones with a road trip on the famous Route 66 with an old friend. We would take a detour through New Mexico, with the plan of seeing a new stone quarry I had heard about, buy stones and bring them back to Europe. Upon phoning the owner of the stone quarry, I realised that his site was not a “business” site, but an area in the middle of the desert. The owner told me that he was out of the state, but a friend of his could meet us. He proceeded to give me driving instructions, which amounted to taking the main highway out of Albuquerque, drive for an hour, then to a smaller country road, then to a gas station in the middle of nowhere to meet this friend of his who would then show us to the site. I laughed nervously and said to him, “this sounds like a drug deal”. I turned to my friend with the look of “do we really want to do this?” on my face. Two women, alone in the desert, no one for miles, to meet a man at a gas station, whom we didn’t know, in a land where people disappear. Sounds like fun to me. Vowing to stay alert, we agreed to meet him. “Only you would get me into this” she said to me, and it was true. After the long drive, through beautiful desert surroundings, we met him at the tiny gas station. He told us we would need to get in his truck for the rest of the way, because the road was rough and if it rained, the road would wash out. We looked in a moment at each other, at the threatening sky, and with the same mad killer movies in our head, politely told him that we would follow him and risk the washed out road. “Suit yourself” was his answer, as he hopped into his huge battered truck. The road was rough, nearly ripping out the bottom side of our rental car. I kept an eye on the sky as we drove to a little trailer with nothing around for miles. He showed us the stones. Indeed they were beautiful. And the more we spoke to the man, our fears subsided a bit to show an honest, kind man who lived off the land, because there was no work anymore in the area. He told us history of the land when the American Indians lived on it, and the reality of life there now. After a while we went further than the trailer, to where the stones were actually in the ground. There, with my hands as shovels, I chose the best pieces I could, remembering that I had to bring them back to Europe in my suitcase. Taking in the last views of the desert, I caught my breath at it’s beauty. The colors of the hills and sky were reflected in the small stones which I now carried to the car. A piece of this sacred place, this beauty would go home with me. The lightening cracked far off in the sky, but was moving quickly. We packed all I could carry into the trunk, and saying our good-byes, just beat the storm to the main highway.No matter what country I’m in, whether its the cab drivers or the customs people, they always get the same look on their face after saying to me, “Man, this suitcase is heavy- what you got in here? Gold bricks?. “Stones” I reply. Then the look. Then I tell them, “I’m an artist”. Enough said.