S3:E0 – Backtracks Trailer: The White Heart of Mojave

A hundred years ago, it was considered by most to be foolish, absurd, unthinkable for two women to travel on their own, especially to an undeveloped place like Death Valley. A hundred years later, anyone who thinks that idea is foolish – well, they are the ones considered absurd now.

A hundred years ago, in the early 1920s, Edna Brush Perkins and Charlotte Hannahs Jordan, both in their early 40s, went to find the heart of the desert in Death Valley. A hundred years later, in the early 2020s, I, on the verge of 40, found the book Edna wrote about the experience, The White Heart of Mojave. As I devoured it, I wondered why it didn’t have a more prominent spot on the shelf of adventure classics. This is my attempt to make that book and these two women more widely known and to modernize this classic adventure narrative on the centennial of its publication.

This episode was written, recorded, sound edited, and produced by Lisa McNamara. Music by Nesrality and Lesfm, both from Pixabay.

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Transcript:

Since humans existed, they’ve been doing things that other humans thought unwise. In the best of times, these wild adventures lead us to discover new things about ourselves and the world around us.

A hundred years ago, it was considered by most to be foolish, absurd, unthinkable for two women to travel on their own, especially to an undeveloped place like Death Valley. A hundred years later, anyone who thinks that idea is foolish – well, they are the ones considered absurd now.

A hundred years ago, in the early 1920s, Edna Brush Perkins and Charlotte Hannahs Jordan, both in their early 40s, went to find the heart of the desert in Death Valley, CA. A hundred years later, in the early 2020s, I, on the verge of 40, found the book Edna wrote about the experience, The White Heart of Mojave. As I devoured it, I wondered why it didn’t have a more prominent spot on the shelf of adventure classics. This is my attempt to make that book and these two women more widely known and to modernize this classic adventure narrative on the centennial of its publication.

This is Backtracks, a special series from Road Tripping in America.

Have you ever read a mashup novel like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or watched a Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff on a movie? This is going to be similar – I’m taking an existing story that’s in the public domain, reading it, and adding my thoughts, experiences, and some historical perspective along the way.

The White Heart of Mojave has a total of twelve chapters that I’ll be releasing two at a time, every two to three weeks. Most of the time, I’m going to be reading Edna’s book word for word. But there are parts that, thanks to a hundred years of perspective and progress, need clarification or gentle correction. There are also parts that sent me off down rabbit holes of research and deep into memories of past experiences. So sometimes I will be adding to the story, but without any fanfare – the idea is to keep it a seamless listening experience.

The first two chapters will be released on Monday, January 10th. I’m so excited to share this classic story with you. Subscribe to Road Tripping in America now on your favorite podcast app to ensure you don’t miss an episode. See you on the road.