visited, roughly in temporal order)
New England on
1947. I suspect 'Ramsdale' to be located in the southern
Berkshires of southwestern Massachusetts. A reader of this page and
longtime resident of the area, Mr. Cecil J. Brooks, confirmed this
hypothesis and kindly drew my attention to the fact that there is a Ramsdell
Public Libary in the village of Housatonic in the town of Great Barrington
and suggested that Nabokov might have taken the name from it. It is
named after a local worthy, Theodore G. Ramsdell, who endowed it in 1908.
This may be as close as we can ever come to the "true" location of 'Ramsdale'.
Humbert drives 40 mi to
(in a state "adjacent
to the state Beardsley was in,"
p.226) where he buys a trunk full of fashion articles for Lolita and
spends the night in his dead wive's
following day he drives on to Camp Q
'Ramsdale', as is 'Parkington' (p.105),
where his stepdaughter Lolita is spending her summer vacations,
picks her up and continues to
is more 100 mi
from 'Parkington' to Camp Q and
"a four hour-drive"
from Camp Q to
'Briceland', that is c.160 miles at Humbert's speed
little Briceland, its phony colonial architecture, curiosity shops and
imported shade trees"
(p.116) – is a
in the 'Hazy
(p.110). Humbert spends the night with Lolita in the convention
The Enchanted Hunters.
That the state is Connecticut is evident from the way Humbert had hit
his wife was still alive, one day he had been browsing a Girls'
She walked up to him, interrupting his musings:
(at Canoeing or Canvasback) she strolled up to my chair and sank down,
tweedily, weightily, on its arm, inundating me with the perfume my first
wife had used.
his lordship like to spend the fall here?'
she asked, pointing with her little finger at an autumn view in a
conservative Eastern State.
(very distinctly and slowly).
shrugged. (Probably Harold used to take a vacation at that time …)"
only Eastern State beginning with C is Connecticut
(Humbert will have continued browsing a few pages until he had to pay
attention to her words).
this case the
must be the southern Berkshires or more precisely the Taconic or
Litchfield Hills, and
must be a
somewhere like Lakeville about which the 1947
Tour Guide says:
the Taconic Hills, on Lake Wononskopomuc ('The
Smile of the Great Spirit')
and near its twin lake, Wononpakook.
is a charming old village, now a residential and resort community, with
many beautiful summer estates."
even was a
fitting hotel in Lakeville, the Interlaken Inn Resort & Conference
Center at the western edge of Lakeville ("The
Interlaken Inn of Lakeville, CT is a resort and country inn located in
the beautiful Litchfield Hills of Connecticut. We are an elegant country
retreat with 90 rooms and Townhouse Suites"). It is situated outside of Lakeville in the direction of Millerton, New York,
which is just three miles away and more like the touristy little town with curiosity shops which they pass when they arrive
from the north; even today it still
has a "Moviehouse", and they could have glimpsed two lakes among woods
when continuing on to The Enchanted Hunters. Yes, it would have been
advisable to ask directions like Humbert did.
Camp Q is c. 160 mi from 'Briceland' and 100 mi from 'Parkington'.
If the polygon 'Ramsdale'-'Parkington'-Camp Q-'Briceland' is anchored in
the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, if 'Ramsdale' is in New England,
but not in Connecticut, if all these four places are in three or four
different states, and if 'Beardsley' is 400 mi from 'Ramsdale' and in a
state adjacent to the state 'Parkington' is in, 'Ramsdale, 'Parkington'
and Camp Q must be to the north of the Litchfield Hills. That
almost automatically ‒ and plausibly ‒ places Camp Q in central Vermont.
It is said to be near 'Climax' and 'Climax Lake.' There is no
Climax in Vermont, and it is tempting to think of all kinds of climaxes.
But there also is climax vegetation, the stable stage in the development
of an ecosystem attained only after many generations if nothing
interferes, and there are climax forests in central and northern
Vermont. Nabokov, remember, was a naturalist.
– They leave
on August 15,
1947 and drive to
gay town of
destination was in itself a purely arbitrary one (as, alas, so many were
slang for the collection of butterflies, and so to Nabokov
would have seemed a gay town
('Gay' did not yet have its present meaning.) But all we hear
about 'Lepingville' is that it seems to be within an easy driving
distance from 'Briceland' and that "a great poet had resided [there] in
the early nineteenth century" (p.112). Which are the American
poets of the nineteenth century Humbert would consider great? We
don't know. It could have been either Emerson, Thoreau,
Longfellow, Poe and Whitman. Whitman was from the vicinity of New
York City, Poe's links were to Baltimore and Virginia. Neither of
them had much to do with New England. That's different for the
others. Emerson and Thoreau are deeply tied to Concord, Longfellow
to Cambridge, Massachusetts. This cue would place 'Lepingville' in
the vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts, and at about 130 mi from the
supposed location of 'Briceland'. Note that Cambridge was a
sort of 'Lepingville' for Nabokov. From 1942 to 1948 he worked as
a de facto curator of butterflies at the Harvard Museum of Comparative
Zoology in Cambridge. If we follow the reasoning on the relative
situations of 'Beardsley', 'Ramsdale', 'Parkington' and 'Briceland' in
Trip Two and place 'Ramsdale' in southwestern Massachusetts, it would have
made sense for Humbert to tell Lolita that Charlotte was in a hospital
near 'Lepingville', i.e. in one of the famous big hospitals of the
Boston area. Humbert baited Lolita with the movies she would be
able to see in 'Lepingville.' There were plenty of movie theaters
in and around Cambridge.
was then that began our extensive travels all over the states"
lawyer has suggested I give a clear, frank account of the itinerary we
followed, and I suppose I have reached here a point where I cannot avoid
that chore. Roughly, during that mad year (August 1947 to August 1948), our
route began with a series of wiggles and whorls in New England, then
meandered south, up and down, east and west; dipped deep into ce qu'on
appelle Dixieland, avoided Florida because the Farlows were there,
veered west, zigzagged through corn belts and cotton belts (this is not too
clear I am afraid, Clarence, but I did not keep any notes, and have at my
disposal only an atrociously crippled tour book in three volumes, almost a
symbol of my torn and tattered past, in which to check these recollections);
crossed and recrossed the Rockies, straggled through southern deserts where
we wintered; reached the Pacific, turned north through the pale lilac fluff
of flowering shrubs along forest roads; almost reached the Canadian border;
and proceeded east, across good lands and bad lands, back to agriculture on
a grand scale, avoiding, despite little Lo's strident remonstrations, little
Lo's birthplace, in a corn, coal and hog producing area; and finally
returned to the fold of the East, petering out in the college town of
dimly evoke that Magnolia Garden in a southern state which cost me four
bucks and which, according to the ad in the book, you must visit for three
: because John Galsworthy (a stone-dead writer of sorts) acclaimed it
as the world’s fairest garden; because in 1900 Baedeker’s Guide had marked
it with a star; and finally, because . . . O, Reader, My Reader, guess! . .
. because children (and by Jingo was not my Lolita a child!) will
starry-eyed and reverently through this foretaste of Heaven, drinking in
beauty that can influence a life.' 'Not
said grim Lo, and settled down on a bench with the fillings of two Sunday
papers in her lovely lap"
Magnolia Gardens in Magnolia, South Carolina, 12 mi NW
Charleston, on the Ashley River.
quaint quote is not in the AAA Southeastern Tour Book, but the admission fee
It sounds as if it could come out of the Baedeker mentioned in the ad,
but matter-of-fact Baedeker said only this about Magnolia Gardens
one in the season (March-May) should omit to visit the **Gardens of Magnolia
(reached by railway or steamer), on the Ashley, the chief glory of which is
the gorgeous display of the azalea bushes, which are sometimes 15-20 ft.
high and present huge masses of vivid and unbroken colouring"
(Karl Baedeker, ed.
: The United States, with an excursion into Mexico:
Handbook for Travellers, Leipzig: Baedeker,
John Galsworthy raved but did not supply the quote about the starry-eyed
one who goes to Charleston in the spring, soon or late, visits Magnolia
A painter of flowers and trees, I specialize in gardens, and freely
assert that none in the world is so beautiful as this.
Even before the
magnolias come out, it consigns the Boboli at Florence, the Cinnamon Gardens
of Colombo, Concepcion at Malaga, Versailles, Hampton Court, the Generalife
at Granada, and La Mortola to the category of
Nothing so free and gracious, so lovely and wistful, nothing so richly
coloured, yet so ghostlike, exists, planted by the sons of men.
It is a kind
of paradise which has wandered down, a miraculously enchanted wilderness.
Brilliant with azaleas, or magnolias, it centres round a pool of dreamy
water, overhung by tall trunks wanly festooned with the grey Florida moss.
Beyond anything I have ever seen, it is otherworldly"
Century Magazine, 1921).
That Baedeker gives it rare two stars, ranking
it with premier sights like the Capitol, Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon,
instead of only one as claimed by Humbert, proves that he did not actually
Baedeker but was relying completely on the ad.
passed and re-passed through the whole gamut of American roadside
restaurants, from the lowly Eat with its deer head (dark trace of long tear
at inner canthus),
picture post cards of the posterior
type, impaled guest checks, life savers, sunglasses, adman visions of
celestial sundaes, one half of a chocolate cake under glass, and several
horribly experienced flies zigzagging over the sticky sugar-pour on the
ignoble counter; and all the way to the expensive place with the subdued
lights, preposterously poor table linen, inept waiters (ex-convicts or
college boys), the roan back of a screen actress, the sable eyebrows of her
male of the moment, and an orchestra of zoot-suiters with trumpets"
inspected the world's
largest stalagmite in a cave where three southeastern states have a family
reunion; admission by age; adults one dollar, pubescents sixty cents"
¶ It is tempting to think this
Mammoth Cave near Bowling Green, Kentucky, which with 360 mi of passageways
is said to be the largest cave of the world.
But Mammoth Cave does not
extend under three states and has no particularly big or colorful
Moreover, the admission fee does not fit.
at this stage
rather have visited Cudjo's
(present name Gap Cave) at
Kentucky and the SW
The special price for
"pubescents" gives it away :
$1 plus tax for complete trip, 50c plus tax for children 12 to 14 years of
age. Children under 12 free"
(AAA Southeastern Tour Book, 1947). When Humbert later remembers that
they have been at the longest cave of the world, he is probably thinking
of Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, which was thought to be the world's
longest cave during the middle 1940s until
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, was promoted to that position in 1972.
granite obelisk commemorating the Battle of Blue Licks, with old bones and
Indian pottery in the museum nearby, Lo a dime, very reasonable"
Licks Battlefield State Park, Blue Licks Springs, NE Kentucky.
The 1947 AAA Tour Book
granite obelisk commemorates the Battle of Blue Licks which occurred in
1782. A museum contains bones of prehistoric animals found nearby, a
collection of Indian relics and other historical articles.
museum 30c, children 9c."
present log cabin boldly simulating the past log cabin where Lincoln was
¶ Lincoln Birthplace Memorial Building, near
replica of Lincoln's
tiny log cabin is inside the
boulder, with a plaque, in memory of the author of
(by now we are in Poplar Cove, N.C., reached by what my kind, tolerant,
usually so restrained tour book angrily calls
very narrow road, poorly maintained,'
to which, though no Kilmerite, I subscribe)"
¶ Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, 15 mi SW
Robbinsville, North Carolina,
Mountains National Park.
Southeastern Tour Book prior to 1947 did not warn of the bad road but said
acres of virgin timber within the Nantahala National Forest. Some of the
huge poplar trees are 80 inches in diameter and more than 125 feet high, and
there are giant hemlocks and oaks … A half-mile trail leads into the heart
of Poplar Cove, where a granite boulder bears a bronze plaque in memory of
Joyce Kilmer, soldier and poet, author of
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), journalist and poet, was considered the leading
Roman Catholic American poet of his time. He was a World
volunteer and was killed in the second Marne Battle. He is remembered almost
exclusively for his poem
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
a hired motor-boat operated by an elderly, but still repulsively handsome
White Russian, a baron they said (Lo's palms were damp, the little fool),
who had known in California good old Maximovich and Valeria, we could
distinguish the inaccessible
on an island, somewhere off the Georgia coast"
¶ Jekyll Island, just off the coast of
90 mi S
The Jekyll homepage explains
1886, it became an exclusive winter retreat for some of America's
most elite families, known as the Jekyll Island Club.
An array of wealthy
and well-known figures joined the resort, including J.P. Morgan, Joseph
Pulitzer, William Rockefeller, and William Vanderbilt.
remained a private paradise for the wealthy until the State of Georgia
purchased the land in 1947 and declared the island a
for the public."
If Humbert and Lolita had come some months later, they might have come
: a collection of European hotel picture post cards in a
museum devoted to hobbies at a Mississippi resort, where with a hot wave of
pride I discovered a colored photo of my father's Mirana, its striped
awnings, its flag flying above the retouched palm trees.
said Lo, squinting at the bronzed owner of an expensive car who had followed
us into the Hobby House"
is a tough case which I long believed impossible to resolve. But there it is, in
the 1952 edition of the AAA Southeastern Tour Book, under Bay St.
Louis, Mississippi : "Holly Bluff on-the-Jordan, off U.S. 90, is a
woodland of rare, exotic trees and plants. Among giant moss-festooned oaks,
great holly trees, dogwoods and mountain laurels are hundreds of varieties
of camelias and azaleas. The Hobby House, on the grounds, contains a
collection of curios and objects of art from all parts of the world."
The Holly Bluff Gardens belonged to horticulturists James and Octa Crump.
The area was devastated by hurrican Katrina in August 2005.
of the cotton era."
forest in Arkansas and, on her brown shoulder, a raised purple-pink swelling
(the work of some gnat) which I eased of its beautiful transparent poison
between my long thumbnails and then sucked till I was gorged on her spicy
¶ As Humbert and Lo visited the
cave-café in NW Arkansas, they must have come through Ozark
Street (in a town named New Orleans) whose sidewalks, said the tour book,
[I liked the 'may']
feature entertainment by pickaninnies who will [I liked the
even better] tap-dance for pennies'
(what fun), while
numerous small and intimate night clubs are thronged with visitors'
The quote is from the post-1947 AAA Southeastern Tour Book: "Bourbon
Street is a lively street at night. The sidewalks may feature
entertainment by a one-man band, or pickaninnies who will tap-dance for
pennies. Its numerous small and intimate night clubs are thronged with
of frontier lore"
homes with iron-trellis balconies and hand-worked stairs, the kind down
which movie ladies with sun-kissed shoulders run in rich Technicolor,
holding up the fronts of their flounced skirts with both little hands in
that special way, and the devoted Negress shaking her head on the upper
¶ This could be Nottoway Plantation, a former
well-to-do sugar-cane plantation at White Castle, Louisiana with one
of the stateliest ante-bellum homes in the South.
It is (probably wrongly)
said to have inspired the mansion of Tara in the film Gone with the Wind
(1939) to which Humbert seems to be alluding here.
In this case the movie
lady with the sun-kissed shoulders is Vivien Leigh.
Menninger Foundation, a psychiatric clinic, just for the heck of it"
¶ The foundation that maintained the Menninger Clinic in
established c.1925 by psychiatrist Dr. C.F. Menninger and his sons Will and
Karl, both of them also psychiatrists.
Especially Will fought hard to reform
state sanitariums, and in 1948 the Menninger Foundation took over the
Kansas mental hospital system.
1947 AAA Tour Book
Kansas State Hospital for the mentally ill.")
Also in 1948, Time magazine featured Dr. Will Menninger on its cover,
lauding him as
U.S. sales manager.'"
In 2003, the Menninger Foundation moved to Houston, Texas.
Humbert is very
reticent about his psychiatric past but mentions that for some mental
disorder he does not specify he had been in sanitariums.
From what he tells
the reader (if he is to believe him), they had not been dismal state
Obviously he was curious to see what in 1948-49 probably was
the best-known private reform clinic in the US.
The Menninger cover of
Time magazine may have brought him there. Or was there another
reason for driving to out-of-the-way Topeka which will hardly have
interested Lolita? Was he at a point where he feared he would have
patch of beautifully eroded clay; and yucca blossoms, so pure, so waxy, but
lousy with creeping white flies"
the starting point of the Old Oregon Trail"
The Oregon Trail was a migration route from Missouri to Oregon used by
pioneer settlers with chuckwagons from 1841 to 1869 when railroads made this
kind of travel
the home of the Wild Bill Something Rodeo"
¶ Abilene in C Kansas was the hometown of Dwight D.
The AAA Tour Book called it
first real cattle town of Kansas"
but did not mention the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo which is held annually at the
beginning of August. Too bad for Humbert and Lolita, for they will have
missed it. About Abilene and Wild Bill Hickok, The American Guide of
1947 (ed. by Henry G. Alsberg) had this to say
: “Here great droves of Texas
longhorns were herded into stock pens awaiting shipment, while as many as
5,000 cowboys, paid off simultaneously, thronged brothels, saloons &
gambling houses. Abilene, said in 1871 to have more cutthroats & desperados
than any other town, was tamed somewhat by James Butler ('Wild
Hickok, who became marshal; credited with 43 killings before he came to
Abilene, he increased his total here to 100." About Wild Bill, the Custer Battlefield Museum in Wyoming explains : "Gun
fighter, Indian scout, Union spy, U.S. Marshal, gambler and actor, James
Butler Hickok (1837-1876) is one of the best known frontier personalities. Critically wounded in battle by a Cheyenne lance, Hickok ended his scouting
career and became the U.S. Marshal in the cattle town of Abilene, Kansas. Later he settled in the mining town of Deadwood, where he befriended
Calamity Jane. Hickok's days came to an end on August 2, 1876 in Deadwood's
#10 Saloon, shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall while holding Aces
and Eights (the dead man's hand)."
More mountains; bluish beauties never attainable,
or ever turning into inhabited hill after hill; south-eastern ranges,
altitudinal failures as alps go; heart and sky-piercing snow-veined gray
colossi of stone, relentless peaks appearing from nowhere at a turn of the
highway; timbered enormities, with a system of neatly overlapping dark firs,
interrupted in places by pale puffs of aspen; pink and lilac formations, Pharaonic, phallic,
prehistoric for words'
(blasé Lo); buttes of black lava; early spring mountains with
young-elephant lanugo along their spines; end-of-the-summer mountains, all
hunched up, their heavy Egyptian limbs folded under folds of tawny
moth-eaten plush; oatmeal hills, flecked with green round oaks; a last
rufous mountain with a rich rug of lucerne at its foot"
are numerous lava buttes in the West, but only one black one that is
actually called Lava Butte, 7 mi S of Bend, Oregon. It's likely
Humbert was thinking of this one. It was on his road from the Crater Lake to
we inspected: Little Iceberg Lake, somewhere in Colorado, and the snow
banks, and the cushionets of tiny alpine flowers, and more snow; down which
Lo in red-peaked cap tried to slide, and squealed, and was snowballed by
some youngsters, and retaliated in kind comme on dit” (p.156).
The small Iceberg Lake in Rocky Mountain National
Park, N Colorado,
on Trail Ridge Road.
Nabokov had spent the summer of
at Columbine Lodge above Estes Park at the edge of the National Park, hiking along Trail
Ridge Road in pursuit of butterflies.
Iceberg Lake is
just below the highest point of the road.
There will not necessarily have been icebergs on the lake in summer and fall
but there certainly will have been snowbanks.
The end of the butterfly chapter 6 in
Speak, Memory recalls
Rocky Mountain National Park
last I saw I had come to the end of the marsh [the one in Russia where his
passion for butterflies had begun].
The rising ground beyond was a paradise
of lupines, columbines, and pentstemons.
Mariposa lilies bloomed under
Ponderosa pines. In the distance, fleeting cloud shadows dappled the dull
green slopes above timber line, and the gray and white of Longs Peak.
confess I do not believe in time …"
of burned aspens, patches of spired blue flowers.
The various items of a
Hundreds of scenic drives, thousands of Bear Creeks, Soda
Springs, Painted Canyons"
Humbert is exaggerating. There may
have been hundreds of scenic drives but certainly not thousands of Bear
Creeks etc., and there was only one Soda Springs, in Idaho. This again
shows that he was not interested in his tour as such and hence not able to
think of any destination that might have been to Lolita's liking.
a drought-struck plain"
Chamber in the longest cave in the world, children under 12 free, Lo a young
Caverns, SE New Mexico.
the middle 1940s, Carlsbad was believed to be one of the biggest cave
systems in the world, but the AAA Tour Books of 1940 and 1947 do not
claim it was the biggest. In 1972, the Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky
was promoted to position #1, while Carlsbad dropped to position no.7
(according to a piece of information Raymond Horton kindly sent me in
2013). Nor do the AAA Tour Books mention any 'Crystal Chamber' in
Carlsbad. However, there are old picture postcards depicting a
'Crystal Grotto' full of stalactites in that section of the cave which
was and still is known as the 'Big Room.' But how did H.H. (and V.N.)
come to know of this 'Crystal Grotto' if it was unknown to the AAA Tour
Books? On the other hand, the Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky is
today considered the world's longest cave, and it has a 'Crystal
admission charge H.H. mentions agrees with the one given for Carlsbad in the AAA Tour Book of 1947
$1.25 plus tax, children between 12 and 16 years, 25c plus tax. No charge is
made for children under 12 years when accompanied by adults assuming
responsibility for their safety and good conduct."
Still it could be that H.H. and Lolita visited both caves and that H.H.
borrowed the 'Crystal Chamber' from Mammoth when he remembered Carlsbad.
collection of a local lady's
homemade sculptures, closed on a miserable Monday
morning, dust, wind, witherland"
Ney Museum, Austin, Texas.
According to the AAA Tour Book
of 1947, on
Sundays and Mondays it was
open only from 3 to 5 pm.
It is the converted residence and studio of Elisabet
Texan sculptress. Humbert's
derision comes from the European
perspective he clings to throughout his book but in this case is
particularly out of place.
Ney, German by birth, after a formal academic training
in sculpture had been an esteemed sculptress in Europe before she came to
America and was invited to Austin to set up a studio there and resume her
Park, in a town on the Mexican border which I dared not cross.
elsewhere, hundreds of gray hummingbirds in the dusk, probing the throats of
¶ Concepcion Park is the grounds of
the former Franciscan mission church of La Purisima Concepcion
de Acuna in San Antonio, Texas (today part of a National Historical
Park). Ciudad Acuña is one of the closest Mexican border towns, 160 miles to
a ghost town in New Mexico, where bad man Russian Bill was colorfully hanged
seventy years ago"
2,5 mi S of
is a very small "semi-ghost town" (it
has an owner who maintains the remaining buildings) in rolling rattlesnake country,
today consisting of seven rickety houses, sheds and
barns. It was founded in the late 1850s as Mexican Springs and served
as a station for the Butterfield Overland Stage. When service was
discontinued and silver found in the early 1870s, the place turned into
a mining camp with as many as 3000 inhabitants and was renamed Grant and
Ralston City. Due to a diamond scam the town got a bad name.
So after a mining company called Shakespeare took over the remaining
citizens in 1879 renamed it Shakespeare. Possibly the name was
meant to attract London investors. However, Shakespeare Mining
Company never flourished, and when in the 1880s the railroad chose to
lay its tracks through nearby Lordsburg, the town slowly died. In
1935, what remained of it was sold to the Hill family as a working ranch. "Russian Bill" was one Vilgelm Tattenbaum
(1855-1881), a wealthy Russian nobleman and ex-lieutenant of
the White Hussars who deserted in 1880 and somehow
ended up in Tombstone, Arizona, where he attempted to join one or the other
band of rustlers. On a side-trip to New Mexico on a
stolen horse he and outlaw Sandy King were put to jail in Shakespeare and within two days hanged from
a beam in the dining room of Grant House, "due to the lack of trees. A member of the lynch mob explained to startled stage passengers that Russian
Bill was hanged for stealing a horse and Sandy King was hanged for 'being a
damned nuisance'. After Shakespeare's postmaster received a letter from
Russian Bill's mother inquiring of his whereabouts, he sent her the
diplomatic reply that her son had died 'of throat trouble'" (Hidalgo County
historian Bill Cavaliere).
¶ The AAA Tour Book of 1947 mentions only one hatchery in
the state, at Santa Rosa,
NE New Mexico, on Rt 66. Up to 1964, the hatchery was just E
of the town at Blue Hole, a 81 ft. deep artesian well of clear blue water
which was the only water supply of the adjoining hatchery ponds.
Since the state hatchery moved to new facilities at Rock Lake 2 mi S of
Santa Rosa, Blue Hole serves as a year-round training center for scuba
These would have been more numerous and well-preserved in Arizona; the
best-known and most extensive ones would have been in Mesa Verde National
Park, SW Colorado. In New Mexico, the best bet would have been either
Bandelier National Monument W of Santa Fe or Gila Cliff Dwellings National
Monument in SW New Mexico.
– “The mummy of a child (Florentine Bea's
Indian contemporary)” (p.157).
have been Native American mummies found in New Mexico, but it will not
have been easy for Humbert to get to see one in 1947 or 1948.
Indian child’s mummy found in Mummy Cave of Canyon de Chelly was
could not be sighted by Humbert and Lolita.
He may refer to a child mummy exhibited at
the Million Dollar Museum in
City, New Mexico,
a place established in the late 1920s
or early 1930s
at the entrance
Carlsbad Caverns National
Park. As another remark of his makes it likely that they have been
to the caves, they must have come through Whites City. There is
another cue. Humberts speaks of a museum of guns and violins in
Oklahoma, very probably referring to the Davis Gun Collection in
Claremore. Among various other collectables
they have music boxes and a few
musical instruments there but not particularly violins. So
Humbert's recollection of violins must be from somewhere else. Now
at the Million Dollar Museum
have a small collection precisely of guns and violins. So probably
Humbert is confusing the two museums just as he was confusing the caves.
was advertised as a "6000 year old
mummified cliff dwelling baby." (The age seems purely arbitrary.)
In 1997, a German TV crew gave it
some publicity by claiming it is E.T.
Today its space is empty.
The mummy was removed in 2007 by the FBI for DNA testing.
twentieth Hell's Canyon. Our fiftieth Gateway to something or other fide
that tour book, the cover of which had been lost by that time. A tick in my
groin. Always the same three old men, in hats and suspenders, idling away
the summer afternoon under the trees near the public fountain"
H.H. exaggerating again. The Tour Books don't mention dozens of Hell's Canyons
hazy blue view beyond railings on a mountain pass, and the backs of a family
enjoying it (with Lo, in a hot, happy, wild, intense, hopeful, hopeless
the McCrystals, please, let's
talk to them, please'–let's
talk to them, reader!–please! I'll
do anything you want, oh, please ...")
¶ It is tempting to think this may have happened on Milner Pass
in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado which later is listed by
Humbert as one of the places where they had a major row, because the reason
for their quarreling
may exactly have been the McCrystal incident.
In any case it cannot be where
they should be according to Humbert's
sequence, somewhere between New Mexico and Arizona, where there are no hazy
blue views on mountain passes.
American Refrigerator Transit Company"
¶ Private refrigerator car railroad line, established in
1881, based in St. Louis.
Arizona, pueblo dwellings, aboriginal pictographs"
¶ There are Native American pueblo ruins, cliff dwellings,
pictographs and petroglyphs all over Arizona and New Mexico.
A site where Humbert and Lolita could have found all of them is the Canyon de Chelly
National Monument near
in the heart of the Navajo Indian Reservation.
The AAA Western Tourbook of
1947 awards it a star
de Chelly is a box canyon 30 miles long, joined by a lateral canyon, Canyon
del Muerto. The walls of brown sandstone rise to the heights of 700 to 1,000
feet and are remarkably sheer and smooth.
In natural crevices of these
cliffs there are many cliff-dweller ruins ... Cut into the sandstone walls
of the canyons are pictographs, some perhaps dating from the time of the
A webpage on American Indian archeology explains
area contains the ruins of several hundred prehistoric Native American
villages, most of them built A.D. 350—1300. The spectacular cliff dwellings
include Mummy Cave, with a three-story tower house.
Artifacts have been
found, and there are numerous
in rock shelters and on cliff faces.
The earliest people living in the
region were the
predecessors of the
Pueblo, Spanish for
is the name the Mexicans gave the sedentary, agricultural and for the most
part peaceful native inhabitants of the Southwest.
They lived, and are still
living, in houses made of stone or adobe, whether built into cliffs or not.
If not living in cliffs, they tended to settle atop of mesas for protection
not so peaceful neighbors.
If Humbert wants to pedantically make a difference between the "cliff
dwellings" they went to see in New Mexico and the "pueblo dwellings" visited
in Arizona, that is if their Arizona pueblo ruins were not located in cliffs,
Canyon de Chelly would not have been the most likely place to find them but
rather Wupatki National Monument 38 mi NE of Flagstaff. They must
have passed it on US 89 on their way from Flagstaff to Dinosaur Canyon. "Within
the monument there are more than 800 ruins, some of them in good state of
preservation. Those built of red Moenkopi sandstone have weathered far
better than the others ... One of the most impressive is Wupatki, Hopi word
for 'Tall House,' containing more than 100 rooms which have been partially
excavated and restored ... Most of the ruins were occupied from about 1100
to 1225 A.D." (AAA Western Tour Book, 1947).
dinosaur track in a desert canyon, printed there thirty million years ago,
when I was a child"
¶ Dinosaur Canyon,
mi N of Flagstaff, Arizona,
in the Navajo and Hopi reservations.
It was featured in the AAA
Western Tour Books up until
the 1950s :
10 miles north of Cameron on U.S. 89, then about 16 miles northeast, near
Moenkopi, Dinosaur Canyon is one of the most colorful sections of the
It is a wide canyon flanked by curiously eroded sandstone
cliffs. Strange rock formations are also found on the floor of the canyon.
Here in the canyons and on the cliffs, have been uncovered over 300 dinosaur
tracks, the largest number ever found anywhere in the world.
track measures 20 inches or more in length.
The imprints were probably left
here at least 40,000,000 years ago, although a few estimates place the time
as low as 25,000,000 years. The tracks in the canyon are easily reached by
motor; those on the rim are less accessible."
Strangely, the dinosaur tracks have vanished from all travel guides
decades ago, and no one knows of "Dinosaur Canyon" any more.
However, the tracks themselves are still there and are shown to
motorists passing by on US 160 a few miles E of Tuba City, a Navajo town
that is encroaching upon Hopi Moenkopi.
in the desert, spring in the foothills, almonds in bloom"
southern deserts where we wintered" (p.154).
a dreary town in
with a nightlife said to be
The AAA Tour Books don't breathe a word about Reno's nightlife.
winery in California, with a church built in the shape of a wine barrel"
Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the Italian Swiss Colony
Vinyards of Asti, California, on US
101 c.60 mi N of San Francisco.
Valley National Monument, EC California
lowest point in the United States, 279 below sea level, is at Badwater.
Death Valley is 4 to 16 miles in width between mountain ranges, and 140
miles in length. The survivors of a party of pioneers trying to find a short
cut to the California gold fields gave the valley its name. Summer
temperatures may be as high as 126 degrees on the valley floor. Water is
scarce but springs flow in a number of places. Visitors are advised to drink
only from clearly marked springs” (AAA Tour Book, 1947).
¶ On US
72, on the N limits of
It is an
the AAA Western Tour Guide
contemporary picture post card explains : "Walter Scott was born in 1872. He
came to Death Valley at the age of 12. His name has been linked to the area
ever since. Scotty toured the world with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Shows
for 12 years after which he returned to the valley. Scotty's friend Albert
Johnson built the Castle that became linked to Scotty's name."
(ed. Henry G. Alsberg, 1947, p.1217) says this much
Castle cost 2,000,000. Death Valley Scotty lived in valley more than 30 yrs.
& achieved renown during his spectacular 45-hour trip in 1905 from L.A. to
Chicago & for his spending sprees–without known resources."
1954, at the age of 82, and lies buried
on the rocky hill northwest of the guest house at Scotty's Castle, next to
his dog Windy. In 1948, Humbert and Lo might have met him in person.
of Art collected by one Rogers over a period of years" (p.157).
be identified with any certainty.
What we have is the name (Rogers), the
kind of collectables (works of art) and the place in the sequence (between
Death Valley and Los Angeles).
are not compatible.
There is no Rogers art collection in Southern California, and it seems there
The museum is surely not what I thought it was in my 1989 notes
Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico (Native American silver, jewelry
That opened only in the mid-1950s.
Also, Humbert would not have
referred to the
lady simply as
nor to the exhibits as
Out too is
the Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles
metropolitan area. It would have been quite like Humbert not to know
cowboy humorist, columnist and
star Will Rogers who is said to have been the most popular American citizen
Lolita probably would
have enjoyed to see his place, even if Rogers had belonged to the generation of
But his spacious ranch home turned into a California State Park contains
no works of art but,
according to the official website,
original furniture and mementos, from the informal, hammock-like couches to
a wooden cigar-store Indian. The colorful furnishings include a handsome
dining room table, a massive set of bull horns over the stone fireplace,
large oil portraits of Rogers & his wife, and an old, hand-cranked
machine which plays loud honky-tonk tunes. Among the many colorful
knickknacks filling the room is a small stuffed calf (on wheels), used by
Will Rogers to practice his roping tricks."
However, it could be that Humbert in his memory mixed up
the Will Rogers place with nearby (32 miles) Huntington Art Gallery in
San Marino, California. If that should not be the ase, we are left
with only one possibility,
the Lauren Rogers
Museum of Art in
the timber town of
Laurel, Mississippi, one of the important collections of 19th
and 20th art in the South, founded in 1923 by William Brown
Rogers, a wealthy local personality in
memory of his son Lauren who had died of appendicitis.
To settle on this
have to assume that Humbert got his sequence wrong,
for no matter how much they meandered, they will not have driven from Death
to Los Angeles via Mississippi.
ugly villas of handsome actresses"
¶ In the plural, they would have been around
Stevenson’s footprint on an extinct volcano"
the R.L. Stevenson
site on the shoulder of
today a State Park.
Actually, Mt. St. Helena,
wine country of Napa Valley, is no extinct volcano but
a non-volcanic mountain. But that was what the
Western Tour Book
1947 said :
St. Helena, an extinct volcano to the north of Calistoga, has an elevation
of 4,343 feet.
Near its summit Robert Louis Stevenson wrote
The spot is marked by the Stevenson Monument."
of the Silverado Museum
improves on that
few miles north of Calistoga off Highway 29, in Robert Louis Stevenson State
Park, steep forest trails lead to the 4,343-foot summit of Mount St. Helena.
In 1880, Stevenson and his wife, Fanny
[Van de Grift Osbourne], honeymooned on the mountainside
[because, for reasons of health, he wanted to get away from the summer fogs
of San Francisco],
living for two months in the abandoned bunkhouse of the old Silverado silver
mine–an experience that must have been a far cry from that of today's
wine country honeymooners. He described his Calistoga experience in
And, when he wrote about Spyglass Hill in the
Mount St. Helena was his inspiration.
On the mountaintop, views of Lake
County, the Napa Valley, and on clear days, the Sierra Nevada and Mount
Shasta, nearly two hundred miles away, can be dazzling."
Dolores: good title for book"
¶ Mission Dolores is the common nickname of the mission
church San Francisco de Asis, on Dolores St. at 16th in San
Francisco, California to whom it gave its name. Founded in 1776, the
adobe building was completed in 1791.
is the oldest building in San Francisco.
It differs from the other missions
in architecture, being a combination of the Moorish, Mission and Corinthian
The façade is adorned with massive pillars, the doorway is arched,
and in the niches above are bells.
It is practically as it was in the time
of the padres. The altar was one of the most ornate among the missions, and
the original decorations and paintings were brought from Spain and Mexico.
roof timbers are still held together by the original rawhide thongs” (AAA
Tour Book, 1947). The mission took its common name,
from a vanished lake and creek on the spot.
On the California coast north of San Francisco.
man having a lavish epileptic fit on the ground in Russian Gulch State Park"
a small State Park
on the Pacific coast
waterfall, beach, bridge).
blue Crater Lake"
Crater Lake National Park, SW Oregon.
"... one of the nation's unique scenic wonderlands. Crater Lake rests in the
crater of an extinct volcano.
It is 6 miles in diameter, 2,000 feet deep and encircled by lava cliffs, 500
to 2,000 feet high. Color is the outstanding feature of the lake" (AAA
Western Tour Book, 1947).
fish hatchery in Idaho"
There would have been
several fish hatcheries on their way from Boise to Yellowstone.
One of the conspicuous
is the Snake River Trout Hatchery
6 mi N of Buhl, Idaho ("Trout
Capital of the World") which claims to be the largest in the world, with 400
workers processing 90,000 pounds of trout daily.
The present facilities were
built in 1973, but fish hatcheries had been active at the place since 1928.
Others are or were at Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Ashton.
The AAA Western Tour Book of 1947 mentions only Meader Trout Farm & Fish Hatchery at
Pocatello, SE Idaho,
which seems to be defunct.
the State Penitentiary"
¶ The notorious
1973 a museum.
In 1947, it was "open to visitors at certain times during the morning and
afternoon" (AAA Western Tour Book).
Yellowstone Park and its colored hot springs, baby geysers, rainbows of
bubbling mud – symbols of my passion"
By far the most colorful hot spring of
Yellowstone National Park, NW Wyoming,
is the Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin. Small
geysers that could aptly be termed baby geysers can be found around
Norris Geyser Basin. There
are bubbling mudpots
Lower and near
Norris Geyser Basin,
and there is the Mud Volcano between Canyon and Fishing Bridge.
The color of the mud always is uniformly grayish white (actually it is
the local rock dissolved by acidic hot water). It is Humbert who
has added the rainbows to the symbols of his passion.
herd of antelopes in a wildlife refuge"
has the unique distinction of being the only state with more pronghorn than
Pronghorn antelope could and still
can be observed all over central and western Wyoming, not only in
wildlife refuges. In 1947-48,
there were three national wildlife refuges in Wyoming
Hutton Lake and Pathfinder. The last two were mainly bird refuges.
So if Humbert and Lolita
spotted their pronghorn in an actual refuge, that would have been the
Elk Refuge, established 1912, NE of
Besides elk, there were (and are again) pronghorn antelope, mule deer,
moose, beaver and other wildlife.
hundredth cavern, adults one dollar, Lolita fifty cents"
Humbert and Lolita seem to be on their way from the
Yellowstone area to the Badlands of North Dakota; at this point of their
tour or later they
come by the Black Hills
of South Dakota. Here
they would have found ten
caves that were
among them two major ones
: Jewel Cave National
Monument and Wind Cave National
Park, both near
two of the world's longest caverns.
The problem is that the admission fees Humbert mentions don't
fit. For the Wind Cave, the 1947 AAA Western Tour Book has 60c for adults
and 30c for children 12-16; for the Jewel Cave, it is the same for adults
but only 10c for children 12-16. So one cannot be certain, but as the fee
for children was half of that for adults only at the Wind Cave where the
ratio still holds, this is the more likely one.
chateau built by a French marquess in N.D."
¶ Chateau de Mores on US
10 (today I-94) W of
chateau, preserved on the site,"
the 1947 AAA Tour Book affirms reticently,
a two-story wooden structure, built in 1883 by the Marquis de Mores, a
For an explanation what of brought
de Mores (Marquis
Antoine de Morès et de Montemaggiore) to build a chateau in the badlands of
North Dakota, one had to turn to The American Guide (ed. Henry G.
Alsberg, 1947, p.692) : "Medora, a little
E. bank of Mo. R. 0.5m was named for he beautiful red-haired
Amer. wife of Marquis de Mores, dashing young Frenchman, who came here in
1883 to set up meat-packing plant at source of supply ... He also built De
Mores Chateau, an enormous ranch house of 28 rooms, 2 stories high, with
He and his charming wife with their staff of Fr.
servants entertained distinguished visitors from the E., incl. Theo.
Roosevelt, who had come to the Badlands for his health and built himself a
cabin in vic.
By 1884 de Mores was shearing 14,000 sheep & grazing many
thousands of cattle.
Hundreds of animals were slaughtered daily & shipped
Within 3 or 4 yrs., however, the venture failed; partly because de
Mores, on account of his lavish living & unfriendly acts had antagonized
neighbors with whom he often got into violent quarrels, especially when he
began fencing in his property, something not customary in these parts.
one encounter an outsider was killed & the marquis was held for murder
although later acquitted.
He decided to abandon his dramatic project &
returned to Europe.
In 1896, at age of 43, he was killed by native in N.
The town he founded for his beef enterprise was Medora, named for his wife
Medora née von Hoffman, the daughter of a wealthy New Yorker and an even
better sharpshooter than the Marquis.
Corn Palace in S.D."
(today I-90), in the midst of a fertile corn producing area.
explains the AAA Tour Book of 1947 (earlier ones are silent on the subject),
only structure of its kind in the world, was built at a cost of $300,000.
The walls are covered inside and out with ear corn, grain sorghums and
grasses. Corn of red and yellow hues is especially grown to form the mosaic
patterns. It is open to the public from June 1 to Oct 1."
the huge heads of presidents carved in towering granite"
¶ Mount Rushmore National Memorial , Black Hills, SW
of Rapid City, W South Dakota,
a colossal sculpture carved from the solid granite of Mt. Rushmore, which
towers high above the surrounding country.
The work, done under the
direction of the late Gutzon Borglum, is the largest piece of sculpture ever
attempted, and consists of the heads of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and
Theodore Roosevelt ... Each face is between 60 and 70 feet high, and is
carved with a perfection of detail and expression that is almost
unbelievable in any sculpture of this size"
(AAA Western Tour Book, 1947).
Bearded Woman read our jingle and now she is no longer single"
¶ In 1925, Burma-Shave Company introduced a
"brushless" shaving cream
and as an advertising gimmick asked people to send in humorous jingles.
About 500 of them were reproduced on billboards along the highways
of the United States (except in Massachusetts, New
Mexico, Arizona and Nevada) from 1925 to 1963 when Burma-Shave was sold to
Philip Morris and the signs were removed. The billboards were unusual
insofar as they consisted of five or six separate
narrow red wooden planks placed sequentially
along the road, each showing a fraction of the jingle,
plus "Burma-Shave" at the end. The
rhymes became immensely popular and
have been collected several times. From these collections one can tell that
Humbert, somewhere between South Dakota and Indiana, must have noticed a
Burma jingle thought up (but not submitted) by one Professor Nabokov of
Wellesley, Massachusetts. The closest to it in the real world was "The
bearded lady / tried a jar / Now she's / a famous / movie star / Burma-Shave"
zoo in Indiana where a large troop of monkeys lived on concrete replica of
¶ The Monkey Ship in Mesker Zoo, on the NW outskirts of
is one of the most modern zoos in the country.
Cages and bars have been
eliminated wherever possible, the animals being retained in their quarters
by hidden unscalable moats. A large troop of monkeys lives on a concrete
replica of the
flagship, in the center of a lake"
(AAA Northeastern Tour Book, 1947).
of dead, or halfdead, fish-smelling May flies in every window of every
eating place all along a dreary sandy shore"
gulls on big stones as seen from the ferry City of Cheboygan, whose
brown woolly smoke arched and dipped over the green shadow it cast on the
¶ Until 1957, when a 5 mi long suspension bridge was built
across the Straits of Mackinac from Mackinaw City to St.
Ignace, N Michigan, several car ferries with ice-breaking properties
were operating, among them the
'City of Cheboygan.'
motel whose ventilator pipe passed under the city sewer"
home, largely spurious, with parlor books and period furniture that most
visitors reverently accepted as personal belongings"
Lincoln Home National Historic Site,
Home was the only home Lincoln ever owned; it was built in 1839 and
purchased by Mr. Lincoln in 1844. It is owned and maintained by the state as
a memorial, and is preserved as nearly as possible in its original
condition. Many furnishings are original Lincoln pieces and others are
replicas or pieces appropriate to the period"
(AAA Northeastern Tour Book, 1947).
This is the last stop Humbert mentions
in this list of
sights they visited,
and the perceptive reader may note that they must be close to Lolita's
and not far from
where he is to find her married and pregnant four years later.
In spite of
strident remonstrations, he writes (p.154), they avoid
They arrive towards the end of August, 1948, in time for the new school year.
(Places where they quarreled)
had rows, minor and major.
The biggest ones we had took place: at Lacework Cabins, Virginia"
¶ No Lacework Cabins mentioned in the Southeastern AAA
Tour Books prior to 1947 (nor today), so they probably are invented,
like most of the other "motor courts"
(the name has fallen in disuse).
Park Avenue, Little Rock, near a school"
This must be Senior
High School in
It opened in 1927 and is on Park Avenue, between 14th and 16th Street.
Milner Pass, 10,759 feet high, in Colorado"
The second highest point of
Trail Ridge Road in
Mountain National Park, N Colorado,
on the Continental Divide.
the corner of Seventh Street and Central Avenue in
Central is the main
business street in downtown Phoenix.
Someone has pointed out that Seventh and Central run
parallel and don't intersect.
Third Street, Los Angeles, because the tickets to some studio or other were
Third is one of the
main streets in downtown
California. It has a tunnel and a cable car called Angels Flight, "taking passengers to
top of Bunker Hill (315'). From Observ. tower, fine view" (The American
Guide, 1947). Close by were the Columbia Pictures studios on Gower
a motel called Poplar Shade in Utah, where six pubescent trees were scarcely
taller than my Lolita, and where she asked, à propos de rien, how
long did I think we were going to live in stuffy cabins, doing filthy things
together and never behaving like ordinary people?"
¶ The Tour Book of 1947 does not know of any Poplar Shade
nor do the present ones. The Internet does not have a Poplar Shade
Motel anywhere in the United States. If you look for it in Google, you
are directed to
hard core porn sites that capitalize on
being connected with
even if you don't
mention her in your search.
N. Broadway, Burns, Oregon, corner of W. Washington, facing Safeway,
"Center of a vast range land, with many large cattle ranches nearby" (AAA
Western Tour Book, 1947).
some little town in the Sun Valley of Idaho, before a brick
hotel, pale and flushed bricks nicely mixed, with, opposite, a poplar
playing its liquid shadows all over the local Honor Roll"
"This is one of the most popular all-year resorts in the West" (AAA Western
Tour Book, 1947).
a sage brush wilderness, between Pinedale and Farson"
¶ Pinedale and Farson are real towns in
and there actually is a sage brush steppe in between.
Humbert and Lolita must have been on their way to
Grand Teton and
Yellowstone. Nabokov knew the region well from his butterfly hunts close to
the Continental Divide
in 1949, 1951 and 1952.
in Nebraska, on Main Street, near the First National Bank, established 1889,
with a view of a railway crossing in the vista of the street, and beyond
that the white organ pipes of a multiple silo"
hundreds of First National Banks on hundreds of Main Streets, and dozens in
Nebraska, but according to Google there is just one that was founded in
1889, and that one is in
on US 20. If one imagines Humbert and Lolita
standing on that Main Street, one is tempted to guess why they quarreled
because there was absolutely
could go and see. The
First National Bank is still there but has been replaced by a modern
building, so are the multiple silos, but the railroad has been shut down
though some of the tracks and signs remain. No guide book ever
mentioned Gordon. Probably Nabokov passed through the town on his
way back from Montana or NW Wyoming in 1951 or 1952.
on McEwen St., corner of Wheaton Ave., in a Michigan town bearing his first
& pine woods make it favored country for hay-fever & asthma patients; many
streams and abundant wildlife"
(The American Guide, ed. Henry G. Alsberg, 1947, p.540).
There was one of those tourist homes Nabokov hated at the intersection. The
house is still there, now a funeral parlor.
List 3 (Places to look forward to)
a lighthouse in Virginia ..."
¶ The Virginia lighthouses most worthy of a visit were
the Old and the New Lighthouse on Cape Henry near Virginia Beach,
at the mouth of
Lighthouse, built in 1791-2, the first such structure erected in the
The view from the top is well worth while.
Open only on
special occasions. New Lighthouse, erected in 1879.
Its light, one of
the most powerful of the world, is 157 feet above sea level and can be seen
20 miles away"
(AAA Southeastern Tour Book, 1947).
a natural cave in Arkansas converted to a café ..."
¶ The AAA Tour Books prior to 1948 mentioned
at Bella Vista near Bentonville, a resort town in the NW
and explained it was
natural cave extending far back into the mountain side ... The largest
chamber has been transformed into an underground nightclub."
nightclub opened in 1930
and hailed itself as
Largest Natural Place of Amusement in America."
up to 400 people and so would have made little sense as a café.
course, Humbert couldn't
have taken Lolita to a nightclub.
But perhaps he
his author just could not resist the café-cave pun.
a collection of guns and violins somewhere in Oklahoma ..."
¶ This must be the J.M. Davis Gun Collection (today
Arms & Historical Museum) in Claremore, Oklahoma
which in addition to guns has musical instruments, beer steins,
etc. However, the
music section consists mostly of music boxes, guitars and banjos, not
particularly of violins. Humbert must be confusing the museum with
the Million Dollar Museum in Whites City, New Mexico which has guns and
violins side by side.
a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes in Louisiana ..."
The St. Martin Catholic Church in St. Martinville,
a star from the AAA Southeastern Tour Book of 1947.
of the oldest in the state, established in 1765, [and] contains a replica of
the Grotto of Lourdes, constructed from a small pencil sketch."
shabby photographs of the bonanza mining period in the local museum of a
Rocky Mountains resort ..."
defunct mining towns
the Rocky Mountains States, and there is no reason to single out any
A fitting one would be Virginia City in Montana, 75 mi northwest of
Yellowstone, except that Virginia City is not what would be called a
anything whatsoever–but it had to be there, in front of us, like a fixed
star, although as likely as not Lo would feign gagging as soon as we got to
the pale lilac fluff of flowering shrubs along forest roads"
Nabokov's Russian translation of Lolita says the shrubs were "Californian
mirta). If we follow this clue, the shrub could be Myrtus ugni (today rather
Ugni molinae), the Chilean
Guava. This, however, is a gardeners' plant and not typical of California. One would rather think that the shrubs Humbert notes are some kind of
California Lilac (Ceanothus), a native evergreen shrub of the
Californian coastal mountains, with fifty species from 5 to 25 ft high and
with abundant lilac, deep blue or white flowers. They flower in late spring,
some also in summer. That implies H.H. will have left their quarters in the
southwestern deserts at the end of winter, reaching the forest roads of
northern California in late May.
reached the Canadian border; and proceeded east, across good lands and bad
lands, back to agriculture on a grand scale"
¶ Humbert is confirming that they drove E from Wyoming roughly along
10 and US
the Badlands of SW South Dakota,
of the most spectacular exhibits of weathering and erosion in the world, an
area of irregular ravines, fantastic ridges, low hills and cliffs of
variegated coloring, alternating with grayish white soil"
(AAA Western Tour Book, 1947).