Trip One

From Kubrick's 'Lolita' movie (1961)


List 1 (Places visited, roughly in temporal order)


HUMBERT leaves 'Ramsdale', New England on Wednesday, August 13, 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'.

From 'Ramsdale', Humbert drives 40 mi to 'Parkington' (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 car, a Dream Blue Melmoth Sedan.  The following day he drives on to Camp Q wich is in "another state" than 'Ramsdale', as is 'Parkington' (p.105), where his stepdaughter Lolita is spending her summer vacations, picks her up and continues to 'Briceland', Connecticut.  It 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 (p.108).  'Briceland'"pretty little Briceland, its phony colonial architecture, curiosity shops and imported shade trees" (p.116) – is a "secluded town" in the 'Hazy Hills' (p.110). Humbert spends the night with Lolita in the convention and resort hotel The Enchanted Hunters.

That the state is Connecticut is evident from the way Humbert had hit upon 'Briceland'.  When his wife was still alive, one day he had been browsing a Girls' Encyclopedia. She walked up to him, interrupting his musings: "Presently (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. 'Would his lordship like to spend the fall here?' she asked, pointing with her little finger at an autumn view in a conservative Eastern State. 'Why?' (very distinctly and slowly).  She shrugged. (Probably Harold used to take a vacation at that time …)" (p.92-93).  The 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).  In this case the 'Hazy Hills' must be the southern Berkshires or more precisely the Taconic or Litchfield Hills, and 'Briceland' must be a town somewhere like Lakeville about which the 1947 AAA Northeastern Tour Guide says: "In the Taconic Hills, on Lake Wononskopomuc ('The Smile of the Great Spirit') and near its twin lake, Wononpakook.  It is a charming old village, now a residential and resort community, with many beautiful summer estates."  There 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.


01 – They leave 'Briceland,' Connecticut, on August 15, 1947 and drive to "the gay town of Lepingville."  "That destination was in itself a purely arbitrary one (as, alas, so many were to be" (p.139).

'Leping' is lepidopterists' slang for the collection of butterflies, and so to Nabokov 'Lepingville' would have seemed a gay town indeed.  ('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.

"It was then that began our extensive travels all over the states" (p.145).

"My 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 Beardsley" (p.153-4).

02"I 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 reasons : 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 'walk starry-eyed and reverently through this foretaste of Heaven, drinking in beauty that can influence a life.'  'Not mine,' said grim Lo, and settled down on a bench with the fillings of two Sunday papers in her lovely lap" (p.154).

This is Magnolia Gardens in Magnolia, South Carolina, 12 mi NW Charleston, on the Ashley River.  Humbert's quaint quote is not in the AAA Southeastern Tour Book, but the admission fee is.  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 : "No 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, 21899, 31904). John Galsworthy raved but did not supply the quote about the starry-eyed children either : "Every one who goes to Charleston in the spring, soon or late, visits Magnolia Gardens.  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 'also ran.'  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" (in Pear's Annual and 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 consult the old Baedeker but was relying completely on the ad.


"We 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), 'humorous' picture post cards of the posterior 'Kurort' 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" (p.155).

03"We 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" (p.155).

¶ It is tempting to think this would be 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 stalagmites.  Moreover, the admission fee does not fit.  So at this stage they must rather have visited Cudjo's Cave (present name Gap Cave) at Cumberland Gap between Tennessee, Kentucky and the SW tip of Virginia. The special price for "pubescents" gives it away : "Prices: $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.

04"A granite obelisk commemorating the Battle of Blue Licks, with old bones and Indian pottery in the museum nearby, Lo a dime, very reasonable" (p.155).

Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, Blue Licks Springs, NE Kentucky. The 1947 AAA Tour Book : "A 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.  Admission to museum 30c, children 9c."

05"The present log cabin boldly simulating the past log cabin where Lincoln was born"  (p.155).

Lincoln Birthplace Memorial Building, near Hodgenville, C Kentucky.  The replica of Lincoln's tiny log cabin is inside the mausoleum-like building.

06"A boulder, with a plaque, in memory of the author of 'Trees' (by now we are in Poplar Cove, N.C., reached by what my kind, tolerant, usually so restrained tour book angrily calls 'a very narrow road, poorly maintained,' to which, though no Kilmerite, I subscribe)" (p.155).

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, 15 mi SW of Robbinsville, North Carolina, just S of Smoky Mountains National Park. The AAA Southeastern Tour Book prior to 1947 did not warn of the bad road but said this: "3,840 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 'Trees.'" Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), journalist and poet, was considered the leading Roman Catholic American poet of his time. He was a World War I volunteer and was killed in the second Marne Battle. He is remembered almost exclusively for his poem "Trees" :

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.

07"From 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 'millionaires' colony' on an island, somewhere off the Georgia coast" (p.155).

Jekyll Island, just off the coast of Georgia, 90 mi S of Savannah.  The Jekyll homepage explains : "In 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.  Jekyll Island remained a private paradise for the wealthy until the State of Georgia purchased the land in 1947 and declared the island a 'playground' for the public."  If Humbert and Lolita had come some months later, they might have come ashore.

08"We inspected further : 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. 'So what?' said Lo, squinting at the bronzed owner of an expensive car who had followed us into the Hobby House" (p.155).

This 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.


"Relics of the cotton era."

09"A 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 blood" (p.156).

¶ As Humbert and Lo visited the "Wonderland" cave-café in NW Arkansas, they must have come through Ozark National Forest.

10"Bourbon Street (in a town named New Orleans) whose sidewalks, said the tour book, 'may [I liked the 'may'] feature entertainment by pickaninnies who will [I liked the 'will' even better] tap-dance for pennies' (what fun), while 'its numerous small and intimate night clubs are thronged with visitors' (naughty)" (p.156).

New Orleans, Louisiana. 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 visitors."

"Collections of frontier lore" (p.156).

11"Ante-bellum 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 landing" (p.156).

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.

12"The Menninger Foundation, a psychiatric clinic, just for the heck of it" (p.156).

The foundation that maintained the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, E Kansas.  It was 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 "dismal" Kansas mental hospital system.  (The 1947 AAA Tour Book for Topeka just mentions "the Kansas State Hospital for the mentally ill.")  Also in 1948, Time magazine featured Dr. Will Menninger on its cover, lauding him as 'psychiatry's 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 institutions.  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 himself admitted?


"A patch of beautifully eroded clay; and yucca blossoms, so pure, so waxy, but lousy with creeping white flies" (p.156).


13"Independence, Missouri, the starting point of the Old Oregon Trail" (p.156).

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 obsolete.

14"Abilene, Kansas, the home of the Wild Bill Something Rodeo" (p.156).

Abilene in C Kansas was the hometown of Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The AAA Tour Book called it "the 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 Bill') 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)."

"Distant mountains.  Near mountains.  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, 'too 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" (p.156).

There 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 Burns.

15 "Moreover, 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 1947 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 at 11,500 ft altitude, 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 : "At 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.  I confess I do not believe in time …" (p.138-139).

"Skeletons of burned aspens, patches of spired blue flowers.  The various items of a scenic drive.  Hundreds of scenic drives, thousands of Bear Creeks, Soda Springs, Painted Canyons" (p.157).

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.

16"Texas, a drought-struck plain" (p.157).

17"Crystal Chamber in the longest cave in the world, children under 12 free, Lo a young captive" (p.157).

Carlsbad Caverns, SE New Mexico.  In 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 Chamber.' The admission charge H.H. mentions agrees with the one given for Carlsbad in the AAA Tour Book of 1947 : "Adults $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.

18"A collection of a local lady's homemade sculptures, closed on a miserable Monday morning, dust, wind, witherland" (p.157).

The Elisabet 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 Ney (1833–1907), a once well-known 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 work.

19"Conception Park, in a town on the Mexican border which I dared not cross.  There and elsewhere, hundreds of gray hummingbirds in the dusk, probing the throats of dim flowers" (p.157).

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 the west.

20"Shakespeare, a ghost town in New Mexico, where bad man Russian Bill was colorfully hanged seventy years ago" (p.157).

Shakespeare, 2,5 mi S of Lordsburg, in the SW corner of New Mexico, 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).

21 "Fish hatcheries" (p.157).

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 divers.

"Cliff dwellings" (p.157).

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.

22 – “The mummy of a child (Florentine Bea's Indian contemporary)” (p.157).

There 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.  An Indian child’s mummy found in Mummy Cave of Canyon de Chelly was deposited at the National Museum and thus could not be sighted by Humbert and Lolita.  He may refer to a child mummy exhibited at the Million Dollar Museum in Whites City, New Mexico, a place established in the late 1920s or early 1930s at the entrance of 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 they have a small collection precisely of guns and violins.  So probably Humbert is confusing the two museums just as he was confusing the caves.  The mummy 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.


"Our 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" (p.157).

H.H. exaggerating again. The Tour Books don't mention dozens of Hell's Canyons and Gateways.

23"A 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 whisper–'Look, the McCrystals, please, let's talk to them, please'–let's talk to them, reader!–please! I'll do anything you want, oh, please ...") (p.157).

¶ 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.

"ART: American Refrigerator Transit Company" (p.157).

Private refrigerator car railroad line, established in 1881, based in St. Louis.

24"Obvious Arizona, pueblo dwellings, aboriginal pictographs" (p.157).

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 Chinle, Arizona, in the heart of the Navajo Indian Reservation.  The AAA Western Tourbook of 1947 awards it a star : "Canyon 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 earliest occupation."  A webpage on American Indian archeology explains : "The 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 pictographs in rock shelters and on cliff faces.  The earliest people living in the region were the Basket Makers, predecessors of the Pueblo."  Pueblo, Spanish for 'village,' 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 from their 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).

25 "a dinosaur track in a desert canyon, printed there thirty million years ago, when I was a child" (p.157).

Dinosaur Canyon, c.68 mi N of Flagstaff, Arizona, in the Navajo and Hopi reservations.  It was featured in the AAA Western Tour Books up until the 1950s : "Located 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 Painted Desert.  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.  The largest 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.


"Winter in the desert, spring in the foothills, almonds in bloom" (p.157).


"Straggled through southern deserts where we wintered" (p.154).

26"Reno, a dreary town in Nevada, with a nightlife said to be 'cosmopolitan and mature'" (p.157).

The AAA Tour Books don't breathe a word about Reno's nightlife.

27"A winery in California, with a church built in the shape of a wine barrel" (p.157).

The 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.

28"Death Valley" (p.157).

Death Valley National Monument, EC California and W Nevada. "The 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).

29"Scotty's Castle" (p.157).

On US 72, on the N limits of Death Valley in EC California.  It is an extravagant desert ranch house the AAA Western Tour Guide of 1947 takes no notice of.  A 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."  The American Guide (ed. Henry G. Alsberg, 1947, p.1217) says this much : "Scotty's 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."  Walter Scott died in 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.

30"Works of Art collected by one Rogers over a period of years" (p.157).

This cannot 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). Unfortunately they are not compatible.  There is no Rogers art collection in Southern California, and it seems there never was.  The museum is surely not what I thought it was in my 1989 notes : the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico (Native American silver, jewelry and weavings).  That opened only in the mid-1950s.  Also, Humbert would not have referred to the founding lady simply as "Rogers" nor to the exhibits as "works of art."  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 silent movie star Will Rogers who is said to have been the most popular American citizen of the late 1920s.  Lolita probably would have enjoyed to see his place, even if Rogers had belonged to the generation of her parents.  But his spacious ranch home turned into a California State Park contains absolutely no works of art but, according to the official website, "Rogers' 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 'hurdy gurdy' 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 option, we have to assume that Humbert got his sequence wrong, for no matter how much they meandered, they will not have driven from Death Valley to Los Angeles via Mississippi.

31"The ugly villas of handsome actresses" (p.157).

¶ In the plural, they would have been around Hollywood, Malibu and Beverley Hills, all in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, California.

32"R.L. Stevenson’s footprint on an extinct volcano" (p.158).

This is the R.L. Stevenson site on the shoulder of Mount St. Helena 8 mi N of Calistoga, California, today a State Park.  Actually, Mt. St. Helena, in the wine country of Napa Valley, is no extinct volcano but a non-volcanic mountain.  But that was what the AAA Western Tour Book of 1947 said : "Mt. 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 Silverado Quatters.'  The spot is marked by the Stevenson Monument."  The contemporary webpage of the Silverado Museum improves on that : "A 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 The Silverado Squatters [1884].  And, when he wrote about Spyglass Hill in the beloved children's classic, Treasure Island, 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."

33"Mission Dolores: good title for book" (p.158).

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.  "This is the oldest building in San Francisco.  It differs from the other missions in architecture, being a combination of the Moorish, Mission and Corinthian styles.  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.  The heavy roof timbers are still held together by the original rawhide thongs” (AAA Tour Book, 1947). The mission took its common name, Dolores, from a vanished lake and creek on the spot.

"Surf-carved sandstone festoons" (p.158).

On the California coast north of San Francisco.

34"A man having a lavish epileptic fit on the ground in Russian Gulch State Park" (p.158).

Russian Gulch, a small State Park on the Pacific coast just north of Mendocino, California (redwood trees, waterfall, beach, bridge).

35 "Blue, blue Crater Lake" (p.158).

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).

36"A fish hatchery in Idaho" (p.158).

There would have been several fish hatcheries on their way from Boise to Yellowstone.  One of the conspicuous ones nowadays 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, established c.1913, which seems to be defunct.

37"and the State Penitentiary" (p.158).

The notorious "Old Pen" outside Boise, Idaho, since 1973 a museum. In 1947, it was "open to visitors at certain times during the morning and afternoon" (AAA Western Tour Book).

38"Somber Yellowstone Park and its colored hot springs, baby geysers, rainbows of bubbling mud – symbols of my passion" (p.158).

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 ("paintpots") in 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.

39"A herd of antelopes in a wildlife refuge" (p.158).

"Wyoming has the unique distinction of being the only state with more pronghorn than people." 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 : Elk, 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 National Elk Refuge, established 1912, NE of Jackson, NW Wyoming.  Besides elk, there were (and are again) pronghorn antelope, mule deer, moose, beaver and other wildlife.


"Our hundredth cavern, adults one dollar, Lolita fifty cents" (p.158).

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 would have come by the Black Hills of South Dakota. Here they would have found ten caves that were tourist attractions, among them two major ones : Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park, both near Custer, South Dakota, 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.

40"A chateau built by a French marquess in N.D." (p.158).

Chateau de Mores on US 10 (today I-94) W of Medora, W North Dakota. "The chateau, preserved on the site," the 1947 AAA Tour Book affirms reticently, "is a two-story wooden structure, built in 1883 by the Marquis de Mores, a French nobleman."  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 town on 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 red-plush interior.  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 East.  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.  In 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. Africa."  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.

41"The Corn Palace in S.D." (p.158).

In Mitchell, SE South Dakota, on US 16 (today I-90), in the midst of a fertile corn producing area.  "The Corn Palace," explains the AAA Tour Book of 1947 (earlier ones are silent on the subject), "the 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."

42"and the huge heads of presidents carved in towering granite" (p.158).

Mount Rushmore National Memorial , Black Hills, SW of Rapid City, W South Dakota, "is 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).

"The Bearded Woman read our jingle and now she is no longer single" (p.158).

¶ 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" from 1934.

43"A zoo in Indiana where a large troop of monkeys lived on concrete replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship" (p.158).

The Monkey Ship in Mesker Zoo, on the NW outskirts of Evansville, Indiana.  "[It] 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 'Santa Maria,' Christopher Columbus' flagship, in the center of a lake" (AAA Northeastern Tour Book, 1947).


"Billions of dead, or halfdead, fish-smelling May flies in every window of every eating place all along a dreary sandy shore" (p.158).

44"Fat 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 aquamarine lake" (p.158).

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.'

"A motel whose ventilator pipe passed under the city sewer" (p.158).

45"Lincoln's home, largely spurious, with parlor books and period furniture that most visitors reverently accepted as personal belongings" (p.158).

Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield, Illinois. "Lincoln 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 hometown of 'Pisky' and not far from 'Coalmont' where he is to find her married and pregnant four years later.  In spite of Lolita's strident remonstrations, he writes (p.154), they avoid 'Pisky.'


46 − 'Beardsley,' Appalachia

They arrive towards the end of August, 1948, in time for the new school year.



List 2 (Places where they quarreled)


A"We had rows, minor and major. The biggest ones we had took place: at Lacework Cabins, Virginia" (p.158).

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).

B"on Park Avenue, Little Rock, near a school" (p.158).

This must be Senior High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It opened in 1927 and is on Park Avenue, between 14th and 16th Street.

C"on Milner Pass, 10,759 feet high, in Colorado" (p.158).

The second highest point of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, N Colorado, on the Continental Divide.

D"at the corner of Seventh Street and Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona" (p.158).

Central is the main business street in downtown Phoenix. Someone has pointed out that Seventh and Central run parallel and don't intersect.

E"on Third Street, Los Angeles, because the tickets to some studio or other were sold out" (p.158).

Third is one of the main streets in downtown Los Angeles, 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 Street.

F"at 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?" (p.158).

The Tour Book of 1947 does not know of any Poplar Shade Motel in Utah, 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 several hard core porn sites that capitalize on 'Poplar Shade' being connected with 'Lolita,' even if you don't mention her in your search.

G"On N. Broadway, Burns, Oregon, corner of W. Washington, facing Safeway, a grocery" (p.158).

"Center of a vast range land, with many large cattle ranches nearby" (AAA Western Tour Book, 1947).

H"In 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" (p.158).

"This is one of the most popular all-year resorts in the West" (AAA Western Tour Book, 1947).

I"In a sage brush wilderness, between Pinedale and Farson" (p.158).

Pinedale and Farson are real towns in SW Wyoming, on US 187, and there actually is a sage brush steppe in between.  Humbert and Lolita must have been on their way to or from Grand Teton and Yellowstone.  Nabokov knew the region well from his butterfly hunts close to the Continental Divide in 1949, 1951 and 1952.

K"Somewhere 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" (p.158).

There are 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 Gordon, NW Nebraska, 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 nothing they 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.

L"And on McEwen St., corner of Wheaton Ave., in a Michigan town bearing his first name" (p.159).

Clare, C Michigan, on US 27. "Altitude & 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 ..." (p.151).

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 Chesapeake Bay.  "Old Lighthouse, built in 1791-2, the first such structure erected in the United States.  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 ..." (p.151).

The AAA Tour Books prior to 1948 mentioned "Wonderland" at Bella Vista near Bentonville, a resort town in the NW Arkansas Ozarks, and explained it was "a natural cave extending far back into the mountain side ... The largest chamber has been transformed into an underground nightclub."  The nightclub opened in 1930 and hailed itself as "The Largest Natural Place of Amusement in America."  It seated up to 400 people and so would have made little sense as a café.  Of course, Humbert couldn't have taken Lolita to a nightclub.  But perhaps he or his author just could not resist the café-cave pun.

"... a collection of guns and violins somewhere in Oklahoma ..." (p.151).

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, WWI posters, 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 ..." (p.151).

The St. Martin Catholic Church in St. Martinville, Louisiana earns a star from the AAA Southeastern Tour Book of 1947.  It is "one 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 ..." (p.151-2).

There are defunct mining towns all over the Rocky Mountains States, and there is no reason to single out any one of them.  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 resort.


"... 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 it" (p.152).



Various items

"through the pale lilac fluff of flowering shrubs along forest roads" (p.154).

Nabokov's Russian translation of Lolita says the shrubs were "Californian myrtle" (kaliforniiskogo 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.

"almost reached the Canadian border; and proceeded east, across good lands and bad lands, back to agriculture on a grand scale" (p.154).

¶ Humbert is confirming that they drove E from Wyoming roughly along US 10 and US 20, passing through the Badlands of SW South Dakota, "one 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).