My close encounter with Devils Tower

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The first National Monument. Devils Tower.

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Devils Tower, WY

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Wheatland, WY

I’m out on the road, currently in Wyoming.

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I-25 through Cheyenne and beyond:

There were a million vehicles heading north at 75 miles per hour. The glass and steel buildings dissipated behind us, a traffic jam ahead and the hot sun beating down. I was forced to drive at 65 just to keep up with the flow of traffic that I was already slowing down. The Vanagon up the hill is a buzz kill. We’re half the cylinders of anyone else and cranking out a whopping 60-90hp, with a heavy emphasis on the low end.

And like I’ve said before, this van loves going 55, at 65 and up she gets all bitchy and hot under the collar. Denver is bursting at the seams, and the interstates through the city are insane. It’s a toxic environment. A lot of road rage and aggravated people, guys on motorcycles battling for position like it was a race, shaking their fists…

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In the Driftless Region..

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_IGP6252_4694 Hiking the one of the trails at Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa

When Zebulon Pike arrived here in 1805, sent by the U.S. Government after the Louisiana Purchase in search of strategically valuable locations for military posts, he advised that this area was a prime location for a military fort. In the end, the fort ended up in Prairie du Chien. I guess the government thought it would be a little easier to build a fort on prarie lands, rather than these bluffs 500 feet above the Mississippi River.

I think my daughter would agree with them. When I asked her if she was emjoying the hike, she answered unequivocally that she absolutely hates hiking. We hiked along a trail that features sculpted mounds that were created by Native Americans between 800 and 1200 C.E. These are known as effigy mounds, and are said to have been formed in…

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Pikes Peak State Park

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On the travelogue…

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Our daughter’s Aunt lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin, but her boyfriend lives up in De Soto, near his family’s  homestead along the Mississippi River.. After a long day of touring landfills and fish hatcheries, we ate some dinner and headed over to his parents place. While we were there we went down to the barn and visited with Sunny, their horse. This horse is seventeen years old if I remember right. I need to get in the habit of taking better notes. I’m real loosey-goosey like that. An absent-minded blunderer. I don’t know what breed of horse it is, or even if it’s male or female. I do know that whenever Mrs. Kumlin scratched Sunny just right, the horse made these Mr. Ed-esque movements with its mouth that were  hilarious to watch. Penny was cracking up. There might not be anything better than listening to your child laugh hysterically. Those…

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Sunny in De Soto, Wisconsin

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The Pop top Tour made a stop in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

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Here is a look at what we did with Aunt Jackie in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

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La Crosse, WI

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I’m still here

This blog has been a wonderful place for me to share my photography, haiku and thoughts with all of you. One afternoon at the Mall of America has given me enough material to last for months in terms of street photography. I’m currently on the road with my family, traveling the United States in our 1982 Vanagon. If you can find it in your heart to follow me there, come check it out at http://www.poptoptour.com

We’re having a wonderful time touring the U.S. and we’ve been to Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kansas so far. I’m typing this from Fargo, North Dakota. Looking forward to seeing all of you on my new blog.  Support your fellow WordPress bloggers! I could use your help.

Thanks for reading, and you can expect more street photography from my journey here on Perception.

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On to the next chapter of our lives. Check out my travel blog. I promise I will show you the good things about this country. Maybe some of the bad too.

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Tonight I left my camera charger in the van. It was hot today, I was tired, frustrated that I’d been so absent-minded (like I always am), I sulked out to the car festering in my self loathing and disappointed self, stuck the key in the lock and popped the door open and voila! Let there be light!

I instantly felt a deep appreciation for my family who have given so much of their time and thought to my family’s existence. We chose this life, we took this risk, we stuck our necks out and went for it, and fell flat on our face right out of the gate.

We’ve spent the last two months healing and moving between houses and working on the van. When that light popped on, it dawned on me just how much love went into this VW . I was frustrated, then I saw the light…

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Thank You, Now Let’s Get on With This.

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I am not normal. My family supports my adverse reaction to the status quo. That’s why we are embarking on this journey. I’m scared to say that we’re getting ready to start, because I don’t want to jinx it. Every time I think we are about to get going, something goes wrong.

The most recent issue turned out to be that we ordered the wrong replacement canvas for Betty. Turns out our 1982 Vanagon has a top from a 1985 or later version. A simple glance at the top before we ordered it and we could have avoided this latest delay. That seems to be the theme of this trip though, a constant test of patience. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

It’s better than the alternative I suppose. The boring everyday routine. Our lives as a family unit have been hard lately, but not even close to boring…

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Bring on the Road

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How did I get here?

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afamilyselfie

“And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself yourself
My God!…What have I done?!” -Talking Heads

When my family and I bit the bullet and decided that a life on the road was worth a try, we planned for what seemed like forever. We knew we would run into some hardship along the way, but we had a solid plan in place and we were motivated. When the lease was up on our humble two bedroom apartment in the Denver Tech Center, we didn’t renew it. We stayed in Denver, camping in our van until we hit the road. We spent more than thirty days “stealth camping” in the Denver metro area.

Rotating between Walmart parking lots, paid campsites, BLM land …

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Where is the sidewalk?

Pedestrians on roadways

everyday St. Joe

St. Joseph, Missouri is home for Mom. We’re in the place where she was raised. The place where the Pony Express began and the life of Jesse James ended. It isn’t uncommon to find a scene such as this, men, women, men with women, men with women with babies, kids, elderly people with dogs and all the other infinite combinations of human beings walking perilously close to a road with vehicles traveling 35-40 miles per hour whizzing by.

This is essentially the first stop on the pop top tour when you think about it. So while Penny heals, I’ll share some of the images I’ve been capturing around St. Joseph, Forest City, and Kansas City, Missouri.  We’ve been occupying this space for several weeks now. It’s hot, humid and and slightly buggy. nothing unbearable though. The cicadas are buzzing in…

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Everyday St. Joe

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