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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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Travelogue, USA

Now leaving Denver

The Vanagon is loaded to the hilt. Our already slow moving vehicle is that much slower under the weight of everything we own that survived the purge. Our last few days in Colorado were soaked with rain. And now I sit in this parking lot waiting for Maizy one last time while she finishes saying her goodbyes. It’s all over but the crying.

With Maizy’s last day behind us we turned the key in the ignition and headed for the road. I rolled my window down and waved up to her co-workers I thought might be watching and gave them all a wave. Then, as if on cue, we hit the seven foot clearance bar of her parking lot with the box of stuff mounted on our luggage rack. BAM! I watched it swinging wildly in the rear view and just laughed as we drove off. No harm, no foul.

Driving with this load it feels like a slow bullet careening down the road. We push the speed limit down the hills and hope the momentum will carry us up the steeper grades. Once we reach our destination we will reinforce our ride, store our belongings, say our hellos and goodbyes to the family and begin our journey. It might take a couple weeks, but it will be time well spent. Driving down Interstate 70 heading east the clouds seemed so low that  you could imagine yourself reaching up to touch them.

The sky was a mix of deep purples and light blues in a gradient line along the horizon. We left construction projects and road crews in the rear view, and as they disappeared we found ourselves surrounded by the familiar fields, farms and vast open spaces of eastern Colorado.  Cell towers and a brick and mortar church stands alone in a giant field. We are among our fellow travelers now. The license plates on vehicles start getting more random. Indiana, Florida, South Dakota, all of them just passing through, heading off to unknown destinations.

We’re out in the sticks, east bound on a two lane highway, slowly marching forward. A hawk circles above in the dark sky, an occasional bird drops in front of the windshield flapping its wings madly, bouncing up and down flying along with us. A glance to the right reveals an old broken down trailer home with peeling white paint and a crooked antennae on the roof, it’s gone in an instant shrinking out of sight as we make our way further east.We’re on highway 36 now, one lane east one west. Headlights approach and disappear in a misty cloud.

Pouring rain pelts the van. Groves of trees with black trunks and yellow green leaves, the silouhette of branches, jagged and pointy, natures concertina wire. Tractor equipment and yellow signs marking intersecting side roads. The van had some trouble up one hill so we pulled over to give old Betty a rest. Then the hail came and we decided to keep moving. It was pitch dark, huge raindrops soaked the van and we were all a little nervous.

The sky was electric, lightning crackling, thunder rolling, and us sitting on those front ️wheels holding on tight and squinting through a foggy windshield. I said it was probably because we were all breathing so hard from fear. Whoever said driving through the plains is boring never drove through it in the driving rain. My adrenaline is pumping.

We just passed a muddy road to nowhere called Winview. We began to question our decision to take highway 36 when the van started acting like it was running out of gas twenty miles from the nearest service station. I told Maizy that if something breaks it might as well be now while we have the money to fix it. Mound City or bust. We almost ran out of gas on the first tank.

U.S. 36 is empty and desolate through Colorado. We stressed over whether or not we could make it, and the van struggled to get us there. After about twenty miles of sweating it out, barely able to keep moving we hit an old gas station in Alton, CO with old pumps sporting analog read outs. We feel there is a problem with the fuel delivery somehow but we learned as long as we don’t consume more than half a tank everything runs great. We decided at this point to get back to I-70 where the gas stations are plenty.

We passed through a town called Cope which looked abandoned. There was an old red phone booth, abandoned buildings and dead looking farms. There was no gas to be found. We traveled down Highway 59 for 26 miles and got back to the familiar territory of 70 east. We haven’t had any problems since the initial troubles just as long as we fill up about every 70 miles, a problem that we can hopefully fix during our time in Mound City.

The smell of manure hit us hard just past the Kansas Colorado border. There was a giant stockyard with thousands of heads of cattle. The conditions didn’t look good from my vantage point, and had me seriously contemplating becoming a vegan. I’m already lactose intolerant anyway, and after seeing and smelling that cow concentration camp the decision seems like a no-brainer.

The first 300 or so miles have been crazy. Sad goodbyes, stressful moments, ominous skies and the hypnotizing lines of the road pointing us toward our next destination.

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Photography, The Family Circle

Relics

the public pay phone

an unfamiliar concept

in this techno age

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The Family Circle, Travelogue

Protected: One Night at the Flying J

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Photography, The Family Circle

Wordless Wednesday

NO

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Life, Photography, The Family Circle

Children are a Gift

DCIM214GOPRO

oh sweet child of mine

how I wish I could freeze time

children are a gift

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#Explored

Every day Flickr’s magic elves flick on their “interestingness algorithm” machine and select the 500 most interesting photos to display on their “explore” page. It’s a little like getting an image on the front page of the website, except that you have to share the front page with 500 other people, and let’s face it, most people probably don’t scroll further than the first 50 photos or so. The reward for having an image make the explore page is basically exposure in the form of views and likes. So with tempered enthusiasm I would like to announce that this image was deemed to be the 4th most interesting image in the 24 hour period that was April 7th, 2014. #4 out of 8.6 million is at least worth some shameless self-promotion I think.

“Flickr receives about 6,000 uploads every minute — That’s about 8.6 million photos a day! From this huge group of images, the Flickr Interestingness algorithm chooses only 500 images to showcase for each 24-hour period. That’s only one image in every 17,000!”

I’m proud of this image because that is my daughter on that swing, a moment that I was able to share with almost 10,000 people. It’s nice to be appreciated by your peers. It feels great to experience these small successes, even if it is only to affirm that you aren’t completely wasting your time following your dreams. It’s nice to know that someone cares enough to look, and every once in awhile throw you a bone in the form of clicks, thumbs ups, gold stars, plus signs, happy faces, etc. Those little virtual high fives that say “Keep up the good work, I see what your doing and I like it.”

I usually stick to haiku because it’s short and sweet, but packs a punch if you use it right. That’s all I usually have time for. Being a full time student and stay-at-home dad means that private time to write and reflect has to be snatched up in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else in the house is in a deep enough slumber to ensure no distractions. By then I’m so tired, I’m just like, 5-7-5, cool picture, and Good Night.

Thank you to all of you who take the time to stop in and check out my blog. I love sharing the experiences that I have and the things that I see with you. Thank you for being a part of this amazing, collective, internet brain that we all share. I travel the globe daily through your blogs. I learn from your successes as well as your mistakes. I value your opinions and your friendship. Most of us will never meet in person, but you will all be a part of the experience that is my life. All you complete strangers cheering me on, rooting for me, sharing your kind words, thank you, it really means so much to me.

You make me a little bit better at everything! Success feels great.

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#Explored

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