Barley's 1st Train!!
(Kansas - 2008) Barley on his first train! (he has currently ridden 46 trains with me!) Just so you know: WE GET ON STOPPED TRAINS! I am not going to 'chuck' my dog onto a moving train... that's my kid! But, since we get on stopped trains, this means we must go into train yards to find our train (instead of catching one on the way OUT of the yard) So, I have taught Barley to be a 'ninja' (like me) in the train yard! He won't bark & he walks along the tree line. Such a good dog!
(Northern California - 2008) It was kinda chilly up in NorCal, so I gave Barley a flannel to wear. (He was missing a lot of fur still.) When I first got Barley he had Parvo & mange real bad... (you can see he still has a bit of the mange on him here.) Poor little dude! But, now he's strong & healthy & the smartest damn dog I have ever met!
 "Crippled Ferris Wheel"
(Little Rock, AR - 2008) A friend took us to an abandoned amusement park, so I could take some photos (Scooby Doo & the gang were NOT there, by the way...) Though there was a chainlink fence & barb wire, I was able to get this photo of a broken ferris wheel. You can see that one of the 'cars' has broken free from it's normal place on the wheel & fell back into the car behind it. The barb wire in front of it helps emphasize the sense of danger I was going for.
 "Buzzard Scopin the Peaks"
(Petit Jean Mountains, AR - 2008) Remember: Hitchin' UP a mountain is always easier than hitchin' DOWN the mountain (more people are going up!) We had gotten all the way to the top of this mountain before I realized that Barley was sick (he was still a puppy & sick with Parvo.) I made a sign that said "PUPPY NEEDS VET!" Eventually, after approaching people & telling them about my puppy being sick, someone gave us a ride straight to the vet. (Thanks again!)
 "Under the Moonlight"
(Northern Arkansas - 2008) A long exposure at night (with no tripod) near where we camped out for the night.
 "Gone & Lost His Head"
(Hiawatha, KS - 2008) A millionaire, greedy even after his death, decided to have ALL his money spent on importing Italian marble to create a mausoleum for himself & his wife (after his death). It has multiple statues of the couple at different points in their life. But, it appears that at some point he lost his head. (Maybe a disgruntled family member or friend, mad at being cut out of the will? who knows?)
 "Birds Have No Manners"
(Hiawatha, KS - 2008) A mama bird found a perfect spot for her nest... nestled between the wings of a stone angel!
(Lawrence, KS - 2008) The backside of a building in Lawrence. This was my 1st time in Lawrence & I found that selling my photography & jewelry was considerably easy & profitable in this small eastern Kansas college town. I returned several times over the years & have been happy to see people STILL wearing jewelry I sold them a year or more back! When asked where they got the jewelry (knowing it was mine) their responses made me laugh "Oh, my mom bought it from some homeless street vendor!"
 "Emerald City" (Revamped)
(Hutchinson, KS - 2008) Behind the Morton Salt plant, my train slowly creeps out of town, heading east towards Topeka. This photo is a revamp of an earlier photo that I lost when the New Orleans Police STOLE MY CAMERA (and all my memory cards, photo gear, wallet, etc...) I was upset about losing the original version of this photo & I attempted to recreate it, getting fairly close, but I personally still like the original better.
 "Topeka Train Yard"
(Topeka, KS - 2008) In Kansas, you get used to seeing long grain elevators, such as these behind the train. You must be careful in this yard though, because if you're not careful you'll end up accidentally riding straight into the North Platte (NE) train yard. Which as any experienced train rider will tell you... that is a HUGE mistake! The North Platte train yard is 7 MILES WIDE & has HUNDREDS of trains & tracks to choose from. It's almost impossible to find the correct train once there!
 "Topeka Train Yard at Night"
(Topeka, KS - 2008) I really like the eerie look of the sunset reflecting off the water & the silhouette of the towering grain elevators. (I also liked the darkness that night provided for me, so I could catch my train without being seen!) A SIDENOTE: I didn't know about North Platte yet (read photo description 124) & rode straight into the HUGE train yard! But, believe it or not, as my train went through flat, boring Nebraska... a TORNADO appeared! I was terrified! (Full Story = Written #7)
 "Ngaire & Gizmo"
(Rifle, CO - 2008) After catching the correct train OUT of North Platte (thanks worker!) I met back up with Ngaire & we hitched down to Boulder, then we caught a ride to a goat farm in Rifle. The lady who gave us a ride was super nice & let us camp in her yard & even fixed us a big breakfast! As we ate bacon & sipped OJ, she warmed up 20 oz. bottles with milk. Then she said 'Well, I'm gonna go milk the baby goats!" Ngaire & I jumped up & both asked if we could help. It was awesome!
 "Only the Clouds Spoke"
(Utah - 2008) Ngaire & I lucked out catching a ride with a semi driver who didn't mind stopping for scenic views! (he hadn't been through this part of the country either!)
 "Pogo Plateau"
(Utah - 2008) For some reason this photo makes me imagine a pogo stick capable of hopping from plateau to plateau.
Ngaire at 70 MPH
(Utah - 2008) Riding comfortably in the back of a truck is a perfect ride! You don't have to make 'small talk' with your ride (which is sometimes fun & sometimes excruciatingly boring, but courteous to do.) Another great reason for 'back of the pick up' rides is the easy availability to take photos of the country side as you cruise through it!
 "The Gradual Breakdown"
(Utah - 2008) Rain, wind, scorching sun & gravity all taking part to slowly break down these monolithic plateaus. Nature is cool!
 "Giant Ants!"
(Utah - 2008) This looks like a gigantic anthill to me... I'm glad there wasn't any giant fire ants guarding it!
 "Rocky Hub"
(Utah - 2008) Another great spot that our semi driver was nice enough to pull over & check out.
 "Questionable Smoke"
(Idaho - 2008) The smoke from a fire curls around the sun, resembling a question mark. I managed to snap this photo (through the semi truck's window) as we cruised along at 70 MPH. I like the 'star' the smoke caused around the sun.
 "Reflected Plateaus"
(Idaho - 2008) A photo of our semi truck's mirror as we cruise through the vast nothing of the hitch hiker's 'no man's land'. (Luckily, we caught a ride straight into SLC!)
 "Nestle Rip Curl"
(Salt Lake City, UT - 2008) Some horrible smelling liquid frozen in the moment as it hits a small plant before draining into the gutter. Gross.
 "Pine Combs"
(2008) I honestly have no idea where I took this photo. I believe it was in northwest U.S., but it could easily be Colorado or Kansas. That's as far down as I've narrowed the search! Hahahaha! (I tried!)
 "Forgotten Trax"
(Oregon - 2008) This is a rare glimpse at the magical RR tracks that old Hobo's ride down when they die. (I hear there are no bumps or rattles, the wheels never screech against the steel rails & it's quiet enough that you can hear the bee's collecting pollen from the warm spring time flowers...)
 "Forced Shadow"
(Northern California - 2008)
 "Barbed Golden Gate"
(San Francisco, CA - 2008) Me & 3 friends (& Barley) hitched a ride into SF in a tiny Honda hatchback. I rode in the 'hatch'. Our driver stopped at the Golden Gate bridge & dropped us off. One of my friends got out & opened the hatch, so I could get out. (I practically fell out when they opened it! Hahaha!) We grabbed our gear & started walking across the Golden Gate Bridge into SF. We had made it! Now, we just had to go find Ngaire & the guy she traveled to SF with (with no phones!)
 "Smog Hides it Well"
(San Francisco, CA - 2008) The view from around the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. Downtown SF can just barely be seen through the hazey background.
 "Big Shadow"
(San Francisco, CA - 2008) The Golden Gate Bridge's large shadow cast down on the waters below.
(Redwoods National Forest, CA - 2008) Little known to me at the time of this picture... but, the 9 bites I received on my hand (the night before, in my sleep) ...would spread, temporarily paralyzing my hand's into a 'dead spider shape' for 1.5 days. I then went to a doctor & got meds. (I was bit by a Brown Recluse (and something else) The Recluse bite left a scar the size of my thumbnail on my right hand!)
 "Bear Walking on a Log"
(Redwoods National Forest, CA - 2008) My road dog, Bear, (my travel buddy) walks down a very tall fallen tree, making him look tiny in comparison.
 "Sweet Lushness"
(Redwoods National Forest, CA - 2008) The whole forest breathed & every step was on something soft. Everything grew on top of everything else. You could fall down anywhere & always have a cushioned landing.
 "Ewok Playground"
(Redwoods National Forest, CA - 2008) One of the cool things about the Redwoods, is that 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' was filmed there! I saw a stump that someone told me was used in the film. The top part of the stump had the typical castle wall 'teeth' on it. (BTW: I looked it up... those 'teeth' are called 'Merlon' & 'Embrasure' on British castles, anyway.)
Bear Passes the Mountainade
The mountain forests around us were always packed with blackberries. At one point we got sick of eating them, but still wanted the sweetness they offered. We packed a 20 oz. bottle full of berries, then took turns launching the bottle in the air or shaking it as hard as we could. Sometimes, we just launched it across the campsite into a nice patch of sun & let it sit for a few minutes, soaking up the warmth. By the time we finished, we had a nice bottle of 'mountainade' to drink!
 "Don't Turn Your Head"
(NorCal - 2008) On top a small mountain in Northern California, a lake reflects the warm sunshine.
 "Jade & Serpentine Beach"
(Patrick's Point, CA - 2008) Bear & I found several pieces of Big Sur Jade & Serpentine on this beach. We waited until the waves went out the farthest, ran out & scooped up as many rocks as we could grab, then ran back to dump our finds on the beach (before the waves came crashing into us!) We did this for an hour or more, giggling & enjoying the game of it. We got several great pieces this way!
 "Muck's Edge"
(Patrick's Point, CA - 2008) Where the beach ends & before you get to the field, you must pass where the muck begins.
 "Dr. Seuss's Rock Ledge"
(Patricks Point, CA - 2008) Rocks at strange angles, colorful rounded underwater stones & tall spindly palm trees... seems like a Seuss playground to me!
 "Dr. Seuss Rock Ledge #2"
(Patrick's Point, CA - 2008) If I painted this in bright crazy colors, you'd think it was from a Dr. Seuss book!
 "Velcro Ferns"
(Savannah, GA - 2009) This strange round 'brick window' & the ferns trying so hard to grow, caught my eye as I strolled around Savannah during a St. Patrick's Day celebration.
 "Velro Ferns #2"
(Savannah, GA - 2009) Tenacious little ferns, they are very determined!
Holed up while hitchin
(Kansas - 2009)
Punx on a Mountain
(North Carolina - 2009) Ngaire (& her BF) met back up with me & we drove through NC & back up to Ann Arbor, Michigan. The autumn colors along the way were great!
 "Rusted Fire"
(North Carolina - 2009) The autumn leaves, just a week or so past their brightest colors, held a beautiful rusted color throughout all of NC.
 "Rustin Peacefully"
(North Carolina - 2009)
 "Winding Road Through"
(North Carolina - 2009) Another beautiful mountain range we drove through in North Carolina.
Selling our Wares at Vulture Fest
(Southern Indiana - 2009) I was stuck in southern Indiana, Ngaire & Repo drove down from Michigan to get me. By the time they got there, I had found out about a tiny festival called 'Vulture Fest'. Ngaire & I both sold jewelry, so I found a FREE spot to set up & sell our merch (by the train trax). All was great, until a train cruised by & blew our stuff everywhere! Hahahaha!
Snapshot of St. Louis Arch
(St. Louis, MO - 2009) This is a snapshot I took from our car window. This shot also begins the... 'era of my camera needing a cleaning very badly'
 "Purple Cactuses"
(New Mexico - 2009) So many purple cactus at our feet & snowcapped mountains in the distance.
 "Hitchin' Thru New Mexico"
(New Mexico - 2009) Truck stop to truck stop we went...
 "Reaching Cactus"
(New Mexico - 2009) Snowcapped mountains are so iconic. All mountains I have ever drawn have been snowcapped at the very top. (Even when they were supposed to be the rarely snowcapped Smokies or Ozarks!)
 "Fence Aint Stoppin' Me!"
(New Mexico - 2009) ...and it didn't.
 "Scenic Ride"
(New Mexico - 2009) I snapped this photo as we drove parallel to this train. It was an empty 'peddlar' train (peddlars stop often to pick up & drop off cars along the way... sometimes you get left behind, if you're not paying attention) ...even though it was an empty low priority junk train, even though it was hot & unforgivingly dry & even though I had a cushy ride with friends to anywhere I wanted... I still looked at the train & imagined the beautiful scenery & wanted to be on it...
 'Crisp Ridge"
(SoCal - 2009) Great color on these very sharp edged mountains.
 "Pepper Ring"
(New Mexico - 2009) At a gas station, a pick up truck pulled up, loaded with hot peppers in hollowed out ball shapes. This is looking inside one of the hot pepper balls.
 "Lack of Poisonous Snakes"
(Southern California - 2009) The sign says that there were poisonous snakes in the area. So I looked for them. I couldn't find any before we left.
 "Visual ADHD"
(Encenitas, CA - 2009) There is so much going on here with the stones, sand, shadows, sky, roots, fence & leaves... it makes me wanna OOOH! You wanna go ride bikes?!
Barley in mid-crackin' out
(Southern California - 2009) Barley always 'cracks out' when he gets near the ocean! He runs up to it, but doesn't like touching it. He leaps when it does touch him & chases it as it goes back out to sea. Otherwise he runs around like a madman!
Dig 'Em Up, Barley!
(Southern California - 2009) Barley was teeming with energy still (he gets very excited about the ocean!) ...so, I gave him something to focus his energies on... digging! He dug this in just a few minutes! Look at that smile!! Yes!!
(Southern California - 2009) Do you see the cell phone tower? Very sneaky!
 "Best Place"
(Encenitas, CA - 2009) My personal favorite spot in all of SoCal... Encenitas is a beautiful town! The majority of this town is on huge oceanside cliffs & there is a beautiful Buddhist 'Self Realization Meditation Garden" there too! The energy of this town was usually very nurturing & wholesome as well.
(Encenitas, CA - 2009) I normally don't use a flash in my photography (I prefer natural light, usually) But, the upward light created great shadows here.
 "Up top, Looking Down"
(Encenitas, CA - 2009) The view from where I set up to sell my handstitched photography & jewelry.
 "Left Face"
(Encenitas, CA - 2009) Imagine the trees as long hair that would pass the shoulders, the cloud looks like a face looking to the left. (once again, maybe I'm crazy!)
(Encenitas, CA - 2009) The tops of these trees, along with the patches in the clouds make this photo look like a skull to me.
(Encenitas, CA - 2009) I really liked finding different angled silhouettes of these trees against the clouds... if you couldn't tell.
 "Outer Realm"
(Laguna Beach, CA - 2009) I love the reflections, the light and the shadows in this picture. (I typically stitch it with 'Core' (photo 170) as a set.)
(Laguna Beach, CA - 2009) Such great shadows, lights & reflections in this photo! (I usually stitch this next to "Outer Realm" (photo 169) as a set.)
(Oceanside, CA - 2009) A pier, the Pacific ocean, a sun umbrella & some palm trees... what else do you need?
 "Wish You Were Here"
(Oceanside, CA - 2009) Actually, there are much friendlier places in SoCal that I wish you were at with me... Oceanside was probably my least favorite spot in SoCal... hahahaha! (True Tho!)
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Arkansas, Kansas, Utah, Idaho, Oregon & Redwoods National Forest (CA)
I met back up with my friend, Ngaire. Together we hitched/hopped through almost 20 states during 2008 (currently, we have explored 26 states together!) When we reached Little Rock (AR), I hitched up to the Petit Jean Mountains with a friend & along the way met a half boxer/half Australian Shepard puppy... I quickly named him Dr. Barley Von Funkenstein & he began his life on the road with me!
After Arkansas, Barley & I hitched to Hiawatha (KS) & central Kansas. Heading west out of Kansas & meeting back up with Ngaire in Cheyenne (WY). We hitched through the scorching deserts of Utah & Idaho, finding Oregon much more hospitable. We hitched out of Portland to Eugene & all the way down to San Francisco, where we split ways.
I left SF with a new friend, Bear, who helped explore the Redwoods with me. We continued back east from there, finally reaching his homebase in Tampa.
Savannah (GA), North Carolina, New Mexico & SoCal (Southern California)
After a rowdy St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, Ngaire met back up with me & we drove to North Carolina & through the Midwest.
Months later, she rescued me from an almost unhitchable section of Indiana & we drove Southwest to New Mexico, reaching Southern California in December.
We split ways again & I explored small towns up & down the coastline... San Diego, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Oceanside & my favorite in all of SoCal... Encenitas.