On The Road Again...
The reason for the trip was to drive a Uhaul from Pueblo Colorado to Southern Oregon and It took place in March. At that point it had been 4 months of sitting on the couch recovering from the accident. My two friends that I'm extremely fortunately to have, Lakshmi and Mike providing me an opportunity to get out of the house was music to my ears. To be completely honest with you, I was a bit nervous considering what happened last time. However, if I have learned anything from my 16 years of skating it's that I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and try it again. If I didn’t do that as fast as possible I knew how easy it would be to become fearful and at that point, it’s easy to psych yourself out. For me this exploring and traveling shit runs so deep that the only way it will stop: my last breath. Casting negative thoughts aside I was on my way to Pueblo to load up the Uhaul.
Leaving from Fort Collins the following morning I took 287N towards Laramie WY and on into SLC where I stopped for the night. The way there was as you could imagine… pretty uneventful. I did find an abandoned mill that I stopped to check out. Mills are all pretty much the same, if you have seen one you have seen them all.
It’s a little fucked up to say but I got really good at making photographs while driving during this trip, and I really do mean making.. One eye in the view finder while the other on the road. For those that may be confused why I always say “making” photos vs “taking” photos, let me explain. In short, 99% of the photo’s I make there is a whole thought process. I choose if I want motion or not, shallow or deep DOF, then depending on those settings I choose an ISO that will allow those to work together for my total exposure to which I always check my histogram. After the technical settings comes composition. I 99% of the time compose the frame in my view finder. I make sure there’s clean edges, I put the TOOL of 3rd’s and the fibonacci Spiral into play, and I choose what to include or remove from the frame. If photography philosophy is something that interests you and you only have 10 minutes of free time left to spend in your day, I would rather you ditch this blog and follow the link to watch National Geographic’s Sam Abell talk about this topic.
The next morning, I started driving west from SLC on I-80 where I went passed the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats and had to stop. For those not familiar, the Flats are whats left from the prehistoric Lake Bonneville that was formed 32,000 years ago and held water over 1,000 feet deep and is said to cover 20,000 square miles. Thats nearly as large and deeper than Lake Michigan. It’s also home to numerous land speed records. The area was slightly flooded due to heavy rains which was interesting to see. I got a photo and kept moving west to Winnemucca NV, where I took HWY 95N for a short time until I made the left turn onto HWY 140. This area was really beautiful and I stopped to make a few photos. A little further down the road I saw an abandoned building and figured why not stop? To my surprise, I found a character done by the local artist Kater (@Katerthealchemist) from my home town of Minneapolis MN. How random? I wandered in the desert here for a little bit to find skulls or any souvenir’s but turned up nothing. I pressed on until arriving in a small town named Lakeview OR, where I stopped for some grocery store sushi.. NO shame in my game. I drove for a little longer until stopping in the town of Bly OR, for the night.
Not sure what time I woke up the next morning but it was early, and foggy. I started driving for a short while when I found the elusive tree in the middle of nowhere photo I’ve been looking for, for years. I went to pull over on what looked like solid ground but quickly found out it was anything but. When I tried to steer the Uhaul back onto the road it was no use, I slid a good ways down into the ditch. I was super stuck in the middle of nowhere in the Fremont National Forest. Fuck. I was absolutely stressed for about 30 seconds then reminded myself I was in Southern Oregon. My luck being what it is, 5 minutes passed and I had 4 people on the scene. No one had chains but that didn’t last long. Another few minutes went by and my man with the super burly buggy truck came by with all kinds of chains and straps. We are now maybe 10 minutes into this whole ordeal and we had the trucks linked up with a strap ready to go. Keep in mind the Uhaul was loaded down and up to it’s axels in mud. The first strap broke but that didn’t faze my man. He pulled out an even bigger strap and to my amazement, ripped the truck out of the mud instantly. I was overcome with happiness and gave dude a hug. He said it was no problem and everyone drove off. I can’t even imagine how much it would have cost to have a tow truck drive all the way there.
After all that I arrived in the town of Klamath Falls. It’s a stop on the I-5 Corridor Route for the Union Pacific Railroad so I figured I’d poke around and look for monikers and see what the thrift and antique shops had to offer. In short, there was a whole lot of nothing and I kept moving to my final destination.
Some hours later I arrived at my destination to hugs and smiles which is always a good feeling. For privacy reasons I’m not including many photos or names for this part of the trip. I can tell you I was included in Family Spring Break week and I had a wonderful time. It was great to spend time with them and I felt like part of the family. What I will share is that one of the days we took the 199 aka The Redwood HWY, into California where we made the mandatory stop in Jedediah Smith State Park. If you’ve never been I suggest you make time to make time. It’s magical and never disappoints. A fun fact is that a scene from Return Of the Jedi was filmed there. After that we drove north back into Oregon to the coastal town of Brookings where we got a sushi dinner I won’t soon forget. This was my first time to the Oregon Coast and it was completely worth the wait. Again, if you have never been, I highly suggest you make time to make time.
A day or 2 later I had to part ways, I had a Greyhound ticket to San Francisco. I originally planned to take a bus to Eugene and hop freight south on the above mentioned UP I-5 Corridor route but didn’t bring the right gear for all the snow and rain they were experiencing. I arrived in SF sometime in the morning and walked straight to the Mechanics Institute. Played out or not, I have a unshakable love affair with spiral staircases and needed this one in my collection. I found it particularly hard to shoot. I spent an hour or so here but it’s not like I really had anything else to do. The rest of the day was spent wandering around my favorite city and just taking it all in. I found a rad little camp spot a few blocks north of the famous Lombard Street that I retired to after it got dark.
I awoke the next morning and made the arduous 1 block walk to a nearby coffee shop to charge my phone. This trip opened my eyes to how much I miss my portable charger that got borrowed out and mysteriously never returned or paid back. Thanks… I decided to walk to the Golden Gate to get some touristy photos. It was funny to see all the IG famous GGB spots but didn’t bother taking my camera out. I have to digress.. In my personal opinion I think it’s sad that “Instagram spots” are a thing. All these photographers and “photographers” go to the exact same spots to take nearly the exact same photo just because they know it will generate likes and flame emojis from bots and uncreative people that just love to see repetitive trendy garbage. Moreover, the photographers usually claim to #liveauthentic, like give me a fucking break. Anyways, I decided there was no way in hell I was going to walk back because my knees were already hurting, throbbing in fact. I got an Uber to the Marina District to the In & Out. From my experience this is the only place in SF that is unaffected by inflation. You can go there right now and order a Double Double for $3.75.
A little later that day I had plans to meet up with 2 local photographers Chris (@Blotch) and Gary (@Foreignzeus). I made the walk to the Financial District. Here we hit a spot that was cool and new to me which is always a plus. After that Gary broke off and Chris and I hit 2 more spots. I didn’t really like what I came away with so I’ll use em in a “B-List Photo Blog” sometime in the future. We parted ways and I was ready to go to sleep in the spot I had found the previous night when my friend Ryan (@RyanScherer) hit me up to see what I was up to. He asked if I wanted to check out a spot and of course I was down. This ended up being one of the biggest come ups of the trip. We hit the spot and while it was cool, I knew it’s true potential would be for sunrise. I made the decision to camp there so when he had to jet I went to the car, grabbed my bag, stopped for some sushi and made my way back to the roof.
Waking up to that was amazing. Please believe I will be keeping this spot in my back pocket every time I return. I made my exit and walked to the Embarcadero Center where I got some coffee and charged my phone. Here I killed time before meeting up with friends Andrew (@Somedaywhenthingsarebetter) and Evan (@Flaskmob). We met up at Andrews spot off Market Street. After a short while we were off to the Dog Patch Neighborhood to check out a couple spots. One of which is super played out and I’m not even going to inlclude a photo from it. The other to my amazement, is completely untouched and it blows my mind. I’m sure that won’t last for long.. Once word or a photo is out, the Hyena’s pounce.
After finishing up we were all pretty hungry. Evans friend Enrique (@Ozenrique) had also met up and was nice enough to drive us all to Tommy’s Joynt for some seriously delicious food. I highly suggest checking it out next time you are near Japantown. A little later that night we drove to Baker Beach to meet up with with my homie Nick. He’s been included in some of the train blogs. With him, some friends from Minneapolis, Angie and Mary-Claire. We caught the last few minutes of sun before it vanished under the horizon.
It had been awhile since I had seen Nick so I rode back to his house a little ways north up the 101. Here we kicked it for a day, got some Pho and went on a great hike in the Napa area. Another big reason I wanted to see Nick and Sarah was to finally meet their adorable son Oden. We stuck around for as long as we could before it was time to go. Angie and Mary-Claire had a Airbnb off Height and Ashbury to check into. I caught my ride back and we parted ways. I went to check out the Painted Ladies since they were nearby but the park was closed so I couldn’t make the obligatory photo.
Later that night, not really knowing what to do with myself I walked around the city a bit longer till It was time to catch the Bart and head to SFO. I slept a few hours in the airport and caught my plane the following morning.
I was recently asked if I have a goal in mind with these blogs and it really got me thinking, and I would like to share with you what I came up with. The long and the short of it is I don’t, at least not one I’ve consciously known about. After a good deal of thought it occurred to me a big reason I do this (aside from just wanting to share my photos and stories) is to perhaps inspire you in any ways I can. I’m by no means saying you need to go and replicate things I’ve done, no what I mean is, I want to be a part of the pool you grab inspiration from. It has also come to my attention that I have readers that want to learn more about photography and so I want to start including more info about my process. Moving forward, I want to start creating these blogs packed with something valuable for you, the reader. So whether that be places to eat, talking shop on photography, life philosophy, ect, I want to make these more than just some photos and the who, what, when, where, and why.
With that said I’m reaching out to you, the readers to drop a line here on the website, over social media, or in the streets when you see me, on ways I can improve these blogs and add value to the time you choose to spend following along.
Thanks for reading!