Road Trip To Utah

December 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Ice-on-a-door

Ice On The Door

    Last week I took a road trip to Utah. I stayed in an area south of Salt Lake City and spent the bulk of my time right next to Salt Lake Temple, a glamorous Mormon Temple that was constructed over 120 years ago. I have no photos of the structure or the amazing Christmas lights that surround the area. I was working whilst there and the one night I had a chance to take photos I opted not to because, in my own words, it would have been too much of a bother. Over the six day span between Denver and Salt Lake City I took a total of 12 photos, two of which are in this post and neither of them were taken anywhere near Salt Lake City. I won’t lie; I am straight up ashamed of myself for not taking more photos or pressing myself to document a city I have never been to before. The two photos in this post are pathetic, mundane and ordinary. Above is a photo of the ice that formed on the door of the van I was in.

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Sunset In Wyoming

    In a nutshell, we drove north out of Denver on I25 and then hung a left on I80 once we reached Cheyenne. The photo above was taken sometime before we made the turn to the west. At least, I think it was. I wasn’t driving or navigating but I can say for sure that I took this photo by pointing my camera out of the left side of the van. So, to the best of my recollection, and reconciling that with what I know about the rising and setting of the sun, I was traveling north when I took this shot. After that, I put my camera in a bag and didn’t take it out again until I got back to Denver. Cheers!

Union Station Denver – Amtrak

July 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Union Station Sign Denver Amtrak Platform

Amtrak Platform – Union Station In Denver, Colorado

    Two months ago we all said, “Goodbye Market Street Station!” when our beloved cave, Denver’s only underground was closed. I was and remain all right with that because it forced me to examine my relationship with Union Station. Back in the day when the light rail opened I’d take the C line out of there and I partied Lotus a few times but I never used it as a train station. I never had to jump onto an Amtrak train as, “All aboard!” was shouted or watched my girlfriend chase my departing train down the platform, blowing kisses at me as she knocked people and stuff over in a way that made it seem like it was in a movie. As she ran along after me I would be smitten with her physically exhausting display of affection for me but as soon as I pulled my head back in the open window, I’d be laughing at whatever comical way she would have finally tripped and collided into something. Without a defining moment like that, do you even have a relationship at all?

    I wasn’t sure so the other day I went to Union Station in order to explore this new hub of bus and rail. I was there to take pictures and to see what the station could offer me beyond the light rail. By the way, in San Diego they call it the trolley. As in, “I’m going to take the trolley downtown.” Saying I’m going to take the light rail downtown makes me think of beams of light like a light saber from Star Wars. There is no heavy rail or dark rail or whatever the competition of light rail is. It should be rebranded as The Denver Trolley.

Amtrak Platform Denver Union Station

Police On The Platform

    For reference, the people you see in the first photo were waiting to board an incoming train so I walked down the platform and was politely stopped by the policeman you see above. He asked if I was catching the train so I said I was not; I was taking photos and was heading to the old looking Pullman in the background. He said I had to stay back past the bridge, also visible in the first photo. There are no signs to that effect but at least he was only concerned with where I was and not what I was doing, which was taking photos.

Amtrak Train Union Station Denver

People Waiting For The Train

    When the train arrived it backed into the station and people become to jostle about as the excitement of imminent travel began to take over.

Amtrak Train Pulls Into Union Station Denver

The Timeless Train

    Watching a train roll in to a station is a timeless experience because standing on a train platform today is exactly the same experience that it was 150 years ago. If you are in the vicinity of a station and you hear a train whistle you are drawn to it, if you are in a station and you see a train pulling in you are drawn to it. I was. My goal was to photograph the underground portion of Union Station but once I found out a train was arriving I headed over to the Amtrak platform.

Amtrak Train Window Washing Union Station Denver

Washing The Windows

    When the train was parked, window washing caught my eye. I had never thought about train windows being washed before; you never see it happening in any Cary Grant movies from the golden age of rail, where I learned most of what I know about trains so this was a neat thing for me to see for the first time. Also, this is my favorite photo from the day.

Amtrak Train Platform Union Station Denver

People About To Board The Train

    There are so many stories going on in the world at any given time and a train station helps bring a bunch of them together in a very small space. This is how I interpret the photo above:
The couple on the right is full of uncertainty; the woman on the phone is explaining to someone that she is literally about to step on a train and leave while the guy she is with is worried that whomever she is speaking to will talk her out of leaving.

    The couple on the left have everything worked out so they don’t have a care in the world.

    The guy in the peach colored shirt is just a photobomb.

    A few minutes later an RTD transit guard and that same policeman from earlier came up to me. The transit guard did all the taking and asked if I was getting on the train, what kind of photos I was taking and told me they are concerned for everyone’s safety. Then he told me something unexpected. He said I could call RTD customer service at 303.299.6000 and get a permit to take photos around the station. He said it’s easy to get and it will allow the security and police personnel in the station to know I was there and what I was doing. I was in the station for just as long as the people waiting for the train so it was ultimately the amount of time I spent in the station that lead to our conversation, not my taking photos. He never said I couldn’t take photos or to put my camera down but getting a permit would just put everyone on the same page. Fair enough, I’ll check it out and report back.

    In the meantime I do recommend you check out the station, with or without a camera. I’ll do an entirely separate post on the underground portion because it is rather grand so I need to spend some more time down there and take a few more photos before I present my assessment to the world. Cheers!

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car

November 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Side Whiskey Pete's

Bonnie Parker And Clyde Barrow’s 1934 Ford V-8

    Inside Whiskey Pete’s Hotel & Casino in Primm, Nevada is the car in which Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed. It is referred to as, “The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car” by fans of the criminal duo. In the 79 years that have passed since this car was shot up it has been exhibited and shown off in several states but now resides in Nevada. So, for all you enthusiasts out there; as of November, 2013 the car is in Whiskey Pete’s, just over the California border in Nevada off Highway Interstate 15, exit 1.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Front Whiskey Pete's

The Authentic Bonnie And Clyde Death Car

    Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are among the best known criminals from the golden age of gangsters. They met in Texas in 1930 and were both shot to death when they were ambushed by police in Louisiana in 1934. During their few short years together they had a life of crime that included bank robbery, stealing cars, kidnapping, burglary and murder. They were never married and may not have even been a romantic couple but that didn’t matter for depression era America as their exploits have been romanticized from the very beginning. For some reason, there is something alluring about a man and woman criminal team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Had Clyde been on his own he probably would have been seen merely as a gun toting, murdering psychopath while Bonnie on her lonesome may have been viewed as nothing more than an imbalanced crazy lady. However, put the two of them together with an element of implied romance and their criminal actions seem a little less criminal.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Top Whiskey Pete's

Bullet Holes On The Roof

    Of course their crime spree and in particular their vehicle thefts drew the ire of what would become the FBI. With a gang of early G-Men on the case it would only be a matter time before Bonnie and Clyde would be captured or killed. It finally happened in May of 1934. They were driving along a road outside of Sailes, Louisiana and drove right into an ambush of waiting police officers. The police fired more than 100 rounds into their car, killing them both instantly while simultaneously solidifying their position as iconic gangsters.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Back Whiskey Pete's

The Back Of Bonnie And Clyde’s Car

    If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend the 1967 movie, “Bonnie and Clyde” starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. It’s a Hollywood movie so of course it’s not very accurate but it is a good movie that blends enough fact and fiction to have you rooting for the bad guys and feeling sad for them when they die at the end.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Tommy Gun Whiskey Pete's

Bonnie Holding A Thompson “Tommy” Submachine Gun

    At the end of the day, the era of Bonnie and Clyde and their contemporaries such as Al Capone and John Dillinger is a piece of American history that is very unique in that it was the last stand of the proverbial gangster. Prohibition criminals got so good at crime that they forced the creation of modern crime fighting. You could almost say they were victims of their own success. Anyway, there are not many things you can physically see from that era anymore but The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car is one of them so it’s worth the stop if you happen to be road tripping on that area of I-15. Cheers!

I Was At CES 2012 In Las Vegas!

January 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

lamborghini at CES 2012

A Lamborghini And Josh At CES 2012

    Whether I’m in front of or behind the camera there is one type of photography I’ve never been a fan of: Evidence of being there photos. These are the photos people usually use as proof they were at a location or met a certain person and usually they’re just standing there looking at the camera. Years later do people in those photos look at them and reminisce about how they had to stop what they were doing in order to turn around and grin at the camera? I would much rather take a photograph that shows a person in a natural pose, held for a moment within a beautiful scene than a picture that represents an interruption of that moment. Of course for this trip to Las Vegas, my friend wanted some evidence shots, so I willingly obliged. The two shots in this post represent the work and the play side of the trip. I was there to cover CES 2012 which is where the Lamborghini above was displayed and the convention was in Las Vegas, home of casinos, liquor and gambling, which is what the photo below is evidence of doing.

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3 Nines on 2 Machines Inside Hooters, Las Vegas

    After long days of walking for miles at CES, enduring crowded monorail rides and walking even more miles to get to my room, I was ready to relax by sliding up to a video poker bar, feeding it some money and then drinking for free until the wee hours while catching up with my old friend, Josh. The evidence photo above was taken as evidence not of being at a certain place, but for us both winning on separate video poker machines at the same time with 3 nines in our winning hands. Something like that deserves a shot and a picture. The above photo was taken inside Hooters Casino, in the back bar. We weren’t staying here but we still spent a lot of time here because it is very chill, has a great restaurant and is just a great place to waste a few hours. Until next time, happy travels!

Inside Caesars Palace Forum Shops

January 30, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

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Grand Spiral Staircase Of Caesars Palace

    Caesars Palace is an inspiring place to go to because you can’t help but plan a trip after you spend some time in there. I would very much like to travel to Italy and Rome in particular now just because of the walking I did through there. I’ve never been to Europe but now I really want to go and I think Italy is going to be my way in, with Rome being my first Las Vegas inspired stop. Caesars Palace and the Forum Shops are grand and decadent in an ancient Roman way and there are celebrities from time to time to add to the fun. Pete Rose and Dick Butkis were there and Dennis Rodman scheduled to appear later in the day. Last year, I posted a single photo of the fountains in front of the hotel so it felt good to walk through, get some decent photos and ultimately plan a trip to a foreign land.

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The Non-Moving Statues Of Caesars Palace

    The famous moving statues were not operational during my visit so I have a reason to return, which is not a bad thing at all. Since my actual reason for being in Las Vegas was for CES 2012, I didn’t have time to take in a single show, explore new food or do any shopping. I didn’t have the money to do those things either so it was a trip filled with busy days, hectic nights and lots of walking.

Video From Caesars Palace Forum Shops

    Until I go to Rome, I suppose I have nothing for me to compare Caesars Palace to. It is unbelievably vast and is a photographers dream, especially a photographer w/ an 8mm fish-eye lens. While I was in Las Vegas my new lens was my constant companion and it was the only lens I brought. I have become hooked on the all encompassing view as well as the way it forces me to get physically closer to subjects than I ever have before. A prime lens makes you do all the work. That coupled with the fact that my lens is all manual made it feel like I was walking the Las Vegas Strip in 1955 with a film camera in one hand and a bona fide photographic assignment in the other. So get inspired and plan a trip somewhere, take pictures and then when you get back start a blog and write about your adventure using your photos as visual aids. Cheers!

Venetian On The Las Vegas Strip

January 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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The Venetian As Seen From Las Vegas Blvd.

    Venetian Hotel and Casino sits on a very grand swath of land on the Las Vegas Strip.  The curb appeal is the best in Las Vegas; it is beautiful and welcoming and once you walk inside you know where you’ll stay next time you come to Las Vegas.  Everything about the place grabs your attention and invites you to come closer for a better look and once you do that, you want to walk inside and see what this is all about.  One of the best things about Venetian is that you can quickly and easily walk in from Las Vegas Blvd.

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Inside The Venetian, Looking Up At The Painted Ceiling

    Venice, the ancient Italian city that Venetian is modeled after is a place of beauty where empty spaces are adorned with things of beauty such as art, marble and crystal.  In the way the Victorians filled their space with clutter, Venetians filled their space with what is needed to make it beautiful, viewable and accessible.

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Tao Asian Bistro And Las Vegas Nightclub

    Tao is the restaurant and nightclub inside Venetian.  I did not eat or party in either but I do have friends that have and they only had good things to say.

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The Canals Of The Venetian

    As you walk through the shops, you will see there are actual canals with gondolas that can be rented like a taxi for a relaxing and unique way to get from one end of the hotel to the other.  The shops, the restaurants and the experience are all first class all the way and made a believer out of me; during CES next year, I’ll be staying at Venetian.  Cheers!

Video Of Venetian Shops, Hotel And Casino

How To Use America Plaza Trolley Station

January 7, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

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The Grand America Plaza Trolley Station

    America Plaza Trolley Station is on the West end of Broadway and downtown San Diego. If you have just landed at the San Diego Airport and intend to take a train, bus or trolley, to your ultimate destination, America Plaza or Santa Fe Depot across the street are the stations to do it. The number 992 city bus is the “airport shuttle” that you will want to familiarize yourself with online. In a nutshell, it runs west on Broadway, turns north on Harbor Drive, passes the cruise ship terminal, loops through the airport and then heads back on the same streets in the opposite direction.

America Plaza Trolley Station

Inside America Plaza

    You have two trolley lines, both going two directions on two different tracks at America Plaza so you must pay attention to which train you board. In the photo above and the first photo of the post, the track in the foreground will hold the blue line trolley going north to Old Town and the orange line trolley going to Gaslamp District. The other track will hold blue lines heading south through South Bay San Diego to the Mexican Border and the orange line heading to east county. If you need to get to a green line trolley, take the blue to Old Town for that connection. Just like with the 992, if you look at and print out available maps and timetables for the trolley online ahead of time and familiarize yourself with where the lines go, you’ll do just fine.

American Plaza Trolley Station

Dad Checks The Map As Son Watches The Trolley

    The trolley is going through a $620 million renewal right now, so by 2015, this will be outdated information. The trolley cars in the photo above and in the video below will things of the past. San Diego will have sleek new trolley cars that will enable the green line to extend all the way to 12th & Imperial Transit Center. The whole project will make trolley travel more pleasant much faster and will make more sense than what we have now. I have a post that details the entire San Diego Trolley Renewal Project which includes a map of what the new route lines will look like. Living downtown is looking more appealing everyday and I think this new trolley system will make the America Plaza area especially desirable. Happy travels!

Trolleys & Travelers At America Plaza

I Travel With My Camera To Improve My Photography

April 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Utah Canyon With Snow During Golden Hour Sunset

A Beautiful Golden Hour Scene In Utah

        Somewhere in the wild blue yonder of Utah, in a location I would really have to struggle to find again is the canyon you see above. Seeing an unspoiled view like this, identical to what the pioneers saw hundreds of years ago keeps the spirit of exploration in me alive. Traveling is good, and I think the tiger inside me has awakened and wants to roam around. The tiger inside me wants to travel.

Standing in front of NO LOITERING sign

No Loitering! This Is A “Traveling Only” Zone.

Utah canyon snow blue sky golden hour

        I want to take quick, inexpensive outings like the trip I took to Las Vegas last month and I want to take them regularly. Going to new places is fun and since I take photos the whole time I become a better photographer, which enables me to make more money which enables me to travel more. This helps me to improve my photography because I take more photos while traveling than while at home because the inspiration and excitement I get from traveling to a new locale causes me to click the shutter way more often then when I’m in a familiar place. Traveling with your camera is a win-win situation for everyone… New places are seen and photographed, those photos are shared and inspire a whole new group of people to travel or pick up a camera.

Las Vegas Strip Photography

March 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

mirage-volcano-las-vegas-strip

Mirage Casino Volcano Erupts On The Las Vegas Strip

        During my trip to Las Vegas last week, I had a loose agenda. To attend the Nightclub & Bar Convention with my friends and to take some fresh photos of Las Vegas. I did manage to get some good shots of the people I saw walking along the Las Vegas strip, but what I really wanted was to take some original shots of Las Vegas landmarks that were new and different. This was a challenge because every time I thought I was heading to an area or taking a shot I thought was unique, I inevitably saw other photographers in the area. So, relative to my other Las Vegas posts, this one will have the fewest number of photos because being unique on a strip full of cameras is not as easy at I thought it would be.

fountains-of-bellagio las vegas strip

Fountains Of Bellagio

        What I really wanted was to create some images that had a timeless quality to them. What I mean by that is I wanted some Las Vegas photos that were recognizable yet unique. I wanted photos that were obviously taken in Las Vegas yet didn’t necessarily scream when they were taken.

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Pirate Show At Treasure Island

        What that ultimately came to mean was that after four days and three nights in Las Vegas, I ended up with five photos of the strip that I’d like to show the world. Averaged out, that’s the equivalent of one keeper every 19 hours. And you thought photography was easy didn’t you?

Aria Casino Hotel Las Vegas Strip

Aria Hotel & Casino

        The shot above is what I would consider to be my most original shot taken while I was in Las Vegas. This is the only photograph I made where I didn’t see any other photographers before, during or after I made it, so for now, I declare this the Mt. Everest of Las Vegas photos.

caesars-palace-fountains las vegas

The Fountains At Caesar’s Palace

        Way before I knew anything about Las Vegas, I knew about the fountains at Caesar’s Palace because of Evel Knievel. He had one Hell of a crash in 1967 when landing after trying to use a motorcycle to jump the fountains in front of Caesar’s Palace. He wanted to do something that had never been seen before, which is what I suppose I was trying to do as well, except I use a camera, not a motorcycle. It’s hard to gauge failure with stuff like this because it is very relative. Evel did jump the fountains but he fucked up the landing so he broke 40 bones and ended up in a coma for a month. Today in 2011, daredevils have gone the way of the Dodo bird, yet photography has flourished. In my head, that makes me the daredevil today and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Heh heh… Good luck!

Nightclub & Bar Convention – Las Vegas

March 13, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

wristband nightclub bar convention trade show las vegas

My Wristband For The Convention

        The people I’ve known the longest go back, way back to the days I lived in Denver, CO. Unfortunately most of us, including me have moved away from Denver, towards warmer parts of the country. It is very rare for all of us to be in the same state, let alone the same room for any length of time but recently it did happen, and with a big helping hand from my friends, I was able to attend this gathering, with my camera.

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Laser Displays Make Anyone Look Like A Rock Star

        Anything that can be served in or placed in a bar or nightclub are what this show is about. My Denver friends are all current or former owners & managers in the service industry, so it’s one of those fun business trips fun them, but for me it was a little bit different. I got some great insight into what goes in to making a club or bar successful and just how much thought goes into making sure their customers like what they see and love what they drink while inside.

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The Only Way To Know Is To Try

        It doesn’t matter what the bottle or the woman that’s serving them looks like, the only way to know which new alcohols are good and which are shit is to try them one shot or one cocktail at a time for eleven hours, over the course of two days. Welcome to Las Vegas!

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        This is better than any gadget or technology show for two reasons: First, it’s in Las Vegas and second, it’s a trade show where as a representative of a company it is your job to sample every type of alcohol in the building. Yep, and the iPad doesn’t even support flash.

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This Show Is About Alcohol…

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And Having Fun

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And Smashing Through Groups Of People

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        There is a reason this show is not the drunken frat party you think it must be if it’s a convention center filled with a bunch of professionals right in the middle of sin city: They are professionals so they are not a threat. The people at this show are the people that have to deal with the drunken idiots on a nightly basis, so they know how to act properly when alcohol is involved, even obscene amounts. This is a professional show for businesspeople that know how to get drunk in an exemplary and highly professional manner, not amateur night.
        The next time you are in a bar and you see a group of people that are being a little more obnoxious and loud than you would normally think would be allowed in a place like that yet they get constant, attentive service and never have a break in their good time, then they are a group of pros in the service industry just letting off steam and the staff of the place knows it. They also know the group will regulate their own party just like mafia would, so if anyone actually did start doing something that would legitimately ruin the party a stick would be brought down between that person’s eyes, bringing him or her back into line long before anyone else even saw a problem… Because they are professionals. It was a great experience that had me learning new things, spending quality time with old friends as well as engaging in some old fashioned street photography, which turned out to be an unexpected highlight of the trip. You’ll want to be sure to check out my next two posts which will consist of the people and sights of the Las Vegas strip. Cheers!

Travel To Las Vegas And Hoover Dam

November 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Hoover Dam From Just Above River Level

Hoover Dam From Just Above River Level

        If you go to Hoover Dam, it is probably to take a break from your activities in Las Vegas, so you will understand what it means to pay a little more to to get something a lot better. The special tour is $30 and you get a much better experience than you do with the $11 tickets.

        My special access ticket allowed me to get a less than common shot of the dam from a very low level. The sky was blown out so I cropped it and made the dam itself look as dramatic as possible, without going to full on black & white.

        I had a hard time taking pictures in Las Vegas because everything looked so familiar from movies and photos in magazines. I just didn’t see how I could take a unique shot in that town. At the time, The Venetian was one of the newest casinos so a friend asked me to shoot it for her. The shot below is a small section of the architecture of the hotel’s exterior. Every room in the hotel is a suite with queen or king beds and 32″ flat screen TV’s.

Venetian Hotel In Las Vegas

Venetian Hotel In Las Vegas

Palm Springs 2009 – Redux

October 30, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Palm Springs, CA

Just A Scene With A Lot Of Color

        My first post on this blog was a short record of my trip to Palm Springs in May, 2009. Due to all the hustle and bustle of a new website, the photos that did not make the original grade had been more or less forgotten. Three lucky pics are now given a chance to see the world for the very first time.

Desert Riders Motorcycle Club

Desert Riders Motorcycle Club Members

        Although the grain of photoshop film degrades the detail a bit, I like this shot because texting on cell phones, drinking powerade and applying sun screen occupies the minds of these suburban bike riders. The one in the middle looked right at me, then continued texting.

Polka Dot Depth Of Field

I Call This A Color Sandwich

        Nothing more to add. I just wanted to post these four pictures. Feel free to look at my very first blog post by clicking here.

Windmills With Just A Touch Of Color

One Does Want A Hint Of Color

        The windmill in the middle is my favorite one. It is frozen into a perfect viewing position. Anyways, hover over the tag cloud below to rotate it, and then click on any tag that strikes your fancy.

This Is Why I Live In San Diego

October 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Pacific Beach Sunset

Living On The West Cost Of California Does Have It’s Advantages

        This is a view only possible to those of us that live on a West Coast of an island, state or nation. For me, it helps to be reminded why I am doing or have done the things that I do. I moved to California during the dead of Colorado’s winter, so I suppose not much more explanation is necessary in that regard.

I-70 Runaway Truck Ramp

From This Point It Is Downhill All The Way To San Diego

        This was my view upon exiting the Eisenhower Tunnel, heading west. Crossing the Continental Divide, in the spirit of the pioneers did enter my mind. I was moving across the country with no money and only the barest scraps of a plan. I was heading towards unknown opportunities and I was starting my journey in Arctic conditions, with the promise that better weather lay ahead.

Eisenhower Tunnel

On Approach To The Eisenhower Tunnel

        Try climbing over 11,000 feet into the air with your possessions strapped to your back, and you can understand the gravity of what you are doing. I can only imagine what a journey like mine must have been like in the age before fossil fuels and certainty of destination.