And three days later, chaos.
Miraculously, everyone made it out of this rollover in 4 Mile Canyon in Boulder ok.
So, this post was originally supposed to air in late December of 2013, then it got pushed back to Sunday January 5th, 2014. But between taking care of my Mum, traveling down to Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, New York City then back to Boulder to spend Christmas with Mum, I found myself completely out of time for the blog. And then I got buried under 8,000+ photos of the trip to try and edit. So I gave up.
And Mum had some back recovery that needed my time and TLC, a chiropractors office visit and a daily morning dose of Aleve with her morning coffee before she could even move without too much pain.
And all due to a slip and fall going down the stairs in November that practically crippled her and made her normal everyday motion extremely painful and most times downright unbearable. It also had a very negative effect on her mindset and kinda set a depressing and very difficult tone for her every day. Life is difficult enough, but when you're in your eighties its even more difficult. But my Mum, she's a trooper and a very strong woman (she doesn't think so, but I know better) and her track record as a fighter, her never give up attitude, has paid off and now she can do the little things that most of us without any back problems take for granted, like getting up out of bed in the morning for example. Simple, easy, right?. Throw your legs out over the bed and plant your feet on the floor, walk to the kitchen and go make coffee. Well, as anybody who has ever had lower back problems you know it's not that easy. Sometimes it took my Mum 20 minutes just to be able to sit up straight on the edge of the bed. And another 10 minutes to be able stand up nearly straight. All while gritting her teeth in pain. But grit her teeth she did and we were able to get around and made a few trips outside to get her legs stretched and some fresh air in her lungs.
Susan, Steve and I met 3+ yrs back in Death Vally, Stovepipe Wells to be exact. My bike was parked outside the only convenience store and gas station there, I was inside buying a few provisions and they saw my bike and thought "we gotta meet the owner of this interesting looking machine".
What caught their eye they later told me, aside from the well traveled look to the bike, was a signature written on the tank from a Land Speed Racing friend Nancy Wennerberg, whom I had met at Bonneville that year at the 2010 World of Speed. Nancy had finished writing her message to me with "Hope you find what you're looking for".
Now, Suze and Steve, being the inquisitive photographers that they are, had discovered a number of years back a hidden shrine to the Irish band U2 in the desert just outside of Death Valley and thought that Nancy's words on the tank pertained to this. So when I exited the store and got back to the bike I found them there waiting for me. Introductions were made and in the course of our conversation they asked if I had been to the U2 shrine. I had no idea that there even was a U2 shrine so I said no, I hadn't. So they took me there. That was how we met. We said our goodbyes, I thanked them for letting me in on the photographic secret of the shrine, and off we went on our separate ways saying we would keep in touch. Well, a few days later I was in Beatty Nevada getting food, fuel and some internet. I was in a bar working on a blog post since it was the only place in town with internet, and I heard voices behind me calling my name. It was Steve and Susan who happened to be passing by at the same time in the same town.
Since then, Steve has been my photographic mentor, and they are both photographers I look up to and admire in their field.
Steve is a renowned photographer, having shot for National Geographic among all the way back to the days of film, and Susan is also an accomplished photographer with a number of books to her credit. They are both my great friends, invaluable critics and a vast and endless pit of knowledge and experience when it comes to anything to do with photography.
On Dec 8th of 2013 I posted an article from my travels as I headed south east from Texas to Little Rock in Arkansas, final destination Fort Lauderdale Fl.
I had to meander my way through the chaos and road carnage, all seemed to be the order of the day on the roads until I got well over toward Tallahassee, the capitol of Florida.
But for the moment we're still in SE Texas, as evidenced by the Pappadeaux shot, since Pappadeaux don't have a location anywhere south east of the great state of Texas. Most of the Pappadeaux locations are centered around the city of Houston TX. Probably just as well. I can never go through Texas without going to Pappadeaux at least once.
There are two things that I do when I go to Texas. The first one is I visit my friend Greg, and we talk guns. Mostly Greg's guns as I'm down to three, my .45 Ruger, a Keltec .380 and one long gun. Greg's got a few more guns than I do in his gun safe, and they're more interesting than mine to talk about. If you're considering burglary as a career, don't do it in Texas. At least not in Greg's neighborhood.
Emma and Princess.
This is Diamond.
I wanted to steal this one away and bring her back to Finland with me and put her in my sidecar. What a gorgeous dog she was. A dog with a better personality than a lot of people.
Emma, Princess & Diamond. What a team.
Lookadat face, I mean c'mon.
And look at that face!!. Talk about happy.
Diamond thought the Reindeer boots were still alive and so gave them a wide berth.
Emma and Becca Boo.
Becca Boo is a cute and spunky little 4yr old who was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 2. She is now in remission but has to continue chemo until May of this year. You can Click Here to read more about Becca Boo.
Becca Boo getting measured by Emma.
Ohh noes, I'm still smaller than them!!.
**insert your own silly puppy talk here**
Emma the champ!!. She even has her very own belt. And yes, it's a real one.
Lots of people out there love you too Emma.
When I got to Little Rock Arkansas I stayed with one of DriveAwayCancer's volunteer drivers Syn, who uses her 1970's Triumph Spitfire "Ginger" to visit children with cancer and drive them around and put a smile on their face. She's logged a lot of miles in the last year in Ginger, around 25,000 miles I believe she said. Impressive. Very impressive Syn.
Currently Ginger in is Ron's for a new engine rebuild. The old gal just had enough last year and quit, so Ron has been doing the rebuild for Syn and DriveAwayCancer.
Mystery car #2, a 1952 Triumph TR2.
The L.C.Y.C., an interesting oddity out in the middle of Arkansas.
As told to me by Syn, the LCYC started about 30 years ago as a group of British car owning friends who hung out after Ron McLeod's British Car shop closed for the weekend.
Many of the same friends still gather there to this day and chat, have fun and as Syn put it, act silly. I have some photos of the interior, but to publish them here would ruin the mystery of what exactly is behind those brick walls. Besides, it would betray a confidence. It's their private club, so I intend to leave them with their privacy.
So right around the corner from Syn's house, there's a front yard with an old Jaguar in it that's being used as a garden ornament. It's an XK-E but i'm not sure what year as my Jaguar knowledge is not great.
Anyway, I asked Syn about it and apparently the story on it is that Syn's landlords have asked the owner a number of times over the years if they could buy it. The owner repeatedly turned them down saying that he intends to fix it up. Someday.
Meanwhile, it hasn't moved in 25 years as it sits and rots. And rots. And rots away. He should be arrested for leaving a car of that style and pedigree deteriorate in a front yard year by year when there's plenty of people ready to buy it and take better care of it.
You sir, are a top class wanker. You should not be allowed to own any car, even a Prius, let alone a rare classic like a Jaguar XK-E, considered by many car aficionados to be the most beautiful car (Jaguar) ever made.
Anyway, Arkansas to Florida was my next leg, winter to summer, all in a day. And this time I managed to make it all the way down to Florida, all 1130 miles, without getting any speeding tickets. Not a one. Luck was on my side this time. Luck was not on my side in 2011. But that's another story that won't get cleared from my license until next year. Oh well. I can't help it if I like going fast. And it's not even fast. The speed limits are too damn slow. Utah agrees with me, so they've raised the speed limit on nearly 300 miles of Interstate. For safety reasons. Yes, safety reasons. You see, they've figured out that the whole "Speed Kills" myth is bullshit. The only thing that speed kills is your pocketbook, because speed traps are nothing more than a legal form of extortion, a huge moneymaker for cops and municipalities. Thats it. Period. Faster is actually safer.
Besides, that's why guys like Billys Wrecker Service in Hazen Arkansas are out there for, to go get your wrecked ass if you crash.
I was heading east on I-40 and all of a sudden traffic started to slow to a crawl and then stop completely, obviously due to a wreck So I called Syn and she told me to hop on over to Hwy 70 which parallels I-40. So as I drove through Hazen AR, Billys big red wrecker caught my eye and was calling me to stop and take a few shots of it.
Which I did.
On this trip back to the US, since my sidecar outfit was still back in Finland, I rented an SUV with enough room in the back for me to sleep in. I never did like staying in motels anyway (aside from the cost) and from my early days in the US as a coast to coast truck driver, not only was I used to driving at night, but much prefer it to driving during the day. There's always less traffic at night and I find it much more relaxing to drive after dark, especially between 10pm and 2 or 3am. I usually get tired around 2-3am then pull over at a rest area or truck stop and climb in the back of the SUV, curl up in my sleeping bag, take the safety off my .45 Ruger and sleep for 3 or 4 hours.
I had some loose ends in Florida that needed tying up and I knew I could probably get some good beach photography in too. But you quickly run out of things to photograph in S. Florida in a week. I mean, how many times can you photograph the sunrise on the Atlantic ocean before it starts to get old. So I had to get a little more creative.
There's a lot to photograph in S. Florida if you get creative enough and don't mind the heat and humidity for most of the year. But I do, even though I lived down there for 10 years. I ended up there by default after a Gym and my own personal training business I had in NYC went south. I had a client who had a house on S. Beach who told me to go hang out there and re-group, so I did. Blue skies, palm trees, lovely beaches with a plethora of scantily clad women scattered about all over the sand. Seriously, whats not to like?.
The novelty wore off within about 2 years and it was just another town that I had to get a job in and pay the rent.
While driving down Las Olas blvd in Fort Lauderdale to visit a friend who lives on Isle of Palms, the Tuna tower on the north side of the street first caught my eye. I'm a sucker for 'em, especially when it's attached to a beautiful 90' Sportfisher.
They say that the two best days of boat ownership are the day you buy your boat and the day you sell it. Probably true of a lot of expensive toys.
Have the day of your choice......