The Highest Point in South Carolina is Sassafras Mountain

And you can drive right to it.

Day 84:
19,500 miles and counting.
I woke up at the Holiday Inn Express in Logan, WV. Shortly after waking up I was called to perform an emergency surgery. Thanks, HIE!
I rented a UTV from Bobby yesterday. After that I spent the day at the hotel catching up on real life stuff. I also spent most of this morning chipping away with that kind of nonsense. Today I will leave and head back south to South Carolina, for a wedding in Table Rock park.
I left the Holiday Inn express with a couple of quick detours. I had about a 5 hour drive to get back to table rock State Park in South Carolina. I should have plenty of daylight, even factoring in all the needless and random stops I will probably make.
There’s a possibility that I may see some of my closest friends tonight, for the first time in over 3 months. I’m going back to South Carolina for a wedding on Thursday, and a bunch of my friends from home in Maryland are traveling to it as well. I am excited for this time, to see some friends and people I love for the first time in months. And to see them in such an amazing place like the mountains of South Carolina! That’s just a bonus.
I spent the day getting to South Carolina’s highest point, Sassafras Mountain, as fast as I could, hopefully before sunset. I had hoped to meet some friends there, but they did not make it here until very late. I made it in plenty of time and watched an amazing sunset with a bunch of fun strangers, now new friends. I got to talking to a local retired couple. Turns out they lived in the town I grew up in for a long time. What a small world this actually is. Either that or nothing is actually real. After the sun was gone, and the conversation dwindled, it was time to retire to my van. I made that my home for the night in hopes of catching the sunrise in the morning. Sadly it rained all night, overnight, and into the morning. There was no sunrise to speak of. 

I have added a lot lately to the photo album HERE.

I love when I run into pro photographers in the wild. I take pride capturing as many groups in a single photo as possible. This is 3 groups in 1 shot, my record is 4 wedding parties in 1 photo in Glacier.

UTV Racing Is My Future

Day 83:
Today I met Bobby from BAC Rentals in WV, hands down the coolest geocaching ally I have met this trip. I have met a lot of our allies during this trip. There are people all over willing to help me out with my stupid hobby, and obsession to complete nonsensical tasks.
I woke up this morning already at the place I wanted to be. That place was meeting Bobby with BAC UTV rentals in WV. I was renting a UTV for the day, and part of the plan was to find WV’s oldest geocache. That was a very small part of an amazing day driving like an idiot. 80 miles, 5 hours, 3 geocaches, and only 1 close call/near death. The time flew by! Another thing I did during this road trip that I had the entire place to myself. I only saw about 10 other people all day using the Hatfield & McCoy trails. I was on a UTV just a few weeks ago near Phoenix. That is how fast I forgot how much fun they are. I had a blast today. The terrain was very mild compared to Arizona, but still so exciting! All day I was driving these trails, I felt like the fat guy from Lost, 21-10-33-31-45-42-26-14-18. When I was in my 20’s a bunch of my gearhead, knucklehead friends bought ATVs and came down here all the time. Somehow, I did not fall in line with them that time. I grew up with dirt bikes and guns, so they were not a novelty to me. Bobby said it might take me about 2 hours to get to my first stop. I was there in just over an hour. I drove like a maniac, because that is the fun way to drive off road. I spoke to Bobby later, and told him what I did. He said the next fastest anyone has done what I did, is 10 hours. That is twice as long. I told Bobby I am fast, I always have been fast, I used to race big wheels. I think Bobby and I are going to be pals for a long time. I hope to come visit him again soon.
After an amazing day playing, on the edge of death, I had a hotel nearby to catch up on some real life, and I had to do a zooming meeting this evening. A shower, internets, and proper lighting are required. Tomorrow I will head back south a few hours for a wedding in SC in a couple days.

I regularly update the photo album HERE.

My First Renaissance Festival

Day 82:
19,185 miles and counting.
I woke up in the parking lot of a Lowes. I bought a shirt and MOD pizza for dinner very nearby. I assumed that entitled me to sleep in their parking lot.
Today was all about a Renaissance Festival. I have never been to one. I was talking to a good friend who is taking his family this weekend. I did a quick search on the internet the other day, and a really big festival was happening right where I was going to be, near Charlotte. I decided to make that my day. I am so glad I did. Yet another thing I almost deprived myself of, because I feel like I always need to be moving and completing a task. I thought it would be a quick half day, and I’d be back on the road. I had to drag myself out after 6 hours. I had 4 hours of driving, and did not want to drive too much in the dark. I could spend another entire day there. So fascinating, and entertaining in every way. There were people dressed up in all kinds of costumes. From the Renaissance era, and everything else from mermaids to modern day superheros. My 2 favorites were The Beer Bellied Assassin, and William Shakespeare dictates a text message into his Apple watch.
I ran around seeing all the shows I could. I had a fun lunch, and I had a ton of conservations with people far stranger than me, which are hard people to find. I can’t wait to find out if all of these festivals are this fun, or I got lucky and just went to the best one ever.
In hindsight my most disappointing decision was made at this Renaissance Festival. I knew enough to know that a lot of people dress up. People were dressed up in all kinds of fun costumes. For a minute I wished I had a costume to dress up in. I was hundreds of miles from home, there was 0% chance I was going to run into anyone I knew and be embarrassed. Also, why would I be embarrassed, this is the exact place that adults dress up like idiots. BUT, darn it. I did not have a costume. Maybe next time. Just as I get to the entrance gates there is a shop. This shop is renting costumes to bums like me that arrived in regular street clothes. This was the perfect opportunity, and I squandered it. I spent the day in my shorts and tee shirt, being mocked by people wearing 60 pounds of costume. Next time.
After leaving the festival, I needed to end in WV, about 4 hours north. I am renting a UTV tomorrow at 7am from Bobby. I got to Bobby’s location just after losing all my daylight. I got the OK from Bobby to sleep there, that way I can’t be late for our 7am meetup. After tomorrow I will turn around and head back to Table Rock in South Carolina for a wedding in a couple days. Today was definitely a great day to have been alive.

Touring Georgia, Boating the Fake Ozarks, Watching Sunrise

Day 80:
18,740 miles and counting.
Today I met Razzle Dazzle, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up at the Modoc South Carolina 2000 geocache trail head. I slept fantastically and slept in so late. That was great, I did not sleep well the night before. I left South Carolina and went straight back to Georgia. I think it’s Jefferson County area, kind of near Athens. There was some big Geocaching event nearby recently. And this area is very well-known for having a lot of fun gadget geocaches, or so I just found out from my friend Drew the other day. So, I started off with a small circle of challenges up north and then worked my way south. I did a walking loop around a giant outlet complex. There was a whole series of challenge geocaches that hopefully I qualify for. It was also a nice way to start the morning, the weather was perfect, and I could get some steps in. I found them all but 1. I started and finished in the same spot and didn’t find it twice. Then I zigged zagged all over town. I followed a trail of highly favorited geocaches. These were some real doozies. I come from the land of a guy named West Virginia Tim. I am lucky, I understand. These were another level in some ways. I had to walk away from quite a few. I could not figure it out, I didn’t know what I was looking for, or I didn’t know what to do. I still nailed quite a few of them. I had a fantastic time, felt like a kid in a carnival all day. After that I did a bunch of the cow whereigo’s last night. I knew I was not doing them all, I can’t possibly do that. Sounds like a nightmare, like mailman purgatory. BUT, I wanted to get some to finally qualify for a challenge. These were super easy, and as well done as I have seen any series. So, a few random of those will help me get closer to a stupid checklist goal that nobody but me knows about. My last stop of the day is lake Lanier. I took the longest possible way to get here. I am getting on a boat at 8:30 Saturday morning for the old geocache out on a lake island. I wanted to see where that was, and it looks like that will be my home for the evening, awaiting vessel boarding time. Before stopping completely for the night, I went around the corner for the other old geocache. That was a very quick jog out and back. I then met a young man named Jeremy. He worked at a boat store. He looked friendly. He was outside washing things with a garden hose. I struck up a conversation, and then hit him with the big ask. Can I please fill my freshwater tank from your hose? He was so happy to let me. I offered him a little Debbie oatmeal pie, he declined. I invited him in and gave him the 13 second tour. That means he saw everything twice. I think we will be best pals for life. Finally, it was back to the boat launch parking. There is good telephone service, so I will catch up on some work. I had a very tasty beef stroganoff for dinner, watched the sunset and the moonrise over the lake, and smashed this drivel into a keyboard.

Day 81:
18930 miles and counting.
Today I met Jamie a Bernese Mountain Dog, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
When I left home, I watched the interstate numbers count down from 95 all the way to 5. Then I watched the horizontal interstate drop from 90 all the way down to 10. As I head home, I see those numbers gradually climbing higher. I’m already back at 75 and 85. Booooo. I will be at 95 before I know it.
I woke up this morning to a perfect sunrise over Lake Lanier. There was nothing good to see until about 7:20am, that is so late. I love this season, but hate the brevity. I took a bunch of sunrise pictures, and had a great conversation with a local. He comes there every morning to watch the sunrise. I think he and I will be pals forever. That was the first time I took out my cameras in at least 4 or 5 days. I came to accept that the photography portion of my trip has come to a drip, from the geyser it has been for the past few months. I had an 8:30 launch time with Captain John. I showed up and there were 2 other cachers coming on the boat. We all got along just fine, the captain was a delight, and we were back at the dock in about an hour. I thought it was more adventurous, but apparently not. My favorite part was all the info Captain John had about this area being the filming location for Ozarks. Once back at the dock, I got in my van, took a shower, got cleaned up and left the boat launch area about 10:30 AM to head towards Charlotte. Lake Lanier was a wonderful place I could see myself coming back here. Ultimately, I was going to end up near Charlotte. I’m gonna look for that old geocache nearby there, and then I think tomorrow I’m going to go to a Renaissance Festival. I’ve never been to one of those and I would imagine it’s a thing I would enjoy very much. I made my way slowly east, stopping a lot. Some of the tourist attractions, a couple places for pictures, and a geocache here and there of course. One of the funnest parts of my day was an accidental discovery. I was cruising along the main road into Greenville and I looked over and saw what looked like a bunch of people racing toy cars. I know what that scene looks like as it was a big part of my past. I verified that’s what it was as I drove by, then made a U-turn. I went back and watched a bunch of grown man race toy cars for a while. The sounds and the sights and the smell in the air brought back a lot of fun memories. Also, a lot of bad memories, but isn’t that how nostalgia works? You have to take the good with the bad.
Mostly I stopped for a bunch of old virtuals. Then I ended up in Charlotte, at the trail for the old puzzle here. I did not realize that was going to be a ‘get my tootsies wet’ type of party.
After all that was done, I found myself in central suburbia. I needed a shirt for a wedding on Thursday. Men’s Warehouse was happy to accommodate. Then it was pick up a pizza, and get parked for the evening.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.

Stone Mountain Georgia, Home of Kenneth the Page

Day 79:
Today I met Diego, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
When I left home, I watched the interstate numbers count down from 95 all the way to 5. Then I watched the horizontal interstate drop from 90 all the way down to 10. As I head home, I see those numbers gradually climbing higher. I’m already back at 75 and 85. Booooo
I woke up at a truckstop where I got my van washed last night some north of Hotlanta, off I-75 south. For some reason last night was the first night in several months I just wasn’t able to sleep. I tossed and turned and then finally just started my day in the middle of the night. I zigzaged around a couple of spots of HotLanta before the world was alive. This allowed me to find one of the funnest, choose your own adventure style, multicaches I have ever done. Also happens to be one of the oldest around, dates back to 2001. It’s just hidden in plain sight where I’m sure thousands of people see it, yet it’s been there for over 20 years.
I visited a place that had to do with Hank Aaron. That has something to do with baseball, I know that. I know the place I visited looks really cool on satellite imagery, looks like a baseball field in a parking lot. Check it on satellite view: HERE
After baseball on to golf, something I know a little bit about. I wandered around a graveyard that had the corpses of Kenny Rogers and Bobby Jones. I was lucky enough to be at the Masters weekend 2009.
After a couple hours it was time for me to get the hell out of the city, just as the sun was coming up and other people were showing up. My next destination had the word mountain in it, so I knew I was gonna like that a whole lot better than all this asphalt and high-rises.
Before heading to Stone Mountain, I stopped for a nice sit-down breakfast at first watch, one of our favorite places. It was delicious, hopefully gave me the energy I need to summit stone mountain. My objectives at Stone Mountain today are the really old geocaches, walking up to the top, and a third thing to be named later. I think Stone Mountain Georgia is where Kenneth the Page is from?
I spent most of the daylight hours at Stone Mountain. It’s quite a unusual site, that giant stone just sticks out like that for no particular reason. I walked up to the top of it along with a bunch of other people. The weather was perfect and the views were amazing. There’s always something really unique about seeing a city skyline in the distance and a forest in the foreground. I passed the oldest lady I have ever seen climbing up there. She was using a cane taboot. It was so hard for me not to give her a high five. I passed her going at an area that gets really steep and has hand rails for 100 yards. I just assumed that would HAVE to be her turnaround point. On my way down, I passed her again, still heading up, and past the hand rail section! At that point I wanted to carry her the rest of the way. Somehow, I minded my own business.
I was glad to get the old beaver hide at all. Timewise, I guess I just got lucky. I’ve had two other geocaches from the year 2000 escape my path, because of weather. One in Southern California and the other in southern Florida. Today is the day I would have been here no matter what. I am just now seeing quite the dust up on the internet about this hide. I have been on the road for 3 months, and am using a pocket query/list that dates back about 6 months ago. As I said, I would have been here either way today, as this is where I am in my journey, and I am thankful I hopefully won’t get roasted on the internet. A big reason I stay off the internet.
After that find I had a 2 hour drive east, to Modoc Georgia. Hopefully I’ll be able to get up and down that trail before I lose daylight. It’s getting later in the year and the sun going away so early is really thrown off my schedule of activities. Turns out Modoc is in South Carolina, not Georgia. I found that out on the drive there. It was about 10 minutes over the border.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.

Easily the greatest geocache on the planet GC8DQ55

That I have found, anyway.

Day 78:
18,300 miles and counting.
Today I met HansDown, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
Last night I got Publix chicken for dinner and went back to the nearby truckstop open area for the night. I am right by I-59. Tomorrow I should be able to checklist a few high favorited geocaches and a few old ones. I believe just shortly after I start driving, I am going to cross into Georgia, and lose my last hour. My first destination is a very highly favorited gadget cache……This is now my all time, overall favorite geocache, Kwango Kate Gadget Cache, if you are a geocacher. I just realized this code has DQ in it. Anyone that knows me knows that my favorite thing ever invented is Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Coincidence? I think not. It feels like an actual escape room. I can’t gush about it enough. I spent 3 minutes short of 3 hours there. That’s right, 2 hours and 52 minutes. A very fun 3 hours. I did spend some time on a personal phone call. But my brain was working the entire time, and not paying attention to whatever the nerd on the other end of the phoneline was talking about…something about a tweezer reprise. The setup was amazing, and the fact that it has been visited so many times and is still in perfect condition is a real credit to the owner and the community. After that unexpected 3 hours, I wandered around Rome for a little while. There are a lot of fun things to do in Rome. Wish I had planned better with my time. I have to be nowhere at no particular time, I got that going for me. After a Rome roam, I continued north to seek out 2 old hides from 2000. First was rocktown. What a cool place. It is a cross between 2 very popular places back home. One is bouldering the other is a rock maze. I am glad I know this is here. I jogged all the way out and back. I jumped up, on, over, and around a lot of rocks that I did not need to. There was definitely an easier, softer way to get where I was going. But no others allowed me to feel like a spiderman. After that, on to the iron horse. I had no idea what I was in store for here. Not a long trek at all, but then suddenly, boom! A scary tunnel. It felt very surreal, like I stepped into a spooky movie. I loved it. I turned around and tried to make it happen again, no luck. From there it was time to get back to civilization. I found a truck wash that was open 24 hours about an hour toward Atlanta. I made that my destination, and then also my sleeping arrangements for the night.

Still constantly updating the album of my roadtrip HERE.

Voodoo and Jazz and Vampires, oh my

Day 76:
17,760 miles and counting.
Today I met Iko, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I started the morning with a half hour drive to New Orleans proper. I was there shortly after sunrise and long before the city was awake. I hopped on my bike and zigged zagged around for what end up being about five hours and a dozen miles. I took a very inefficient route around all the various virtual geocaches that showed me the best sites, adventure labs, and other fun tourist attractions in New Orleans. I know I had to come spend the day here, but it’s safe to say, this place is just not for me. My wife loves it here. Between voodoo and vampires and the food, she might live here. I guess that’s just not up my alley. Also, I’m a big fan of the elevation, I really enjoy being a lot higher in the air than this. But I took a lot of pictures, learned a lot of crazy history, and walked through a lot of human urine and dead bodies. I was there early enough that at times I was the only human being I saw. I was riding a bike down Bourbon Street and was the only thing that was alive in that moment. Gradually some people were walking with their coffee, and then finally by the time I was done, music was as loud as could be and the lunch crowds were out and mingling. So that part was rather fun, watching a city wake up and come to life for the day. But that’s also a sure-fire sign that it’s time for me to get the hell out of there. I loaded up my bike and started to head toward Birmingham. I have another repair shop appointment there, I had an alternator belt replaced on Friday, and it’s the wrong size. Hopefully the repair shop chain is going to honor the work of the other location…thankfully they did.
So that’s the next place I must be, and gradually make my way north and east. I drove until I ran out of daylight and found a place to call home for the night somewhere south of Montgomery.

Day 77:
18,000 miles and counting.
Today I met Shadow, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up at a truck stop off I-65, where I was parked in the very back, along the roadway. I took a shower and had spicy sausage pasta boil in bag for dinner lat night.
Not a whole lot is going to happen today. I have to make my way to Birmingham. I have an appointment to replace another alternator belt on my van. Hopefully get the tires rotated while I am there as well. I learned my lesson using these extra soft tires. Since I am going to be inBirmingham, I wanted to stop and say hello to Storyteller Overland, the wonderful place and people that build my amazing adventure van. I stopped by there, snooped around undetected, took a few pictures as proof of my snooping, and then checked in for my van service about 20 minutes away. I was 3 hours early. I told them I was around, and I would be out in the parking lot working, if they wanted me sooner.
I am in a weird time frame of travel right now. I have not touched my camera in 3 or 4 days. Mentally I am heading home. But I have a wedding to be at in 8 days in South Carolina. If I came home right now, I would leave again in a day or two after getting home. So, I am going to finish the handful of things on my geocaching checklist (hopefully), and then get a campsite somewhere in the mountains for the days I have to wait until the wedding.
Before getting all the way out of the city, I had the tires rotated after the alternator belt repair. I think from here I will be heading directly to Georgia. I have quite a few checklist items around Atlanta and north western Georgia. This includes getting on a boat Saturday morning.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.

The emotions were flowing

Day 74:
17,170 miles and counting.
Today I met Hippie, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I slept at a Loves truckstop off interstate 20 somewhere heading east out of Texas into Louisiana. I slept for a long time, got up and then did a bunch of “house” things. Did a few minor repairs and some cleanup. Nothing was calling me and I’m on no time schedule or pressures, so I took this opportunity to tie up some loose ends.
I made my way through Shreveport with a few stops for some old and fun geocaches. I also spent some time catching up on some phone calls. I had hoped that I was going to be heading to Fort Myers Florida to visit my favorite person in the world. But it turns out they just had a storm go through there, pretty bad unfortunately, and she is not there. That’s a bit of a bummer for me. Selfish, I know. I mostly meandered aimlessly east. Contemplating whether I wanted to go to New Orleans proper. I have been there, but only as a drunken teen. Not sure if that’s a place that holds anything interesting for me or not. I guess I’ll decide.
I did a Music related virtual geocache in Lousiana, and I had no idea what I was in store for. I assume that I visited a grave/memorial, I would at least recognize the name. For some reason I thought it might have something to do with Elvis or one of the people of that era, and because of this area. Turns out it was the gravesite of Johnny Horton, one of my pop’s favorite musicians. That caught me completely off guard, to the point where I actually sat down for a few minutes and squirted out a few tears. But that didn’t last long, because I got things to do, shut those emotions back off. Unfortunately, that project sent me 10 miles back to where I just came from, but dems da brakes.
From there I decided to see exactly how high Louisiana’s highest point is. Looks to be about 4 or 5 feet above sea level? I think the elevation gain was in the double digits.
After the almost impossible trek to 500-and-some-odd feet of elevation, I had to start heading south. I needed to get to the wild azalea trail where Louisiana’s oldest geocache is located. I made a few stops along the way at different places for fun things or travel necessities.
I made it safely to an alternate parking spot for the azalea trail. I jogged out and back to make that find of Louisiana’s oldest geocache. I then decided to make that parking spot my home for the night. It was as quiet and dark of a spot as I have ever picked. Lucky me.

Day 75:
Today I met Maggie, hands-down the coolest dog of my life, she is probably going to change someones life forever.
I woke at the trailhead for the wild azalea trail, Louisiana’s oldest geocache. I found the oldest just at sunset, then decided to spend the night there. I got a great night’s sleep. It was dark, and I was not disturbed once by anything or anyone. Very peaceful and quiet back there, no sign of life for 12 hours.
My goal was to continue heading south and east, Baton Rouge and then New Orleans. I had a nice drive, it is a Sunday, so there was no one anywhere. I was all around LSU, I rode a bike around Baton Rouge, and I saw a wonderful group filming a music video. That last thing really got me excited. I also found another old geocache from 2001 in a horsie related park. All the streets were named after horse stuff, palomino, paint, applesauce, etc… I did a really fun where I go while riding my bike. The description said bike trail and I thought to myself, I have not ridden my bike in quite a few days. Sounds like a great idea. I mean I have been lugging it around for 18k miles. It doesn’t just make my van’s ass look great.
Finally, I made it to the town of Mandeville. I found something nice to eat for take away. I found a nice spot to park my house, ate, cleaned myself up, and got ready to settle in for the night. Before that, and after dinner I did a nice big walking loop to settle supper. A very slow day for me, at least in comparison. I didn’t go far. I didn’t get much done. Oh well. I found out today that I probably won’t be able to go to Florida next like I had planned. I had no idea they had such terrible storms until this morning. Oh bother, mother nature.

I regularly update the photo album HERE.

I visited Louisiana

Day 72:
16,730 miles and counting.
Today I met Tela, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I got started plenty early, long before there was any sunlight. I had quite a few things I wanted to accomplish today, and from my research I didn’t think any of them would take too long. On my way south I made a quick stop to top off my freshwater tank.
Apparently, something on the electrical system of the living quarters of my van broke yesterday. My battery supply is no longer charging as I drive, like it is designed to do, and like it has done for the previous 70+ days without issue. I have my fingers crossed that it will take charge when I get a chance to plug it in. It never did charge as I drove, and I need another new alternator belt. That is 3 so far, 2 on this trip. Ugggg. I decided to book an actual campsite, so I could plug in. This is a first, I have never plugged Pervvie in, other than to test that I knew how to do it. Hopefully she will be full battery by go time tomorrow. I spent all day today with my head on a swivel, looking for someplace I might be able to plug in and steal some electricity. I never did find anything, until tonight at the campground.
Back to geocaching. There are 4 geocaches surrounding Dallas that date back to the year 2000. I intended to get them all today, a bit aggressive maybe. In hindsight, not at all. Easy peasy. I even made time for a bunch of other fun stuff. I was going to make today be a day that I found every ‘type’ of geocache. I was even going to go out of my way to Galveston for the webcam. Then I realized I can’t do the locationless anyway. So, I did get all types except those 2 today. Dork. I did a couple walks in the park, a couple walks along water, a couple in the woods. After all that I visited an auto shop about my alternator belt. The fellas were great. They took a peek, and it seems standard. Going back first thing tomorrow, fingers crossed. Then I went to my campsite, gave my van some juice, got a shower, and went to Alfonso’s Pancake Breakfast Geocaching Event. I made some new friends, had a lot of great chats, and found out all the dishy gossip on all the local GC’ers. All in all, one of the best days of my life, even when my van is broken.
After the Geocaching event, back to the campground. I splurged on something I never need, a campsite. I needed electric hookup to charge, it was down to 10% after 2 days of not charging. Back to 100% by the time I woke up and head back to the auto repair shop in the morning.

Day 73:
17,070 miles and counting.
Today I met Juju, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up at the Plantation Place campground in Sunnyvale. Yep, I am in a trailer park in Sunnyvale. That is super Trailer Park Boy awesome. I stayed here so I could have somewhere legal to plug my van in, electrical issues, hopefully getting a new alternator belt today. I was at the auto repair shop before they opened at 7am. I checked in and tapped into their wifi. I sat in the parking lot, in my van and did real life stuff all day. I was there from 7am until they closed at 6pm. It is a Friday, so the fact that I am not stranded in this town all weekend is a miracle. They got my parts, installed, and had me out the door right at closing time. I could not be happier with the service I received. I got caught up on pictures, work, writing, anything else I could cram in. I am just glad to be out of here today. I don’t want to be stuck in Dallas for the weekend, but if I am, I hope the Eagles are in town.
Once I was released, I went to Babes for fried chicken. I asked around to some locals about fried chicken. The consensus was Babes. They were correct. Delicious family style fried chicken dinner for one. After dinner I was heading into Louisiana. I drove east for about 2 hours, ran out of daylight, got tired, and stopped to top off Pervvies fluids. I then found a slot to pull into, and tuck myself in for the evening.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.

Thank you John Barteau & Geocaching for these fun pictures

I got a phone call from my one friend back home who does the best pretending not to hate me. He wanted to make sure I knew it was the new moon, and had planned accordingly. He also told me some other nonsense about Saturn or Jupiter or Youranus, something about being close and visible. I was planning to get a hotel this particular evening. I knew it was the new moon, but I had not prepared or planned anything. I was planning to be in the middle of nowhere Texas the following night. Something about that phone call changed my entire attitude and mentality. I felt like one of those challenged kids that the entire school was rooting for suddenly. Rudy comes to mind, and Carrie.
I immediately pulled over for a fuel and research break. I found some dark skies in places I could get to before sunset. That is where Geocaching came to the rescue. I did not know anything about the area, and there was nothing on the satellite map except rugged terrain. There were a few geocaches spread out over a giant section of map. This is unusual. But seeing those green icons let me know that a human got there, and most likely without too much difficulty. I was able to navigate to the middle of nowhere northwest New Mexico, on drivable roads. I drive an adventure van named Pervvie, so almost anything is drivable these days. There was not another thing or soul around. Not only did I navigate to the middle of nowhere, very dark spot, it took me to a gold mine of beauty. I saw an amazing sunset. Crystal clear sky and I found these “ruins” nearby. It is just too much. Too too too too much.

The night pictures went perfectly. I can’t even believe this spot I accidentally stumbled on. I watched day turn to night with a beautiful sunset. Then I watched night turn to utter blackness. It does not get this kind of dark where I live. There was a moment I thought I was going to have to scratch the whole night. I stepped out of my van into the pitch black, walked a few feet away, set up my tripod, turned on my headlamp and the first thing I saw, a snake, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere New Mexico, I’m sure it wants to kill me. It was about 2 feet long as big around as a pencil, but it might as well been a dragon.
I stayed up all night with two cameras taking pictures of all different angles with several different foregrounds. I also spent several hours just sitting outside in my chair staring up at the night sky. It was mesmerizing and amazing. Last night was a night that I really wish I could’ve slept outside under the stars. Everything about it was perfect, the scenery, the smell, the sound, the temperature, the cool breeze. But, you know, the snake from 2 paragraphs ago.
Because of inspiration from the youth in my life, and a passion for finding hidden treasure, I was able to spend a perfect night alone, in the pitch black, world at my fingertips, and make some really fun pictures.
To make everything even more fun, today was day 69 of my road trip.

A bunch of my favorite pics from my road trip album HERE.

Fun playing with exposure as I process these night sky pictures: