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Ahhh

Posted on September 15th, 2007 after 5618 miles by Dean Croshere.

The warm sun beats through the windshield.

The breeze filters through the windows.

The temperature, all told, is perfect.

The crickets are chirping in the corn field.

The air is clear and smooth.

I'm drowsy.

I think I'm going to nap for a while. There is nowhere I'd rather be.

Central Illinois.

I'm not sure what these plants are, but I really enjoyed them. They appear yellow when you look down on them from above and green from below. The middling range was as high up as I could get Boxer.

You'll notice that if you click on images, it will link to high res versions of the same, in case you want a desktop picture or to go get it printed at Kinko's or something.

I took way to many pictures of this, having fun with the camera. It is just so satisfying to feel that shutter click.

All told, today was tame compared to the past couple of days. Just a nice relaxing drive through central Illinois.

The first thing I noticed when I was driving through Springfield Illinois was the power plant. The second thing I noticed was that the power plant was not nuclear. The third thing I noticed was the nice lake next to it.

I had some more fun with the camera, experimenting with the wide angle lens and the expressiveness in the clouds.

The sun was probably about an hour from setting and I was feeling drowsy again. I decided to pull off the road so I could fade in and out of consciousness in the cornfields until it came time to take some pictures. Once again, I love how expressive the clouds are.

To be fair, I did some photoshop work on this one. I darkened the ground around Boxer's feet as the flash caught that as well as him and it is not the focus of the picture.

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I thought a half mile was far.

Posted on September 16th, 2007 after 5618 miles by Dean Croshere.

I kind of want to go to Coeur d' Alene again when I'm done with all of this, just to carry Boxer down to dickhead. It seemed so far, so ridiculous then. I carried him considerably further today, and my body aches from the effort. I really should weigh him so I know what I'm carrying.

I drove into Chicago today without much of a plan for what to do. I picked up lunch downtown, a matter which I didn't think through very well. I paid more for parking than lunch itself, even though I ate at the corner of Guess and Gap, in the same building as a fur coat shop. I did get this guy-who-paints-himself-silver to pose with Boxer though.











That done, I went to take Boxer to Wrigley field. I have a frat brother who is enamored with the Cubs. It seemed the least I could do to take a picture in front of the sign.

It turns out that today was the last day they were offering tours. With a little shmoozing, I convinced them to let me take Boxer down to the field for free. I'll just post a bunch of these images in a row.

And there is more. Lots more really (I shot 309 images today), but I'm exhausted. I'm going to sleep and post more tomorrow.

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I've had this conversation before

Posted on September 17th, 2007 after 5618 miles by Dean Croshere.

I’ve got it down pat now.

First people just stare awkwardly. Usually there is a period of about a minute where no one will say anything. After that time, people’s curiosity overrides their fear of asking a stranger a question. The same question, worded differently, begins the conversation.

“[what’s the story with/what is/why are you carrying] your [dragon/dog/lizard/lion/…/thing/it]”

“It’s my school’s mascot.”

The follow up is obvious enough.

“What school?”

“Pacific University in Oregon”

I’ve had two people recognize the school, one grew up in West Linn. Usually people nod blankly and move on. Sometimes they ask where in Oregon, that’s easy enough to explain.

“What is it?”

“A Chinese Dragon Dog.”

This is usually good enough. If people started off the conversation with a guess of what it was, I’ll just tell them they were right. I have no idea what it actually is.

“So why are you carrying it?”

“I’m going on a road trip around the country, taking pictures with him.”

If they’re still interested at this point, I’ll give them a card with this website. This usually involves an awkward shifting of Boxer’s weight as I reach for my wallet with the cards.

“Looks heavy.”

“Yeah, that’s a good description.”

“So is this a greek rush thing/do you have to carry him/did you lose a bet?”

This one is tough to answer. I’ve got about a sentence, maybe two, to explain the entire history of Boxer and why it is an honor to have him. I think I’ve found the answer that both gains their interest and explains a lot.

“No, we stole him, actually.”

Yep, interest gained.

“Does the University know you have him?”

“They didn’t at first, but they do now.”

Sometimes they want an explanation of this. I’ll briefly help them out.

“Can I hold him?”

“Sure.”

What are they going do, run off with him? I’ve run with Boxer, they won’t get far. Plus, they don’t actually want him.

“Ooof. He’s heavy.”

“Yeah, that he is.”

The conversation is basically over here. Maybe we’ll go over where I’ve been or where I’m going next.

Anyway, after I toured Wrigley, I headed to Lake Michigan. I had never seen any of the great lakes before. I finally found a place I could park for free and it happened to have an excellent view of the skyline of some city/cities. It isn’t Chicago. If anyone knows what we’re looking at here, email me or post in the discussion. The location for this post is where the images were taken from.

I was amazed by the color of the water. It was a very interesting turquoise color.

Next I headed to the Sears Tower. This was unquestionably the most tiring exercise I’ve yet endured. I lugged Boxer through the entire tour they force you to go on before you take the elevator to what you want to see.

Chicago from 103 floors up.

Once again I had trouble with lighting. I also had to deal with the smaller windows near the floor since I was unable to hold Boxer and photograph him. I tried to balance framing the foreground (Boxer), the midground (the window), and the background (Chicago).

It was only about half an hour till sunset by the time I got up the tower, so I decided to wait around for the show. That horizon is apparently 50 miles away.


After our trip to the top of Chicago, I unloaded Boxer in my car and looked up dinner. I had competing recommendations. There was the cheezborger cheezborger cheezborger (no pepsi..coke) place made famous by the likes of John Belushi and there was the original Chicago style pizza place. Since I’ve had Chicago style pizza before I went with the Cheezborgers at the Billy Goat Tavern.

It was about a mile away and I had no desire to park my car again at the extravagant Chicago rates. I decided to walk there. Walking without Boxer felt great. It did occur to me that I was alone and walking through Chicago at night. I was, however, walking through the financial district. I figured I was fine as long as the buildings were over 50 stories tall.

Anyway, I got my Cheezborger, met a couple of guys that were also tourists, and drank a quite tasty house lager.

Food eaten, I was about to head back to the place I was crashing, about a half hour outside town. I decided to take one last trip back to that place with the nice skyline view. It was worth it. The night skyline was beautiful.

I love how the light plays on Boxer in these long exposures. (I was using the ground as a tripod with the camera strap wadded up underneath the lens for a little angle.)

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There was an accident

Posted on September 17th, 2007 after 5618 miles by Dean Croshere.

Vehicles collided on the freeway.

I wasn't directly involved. Very nearly, but I got through it.

I'm ok.

My car's ok.

In fact, everyone is ok. There was no injury save a bruised shoulder on one driver.

That is a miracle.

He thought he was going to die.

It involved a fucking tanker truck

Lets go back. I was not feeling terribly well. Not sick, just... blah. I was already down two energy drinks and, with about an hour's drive left, considering a third. I could feel the caffeine struggling to do its job as parts of my body felt the surge of energy while others simply wanted to stop concentrating on anything. I figured that next drink may win that little battle.

I am still listening to tales of Captain Nemo's fantastical adventures under the sea. It had finally arrived at one of the interesting points (It is a really long book). Nemo was describing how he was going to get from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean in two days without crossing where Moses had walked.

While the narrator and Nemo were arguing about the logistics of speed, the distance around the Cape of Good Hope, and how this might work, the large 80's van started changing lanes.

You know the type of van. Big unwieldy thing. Not a VW. Thin brown stripes painted along the length of it. Ladder on the back.

The problem with this simple lane change maneuver?

There was a Focus in that lane.

Why couldn't the Focus just swerve out of the way?

He was pinched in by a Semi.

I pulled myself away from the Nemo's improbable situation that was likely to be solved by electricity in an era where electric conductive power was still about as magical as ion propulsion is today.

At first it seemed like the situation was going to dissolve like it normally does: start to merge, honk, swerve, correct, fret a bit, drive on. The van looked like he was going to pull away from the-

Oh wow, the blue Focus is swerving a lot. Is he going to be able to correct?

Nope. There was impact.

The Focus fell back, swerving to the right. There must have been horns blaring and tires screeching and I do remember hearing it, but all I really remember is the slow methodical voice of the reader of my book. I stopped paying attention to the Focus. My attention was on the van in front of me. It was now facing perpendicular to the direction it was going - to the direction I was going.

The moon was really low in the sky. A crescent.

It's amazing the things you notice.

I had been slowing down as the situation escalated. It was now clear it wasn't going to diffuse with a few frayed nerves. I hit the brakes hard.

I could feel the anti-lock pressing back. Every time I feel that I get a rush of relief that I bought this car.

The van collided head first into the barrier between the freeways. I swerved to the right, across the debris that was now spread across the road. The tires held, the brakes did their job. I slowed down, pulled over to the left.

Stop.

Breathe.

Been here before.

Hit the emergency lights.

Get out.

Jump over the barrier. I don't know what is going on over there.

Find out if anyone is hurt. It doesn't look like it. He's breathing. No blood.

He's ok, but the van is sticking out into the road. I walked up the road a ways. I shined my flashlight at oncoming traffic, trying to get them to move over, to get out of this lane.

A few of them got it. A few of them damn near hit the van. Like really close. Some were wedged between the van and semis.

Finally the guy in the van managed to get it started to pull it off the road. We crossed the highway to go check on everyone else.

I got their stories. The guy in the focus was spun about at one point, he thought it was all over, wedged between a van and a semi, backwards. He needed a cigarette.

Apparently there were two semis involved. I only remember one. The Focus was black. I distinctly remember it being blue.

How the hell did I lose a semi?

The moon was orange. It looked like a giant peach wedge in the sky.

But I don't remember two semis.

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Draft 2

Posted on September 18th, 2007 after 5998 miles by Dean Croshere.

You’ll have to forgive my indulgence here. I talked with one of my friends back home and found out that this opening isn’t as effective as I had hoped it would be. I’m going to mess with it a bit here. Is it clear what I’m trying to get across? Can you figure out what happened?

-Something is Wrong.

This isn’t right.

My hand is damp, cold: clammy.

I’m a little dizzy. Disoriented.

Clink. I heard that. Barely. My ears are ringing.

A dark stain appears. It runs down my shirt. My shirt… wait, that’s not my shirt.

I’m wearing it, but it’s not my shirt.

I step forward a bit. Ungraceful, not purposeful.

Crunch. I definitely heard that.

The deep bass ripples through the air again.

I step, slightly after the beat.

Crunch.

The floor is wet. Covered in glass.

I start to raise my hand towards my mouth, to take a drink.

That’s the problem. My hand is empty. It wasn’t a moment ago.

Oh.

I’m not that drunk. Am I?

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Grandpa
Carlsbad, CA
Central Ala- 'Bama
The middle of the state.
Heaven on a Bun?
Next to the CdA lake
Driving in Idaho
Just south of Coeur d' Alene