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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?”


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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Carlsbad, CA
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