Bicycling America I, This man's name is Werner Jampon. He says he is originally from Switzerland, but has been living the the U.S. for some years now. He actually lives across the river in D.C. I have his address and phone number which he gave to me. I wish I could remember the details of the conversation we had (this was the evening before the morning of the previous photo), but all I remember now is his talk about the Matterhorn, Space, existence, and the swan you will see in the next picture I post tomorrow. He was a fascinating man, and is partly responsible for my camping spot that night, as I was only taking a break from my ride to take some photographs, but got wound into a long conversation with him (it was more actually just listening to him talk), which, by the time we were through, the sun was already quite low. Things always seem to work out, even if it wasn't how you planned them to.
Bicycling America I, A View of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument on a Frosty, Early November Morning, 2015. This was my first night camping after leaving Annapolis two days previous (I stayed with a friend of a friend in D.C. my first night.). I was camped in a very obvious location, so did not setup my tent, right along the banks of the Potomac, just across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. It was a cold morning, but an extraordinary one: the colors, the movement of the fog as it was carried of in tiny shreds by the gentle wind, the quiet, the stillness, the birds gliding over the water like spirits, the feeling of aliveness that the frosty air brought....
Bicycling America VII. American Flag in a Neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina. I forget on what day this was. I stayed in two places during the Christmas week that I spent in Charlotte. One night was at a supposed friend's with whom I used to work at a local cafe here in Annapolis, and the other was four nights at a very lovely woman's who I didn't actually meet as she wasn't in town (acquaintanship made through the WarmShowers cycling app). Flags displayed so prominently, or at all, to me are, well, complicated symbols I guess you might say. For myself, I can't ever imagine waving something so proudly when I think about this country and its relationship to the world beyond its borders, and when I think of the profoundly misguided, and often deliberately toxic, destructive, malign, and subversive policy that is put in place at every level of government office in this nation. However, I am fascinated by the flag and the sort of cult attitude of some that attends to it. It can be a symbol of propaganda, or it may simply be a symbol of one's pride (pride for what, I couldn't say). And of course there is the evolution of the flag from the country's founding down to today. In all of this I find a curiosity and fascination with this thing, this flag which embodies so many differing philosophical ideals. It is a symbol of hypocrisy and contrariness, but it is (to some extent) a symbol of inclusivity. There is much work to be done there, however.
Bicycling America IX. An American Allegory in Four Words. This was the first picture I took upon cycling into South Carolina from the north. Just a small collection of abandoned buildings off the side of the road I was on. I probably could have taken a few more photos, but this one would just speak for them all anyway. There is another that pairs with this one, and is from the exterior of another building on the same property, that I will be posting in the next trio of images. Scary, the prophetical powers of some. Remember, Donald Trump is a mere symptom, a manifestation, if you will, of the American sub-conscious. With therapy, however, he can be made to go away.
Bicycling America X. Somebody's a Prophet in South Carolina. Continues the theme of the previous photo. I took this in December of 2016. Either someone is a time traveller, or they understood Trump a lot better than I. And to think this is South Carolina, too!
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXII. Flowers in a Church, Somewhere South of Chapel Hill, NC, March, 2016. This was inside of a church that I camped at my first night back on my cycling trip that got interrupted around Columbia, SC by a really, really bad saddle sore and a wrecked front wheel. Long story, but by that point of the trip it seemed the Powers That Be were signaling to me that I should temporarily call it quits and head back home to regroup. Incidentally, I was talking (texting) to a very cool, beautiful woman at the time, pretty much every day, so one immediately thinks, "oh, this is cool, we'll get to see each other again, at least for a little while." But going home and meeting again was strangely awkward and uncomfortable. I mean, for two people with so much in common conversation was really a struggle (though I was pretty bad at talking to people back then). I'm not really sure what the problem was. Divine intervention, I suppose you might say. But with this quite obvious end to whatever relationship was struggling to blossom, I was free to go my merry way with no mental hang-ups or thoughts of wanting or needing to be anywhere else. It was freeing in that way. Anyway, she's still cool. Makes some lovely art pieces. She's a high school art's teacher as well, so I'm hoping things are well with her right now during this pandemic. Back to the picture. Despite it being March, and despite being in North Carolina, that night was still frosty cold and the ground was hard. I mistakenly used my nalgene bottle as a hammer to drive my tent stakes into the ground and busted the bottom out of it losing about half the water that was stored in it in the process. Nonetheless, I slept well, and had a delicious coffee the following morning.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXXXIII. Six Photographs Taken From a Bridge Connecting Mainland South Carolina to the Isle of Palms, March 25, 2016. I stayed with a very well traveled gentleman on Sullivan's Island (just outside Charleston) during my second journey south. We actually became acquainted when on my first trip I was looking for a place to stay in the Charleston area before heading back home to fix myself and my bike. Unfortunately he was unable to host me at the time, but told me to let him know the next time I was down there. There is an inland waterway called the Intracoastal Waterway here in the United States that runs all the way from Massachusetts down to Texas. Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms are both barrier islands with long bridges connecting them to the mainland. Obviously it was necessary for me to cross one of these bridges in order to get to the islands. These are just some photographs of cracked mud, reeds, grasses, and sadly some trash taken as I crossed the bridge. Obviously, and thankfully, the tide was out so I was able to get these extraordinary forms, textures, and varied shades of browns captured with my camera.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXIII. Two Women at a Bus Stop, Savannah, GA, April, 2016. I posted a black & white version of this photograph ages ago, but I think it bares re-posting what with all the turmoil, pain, anguish, and suffering we've all seen this year. Obviously I don't know whether these two women sat like this intentionally. Maybe they both just wanted to be in the sun, and not in the shade of the bus stall, and aside from sitting side by side on the same small bench there was no way to do this other than in the manner shown. I have no idea. All I know was that I was walking along on the opposite side of the street and knew I had to take the picture. It's too emblematic of this country's past, and sadly, its present. Whenever I look at this photo I think of a part of a recording of a sermon that M.L.K. gave that is played at the beginning of a song by the hardcore band Good Riddance: "Modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance. We've learned to fly the air like birds, we've learned to swim the seas like fish. And yet we haven't learned to walk the Earth like brothers and sisters."
I was recently going through some photographs from my bicycle trip kinda two years ago, updating and re-editing certain ones while updamy portfolio site. Just thought I should share some here since they likely won't see the light of day otherwise, and too, perhaps they can act as a portal for you, my viewers, into a new and unfamiliar world. This is Annie D's, in Buena Vista, Georgia. I stopped here for a tasty and very southern lunch while on my way to Columbus. The photograph reveals enough about the simple menu and lack of adornment of the place (dare it be called a restaurant?) that I don't need to add anything here. That said, I note that there is something very profound in this plainness and lack of embellishment and sophistication here, in that it's the hearts of the people that fills the room and coats one's eyes with a velvet sheen thus tinging everything with softness, warmth and charm and beauty. Oh, and the banana pudding is to-die-for.
How Can We Affect Change Like This? (There's No Juice!), Montgomery, AL, 2016
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXIV. Edmond Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama, December, 2018. The structure calls to mind linked arms or hands to me. Unity. One can't travel through the south, the deep south particularly, without thinking on the Civil Rights Movement. Obviously when I crossed the bridge on my bike at the end of 2018 things were, at least superficially, different than they are currently. I say superficially because underneath the quiet exterior there was anger and resentment stirring, waiting for a trigger to set it off, and rightfully so I might add. According to Wikipedia the bridge is named after a Confederate general, who also happened to be a U.S. Senator and head of the Alabama chapter of the KKK. I did not know this. I did however know that it was the sight of a number of confrontations between unarmed demonstrators and state police, all of which resulted in the police attacking the demonstrators, most notably on what's come to be known as Bloody Sunday, on March 7, 1965, when the demonstrators planned to march from Selma to the state capital, Montgomery, some 50 miles away. This was captured by news cameras and newspaper reporters and led to the Voting Rights Act. It wasn't until March 21 that demonstrators were able to peacably march the distance over the course of four days to Montgomery, protected by National Guardsman.
History Is A Long, Slow-Moving River, The Future Is A Horizon Never Reached, And The Present Is The Continuously Moving Point Of Understanding Where The Two Meet, Tombigbee River, Gainesville, AL 2016
America II.,Homeplate On A Street Corner, Oxford, MS, 2016
Sid's Diner, El Reno, Oklahoma, 2016
Somewhere Near the Salton Sea, California, 2016
Desert Shores, California, 2016
Bicycling America XXI. Walnut Canyon, Flagstaff, AZ, November, 2016. So, I stopped here, after leaving Flagstaff, for maybe an hour, though I could have spent significantly more time, as there are walking paths carved along parts of the canyon walls nearabouts the visitor's center, but I had a very long drive ahead of me that day; my destination: Santa Fe, NM where I would be staying a few days with a good fellow who hosted me as an injured cyclist months before in June when I was going back and forth between there and Taos wondering what moves I would make going forward. Walnut Canyon is only fifteen minutes or so by car from Flagstaff, and is an underrated site, mainly due to Flagstaff's relatively close proximity to the Grand Canyon. However, if you happen to be in Flagstaff, and want something to do nearby and out of doors, Walnut Canyon is a good option (not that there aren't numerous good options for being outdoors in Flagstaff).
La Ventana Arch, El Malpais, New Mexico, 2016
America III, The King: A Still Life, Lamplighter Lounge, Memphis, TN, 2016
Memphis, TN, 2016
Asheville, NC, 2016
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXVI. A Boy Sits at a Pinball Machine at the Asheville Pinball Museum in Asheville, North Carolina, November, 2016. I was on the last few days of my drive home from the west coast and wanted to make a short stop in Asheville, as I'd heard it's a great little town up in the Appalachian mountains. Also, as I researched it I discovered it contained a great little pinball arcade/museum! As part of the purpose in traveling around the United States is to unearth and discover what is America, and I already had some ideas about what America was, or what was emblematic of America, pinball machines and arcades definitely made the list, as they are, in my opinion, quintissentialy American, and to quite a large extent are a part of America that is nearly extinct. But in a few towns and cities around the country one can find people preserving these bastions of fun and sanity for the nostalgia of an older generation to revisit, and for a younger generation to become acquainted to and learn about, as evidenced in this photograph. The Asheville Pinball Museum executes this idea perfectly.
Up a mountain somewhere around Frisco and Breckenridge too long ago….
Three Portraits III (Yoda)
After the Aftermath of Hurricane Michael: Mexico Beach
Bicycling America XI. Cardboard Cutout of Donald Trump amidst an Assortment of Stuff in a Shop Window on the Outskirts of Pensacola, FL, December 2018. I took this photograph leaving Pensacola after spending a blissful and relaxing two or three days there at the First United Methodist Church I do believe. The man running the youth program there had done several bicycle tours in the past, and had a WarmShowers profile offering space in one of their buildings for travelers to stay, though, either he is no longer there, or they are no longer allowing that, since I'm not seeing the profile on WarmShowers right now. Regarding the photograph, I just thought this was an amusing, nonsensical collection of compositional elements, and being as our current president IS basically a cardboard cutout in mind, body (well, maybe not body) and soul, this just feels timely and right to post. Also, surrealistic picture, surrealistic presidency.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXXXXV. First Evening on Dauphin Island, Alabama, December 23,2018.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXXII. Oil Rigs in Gulf of Mexico, Dauphin Island, Alabama, December, 2018. Well, as per my last post, this was shot while I was on Dauphin Island. There was a beach near where I was staying (well, there was beach everywhere, as the island was quite narrow) with a bunch of these large, covered gazebos that were up on stilts, which gave one a heightened view of the surrounding beach and waters. I used the railing, roof posts, and bottom edge of the roof as framing guides for this shot. Turned out quite nicely I think! Words can not explain at my shock at the number of oil platforms out there (not just in this picture); they're EVERYWHERE, and at night light up the horizon like the lights of small villages seen from a mountain pass in the distance.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXXIII. Rough Seas and a Random Beach Somewhere Along the Coast of Mississippi While on my Way to New Orleans. Nothing but the eternal here.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXVII. Three Portraits in New Orleans, 2018, I. This guy was hanging out at a park near my buddy's apartment I was staying at for the week I was here. I just wandered by and he started talking to me. Might have had something to drink. Definitely had something to drink, now that I think back (and look at another picture of his Port of Call cup). Pack of Newports and a flip-phone on the picnic table. I don't remember what we talked about. Mostly I stopped so that I could take some photographs. That's always tricky because sometimes these guys don't want to let you go, and they'll just ramble on about nothing for ages, which is what this guy did. Eventually I just made a break for it though. Said I had somewhere to be, or something to do. He was nice enough, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I really like this photograph.
New Orleans, December 2019, XII.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXIX. Three Portraits in New Orleans, 2018, II. Man on a bus. Out of focus man, I should say. But that's okay.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXX. Three Portraits in New Orleans, 2018, III. This guy was definitely a bit out there. Homeless? Maybe. He was approaching different people along Royal St. looking for money or food. I asked him where we might go to get him something and he said there was a Subway and a McDonald's across the intersection we were at. I asked him too if he didn't mind me snapping a few photos of him, to which he replied in the affirmative. The little bugger wouldn't stop moving around though! He was like a damn bobble-head the way he kept moving his head up and down, looking here and there, always on the lookout, for God only knows what; I don't think he even knew what he was doing. I somehow managed to get this shot, eyes, those crazy intense one-pointed eyes, in focus miraculously, but not before he asked me when I was going to stop taking pictures of him. It was after this that we wandered slowly over, he had a weird sort of limp, and couldn't move very quickly, I got him his sub, and left him bothering someone else in his bitter casustic way of approaching people.
Three Classic Cocktails in New Orleans I, Vesper @bartonique
New Orleans, December 2019, VI.
New Orleans, December 2019, XI.
(Mostly) Bicycling America XXXVII. Two Kids Looking Out Over the Pacific at the Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles, California, August, 2019. I was in Los Angeles after returning from my perambulations abroad because I had left my bicycle with a friend in the city before flying to Australia the previous December. I spent a week wandering around the city getting myself prepared for the bike trip I was planning to take up the coast to the Bay Area. Here I was just out and about photographing. Had never been to the Santa Monica Pier before, and thought it a good idea to visit while I was in town. With their red shoes and similarly relaxed leaning on the railing, looking in opposite directions over the water, this was too good a picture to pass up, even if it is slightly off-center.
Shapes, Shadows, and Color in California II. (The Pink Umbrella)
Tourists IV. At the Elephant Seal Viewing Area, Hwy. 1, California
Tourists VI. At Bixby Bridge, Hwy. 1, California