Wes and the truck in front of Grange Hall on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
In December 2010, I drove away from my home in Portland, Oregon for what would become a six month, 25,000 mile road trip with my dog, Wesley, in a gray Toyota pickup truck. We meandered from western States to the distant Provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. I wanted to see some icebergs. At the end of January, about half way through the journey, the Egyptian Revolution broke out. So naturally, I made an unexpected detour to Cairo.
Lisa helps service my truck for the journey ahead.
A typical grain silo in eastern Oregon along highway 97
Christmas in Downville, CA: A family of Golden Retrievers; hymnal numbers from Christmas mass; playing my Martin 00-18; and BJ and Summer working quietly.
I met a lot of people on this trip, and most of them just assumed I was going through some kind of mid-life crisis. Friends and family too, I imagine. It was hard for me to argue with them, as I really didn't know. Why else would a seemingly bright man of my age be single and wandering around far-off places with no particular place to go, and with a sense of longing in his eyes that was difficult to hide?
Any stress I may have felt during this time in my life, as I did my best to prop up a big house, relationship and challenging job, wasn't the real problem. I had lost sight of who I was, what I really believed in, and what I wanted to say and do. Big questions to be sure, but hardly unique. I wondered out loud if I ever really wanted to be something other than what I thought other people would be proud of. What I didn't fully realize at the time, but probably suspected, is that other people had nothing to do with it.
It was the autumn of 2010, and short of waiting for a better answer, I decided to simply cut it all loose. I would walk away from my life savings and all the things that didn't matter, so no other choice was left except to deal with me. And so, like many adventurous souls have before me, I figured I might just find myself again on a long and open road, with my dog, a healthy dose of humility and an open mind.
This all may sound a bit too tidy and well-reasoned in retrospect, given that my actions in the moment were anything but that. I'm now looking back on a year far from my finest, trying to make sense of all the things that caught up with me. Though I'm very optimistic and happy to begin anew, for now, this particular adventure remains a story without an ending.
Note: In addition to these photographs, I shot a lot of video during the trip, some of which ended up in short clips posted to my blog. So many great stories and experiences emerged and I have hopes of finding a structure and narrative for a movie that ties it all together.
Camping in the car along the California coast, near Big Sur.
Sharing a coffee with friends on a rainy night at Intelligentsia Coffee in Los Angeles.
Venice Beach, CA.
Toasting the New Year with friends; Wesley makes a walk of fame in Hollywood; Manchester United game at Lucky Baldwins pub; and meeting up with my old drummer, Mike Nightingale.
In Los Angeles at the Warner Bros back lot visiting my friend, Matt.
Wesley driving through Joshua Tree National Park.
Camping in Slab City in the California desert and getting a tour of Salvation Mountain from Leonard Knight
Meeting Roger and Gloria in Slab City, playing dominos and having lunch in their camper
The Slab City library
Driving through Arizona and New Mexico, and visiting the Very Large Array
After spending some time in Austin, this is driving by Houston on my way to New Orleans.
New Orleans and Mississippi; some crypts way down south along the bayou.
Going over the 24 mile long Lake Pontchartrain causeway, Louisiana.
Exploring the banks of the Mississippi River from the Delta up to Vicksburg, Mississippi
Old microphone used by Johnny Cash and Elvis at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
Prairie Home Companion live show in St. Paul; Minnesota Gophers hockey game; birthday party with friends; and meeting Martin Sexton at his show in Fargo, ND.
Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota.
Wesley in Northern Minnesota
Too cold in Thunder Bay, Ontario to sleep in the truck, so we stayed in a motel instead.
Visited my dad and stepmom's farm in upstate New York for a couple weeks. This is one of Sue's (my stepmom) horses.
Sue tending to her horses and chores. While I was here, the Egyptian Revolution broke out and I decided to leave my truck and Wesley with them for a few weeks to go to Cairo and see what was up with that.
Dad at work in his lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology
Drinks in Soho (NYC) while visiting my friend, Jennifer.
Having a nice breakfast with Jennifer in lower Manhattan, just before catching my flight to Cairo, Egypt.
After returning from Egypt, Wesley and I continued our road trip north. This is a foggy cemetary on Martha's Vineyard.
Wesley in NYC next to Blek le Rat; boats in Acadia, Maine; and spending a week on a 600 acre nature preserve and a lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Wesley on the beach in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Pleasant Bay on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Fisherman near Cheticamp in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Coastal village of Trinity in Newfoundland, Canada.
Wes and the truck parked at lands end near Bonavista, Newfoundland.
One of the many moose I saw in Newfoundland.
Camping beside a lake in Newfoundland
Large lighthouse on the coast of Labrador, Canada
A Viking settlement at the northern most point on Newfoundland.
800 miles on a remote dirt road through Labrador and Quebec
the backroads through Vermont and upstate New York
Driving back west through the Badlands of South Dakota.
Overlooking the Columbia River Gorge