Friday, December 15, 2017

Recap of the original story

Yesterday someone asked anout my travels.  Here's a quick recap of the 22 month journey. The rest of this blog is the detailed account of those months and what has happened since.

In 2012 I retired from an active career in sales and marketing. At the time I was living alone and had a nice place out in the country near Pottsville (Yuengling) PA. Nice, that is, because it was an easy commute to a couple metros where I did most of my sales. Once I quit selling it turned out to be pretty remote from any social life.

There were a few bucks in the bank and I debated what to do with the next few years of my life... I bought a BMW motorcycle with the thought of traveling and I upgraded my photo equipment (which I had been involved with since age 7) to an EOS 7D, a 24-70mm and a 100-400MM lens. I spent the year becoming familiar with the new gear and then, January 2nd, 4:00AM my (then 19 y.o.) daughter picked me up with her horse and my bike in the trailer and we headed to FL.

She had a 90 day assignment at an eventing barn and I bought the fuel and groceries. I rented a camper near Wildwood and when the 90 days ended she headed home and I headed out on the bike, full time.

BMW 650 dual-sport bike, tent, photo gear, computer(2) and a hotspot. I would land a camp hosting assignment (any state/fed park has them) for a month or so and then travel for a few weeks. I did photography along the way with some horse shows, an ad on Craigslist as a photo/video freelancer and posting to facebook pages at the parks where I was working. That year I was always somewhere in the east, until mid September.

I got a call from a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) about a 60-day assignment to take pictures of people having fun. She wanted to build her marketing library to match her marketing plan for the following year. I was in SC when I took the call. "Where you calling from?," I asked. "Barstow, CA," she replied, "What would it take to get you out here?" My response was, "What do you have to offer?" That turned into 60 days housing + $35/day in a 28,000 acre section of the Mojave desert called El Mirage Dry Lake. Myself and one volunteer surveyor were the only permanent residents.

This is all detailed on my blog. google WhereDoesThatRoadGo.

10,000 frames, one dust storm and a desert snowfall later (the nice thing about photographing people having fun is that they only have fun on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I would turn in my files on Monday and hit the road for three days). Ending on Thanksgiving weekend, I headed to the Sacramento area for the winter. Lots of pics but no paying gigs. Actually, I did a camp host job for December (free camping), lived on a boat in San Fran in Jan as a renovator and I did a few Mystery shopping assignments. (another story) and then to TX and FL in the spring.

In May I had a camp host job here in southern IL right near where I grew up. Plenty of pics, but no pay, just free camping. Good news is that I met someone and we hit it off. Then FL for June and back to IL to nurture the relationship in July. August was wrapping up travels to MN, WI, MI and back to home base in PA. Had a 10 day yardsale and sold everything that didn't fit on the bike.

Along the way word spread about my travels and I published a magazine article with BMW Owners Assn and landed a few speaking gigs with motorcycle groups at national events. Pics came in handy for that.

I moved back here to IL in Sept of whatever year that was... 2015? Been here ever since with my new love for a life of travel (4 wheels, often referred to as a cage) and photography. 58,000 miles and lots of side stories. No, she doesn't ride.

OK, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Jus ordered big upgrade to my photo gear and looking forward to another great year. TX and southwest for the winter. See you out there!

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