Help.Stop.

Two years is a long time right? I have a new respect for all the people who make self publishing look like an effortless task. Let me assure you that for someone as tech averse as myself, it is not. (Did I mention the photos were shot on black and white film I developed in my kitchen?)

This post is a request for help. If you have any experience with self publishing, if you know of or are a non-fiction publisher (preferably of an art or photography persuation), if you are a writer or editor… please get at me. I have reached the point with this project where I am stopped dead in my track due to lack of knowledge of these realms. Rather than continuing to beat my head against a wall I thought I might do again what I did at the begining which is ask for help from others. Thank you internet world and thanks again to all the donors. I can’t wait to send you all some beautiful photos and words!

stop

 

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Develop, Scan, Edit, Write, Read, Write, Pair, Repeat…

Hello internet world!

I’m flattered you all have not forgotten about my humble project, as it is the case many are asking when the finished product will be available. Unfortunately I truly have no idea. What I can tell you is, all the film is developed and scanned. Presently the part of the process I’m in is going town by town through all my photos and those of the FSA and pairing things up. This process involves weeding through many many thousands of photos and of course doing some writing along the way on the occasions inspiration strikes. I can also tell you – I have a very long way to go, so please be patient with me. I assure you all I am plugging right along and will joyfully keep doing so until all books and prints are dispersed. I really can’t thank you all enough for supporting this project. I am grateful beyond words. Here are a few snippets to satiate your curiosity.

Circleville Ohio, 1938

Circleville Ohio, 1938

Circleville Ohio, 2013

Circleville Ohio, 2013

Circleville Ohio, 1938

Circleville Ohio, 1938

Circleville Ohio, 2013

Circleville Ohio, 2013

Polk County Florida, 1937

Polk County Florida, 1937

Polk County Florida, 2014

Polk County Florida, 2014

Kern County California, 1936

Kern County California, 1936

Kern County California, 2014

Kern County California, 2014

Gee's Bend Alabama, 1939

Gee’s Bend Alabama, 1939

Gee's Bend Alabama, 2014

Gee’s Bend Alabama, 2014

Gee's Bend Alabama, 1939

Gee’s Bend Alabama, 1939

Gee's Bend Alabama, 2014

Gee’s Bend Alabama, 2014

Nearing the end…

158 days on the road
10,158 miles traveled so far
2,539 miles to go
32 states
Slept in –
6 rest areas
19 people’s homes
11 camping sites
13 hotels
Numerous beautiful stories.

Only the book will tell, but here are some outtakes as an appetizer…

Gee's Bend Quilting Collective - China Pettway - Gee's Bend Alabama

Gee’s Bend Quilting Collective – China Pettway –
Gee’s Bend Alabama

Gee's Bend Quilting Collective - Mary Ann Pettway - Gee's Bend Alabama

Gee’s Bend Quilting Collective – Mary Ann Pettway – Gee’s Bend Alabama

Power - Nassau County Florida

Power – Nassau County Florida

Burning Season - Bossier County Louisiana

Burning Season – Bossier County Louisiana

Family Dinner - Ocean Springs Mississippi

Family Dinner – Ocean Springs Mississippi

Underpass Homeless - New Orleans Louisiana

Underpass Homeless – New Orleans Louisiana

Happy New Year!

Post cards are printed and sent! We will be headed back out into the unknown in a few days starting with Polk County Florida and eventually ending in Bakersfield California. Lunch and I should be on the road for at least another month perhaps a bit longer. Thanks for all your support and Happy New Year!
postcards

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Well as you all have noticed by now, my posts have been and will be few and far between. My friend Dennis put it best when he said “You don’t quite cut the blogospheric mustard.” Meh – I do what I can. That being said, here is the next blog…..

Some people have mentioned that they wish I would post things more relative to the trip, and although almost none of my film is digitized, I can share a few shots with you. Most of what I’ve been photographing recently is agriculture and manufacturing. In Vermont I visited a paper mill ( I do not have permission to share those shots yet ), an egg distributor, and a family owned dairy farm. In Provincetown Massachusetts I went to the wharf and spoke with fishermen turned lobstermen. Really you won’t get details from me until the book, but suffice to say people are having to adapt in dramatic ways.

Also for those of you asking what states I’ve been in so far here is a list –

California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.

Some states I shot photos in, some I simply drove through to get to the photos. Next will be NYC, Washington DC, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

Without further ado – actual project photos!!!!

Homestead - Denmark Maine

Homestead – Denmark Maine

Steve Lozinak - Fisherman - Provincetown Massachusetts

Steve Lozinak – Fisherman – Provincetown Massachusetts

Tom Scherer - Fisherman - Provincetown Massachusetts

Tom Scherer – Fisherman – Provincetown Massachusetts

Fishing Tourism - Provincetown Massachusetts

Fishing Tourism – Provincetown Massachusetts

Provincetown Massachusetts

Provincetown Massachusetts

Hinesburg Vermont

Hinesburg Vermont

Eggs sitting on old retired egg processing equipment - Stowe Vermont

Eggs sitting on old retired egg processing equipment – Stowe Vermont

Kayhart Brothers Dairy Farm ( Cabot affiliated) - West Addison Vermont

Kayhart Brothers Dairy Farm ( Cabot affiliated) – West Addison Vermont

Kayhart Brothers Dairy Farm ( Cabot affiliated) - West Addison Vermont

Kayhart Brothers Dairy Farm ( Cabot affiliated) – West Addison Vermont

Vermont

Vermont

Vermont

Vermont

Urban Farming

3 years ago a friend of mine invited me to go work on a farm for a day in exchange for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. At the time, I lived in Texas and already had a fairly large garden of my own and many healthy egg laying chickens. We drove out to the 20 acre organic farm and rode on the back of a tractor while dropping onions into a rotating onion seeder. We harvested carrots of all colors and did some weeding. It was the most beautiful day, and the fact that I was given a giant box of vegetables and fruits plucked so recently from the earth – I was over the moon. I was laid off at the time and collecting unemployment. I lived with my boyfriend who was also laid off and collecting unemployment. Needless to say things were tough, but between the CSA box and our own garden and chickens we were eating like kings. The food still had energy. It had not been picked before it’s time on some far away farm and then trucked or trained across the country for days. It had not been waxed up to make sure it still looked pretty while sitting in a grocery store. It had flavor – the kind of flavor that only comes from picking something at the right time…the REAL right time not the corporate farm time. I felt wonderful even though life was hard. My brain was actually getting nutrients.

Over the years I have been overjoyed to find so many people practicing smaller scale farming. Some volunteer on farms as I did, some have extensive farms in their own back yards, and some are part of community gardens. Many schools have started gardens to teach children how vegetables are grown in hopes that their participation in the process will make them more willing to eat what can often be the last lingering unwanted food on a dinner plate.

Here are some photos of small scale farms, urban gardening, and elementary school gardens – not too many though because I want to save some for the book. Farm to table is on the rise!

The farm I volunteered on – https://www.jbgorganic.com/thefarm

Here’s a video of a hero of mine who started a giant garden in Compton LA – http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.html

Beautiful farm - Atascadero, Ca

Beautiful farm – Atascadero, Ca

Coring and dehydrating apples - Oakland, Ca

Coring and dehydrating apples – Oakland, Ca

Apple bounty - Oakland, Ca

Apple bounty – Oakland, Ca

Urban garden - Oakland, Ca

Urban garden – Oakland, Ca

Apple with worm - Oakland, Ca

Apple with worm – Oakland, Ca

Sharing Black Walnut wood - St. Louis, Mo

Sharing Black Walnut wood – St. Louis, Mo

Onions and garlic hanging in the basement - St. Louis, Mo

Onions and garlic hanging in the basement – St. Louis, Mo

Children showing off the vegetable garden they planted at school - St. Louis, Mo

Children showing off the vegetable garden they planted at school – St. Louis, Mo

Children at ribbon cutting ceremony for their school vegetable garden - St. Louis, Mo

Children at ribbon cutting ceremony for their school vegetable garden – St. Louis, Mo

Children raising their hands when asked " Who planted something in the garden?" St. Louis, Mo

Children raising their hands when asked ” Who planted something in the garden?” St. Louis, Mo

An Inspiring Small Business Story – Dessy B’s Steakhouse – Las Vegas

My last night in Las Vegas I was driving around looking for dinner and trying to avoid chain restaurants when I saw Dessy’s. I walked in and was greeted by the most lovely kind woman. Her name was Ophelia. She sat me at a table and I quickly noticed that every table had an article inside of a plastic sleeve on it. After a while I grabbed mine and read it… I had goosebumps. It was the story of how Dessy’s used to be a Sizzler but when the economy took a down turn, manager Arthur Church was notified that his Sizzler would be shut down in 24 hours. Here is the inspiring story of how Arthur along with 23 other former Sizzler employees turned corporate shut down into small business success. This is my favorite story from the road so far…

Article –

Dream realized after closure – Former Sizzler site reincarnated when employees open new eatery

By DANIELLE NADLER
VIEW STAFF WRITER

What to do when life hands you a sour economy?

Make burgers?

When handed the news that he and 130 other Sizzler employees no longer had jobs, Arthur Church tapped into a longtime dream to run his own restaurant.

As the former Sizzler district manager, Church got a call from Sizzler franchise owners in September to say within 24 hours all four restaurants in the valley would close.

“It was a complete shock,” said Church, who worked with the company for 27 years. “Business dropped slightly over the summer, but we were doing OK.”

For years, he had often thought it would be fun to one day start his own restaurant. He even had a name picked out — Dessy, after his 9-year-old daughter. As the reality of unemployment sunk in, Church set out to bring his idea to life.

“I couldn’t believe all these employees were just out of work,” he said. “I was trying to get them back to work.”

As soon as he secured financing and signed a lease in the old Sizzler building at 4901 S. Eastern Ave., Church called former Sizzler employees to tell them the news.

About a month after they lost their jobs, few of the former employees had found work. Most applied for positions at Dessy, and 28 were hired to start the restaurant. Church said he would have hired all of them back if he could.

“Everybody was so happy to have jobs,” said Rita Gamboa, a head server at Sizzler for 17 years. “If I work 24/7, I don’t care. I have a job.”

Employees banded together from morning to night for two weeks to clean, paint and remodel the restaurant. They brought in more booths, tweaked the color scheme and the décor.

Church and former Sizzler general manager James Lujan, now a chef at Dessy, created a menu that was a far cry from Sizzler’s. Instead of frozen and pre-made dishes, they brought in fresh ingredients and lowered prices.

“We wanted to make it our own,” Church said. “It became like a family working together to get it open.”

Dessy Burgers opened on Nov. 8, 2008, with a new sense of family and ownership, according to employees.

“I take care of this place as if it was my own — I feel like it’s mine,” Gamboa said.

Business has steadily increased since Dessy opened. Few of the regular Sizzler customers have transitioned to Dessy regulars, but Church said the menu draws more families.

Unlike Sizzler, Dessy is a full-service restaurant with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes breakfast specials like egg skillet and French toast platter, plus pasta, seafood, nine different hamburgers, 13 different steak options and a 50-item salad bar.

“The service is excellent, the food is fresh and the prices are a steal,” Dionne Tate said during her second visit to Dessy Burgers. “I heard what the employees did here, so I wanted to come check it out. It’s very brave what they’ve done.”

Church said he does not hold harsh feelings against Sizzler. If the local restaurants would have stayed open, he and most the employees would have stayed for years.

Lujan, who was with Sizzler for 10 years, said he would have stayed with the company another 10 years.

“This is what I love to do,” he said between grilling burgers during the lunch rush. “I’m a firm believer that what happens happens for a reason. Even though things are really tough, we need to believe in what we do. Arthur gave us a chance to do what we do best.”

A copy of the article placed on every table.

A copy of the article placed on every table.

Ophelia was one of the former Sizzler employees.

Ophelia was one of the former Sizzler employees.

The Next Ghost Town – La Quinta Inn Las Vegas

Lunch and I have been in the ghost town called La Quinta Inn for 3 days now. Have you ever lived in a giant empty hotel? It feels like a slightly eerie childhood dream. For some reason I’ve always loved busy places gone empty. It’s quieter; I feel like I see details better. I’ve told many people of the Christmas morning in Boston when I walked to Harvard Square at 6am after a major snow storm. There was not a single tire track nor footprint the whole way. When I got to Harvard Square all the cabs were lined up, running with smoke pouring out of the tailpipes. Every driver was asleep..again not a track nor footprint. It’s one of my favorite memories of Boston. It was apocalyptic to see and hear nothing in such a busy densely populated area.  Anyway – to a lesser degree that is the La Quinta Inn the past 3 days. If I have to stay in a cookie cutter hotel, I’m glad it’s empty.

The truck is presently receiving a used engine. The engine has 60,000 miles on it so I’m really turning back the clock here. The first place we went on this journey was northern California. I have no photos unfortunately (except undeveloped film) because there was no electricity up on the mountain and all my devices were dead. Once we left the mountain we headed through The Sierras. The truck was overheating roughly every 30 miles so Lunch and I were doing a lot of pulling over and waiting. We were lucky in California to break down in places like the Donner Pass. The weather was cooler and there was a long hiking trail for us to play on.

Once we made it to Utah the breakdowns were much hotter but equally frequent. You never know how steep the west is until you try to cross it with a compromised motor. I’ll tell you now.. it is steep and hot. I just kept thinking how much longer and hotter it must have been using horses and carriages. I stayed grateful, but was the most grateful pulling into my friend Elena’s driveway in Salt Lake City.

After leaving Salt Lake we continued our break downs all the way to Las Vegas. My poor dog looked like he needed a break from the desert heat, so we pulled into this hotel Sunday night. On Monday we headed out – my fingers crossed. About 16 miles south of Vegas there was a giant explosion of water on my windshield. I scanned the sky for storm clouds. There were none. My gages held steady but soon the engine knocking began. I put the truck in neutral and we coasted down the exit ramp of the last exit before entering the Mohave. A tow truck serendipitously pulled up immediately and I waved him down like an airplane ground controller. We put Lunch in his air conditioned tow truck ( did I mention I had to run the heat full blast every day during all those breakdowns to draw heat from the engine? )… had a couple laughs at the state of my engine and loaded up and headed back to Vegas – back to the same hotel we had just left.

So for now we live at the La Quinta. The airport is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. You would think that would be loud, but somehow it’s not. My favorite part is going to the hot tub at night and watching the planes take off and land 70 feet in front of me. It is surreal..almost as surreal as living in an empty hotel. My least favorite part is such a huge set of expenses so early on, but I know we’ll be safer with the “new” engine.

It seems to me the blog is about the journey.. so here it is… the reality of what the journey has been like thus far. We will be very happy to be moving on soon, but until then here are some photos of what it looks like living in an empty hotel….

Empty pool with airplane

Empty pool with airplane

The La Quinta - Las Vegas

The La Quinta – Las Vegas

No fitness

No fitness

Empty hallway

Empty hallway

Empty free breakfast - and they're out of gravy

Empty free breakfast – and they’re out of gravy

Lunch in an empty lot with plane

Lunch in an empty lot with plane

First Week

Well folks – it has been a week. Lunch and I have been in Northern California, Utah, and Nevada. Our trusty steed is running on 3 cylinders instead of 4 so we are traveling a bit slower than expected – sorry Colorado. I’m still trying to get the hang of this blog stuff – and internet and phone reception has been hard to come by. I promise my next blog will say more word stuff…but for now here’s some photos of Walmart and cows and such. Much love from Nevada!

Beautiful old farm property.

Beautiful old farm property.

Cows in the road - Antimony Utah

Cows in the road – Antimony Utah

Scenic Walmart Distribution Center - Nevada

Scenic Walmart Distribution Center – Nevada

Horsies Utah

Horsies Utah

Trains near Elko Nevada

Trains near Elko Nevada