adventures in missouri

this old one-lane bridge brought us to miles of winding road alongside cornfields.

on day two i drove from tulsa, ok to st.louis, mo to see my dear friend paulette. i was only in stl for a couple days but the adventures had were amazing, nonetheless.

on saturday myself, polly, dan, adam and chris decided to venture out to pacific, mo (about thirty minutes outside of stl) in search of an abandoned mansion polly's father had mentioned. we knew it was kinda a long shot but we pressed on with determination. when we first arrived in pacific we took a slight detour to explore some old caves off the main road. after climbing over some suspicious sandy material we headed to an old one-lane bridge where polly said we could see the house and from there devise a plan to get to it. we saw a large white house amongst some trees up on a hill and figured we just needed to find a way up to it. we found an old deserted road and followed it to its end. from there we climbed a steep and slippery hill to get to the top. once we got up dan and adam walked further to see how to get to the house. chris, polly and i waited at the foot of the cliff. they returned with sad news: the house we were after was, in fact, not abandoned. you can imagine our disappointment.

we considered it an adventure despite our lack of success. after we climbed back down we got pulled over by the cops and then got ice cream. the day ended with the three stellar polaroids and ticks for polly and dan . . .

dan reports the bad news.

adam and dan: sweaty, sexy woodsmen.

picher, ok

my cross country journey took me from the west end of the oklahoma panhandle all the way across to the northeast corner of the state. just as i was about to cross the oklahoma-kansas border i passed through a little town called picher.

something felt off as i entered the town. and as i got further in i noticed a whole grouping of damaged homes to my right, with a no-trespassing sign loftily staked at the main road entrance. i, of course, indulged my curiosity and ventured into the neighborhood. i anticipated finding a couple arsoned homes or something of the like. but what i discovered was so much more. a whole neighborhood of of picher had been completely desecrated. homes with roofs torn off and on the ground beside them, furniture strewn about the streets, entire trees ripped from the earth now lay with their roots facing the sky. it soon sank in that this town suffered a severe natural disaster. later research confirmed this town was hit by a tornado in may 2008.

the following polaroids were all i could capture of the left-behind town. the whole experience was simultaneously unsettling, beautiful and sad.

a tree lies, its roots exposed.

'dear jon's archery supply'
one of the less-damaged homes sits amongst storm trash and debris.

this home reads 'SEATO'. im not exactly sure what it means.
the sentiment to the left reads 'what's left of it'.

an abandoned home sits still while the wind moves the curtains in and out of the shattered windows.

it was so bright out that i wasn't able to totally capture this street sign.
it reads '7th street' above a pile of debris that includes a home, a tree and some left behind toys.

driving through this town was incredibly intense. what was so crazy about it was that driving in, through and out took less than an hour. this town was so small yet i can't imagine the magnitude of effect this tornado had on the people who lived there. as i drove out of the town i noticed all the store fronts and businesses were closed and abandoned. how can you run businesses in a town if no one lives there anymore?

and picher is just one example of small town america being fought and defeated by natural disaster. i cant help wonder where all these people went and what is going to happen to this little town.

** further research indicates that the town of picher was already undergoing abandonment after many residents left due to poor air and water conditions. this was the result of years of underground lead and zinc mining. **


on the road to tulsa

the abandoned chelsea motel off the old route 66.

she's a child. not a choice!
pro-life propaganda on a rural route road.
i wasn't able to really capture the best part of this sign which is the totally bizarre 'child' represented.

oklahoma corn. i saw a lot of this on my drive.

as high as an elephant's eye.

west to east

my trip home from alamosa took me through, across and over nine different states in only four days. colorado to new mexico to oklahoma to kansas to missouri to illinois to kentucky to tennessee to georgia.

it was a wonderful drive; a fantastic adventure. i took many polaroids along the way and over the next couple of days will post the images and stories of my journeys. . .

i found this old abandoned farmhouse off of route 412 in oklahoma.

as always i am drawn to window frames.

this is my favorite. interiors and exteriors co-exist in abandoned bliss.


devil's playground part II

before i lost my camera to the wild rio grande i got some digital documentation of devil's playground. i love polaroids, naturally, but the digitals do a really great job of capturing the whole space. the following are some highlight shots of the railroad ruins.


devil's playground part I

today i left alamosa. it was surprisingly painless and harmonious; the time came to leave. so i left.

before i skipped town i made a trip to devil's playground, a sort-of ghost town where many left behind railway cars and shacks live. i've posted about this place once before.

anyway, here are more polaroids of the joint. i am so in love with this space. i hope it remains for years to come (mostly cause i'd love to shoot a movie there.)