Day 37: Home, Safe!

The slow, painful drive home continued on Sunday.  We arrived back in NYC a couple hours after Hurricane Irene’s passing.  Some downed trees in my neighborhood and lots of leaves.   NYC got off much easier than the Catskills where there are rivers cresting at about 20 feet right now.  After all the media drama, Irene was nothing more than a big rain storm here.  In the Park this morning, a few more downed trees and small lakes where there’s normally just grass.  The dogs back to their morning routine (running in the Park) — and I’ll be back to work tonight since the subways are running again.

Trip recap:  This was the most stressful trip I’ve ever taken because of all the mechanical problems.  I blame it on inept mechanics — not Sparkle.   The dealership in Grand Forks finally got it right — no more glitches after that.  For the most part, great weather.  Although it seemed we’d never even get to MN after all the early troubles in the trip, I managed to get through about 80% of my stack.  So that leaves about a week’s worth of stuff undone in WI & MN that will have to wait til a MT & WY trip, probably summer 2013.


Trip stats

days on the road:  36

photos for the website:  approx. 5,100

miles driven:  14,060

total spent on speeding tickets:  $205 (total of two – Ironwood & Manistique, MI; one verbal warning in WI)

total spent on gas:  $3,315

total spent on repairs:
$673 for an A/C compressor (which should be reimbursed, all or part, since the part was less than a month old)
$0 (fuel pump replaced for $995 but then reimbursed when it the fuses continued blowing)
$437 (for three frayed wires and an evaporator vent valve = the resolution of “check engine” light and fuse problem)

Expenses not kept track of:  oil changes/maintenance, motels, food, etc.

Memories, good times, and photos:   more than worth every penny!   And the dogs give the trip an A+.

If you’d like to help with the costs of these trips, the website, all that… no amount is too small, my Paypal account is the same as my email:


Now, on with the final photos from Friday.

The morning started in Marshall — so here’s a couple of shots from the big hotel which, sadly, has been boarded up for years:


A nice mid-century bank in town:

One more from Marshall:

This one from Ghent:


At Brad’s Market in Minneota:



On to South Dakota.  I went to Prairie Village in Madison to check out the steam-powered, super rare Herschell-Spillman carousel.  A madhouse there since they were having a big tractor show.  Which turned out to be pretty interesting.  One of the stars — sputtering and whirring:

I know nothing about tractors but can easily understand the obsession with them:



From Freeman:



On to Yankton — a new city for me and one of the biggest reasons for the extra miles traveling SW of Minnesota even on the last day of shooting:


From Beresford.  The apostrophe probably a mistake, but no matter:



On to Sioux Falls for some reshooting from previous grey trips — and a few things not noticed or shot before:



Although this Burger Time building has a 1960s/1970s look, evidently this chain was founded in Fargo, ND in 1987.  I don’t know if any of the other ND/SD locations have this rootop triangle thingie:



More from Sioux Falls.  It was in the 90s today — so ice cream sounded like a good idea.  The B&G Milkyway rooftop sign has a tilted cone like Dairy Queen and Tastee-Freez.  But I don’t think this place was built as either of those.

I went with the Peach Avalanche — which was vanilla soft-serve with some “real” peach chunks.  Sorry bout the crappy photo — wasn’t going to shoot it but changed my mind in traffic.



Back in Minnesota — from Worthington.  These customized rubber mats are very rare now I think:

And they have a nice embossed plastic sign as well:



Last one for the trip — and I think it’s a kicker.  From St. James.   Art deco borders, great colors, and best of all — the loaf on top:

So, with this trip over, I’ll get back to work on the website in a day or two.  I’m only about halfway through adding the TX & OK photos from the spring.  Hoping to catch up with these two trips’ photos this winter.  Then, it will be time to start planning the next five-weeker.  Spring 2012, the dogs and I will be headed back to western TX so I can finish what I didn’t get to this year.   Then moving on to NM and AZ.  I’ll probably sneak off for a couple quickie trips this fall or winter.

You might want to check in now and then with the “Upcoming Trips” page here at the blog or the “What’s New” page at the website if you don’t want to miss these posts.  Thanks for tagging along with us.  Your comments and praises are much appreciated and give me a real boost.  It keeps me doing posting when I really should be sleeping.  I hope my photos and chatter encourage you to shoot more, travel more, and find art and value in the rusty, crusty, funky places and things that are rapidly disappearing.

Til the next adventure,

Debra Jane
Gripper, Fixie, Sputnik & Gremlin
Sparkle & Dee

21 thoughts on “Day 37: Home, Safe!

  1. Congratulations on another amazing, fantastic trip! I don’t know how you do it, I can barely keep up with your blog posts. Thanks for sharing all your hard work.

    • Thanks — although the driving part is done, the real work part (website) is just beginning…. Stop by the “What’s New” page now & then for a continuous dose of more photos.

    • That was something — mind over matter. “NO — this is NOT happening — I have too much to do!”
      This trip was a real adventure. Roadtrips are a real microcosm of life — ups and downs, good things and bad. I’d have had a lot more time for reflection on the drive home if not for exhaustion and the stress of the rain.

  2. Thanks for bringing us along on your great adventure! Glad you made it back safe! Looking forward to seeing all the photos this winter.

    • You’re welcome. Turns out I’m off work this weekend (building powerdown) which is really unexpected and rare. I’ll be home banging away at inserting lots of TX stuff at the site.

  3. I’ve greatly enjoyed yet another trip with you and the gang, I’ve no idea how many I’ve been along for by now but I know I’ll continue to be there in the future. Can’t wait to see all of the photos on the website!

    • Thanks — glad you had a good time! I took a peek and it looks like I’ve been doing these blogged trips since October 2006. No wonder I’m so tired! It looks like I’ve blogged 12 big trips — not sure how many little ones.

  4. I always wait to you are finished with a trip before I start reading. I told my husband about you the other night, and how I like to wait till I can relax and read.Now onto the adventure 🙂

    • That’s really interesting. I always thought what made things fun was following along as a daily saga (a virtual roadtrip). But maybe as a very short novel, it might be interesting.

    • Thanks! Hearing that folks enjoyed the posts helps me justify continuing to do them. It would be so much easier to do when I got home — but to me that would be cheating!

  5. Ditto what Gunnar said. The stats of your trips are always fascinating. So many miles, so many photos. I’m lucky to get 3 good photos in a week! And to me, 200 miles in a day is a major road trip. Enjoy your time at home, get some good sleep. I am — as always — relieved that you ALL made it back safely.

    • Sleep is not my thing. But it’s really nice to turn the engine off and just bang away at the computer for awhile. I’m always relieved, too, when I come home with all four dogs. I do take some chances with letting ’em run in all kinds of places. Mostly uneventful. But if something tragic were to happen, despite using my best judgement, the freedom and adventure would all be worth it. Life is short and dogs lives even shorter! Hope I inspire you to pick up that camera more often — I love your photos.

    • Thanks! I usually do these five-week trips every spring and summer. It’s a long haul at times. Usually about the 30th day, I say to myself that I can barely make it. But always the last day, I find myself wishing for “just one more week”. Unlike most people’s vacations which are all about relaxation and random exploration, my trips are all about maximizing the amount of stops. It’s much more work than my “real job” — with the driving & shooting by day, the Flickr & blog at night, it’s about 19 hours a day. But, in the end, I’m happy with what was accomplished and my life is richer for it.

  6. I really enjoyed your blog–you have a great eye and the comments were interesting, too. I’m glad your home safely. I am looking forward to your next trip. Thanks for everything!

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