Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Brat Wars

Madison, WI -Bratwursts became the proxy this weekend in the political battle between liberal Madison residents and Scott Walker, their Republican governor, whose war on the working class and jobless poor sparked massive protests earlier this year at Wisconsin’s capitol. Though the protests have waned, the anger has not. This weekend, the city’s annual Bratfest charity drive became the new battleground, since the CEO of Bratfest’s chief sponsor, Johnsonville, has donated more than $20,000 over the last decade to a variety of Walker’s electoral campaigns. In response, at least three alternative Bratfests sprang up around Madison, a city hailed by… Continue Reading

Home Sweet Home

The state capitol in Madison, WI. Madison, WI – I’ve been back home for nearly a month now. The plan was to drop off my belongings, which I hauled back from Philly, then head south along the Mississippi to New Orleans. Based on the destruction from the gazillion tornadoes that have torn through Missouri and other states, I’d argue the decision to not leave right away was somewhat fortuitous. Although, I am pretty certain the new ultra-wide angle lens I purchased this week would’ve captured the destruction well. I began working on a cover story for Madison’s weekly tabloid for… Continue Reading

Why I Live in a Van While Traveling

An abandoned, apparently lived-in van somewhere in Kentucky. When people learn that I live in my van while traveling America, I hear one of two replies: Seriously! and Seriously? I’m always shocked that anyone could think this way of traveling is anything less than awesome. Generally, people seem intrigued that I spend a good part of my year tooling around this vast and magnificent land, but it’s the “living in a van” part that many seem aghast at. Sure my van, Purple Thunder, doesn’t have a couch or a television. It does not have a refrigerator or an oven or… Continue Reading

The Unlucky Civilian

Gettysburg, PA – Mid-afternoon on July 1, 1863, a young seamstress named Virginia Mary “Jennie” Wade, along with her mother and two younger brothers, left her home in the center of Gettysburg to be with her oldest sister, who earlier that day endured a horrific childbirth, as Confederate soldiers marched on the 2,400-resident town. The Confederacy’s push into Union territory was the first salvo of what would later be seen as the most decisive battle of America’s Civil War. For three days Gettysburg shook as nearly 94,000 Union and 72,000 Confederate troops slaughtered each other with bayonets and close-range shooting.… Continue Reading

Morning Wood

Thurmont, MD – Camping in spring is always hit or miss, but we were fortunate as we rolled up to Cunningham Falls State Park in Maryland that the sun was shining and the air was warm. Here we set up camp, tested out some new gear and enjoyed being the only souls in the park. We took some time before heading out the following morning to hike up to the falls. Throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries these hills were harvested of their wood, which was used for charcoal, timber and to clear the way for farming. By the 20th… Continue Reading

Bon Adieu Philadelphia!

Philadelphia's riverfront, as seen from Camden, NJ, across the Delaware River. After three years in Philadelphia, I’m moving home. My worldly possessions stuffed inside Purple Thunder. Waiting for the mail to arrive. Then I’m out. I’ll miss the city. (Parts of it.) Great restaurants, museums and architecture. And the grit. Loved the grit. Never settled in Philly. Never felt like a home. To much traffic, grime and so many people. And the heat. Never liked the heat. (It alone was a deal breaker.) So long Philly! It was never meant to be.  … Continue Reading