On the southern edge of Lake Superior lay Pictured Rocks National Park. Home to Yoopers and Black Bears and found on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this is the truest of gems the MidWest has to offer. With a cliff range that rivals Moab, a lake that rivals them all and the ability to camp illegally when you get lost in the dark, this is a one place that should be on every bucket list. Luckily enough, this time last year I got to hike it. There was no real plan, just a rental car, a couple of cuties and a plan to flex my machismo in the woods. So like an idiot I slipped on my vans, double knotted my trunks and strapped a tent to my hip-urban backpack. Also, like a true outdoorsmen I decided against bug spray, reasoning chain smoking would keep the bugs away. Two days, ten thousand bug bites, more liquor than food and one sore back later we finished our hike. Here are some shots from one of the best times of my life, shared with some of the greatest folks in my life and totally unedited for your proper enjoyment. *Side note, two of the photos I’m most proud of are in this series.
For America’s birthday I flew to Stockholm. Each day the sun set at 2AM and rose at 3:30AM. Beer was expensive, food organic and a club spelled Berns, but pronounced, “Banch” was all the rage. In this modern utopia, castles meet high design, hipsters and cops are pals, 711 is a truly nice cafe, Pizza Hut a fine choice for a date and high fructose corn syrup is illegal. So, with my new Ricoh GR I decided to find something a little more interesting than the hoards and hoards of breathtaking blondes that fill the streets and, well, the dream of all male tourists. Here’s part one of my Swedish adventure.
For 22 years I lived in the mild paradise known as Portland, Oregon. There, extreme weather is a myth passed on by Midwest transplants. Simply put, where I’m from an inch of snow cripples a city. Then I moved to Chicago, where snow falls in feet, and summer is a hellish combination of lightning and heat. For three years I lived here air conditioner free. These were rough days. Sweaty, bed soaked nights followed thick, muggy days and plenty of Wicker Park’s best party goers found themselves asleep, past out, dying of dehydration on my slick, humidity drenched floors. Now, that the heat has risen again and another beautiful Chicago summer is in full effect, I look back on the “worst winter ever” the god-damned poler vortex from hell, with slight comfort. Winter is a time when pipes burst and boots are ruined, but the warm couches, groggy hangovers and lazy Saturdays during the frigid cold are some of life’s simple pleasures.
Budweiser is great. Pizza is better. But, what truly makes this sign sing is that “N”. That subtle, “Fuck You.” to those willing to scoff at the ultimate calorie combo. That “N” might as well be a bald eagle, bazooka and a set of swinging tits, because this sign came to party.
Found in small town Illinois.
(Click to Enlarge)
When you live in the dark heart of the “Poler Vortex” and winter drags on forever, a trip to the Cali’ coast is nothing short of incredible. Even if the water is poison, soiled by the slow decay of Fukushima runoff. But so what, death is inevitable and if you believe everything you read we’re all in for one hell of a cosmic nightmare. So, check out these pictures. Visit those pristine beaches. Jump in the water. Ride a dolphin. Hell, kill a shark with your bare hands if it makes you feel alive. All I know is that any trip with Ray Gordon, Magda Wosinska, Scott Toepfer, Jon Mehring, Dave England and my new bud Will Mayer is a privileged and special experience.