Wed January 9, 2014 UPDATE: There's a fine line between "Golly gee! Every choice I make is the right one!" and "Every choice I make IS the right one." I have worked for and with many a CEO like this - all the decisions early in their careeer succeed brialliantly, but it's because they are using a solid decision making process. At a certain point, they shift internally and decide that EVERY decision they make will suceed brilliantly for the sole and singular reason that THEY are making it - since CEO made the decision, it is by definiiotn correct and no further testing or research is needed.

Wed August 14, 2013 UPDATE: Now the groups have been ruined. No wonder flickr has gone into the toilet! silvanetblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/marissa-mayer-superstar...

Sat July 27, 2013 UPDATE: Flickr continues to get worse, more inane changes from Marissa Mayer trying to be like every other Facebook/AOL/tumbler site. Now Groups is ruined, but thankfully with a revert button, temporarily, until the look goes mandatory. Am stopping uploads of travel photos for now. Am looking into other non-flickr options to move my collection to. It's as if the worst elements decisions from the worst companies have merged - AOL, yahoo, microsoft, etc into one company ran by somebody who knows nothing about the internet except how to booger it down to make revenue.

The site is now as bad as the new Starbucks pastries from overhyped LaBoulange. Newer isn't better kids.


Wed May 29, 2013 UPDATE: Until today, I never had a bad word to say. But as of today, flickr is now an official joke. Instead of silencing it's members/critics, it should ask itself why it's angering so many people. It can't take criticism of it's "changes" and has banned me from the help forums. Flickr doesn't want to hear what it's doing wrong to it's users, investors, etc. It wants to hear what it's doing right. By ignoring the problems and focusing on the positives, they can create false value. Max revenue from circuitous clicks created by deliberate site inefficiency and auto-flickr membership with every new yahoo registrant is proof the stock is collapsing and they are just trying to pump up the numbers artificially before it implodes.

The site has degenerated from the same mentality that nearly killed American carmakers in the 1980s when they too believed they didn't need quality to BS customers into buying their products.

Flickr is dumbing down to the Facebook/instagram/tumbler crowd because it has no idea how to get back to it's privately owned spirit and roots and has zero imagination or original thought in how to go forward.

I predict that due to my refusal to accept a plea bargain and remain silent about my treatment, flickr will "discontinue" my membership for "incompatibility with our site and it's membership" since I am obviously "not happy with it".

Flickr is not interested in learning and getting better. It's like the panhandling San Francisco drug addict who just wants to get high. Dollars won't help. Listening to it's problems won't help. Involuntary mental institutionalization WILL help, but society has determined "that's not nice". This is where flickr gets it's ideas on how to live, this is why flickr will fail.

Stay tuned.

____________________________


With the exception of some newer photos from 2008 and 2010, all the photos on this account are entirely from a trip I took in summer 2007.

Actually, it was more than a trip. It was the journey of a lifetime. A trip lasts a few days. This lasted 2 months. It's effects on me will last forever.

Around the world you can go on a plane. But to see the entire US and Canada, you need a car. And what better car for such a journey than one that gets 55 miles per gallon and is roomy enough you can sleep comfortably flat inside it?

I rented a Toyota Prius hatchback from the airport in San Francisco and drove it almost all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and back.

Of course I didn't go in a straight line, I went in a circuitous line. That's the point of having a car that minimally adds to the strain on soldiers and civilians alike just to get oil to refine it into gasoline.

Most people drive 12,000 miles a year. I drove 12,000 miles in 7 weeks. At $3 a gallon, 12,000 miles in the Prius cost about $650 in gas. Compare that to $1,600 in gas in a regular car for the same miles. And you can't fold the seats flat and sleep comfortably in a regular car either. (SUVs cost more to rent, compact wagons use more gas)

The $950 saved by the Prius paid for most of the rental fees. (with today's high rental prices, it would have paid for less than half the rental)

Camping was free. Showers were usually free or $5 at clean truck stops along the highways. I did laundry there too. Sneaking in and out of camp sites when everybody is asleep does limit hours for sleeping (6) but allows you to see and cover so much more. And it was exciting! (only got caught once, charged $5 since I slept in my own car and didn't set up a tent). Campsites normally charge $20-40 a night. I simply refuse to pay that when all I use is a shower (a daily priority) and a parking spot.

Sometimes, if I wanted atmosphere, I slept in a tent next to the car that took 3 minutes to set up under a canopy of trees, on a mountain top or along a creek or a river. Other times, I slept in the car discreetly parked amongst other cars, without anybody knowing I was there. And on a few occasions, I slept out in the open, without a tent, in the warm night wind of the desert, looking up at the stars with blankets and pillows and nobody around for miles.

It is extremely unfulfilling to limiting to travel only to places with hotels and touristy things to see and do. All the places I went to would have costed $100,000 the traditional way, one trip at a time with hotels, airfare, restaurants and whatnot. My way totalled $3,000 for all locations visited, not each one.

There are many more stories to share along the way that belong in a book or a movie. You can believe that. The surreal quality of independent, self contained traveling by this mode between nature and city was life changing. I recommend it for all. The car makes it affordable, oil-war-casualty-respectful, allows longer distances between fill-ups and proves you don't need to "go offroading" to see rare and unique things.

I did a trip like this in a Prius the year before in 2006, from San Francisco through the southern states to the Atlantic Ocean and back up to Vancouver, but didn't have a digital camera to document things in quality. This flickr account and the photos in it, are entirely from the 2007 trip which basically stuck to the middle and northern part of the continent.

My first such trip in a Prius was 2005. An accidental and experimental journey of only 5,000 miles to Bisbee Arizona and back. But I didn't camp, I stayed in hotels. Hindsight is always 20/20 and I didn't have the foresight to realize I could just buy a tent, some blankets, fold the seats and sleep inside and go to Florida and New York and back WITH a shower every day thanks to truck stops and YMCA membership. But the ideas that germinated in my head from that trip gave me the impetus to do it properly in 2006.

_______________________________________


The 2007 journey began in San Francisco and headed down through SoCal into the Mojave desert's small towns, through the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell winding through the lush green forests, mountains and springs of Colorado before heading on a straight shot to Chicago over "the great flyover zone".

The "trip" then took me up along the west coast of Lake Michigan detouring at all the little towns along Lake Michigan with plenty of stops to swim in warm clear water and enjoy sunsets on tropical quality beaches facing the horizon night after night. The Michigan side of the lake is the pretty one. The other side has rocks and debris pushed up against it by the glacier that created the lake millions of years ago.

Winding down from the tip of Michigan to Detroit and it's suburbs to visit family and friends and photograph some stunning elements of urban abandonment and rebirth, the journey continued on into Canada hitting Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec.

Returning to Chicago, I went north through Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis and along the northern border of the US until Montana where I headed north into Calgary Canada and then west into the mountains to discover Banff's mountains, trees and bodies of water so pure, so clean, so lush, it made the Michigan coasts and Colorado mountains look like wastelands.

It was in Vancouver BC, just above Seattle, that I had a critical choice to make. Continue on to Alaska, just so I could say I was there, but not see things that much different from BC's mountains and coast, or go south and end up in San Fran.

I chose a third option - put the car on a ferry and go to Victoria Island, then put it on another ferry and go to "land's end" the northern most tip of the continental USA in Washington State, then head down through the major cities and small towns of Washington and Oregon before returning home.

And it was in Grant's Pass Oregon that I took the last spur of the moment fork in the road and detoured away from the freeway to drive home along the ocean. That decision gave me some of my favorite photos of an Eden-like mountain river that I swam in for several hours on the way to the Pacific. (see Smith River set)

The entire trip was unplanned except for the camera, laptop to store photos and upload to flickr, clothes, bedding, toiletries, tent, music and folding bicycle. Everything else, from the time spent doing it all to the destinations and routes chosen to where/when/how I would sleep, happened randomly and via many forks in the road and "the force". Food came from grocery stores not restaurants.

I had to keep moving because it would be easy to fall into laziness and if that happened, things would get expensive with the rental car. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time every minute of the day, but 7 weeks could have easily turned into 12 if there was any less discipline. I only regret not spending one more day with family. This trip would not be about wasted time, shopping, tourist traps, fine dining and hotels without really seeing anything.

Early on, at Lake Powell just past the Grand Canyon, I had a conversation with a stranger who would give me a destination idea that would change the course of the rest of the journey. That's why I went to Montreal for the Jazz Festival and Picnik Electronique and didn't go to DC.

_______________________________________

Ways to see all 1,000+ photos:

To get the broadest (but not easiet) view of all those miles covered and where on a map those photos were taken, go to my map and explore that way - from the perspective of a bird - flying overhead looking down and landing where you wish...

Remember to use the zoom, scroll and refresh buttons...
www.flickr.com/photos/picspicspics/map/

Zoom out to see the whole continent, then click "sort by: interesting" then click the right arrow, then click a pink dot or a photo to see where it is. When you can't right arrow any further, click the green "refresh" icon. You can also drag the map around.

An easier way to explore my photos is through 34 organized sets. Everything's chronological so you can retrace my steps.
www.flickr.com/photos/picspicspics/sets/

For best viewing watch each set as a slide show (an option available at the top/right in each set) for theater like detail. Make your room dark, press F11 (or VIEW, then FULL SCREEN) and lose yourself for a couple hours like a movie. I adjusted the brightness, contrast and colors on each photo for my enjoyment and yours.

But the easiest way to view my photos is to start with the 6 collections that open up into 34 sets.
www.flickr.com/photos/picspicspics/collections/
The collections aren't chronological, but it's easier to pick what you want to see.

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Joined:
June 2007