South Dakota

this is a compilation of all 72 days of the journey i took from chicagoland to california and then to florida, from september 6th to november 16th in 2012. this is running at 5x the normal speed (otherwise it’d be around 19.5 hours long). it includes all of the following parts:

– from chicagoland to california [a five week adventure]
– life in california [three and a half weeks]
– from california to florida [just under two weeks]

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badlands,bison,blog,buffalo,camper,camping,driving,f150,ford,fordf150,fourwheelcamper,fourwheelcampers,fwc,homeiswhereyouparkit,hyperlapse,instagram,journal,journey,lifeontheroad,nationalpark,nature,park,roadtrip,rv,starlapse,stars,timelapse,travel,truckcamper,vlog,wildlife,writing
four years ago today [2012.09.08]

parked on the side of a road somewhere in a national grassland, i woke up in the middle of the pitch dark night hearing strange animal noises and feeling weird energy, and it looked like the rear window of my camper was broken.  it was pretty cold and i didn't want to get out of bed to look nor to write down the insights i felt.  at some point, i awoke with an understanding of perception.. early that morning i had written "I woke up a couple hours ago with an understanding about the reflection through which we see ourselves being the same transparent mirror through which we’re seeing the world, though can’t quite remember the exact words right now." when daylight came, i saw the rear window of my camper door was intact and the only signs of animals were some cattle up on a hill across the road.

i recall it appearing like a lot of the national grassland was fenced off or being used for agriculture rather than a park or preserve, so i headed west toward the badlands instead of explore longer.  after seeing a lot of the rock formations there, i drove down a dirt road surrounded by hundreds of bison.  i then headed over to another little part further out on the map, sheep mountain table.  it was a bumpy dirt road that led me to a much more desolate area where i only saw a couple other vehicles.  i got out to take some photos and was standing near the edge of the cliff when the wind stopped.  all of a sudden there was no sound at all, no sound of nature or man.. all that was left was complete, perfect silence, the voice of god.  it was a truly amazing and beautiful experience that words cannot begin to describe.  it was only my second full day on the trip and i had already discovered and felt the presence of god.  i looked forward to whatever other peaceful places i might find on this journey.

nearby there was a high clearance vehicle road that went further into the park.  i took it to the end where i set up a couple cameras for time-lapse shots of the sun fading across the badlands formations and the stars passing by.  it was nice to be able to spend the night sleeping under the stars in what felt like such a remote place.

[a.k.a. life on the road]

It feels like a whole other world out here.

made it to mountain time today. was interesting to watch my emotions and frustrations when technology didn’t work as i liked, particularly my phone not being able to make a simple data request due to lack of coverage [apparently sprint service doesn’t exist in these parts – i’ve been roaming since yesterday, perhaps even since thursday – and i can’t seem to get a tethered internet connection to my macbook when roaming]. there really isn’t a whole lot out here […]

it was at one of these spots that i discovered and felt god when the wind stopped and i was left in complete silence

A reminder to self: must wake up if you want to be able to write down the insights. I woke up a couple hours ago with an understanding about the reflection through which we see ourselves being the same transparent mirror through which we’re seeing the world, though can’t quite remember the exact words right now. Not that the exact words matter once I experienced it, but the simple concept might be helpful to others (and interesting for myself to look back at and discover later).

 

these are all the star-lapses i shot on the journey i took from chicagoland to california and then to florida, between september and november of 2012

[a.k.a. life on the road]

this is everywhere i’ve been when traveling in my truck camper since i got it. a couple of places (mostly around florida) may be missing as i didn’t track it all in the beginning, and some routes might be slightly off as some gps data was missing [the lines on the map that are straight without any curves probably aren’t the exact route i took, but rather the average from one point to another further away when the gps location was saved].

Places like this make you realize that this moment is but merely a splinter in eternity.

today i woke up beside a corn field in iowa. i spent most of the day driving, though decided to take a detour to a spot in minnesota when i saw a brown sign on the side of the interstate indicating the park on the upcoming exit. actually i first decided not to even after quickly pulling up some photos on my phone about the park [thought it’d be too far]. though, decided to go for it. my first feeling […]

 
badlands,bison,blog,buffalo,camper,camping,cave,driving,f150,fordf150,fourwheelcampers,homeiswhereyouparkit,hyperlapse,instagram,journal,journey,lifeontheroad,nationalpark,nature,overlook,park,roadtrip,rockformations,rv,starlapse,stars,timelapse,travel,truckcamper,vlog,wildlife,writing
four years ago today [2012.09.09]

on this morning i woke up on sheep mountain table in the badlands.  i had spent the night sleeping under the stars with my camera photographing them all night.  i explored the area a little more before continuing on my journey west.  when planning the route toward washington, i decided to zig-zag my way across the map so i could visit all the northern states on the way there.  this day i took a slight detour out of south dakota into nebraska.  i would look for green spots on the map to go visit.  after either having lunch or a bathroom break at one of these green spots in nebraska, i headed back to south dakota on the way towards wyoming.

while in nebraska, i learned that the google maps app on my old phone might know better than me.  i had seen what looked like a shortcut that it wasn't telling me to take.  when i attempted to follow this road, the dirt path went up a pretty steep hill in the middle of what seemed to be a field.  i decided to try to follow it anyway as i had already started going that way.. i ended up having to put my truck into 4x4 low and then go up backwards back over the hill just to get out when i saw there wasn't a road or path on the other side.

i explored a couple places along my route in south dakota and decided to check out wind's cave national park when i saw it on the map.  i took a tour in one of the caves, and then drove up through one of the nearby state parks where i saw some more buffalo that were also right on the road like in the badlands.  i wanted to make my way towards devil's tower to photograph the stars over it, though i recall it being a bit of a drive and i think i was getting tired plus i didn't know if i was going to be able to find a spot with a good view that i could park at all night.  i'm glad i decided to keep going and made it there.. when i arrived, i found a spot along the side of the road just outside the national monument with a clear shot of the tower.

[a.k.a. life on the road]

this is a map of the journeys i’ve taken in my truck camper in the first year, month, and week [minus a day] that i’ve had it. the yellow stars are where i went in the first year, and the red line is where i drove the following 5 weeks. now, i just gotta take it to tennessee, kentucky, and the northeast to have gone through all the continental us!

Wow, I have never felt such amazing beautiful, absolute silence in the world until today. When the wind stopped on Sheep Mountain Table (in the Badlands), nothing could be heard at all – no cars, no people, just perfect silence, the voice of god.

The presence is beautiful.

When the sounds of man (and the world) disappear, all that is left is god.