Adventures in the Mitten (& Above).

Over the past couple years, my girlfriend (Ashley) and I have taken a few trips.  They usually end up getting planned months in advance then going through so many itinerary changes, we just give up an pick somewhere at random 2 days before we leave.

True story – that’s how it was when we went to Chicago.  We were planning a 6 day trip.  36 hours before departure we still had no idea what city we were going to.  We’re very forward-thinking individuals.

Anywho… this time around we were actually pretty meticulous.  It was mostly because we were camping the whole time and it would be super inconvenient to have to drive 40 miles to the convenience store to buy socks or something.

Every time we plan to go traveling, we usually just default to a trip somewhere in Michigan (we live in Michigan).  It might not seem terribly adventurous, but after 30 years I’m still finding awesome stuff in the state I never knew about.  There’s also the topography.  We have forests, swamps, plains, mountains, dunes, cliffs, over-developed cities, and true wilderness.  Not to mention that the entire state is pretty much surrounded by freshwater oceans.  Oh – and we have, arguably, the best cider mills on the planet.

But back to the trip!  Departing from Metro-Detroit, we hit up Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Tahquamenon Falls, Grand Marais, Munising, Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, St Ignace, Cross Village, The Tunnel of Trees, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Traverse City, Glen Haven, Glen Arbor, and Sleeping Bear Dunes.

We were pretty busy.

It was also Ashley’s first time camping, so that was neat too.

Here are some of my favorite shots, as well as a brief Go-Pro video of our adventure.  If anyone is interested in any prints, please be sure to let me know.  I’ll be get these images posted to my fine-art site along with some other recent work and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re up.

Thanks!

– Jon

Ride ‘Em

It’s Labor Day weekend.  I ate a burger that was larger than what should have been able to fit in my stomach.  I drank beer…

And I went to a rodeo.

I feel excessively American right now.

All and all it was certainly a unique experience.  The rodeo circuit is a culture I was, up until now, completely unfamiliar with.  There we speed races, bronco ridin’, calf wranglin’, and bucking bull riding’.  The craft services pretty much paired with a local festival or fair.

The lead rodeo clown was a bit of a pleasant surprise – he actually had a comedy routine.  Furthermore, he was pretty funny.

This really all pales in comparison to the action.  I was expecting some flailing and danger and whatnot, but…   OK – here’s the lineup:

  • Steer wrestling:  These guys ride on their horse along side a steer, fly off the back of the horse, land on the steer, tackle it to the ground, tie it up…
  • Steer wranglin’:  One step better – the old rope and horn routine where they ride behind the steer and try to lasso it.  The dude got the steer, jumped off his horse, and body slammed a cow.  I know – that snuck up on you fast.  Let me recap so you can absorb it – HE BODY-SLAMMED A COW.
  • Bull riding:  Well you know what that is, but did you know you’re allowed to stand RIGHT next to the fence?  I had my camera INSIDE THE RING.  That didn’t count for much though because the second they opened the paddock, the rider got thrown and slammed between a 6 foot steel fence and half a ton of rampaging bull.

It was awesome.  I want to go again.  Here are some pictures.

– Jon

I am the Dragon pt.2

A couple days ago, we dropped it like it’s hot… flaming hot.

As you might remember from the end of the post- one should take great caution when spitting flaming liquid out of one’s face.  Well, even though caution was taken, there could have been more.

I learned a new lesson.

– Jon

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I am the Dragon.

Back in the day (it was a Wednesday) I taught myself a neat-o party trick: FIREBREATHING!

It’s great for all kinds of things – weddings, kid’s parties, lighting birthday cake candles, even getting rid of hornet nests.  But, above all else, visual entertainment.

Here’s a little collection of some of my favorite shots.

Now, before you say “Hey, that’s nifty.  I should get down on some of that!” you should realize the downsides.

1.)  You’re shooting fire out of your face.

2.)  Thermodynamics

3.)  YOU’RE SHOOTING FIRE OUT OF YOUR FACE!

It’s pretty much a guarantee that the first couple times you try something like this, you’ll be ending up with a quick sunburn.  That’s not to say it’ll be completely safe after you’ve had practice.

Recently, I attempted a picture while standing in Lake Huron.  I was in one of the largest bodies of fresh water on Earth.  I soaked my head before I took the shot.  I also had my back to the wind – so the fire would just get blown even further away from me, right?

WRONG.

Apparently the oxygen that was consumed directly in front of my face because of the fire was replaced, and then some, by the wind wrapping around my head.  So, be sure to stop back in a day or two for the follow up pictures on why you should know more about physics when attempting something like this.

In closing, don’t be stupid… like me.  It could end really badly.

– Jon