27 Miles

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Since I began taking shot after my ‘paycheck’ job. I find myself getting excited as 5 o’clock rolls my way! I rush home, feed Ethan’s cat, Smokey (I don’t have to feed Lynden’s dog, Rascal, but once a week in a self feeder), and I am back out the door with my gear for maybe one good hour of pictures.
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After five, the sun is my biggest enemy, always shining through my windshield, trying to slow my trek down, but to no avail! I flip down the sun visor in my Jimmy and away I go! Not to my surprise, the dust is back in full force, but in a surprising twist, it has given off some light collecting images that have turned out great to capture!
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27 miles, that is how far I traveled today. Not far, considering the lengths I have gone, but none the less, just as important. Even more, these 27 miles were covered for the final time, coming ever so close to half of Lawrence County, Illinois being completed for ever!
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My trek today was cut short in the late evening, thanks in part to rain clouds making their way into the area, thus blanketing the landscape with darkness, thirty minutes earlier than usual. Those clouds unknowingly made for some beautiful shots as well! Take that clouds, if your going to block my light, then you leave me with no choice but to make you part of my assignment as well!
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I wish there was much more to talk about right now! Still no word on Barney & Lexi with The Missouri Review, fingers crossed however! I continue to search for the money to turn B&L into an E-Book, aren’t we all looking for that though, lol?
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With that said, I will not be out tomorrow since it is Wednesday and my children and I will be at church. I look to get out on Thursday if possible! Until then, I hope your week is positive and you are able to Live With Passion!

Sunset

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You ever notice that when you are exhausted and to go bed, that the morning is here within the blink of an eye. Boy, is that what happen! With Rylen up half of the night Saturday, I completed my work and was sound asleep last night! However, it had seemed, to me, that as soon as I closed my eyes, I opened them to find Monday staring me right in the face.
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I always wonder what Mondays will bring for me as I climb out of my warm and comfortable bed and make my way to my ‘paycheck’ job. This day would be one of the slowest Mondays I have seen since my employment began over five years ago. That being said, the day went by rather steadily time wise.
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When five o’clock announced it’s arrival, I raced to my Jimmy and headed home to round-up my gear and make my way out-of-town and into the country. On this beautiful Fall day, the sun made for some of the most spectacular landscape, creating wonderful shade and blinding light in and out of the tree tops.
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My old friend, Mr. Dust has returned, but in a rather weakened state, allowing me to leave my windows fully down and the cool air to dance into the cab of my Jimmy. I watched as every road that I traveled today was for the final time on this project, hard to believe that one-quarter of Lawrence County, Illinois is wrapped and completely in the books!
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I logged 37 miles and covered some ground, helping to set a good pace for running this self titled, gauntlet! With only two days out of the gate, I am very happy with the progress so far. If I keep this pace through until the Daylight Savings Time change, I will kick this ‘Fall’ map by December!
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As I am sitting here, I have one eye closed and the other holding on to staying awake, therefore I bid you a peaceful sleep and a wonderful Tuesday! Live With Passion! 🙂

First Fall Photos

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From the moment I woke up this morning, (actually 9:30 a.m. to be exact, my youngest son, Rylen was up half of the night, not being able to sleep) and I saw a beautiful, crisp Sunday morning! What a great way to user in a new season and a very welcome invitation to perhaps permanently leave the A/C off for the remainder of the year.
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I can not go any further without saying that I love my three sons and had a wonderful morning with them! I always wake to the smell of Lynden making Pop Tarts in the toaster, Ethan snoring under his covers and Rylen lying right beside me, playing Team Umi Zoomi in his Mobie Go (which I highly recommend to any parent of young lads).
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I lay for half an hour with Rylen as he plays his learning game before leaving him in the warm bed to make toast and cereal for him and Ethan. I make the boys milk, (I am always making sure they have a drink) Ethan is always chocolate and Rylen is always strawberry. For some reason, Lynden rarely has a drink with his Pop Tarts. Knowing that soda is off-limits until 11:00 a.m. in our house, I do not know how he does it.
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Then, it is bath time, (I never send my sons home to their mother dirty). Rylen is always the first to jump into the bath, Ethan is usually coaxed in and with the hot water warmed up again, I run Lynden’s shower and leave him to his own task at hand. After everyone is cleaned and dressed, one by one, they each climb on my bed, lie down on my pillow and get their ears cleaned.
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Then it is off to the bathroom for us all to brush our teeth. I love the toothbrushes that light up as ou brush, Ethan and Rylen spend as much time watching them blink as they do brushing! Once finished, everyone plays until it is time to head back to their mother.
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After returning home, I clean quickly, grab my gear and head out for pictures. Today, none of my photos could be mistaken for any other season. Although the leaves have yet to change color, it is clear that a new season has arrived and things are about to change. I do like Fall very much though!
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I pulled out my ‘Fall’ map and set my mind to facing the distance that I need to cover, head on! With Spring and Summer complete, I must and will complete this map before the middle of December to keep on track for completing my picture book by Winter’s end.
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The rain from Friday has settled the dust for the most part and the beautiful cool and sunny afternoon gave way to some great shots and some stress free time for the simple things. I enjoy closing my eyes and taking a deep breath of the Fall air, there is something different about it I think.
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Fall seems to clear the air, don’t you think?
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With 63 miles covered, I made a very good start on Fall. With mother nature slowly taking away my daylight, I plan to work hard to make it happen! I do hope you have a wonderful week and Live With Passion!
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A Toast To Summer

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Well, I did what I sat out to do on June 2nd, when I completed my ‘Spring’ map! Tonight, with a smile on my face and a heavy heart that is filled with accomplishment, I have officially completed my ‘Summer’ map and now wait the five days remaining in the Summer season to hit the ground running with my ‘Fall’ map before mother nature steals my daylight!
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As I did just yesterday, I left my ‘paycheck’ job and climbed into my Jimmy. With all of my gear in my front seat, I set out for the remaining five roads that I had to cover on my Summer trek across Lawrence County, Illinois.
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Today, was an evening filled with animals. I have seen more cows, deer and birds that I have all Summer long, not to mention in such a small section of ground! I turned onto one particular road and a herd of cattle were walking in a line, down the gravel road and into a pasture right in front of me. I kindly waited to allow the farmer to secure is herd before making my way down the road. I figure, he was working hard to get them onto greener ground, the very least that I could do was make his job easier by not driving by and scaring his lively hood.
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I also passed deer everywhere! At one point, I could have had a beautiful shot of a deer standing by the roadside ditch, not ten feet from me, however, you are never ready for that one “great” shot! By the time I was able to stop and back up, the young deer darted into a thicket and disappeared from my sight, darn it!
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All, in all, I have had a memorable Summer and will never forget the two of them, spent chasing down this project! Tonight, it is with a smile and a heavy heart, I now hang my ‘Summer’ map on my office wall for the final time! A farewell toast to Summer…Thanks for the memories!
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Live With Passion!

Next To Last

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With the dig of the back door chime going off as I left my ‘paycheck’ job for the day, I climbed into my Jimmy and made my way south of Bridgeport, Illinois and headed towards the southern most part of Lawrence County. The evening was cool, the air was crisp and I began my next to last stop on my ‘Summer’ map!
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The southern most part of the county has a special place in my heart. It is on the first stretch of road I drove down tonight, that I come across my families old homestead farm. I can not help but wish the land was still in my family lineage but sadly it was signed away to a related family and might be forever gone.
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With the setting sun to my back, I had my windows down and welcomed the evening breeze into my Jimmy. I have missed the feel of the cool air gently blowing ad allowing me the much-needed opportunity to give the old A/C a rest. The cooler temperature only added to the sense that Fall was knocking on the door of an exiting season.
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I must admit that tonight, the dust had returned with a vengeance! The dashboard of my Jimmy is riddled with specks of dust that had floated in from every time I had stopped. With my windows down, it made itself right at home with my vehicle.
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After logging 52 miles, I am now on the very last leg of Summer. With 5 roads remaining and roughly four days to work it in between Cub Scouts, Church, cleaning a car on Saturday to make money and having my sons Saturday night, I find the next trek to be one of sweet joy.
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I am reminded that with every passing day, the after ‘paycheck’ job treks are going to be shortened by the los of light, I will start right out of the box on my ‘Fall’ map and go hard to get as much in before the darkness claims the night from me. I know I can do it and by finishing off Summer this week, I will work hard to make it happen!
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As I turn in for the night, it is my hope that you will enjoy everyday and live it to the best of your abilities! Have a wonderful Tuesday and Live With Passion!

Nearly Complete (Never Again)

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You know, it is always a funny scenario when I can have a later start on Sunday afternoons and still manage to log a near record trek! I can only say, looking at my map, that the later starts begin in a section of Lawrence County that is easily maneuverable and requires fewer stop signs, allowing me to slowly keep things rolling.
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After a wonderful Saturday night and happy Sunday morning with my three sons. I made my way south of Bridgeport, Illinois and into the heart of a section of my map, which houses the point that I first began in almost two years ago. It is here that I released my thoughts into the blue sky and simply focused on continuing my great Sunday.
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Today’s section also marks the final trip into this area! Today’s entire trek was for the final time, being that I have been through this cross-section, now, on four separate occasions inside of all four seasons! Today is also the first day that the end of this project has actually gotten lodged into my thoughts. As I am nearly 75% complete, it is only a matter of time before late winter arrives and this assignment will be finished forever!
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Today also marks the very first time that I have ever began north and worked my route to the south. I have always began my treks in the southern most area of a section and head upward, however to finish out Summer, I have done the opposite. After almost two years on this project, it boggles my mind slightly to go in the opposite direction but is rather enjoyable none the less!
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With 68 miles logged in today, I would take a good guess, that I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 or so miles remaining on my Summer map. Since nest Sunday is the first day of Fall, I plan to have my camera, highlighter, map and log book in my Jimmy and leave immediately after my ‘paycheck’ job is finished for the day and work to wrap up the ‘Summer’ map!
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The after ‘paycheck’ job treks will help me prepare to run a marathon into my ‘Fall’ map, which is merely 25% completed. With mother nature slowly taking my time away from me with each passing day, I remain confident that I will complete Fall by the middle of December!
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I have officially lost photo count and now must guess that I have between 3 and 4 thousand pictures that will soon have to be sorted. I will have help however! So, with that said, let me wish you a wonderful night and all the best for a great week ahead! It means so much that you have taken the time to read!
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Live With Passion!! 🙂

Northern Miles

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Five hours and 78 miles logged, that makes for quite a great day out in Lawrence County shooting photos!
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Today, I began right where I had left off on two days ago. This smaller area left is divide from the northern section by the Embarras River and being that no road connected to the north from where I was at I drove into Lawrenceville and made my way up Illinois Route One.
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This northern area is special for me, in part because it is the area of Lawrence County that I grew up in as a boy. Today, I traveled up and down roads that were all to familiar and could have been driven with my eyes closed, (Lol, I kept them open however).
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I had the chance to drive down a set of roads that were still marked but never used anymore. I am entitling my picture books: Every Road, Every Season, because no county road gets left behind on this assignment! It always comes to my mind about the stories these old, forgotten roads could tell me if the could only talk. I would love those conversations.
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I drove past my father’s house and briefly thought of how I would take out of that long drive on a four-wheeler and ride with my friends for hours. It is funny how certain sights can conjure up old memories!
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I made my way north and found myself kicking up dust with every turn! At one point, I had stopped, gotten out of my Jimmy and shut the door about the time the dust trail had caught up with me! *Note to self…”Stop, Wait, Look, Exit!” I know look back on that moment think it would have made for a grand photo!
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As I log my third longest trek with 78 miles, it still does not seem possible to travel so many miles and remain in such a small geographic area! I look forward to how many miles I will have spent on this assignment as a whole, it will be exciting to say the very least!
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As Monday comes around the corner, I want to wish you, that’s right YOU, a very wonderful week ahead! It may not be much, but, the simplest acts of kindness can make others feel incredible! Until my next post…Live With Passion!
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A Friday Session

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Yep, that’s right! It is Friday night and I have a blog about my photos!
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After one of the busiest days this year at my “paycheck” job, I get to enjoy a Friday afternoon treat with Lynden & Ethan! Our Friday ritual is that I pick them up after school lets out and we go to the local gas station and grab a snack and drink! 🙂 I love this routine as much as my boys do! Being a father who loves making memories, it is often a time of happiness, smiles and laughter! Then I drop them off to visit their aunt before returning to finish my work day.
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After work, I fetched my two (of three) wonderful sons and drove them to their grandparents home for a visit, while waiting on their mother to pick them all up. With three big hugs and three big kisses, I back out of the driveway and make my way to finish up Petty Township and work on a small section of Lawrence Township!
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This trek was a special one for me. After only ten minutes into my session, I drive past my brother, Rick(s), old place that I continue to take care of for his father. I love and miss my brother so very much, but know that he loved my idea of doing this assignment and for him, todays trek, is dedicated!
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Today I followed my map down a section of road that has clearly not been used in many, many years. As I traveled down this piece of forgotten county, I began to think about all of the sights that once were and will never be again. After ten minutes on this trail (I will not call this a road anymore) I reached a turn where a bridge once crossed the Embarrass River, just south of Lawrenceville, Illinois. It was at this point that I could no longer exit my Jimmy for the thicket of brush against me and thus, not being able to cross the river, I turned around and made the long drive back in four-wheel-drive as the sun began to lower.
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I would finish my last shot of the day with my door pin on my Jimmy falling out and almost losing my door! I am thankful, however, that as I drove to the local car wash and clean my four-wheel-drive up. I found the pin and was able to replace it and solve the problem, no sweat!
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So as I end this conversation with you tonight, know that I will be out again on Sunday for several hours and look forward to sharing my afternoon to you!
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Live With Passion!

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