One more thing: I have some pictures.

I’m not going to really attempt to give the full context for everything you see here, because this would end up as a dozen pages of story with a few photos sprinkled in. But I’ll at least try to explain. Unless it’s more fun not to.

Here we go

The Possibility Alliance is an intentional community we visited in northern Missouri. It would take a book to fully describe the place and the project, but for brevity’s sake let’s just say that it is what’s right with the world. This is their outdoor kitchen.

In Denver we hung out for a couple days with Misty’s old love Chris—and, what seemed to be almost as important to Misty as visiting him, if not more so, we got to see Baby Blue, the van that the two of them rode around the country in to find rocks to climb.

Some trains

All right, so a lot of the pictures I’ve taken are from trains. Busted. Misty and I have been learning how to ride these metal dragons. I wouldn’t say we’re good at it yet—not that we’re unsafe, but we’ve been having a hell of a time finding a train that goes where we want it to go.

In Wyoming I rode along the North Platte River. Here, closer to its source, it’s not yet the wide, shallow river of which Bill Bryson says,

In the middle of [Nebraska] is a river called the Platte, which at some times of the year is two or three miles wide. It looks impressive until you realize that it is only about four inches deep. You could cross it in a wheelchair.

Up here it has crags and bluffs and cliffs and a clearly healthy supply of magic.

Later, I rode along the Yellowstone in Montana. One of my favorite things about riding trains is how they follow rivers. They have to, because they can’t climb anything steep. And so, often, it’s just me and the train with the entire valley to ourselves.

Somewhere in North Dakota.


At Feral Futures, our old housemate Willow played a song we hadn’t heard before, which mentions Aberdeen, South Dakota, a place that none of us had ever been, including Willow. So when a train of mine terminated there, I took the opportunity to get a little photo documentation. It turned out, unexpectedly, that Aberdeen is a thoroughly amusing town.


This dealership’s name seemed maybe even a little too on point as cultural critique.

Vape Stars. (No smoking.)


We arrived in Portland just in time to see the famous unicycling, bagpiping darth Vader.

In Springfield, Oregon, we found a street.


I didn’t get any decent pictures of the eclipse. But on the day before it happened, we cruised around central Oregon with a guy from Eugene who’d picked us up the day before on his own way to see the eclipse and decided we should just all have fun and see it together.

And so we stopped at Smith Rocks State Park.

Where a pillar called Monkey Face attracts climbers from everywhere on Earth.

There’s one now.

Sunset the night before the eclipse. This is where we watched it from.

More trains

Misty and I rode away from the eclipse zone in Oregon on a train along the Willamette.

And camped out after making it across the Columbia.

To avoid conspicuously walking along the tracks, we walked along the bluffs.

Here’s one of several trains of ours that didn’t do what we hoped. This aromatic train full of trash started heading toward Minneapolis from where we camped…

…but only made it thirty miles to the dump in Roosevelt, Washington, a real happenin’ place that took a day and a half to hitchhike out of.


Spotted in Minneapolis.

File under: Year of Transformation, photos, trains · Places: Cascadia, Great Plains, Minnesota

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