I’m in a bit of a sour mood these days, so this is just a short set from a few weeks back. On Wednesday we said goodbye to our oldest dog, Casey. He was family for 15 years, the longest one of my dogs has ever stayed here on Earth, and I was damn near convinced he was indestructible. This is the third pet loss I’ve had to deal with in a 10-month window. All three of them had grown up with me from childhood.
It’s hard for me to explain this grief to non-pet owners and people who just don’t consider their animals family. So all I’ll say is if you don’t get it, fine — but I am miserable.
This was a pit stop on a day of exploring elsewhere.
I don’t think this place is any big secret (and I don’t really care, to be very honest), but there were so many people here. I’m not going to contribute to the mess, so this too shall remain nameless.
I always said if I was ever passing through, I’d stop and see this decommissioned highway. My exploring buddy had the same thought, so we decided to make the visit. Even though there isn’t much to shoot here, the history is pretty cool. This road ran through a former coal town, which was abandoned after the network of mining tunnels beneath it caught fire in the early 60s. The fire was impossible to put out or stop, and so it just kept burning.
By the early 80s, people in the town (and the state) were realizing the extent of the danger. There’s a story about a gas station owner checking his underground fuel tank levels with a dipstick, only to pull the dipstick out hot. Some time later, a kid playing in his backyard fell into a sinkhole, which spouted out hot steam and toxic levels of CO.
After much legal back and forth, and resistance from residents who didn’t want to leave, all buildings in the town were condemned in 1992. Later, nearly everything was demolished. The borough became a ghost town. Steam billowed out through cracks in the deserted streets.
The fire is still burning today, and will keep at it for another two centuries or so. It has since moved away from directly beneath the old town, however, so there’s no more steam. There’s only a cemetery, a network of empty plots of land, and this graffiti covered highway.
Not that long ago, this old road showcased some talented artwork. But add to that the power of the Internet + teenagers, and everything has since been covered a thousand times over with penises, [boy] loves [girl], and lyrics from songs I’ve never heard but I can assure you are terrible. And glitter paint.
There are still some really cool pieces hidden in the mess, but you have to hunt. And of course, kids have tried to wreck anything decent, so there’s that.
I always try to Photoshop out really dumb, offensive tags from my pictures, just because I’m a) good with Photoshop and b) not gonna let some idiot with two brain cells and a dollar can ruin my shot. But, chances are, I missed a few things in these, so. Sorry if you find anything terrible.
All things considered, it was a nice quick stop between the buildings we were shooting. It was one of the first really nice days, weather-wise, so it was great just to walk outside and get some sun.
See you at the next one.