Category Archives: Beckham

WPC – WEEK 456 – ANYTHING BUT A CAT

READ THE THEME DESCRIPTION THIS WEEK. THERE ARE SPECIAL RULES!

ANYTHING BUT A CAT! A great theme, but did enough people get pumped to not take a picture of a cat to make it a popular theme? You’ll have to keep scrolling to find out!

As of 12:01 PM on Monday, June 3, this was the current list of ACTIVE streaks (ignore everything in parentheses):

1-Monica Jennings – 1 week (IA) <2>
2-Willy McAlpine – 2 weeks (IA)
3-Johnathan Stensland – 3 weeks (IA)
4-Suzie Brannen – 4 weeks (IA, MD) <2>
5-Mike Vest – 4 weeks (IA, MO)
6-Alexis Stensland – 6 weeks (IA) <2>
7-Sabas Hernandez – 8 weeks (IA, OH) <2>
8-Adam Gordon – 14 weeks (IA, MS, MO) <2>
9-Becky Parmelee – 15 weeks (AR, IA, OK)
10-Lowell Davis – 22 weeks (IA) <2>
11-Michelle Haupt – 22 weeks (IA, MO, KS, LA)
12-Brandon Kahler – 23 weeks (IA, MN)
13-Scott Degeneffe – 41 weeks (IA, FL, UT, CO, KY, IN)
14-Sheri Fakhouri – 51 weeks (IA, NE)
15-Logan Kahler – 51 weeks (IA, MN) <2>
16-Nathanial Brown – 53 weeks (IA, SD, GA, TN)
17-Jesse Howard – 53 weeks (IA, MO, NE, FL, ABW, CUW) <2>
18-Tamara Peterson – 65 weeks (IA, MN)
19-Mindi Terrell – 68 weeks (IA) <2>
20-Linda Bennett – 97 weeks (KS) <2>
21-Sarah Toot – 98 weeks (PA, NY, VT, NV)
22-Angie DeWaard – 102 weeks (IA, IL) <2>
23-Dawn Krause – 106 weeks (IA) <2>
24-Kim Barker – 112 weeks (IA, CO, LA)
25-Joe Duff – 113 weeks (TX)
26-Teresa Kahler – 124 weeks (IA, NE) <2>
27-Carla Stensland – 124 weeks (IA, MO) <2>
28-Micky Augustin – 126 weeks (IA, IL)
29-Andy Sharp – 127 weeks (IA, NE, AR, MS, MO, TN, LA) <2>
30-Bill Wentworth – 128 weeks (NE, MO) <2>
31-Cathie Morton – 131 weeks (IA, FL, BHS, MO, LA)
32-Elizabeth Nordeen – 133 weeks (IA, OH)
33-Shannon Bardole-Foley – 135 weeks (IA, CA, NV)
34-Kio Dettman – 137 weeks (IA)

Here is the list of rules for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE:

1. The picture must be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch and take pictures challenge!
2. There is a limit of 2 submissions per person per theme. If you send me more than 2, I will use the first 2 that you submit.
3. Deadline to submit your submission is 11 AM next Monday.
4. To be considered the photographer of an image, you have to be the one that clicks the shutter. If you hand your camera over to somebody else to take a picture of you, you are NOT the photographer of that image.
5. No screen captures. This is a photography challenge. Not a “look at what I found on the internet” challenge.

There are still 2 ways to submit:
1. Email your submission to bennett@photography139.com.
2. Text your submission to my Google Pixel 8 Pro.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates or streaks or the rules of the challenge or how to submit. You came to see the submissions and what streaks continued and what streaks flamed out:


WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ADAM GORDON
Adam Gordon (Iowa) – 15 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ADAM GORDON
Adam Gordon (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ALEXIS STENSLAND
Alexis Stensland (Iowa) – 7 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ALEXIS STENSLAND
Alexis Stensland (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT -ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp (Boone, Iowa) – 128 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT -ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp (Boone, Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - BECKHAM GORSHE
Beckham Gorshe (Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT -BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee (Bella Vista, Arkansas) – 16 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - BILL WENTWORTH
Bill Wentworth (Omaha, Nebraska) – 129 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - BRANDON KAHLER
Brandon Kahler (Iowa) – 24 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 125 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - CATHIE MORTON
Cathie Morton (West Des Moines, Iowa) – 132 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett (Boone, Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause (Boone, Iowa) – 107 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ELAINIE STENSLAND
Elainie Hernandez (Ankeny, Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen (Iowa) – 134 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe (Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard (Waukee, Iowa) – 54 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff (Texas) – 114 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff (Texas)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - JOHNATHAN STENSLAND
Johnathan Stensland (Iowa) – 4 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker (Nevada, Iowa) – 113 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman (Boone, Iowa) – 138 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - KYLE SHARP
Kyle Sharp (Boone, Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett (Kansas) – 98 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett (Kansas)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler (Boone, Iowa) – 52 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - LOWELL DAVIS
Lowell Davis (Iowa) – 23 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - LOWELL DAVIS
Lowell Davis (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MARY GREEN
Mary Green (Vieques, Puerto Rico) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MARY GREEN
Mary Green (Vieques, Puerto Rico)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt (Iowa) – 23 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin (Colo, Iowa) – 127 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest (Madrid, Iowa) – 5 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MINDI TERRELL
Mindi Terrell (Iowa) – 69 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MINDI TERRELL
Mindi Terrell (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - MONICA JENNINGS
Monica Jennings (McHose Park – Boone, Iowa) – 2 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - NADER PARSAEI
Nader Parsaei (Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - NADER PARSAEI
Nader Parsaei (Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - NATHANIAL BROWN
Nathanial Brown (Guinness Storehouse – Dublin, Ireland) – 54 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - NATHANIAL BROWN
Nathanial Brown (Teeling Distillery – Dublin, Ireland)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SABAS HERNANDEZ
Sabas Hernandez (Marshalltown, Iowa) – 9 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SABAS HERNANDEZ
Sabas Hernandez (State Center, Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SARA LOCKNER
Sara Lockner (Iowa) – 1 week

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot (New York City, New York) – 99 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot (Las Vegas, Nevada)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SCOTT DEGENEFFE
Scott Degeneffe (Boone County, Iowa) – 42 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SCOTT DEGENEFFE
Scott Degeneffe (Illinois)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley (Honey Hollow – Summerset, Iowa) – 136 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT -
Sheri Fakhouri (Ankeny, Iowa) – 52 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen (Clive, Iowa) – 5 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen (Clive, Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson (Iowa) – 66 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT -
Teresa Kahler (McHose Park – Boone, Iowa) – 125 weeks

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT -
Teresa Kahler (Boone, Iowa)

WPC - WEEK 456 - ANYTHING BUT A CAT - WILLY MCALPINE
Willy McAlpine (Lost Lake – Ledges State Park – Boone County, Iowa) – 2 weeks

NOTE: A surly person that might have sent me hate mail over this theme may have noticed that there is one picture that does in fact include a cat. You might be wondering why that picture was NOT rejected. It isn’t cause I like Scott more than the rest of you. Although he does feed me. (But the list of people that have cooked me or given me some kind of food is pretty extensive. – See Michelle’s submission.) It is for 2 reasons. That cat is Fred. And Fred, I’m told, identifies as a dog. And on this website we believe that Love is Love. Black Lives Matter. Women’s Rights are Human Rights. No Human is Illegal. Science is Real. Kindness is Everything. In Religious Freedom. Hate Has No Home Here. But secondly and sadly, sometime between when that picture was taken and this post published, Fred may have crossed over the rainbow bridge. Fred was not expected to make it through the night. And I would not deny Fred, who has the outwards appearance of being a cat, but is in fact a dog, one final appearance on this website. And if this makes you mad, ask yourself, why you hate cats so much?

42 participants this week! Man, people were so thirsty for pictures that don’t have cats in them. I guess that Andy Sharp knows how to come up with the theme ideas!

There were submissions this week taken in the following places:

+ Arkansas (1)
+ Illinois (1)
+ Iowa (47)
+ Ireland (2)
+ Kansas (2)
+ Nebraska (1)
+ Nevada (1)
+ New York (1)
+ Puerto Rico (2)
+ Texas (2)

Thanks to the travels of Nathanial we added Ireland to the list. And thanks to the travels of Mary we added Puerto Rico to the list! WooHoo!

Here is the Year 11 list of places where submissions have been taken (submissions taken in each places):

+ Arkansas (15.5)
+ Aruba (1)
+ Bahamas (2)
+ California (3)
+ Curacao (1)
+ Colorado (5)
+ Florida (85)
+ Georgia (1)
+ Hawaii (2)
+ Illinois (7)
+ Indiana (4)
+ Iowa (830)
+ Ireland (2)
+ Kansas (34)
+ Kentucky (1)
+ Louisiana (8)
+ Maryland (1)
+ Michigan (5)
+ Minnesota (8)
+ Mississippi (1.5)
+ Missouri (13.5)
+ Nebraska (30)
+ Nevada (4)
+ New York (13)
+ Ohio (2)
+ Oklahoma (1)
+ Pennsylvania (16)
+ Puerto Rico (2)
+ South Dakota (3)
+ Tennessee (2.5)
+ Texas (35)
+ Utah (1)
+ Vermont (1)
+ Virginia (1)
+ Wisconsin (1)

29 states so far! 1 U.S. Terriorty! 4 foreign countries! Not bad! So far, the following people have submitted from multiple places:

+ Jen Ensley-Gorshe (IA, CO, MO, TX, TN, VA, IL, FL) – 8
+ Andy Sharp (IA, NE, MO, AR, TN, MS, LA) – 7
+ Scott Degeneffe (IA, FL, UT, CO, IN, KY, IL) – 7
+ Jesse Howard (IA, MO, NE, FL, ABW, CUW) – 6
+ Christopher D. Bennett (IA, MO, NE, IL, IN, LA) – 6
+ Cathie Morton (IA, FL, BHS, MO, LA) – 5
+ Mary Green (MI, IA, IN, IL, RP) – 5
+ Nathanial Brown (IA, SD, TN, GA, IRL) – 5
+ Michelle Haupt (IA, MO, KS, LA) – 4
+ Sarah Toot (PA, NY, VT, NV) – 4
+ Kim Barker (IA, CO, LA) – 3
+ Shannon Bardole-Foley (IA, CA, NV) – 3
+ Adam Gordon (IA, MS, MO) – 3
+ Becky Parmelee (AR, IA, OK) – 3
+ Sara Lockner (IA, BHS, MN) – 3
+ Micky Augustin (IA, IL) – 2
+ Susanna Funk (IA, CO) – 2
+ Brandon Kahler (IA, MN) – 2
+ Logan Kahler (IA, MN) – 2
+ Tamara Peterson (IA, MN) – 2
+ Carla Stensland (IA, MO) -2
+ Mike Vest (IA, MO) – 2
+ Teresa Kahler (IA, NE) – 2
+ Sheri Fakhouri (IA, NE) – 2
+ Angie DeWaard (IA, IL) – 2
+ Sabas Hernandez (IA, OH) – 2
+ Suzie Brannen (IA, MD) – 2
+ Elizabeth Nordeen (IA, OH) – 2
+ Linda Bennett (KS, IA) – 2
+ Bill Wentworth (NE, MO) – 2
+ Deanna McClain (IA, MN) – 2

Jen is currently in the lead to be crowned “The Most Travelled THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE Photographer!” Jesse and Andy and Scott are in striking distance though!

There were a couple of big milestones this week! Sheri and Logan both reached the 1 Year Streak Club! WooHoo! WooHoo!

No streaks were killed this week! WooHoo!

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WPC - WEEK 457 - SLICE OF LIFE
SLICE OF LIFE – IN HONOR OF MY DAD

SLICE OF LIFE! What a great theme for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what exactly is a SLICE OF LIFE image? This is where I normally give you kind of a broad definition of the theme, but not this week. For those that don’t know SLICE OF LIFE is the name of the postcard company that my Dad started and ran out of the basement darkroom in our house.

He specialized in black & white postcards of local interest. Here is this week’s assignment. It is to take a picture that you could see being used on a postcard. Now back in the day, they used to take pictures of all sorts of things and put them on postcards. So don’t think that there is nothing in your area that would make it on a postcard. It could be a building that is interesting looking or has a historical significance. It could simply be a pretty scene. Back when I was doing THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT, sometimes they took pictures of downtown intersections and put those on postcards.

While I will require your submission to be a postcard like image, meaning don’t try to “interpret” Slice of Life to mean something different, I will only strongly encourage you to submit the picture in black & white and also only slightly encourage you to throw some text on the image, if you have the editing skills or software. You know, design a postcard!

There is one more thing. This is the one and only theme where if you write a SHORT description of your image (like you would see on the backside of a postcard) that I will include it along with your submission.

I don’t manipulate the order of themes for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. I put the 52 themes in a random generator and then I have it generate the the order of the themes EXCEPT for this theme. This theme I put this week specifically. This week is my Dad’s birthday. In fact, it is tomorrow. He would have turned 81. So it seemed apropos to put the theme that is an homage to him during this week.

And if you don’t know, he is the person in the theme reveal image.

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing your idea of SLICE OF LIFE in this place that is a continuation in many ways next Monday.

Eclipse Road Trip – Day 2

On Day 2 of the Eclipse Road Trip I woke up in the comfort of the bed. Did my business in a toilet with running water. Brushed my teeth. Still opted for a whore’s bath and then decided to do a little bit of exploring while the rest were sleeping I decided to sneak off and do a little exploring. I had done a little research on the Gosport area and found out that there was a beautiful waterfall nearby. There was also an interesting sculpture park, but that didn’t open until 9 AM and by the time I explored it, I wouldn’t have had time to get back to Linda’s to leave for the eclipse party.

Through my research I also learned about a cool bakery in Gosport that had an open kitchen that allowed you to watch them bake all of the tasty goodness.

Here are some pictures from the day:


Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
This cool drive-in theater reminds me that one of my goals this year is to go watch a movie at a drive-in movie theater. Who is in?

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
It was a beautiful sunrise on a foggy morning. Almost magical.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
It cost an outsider like me 9 smackers to visit Cataract Falls State Park. If I was from Indiana, it would have been $7. I thought about how lucky I am to be able to visit Ledges or Mines of Spain or Backbone anytime I want for free, but then I’m also reminded that we don’t even have park rangers any more and are parks are poorly maintained. So maybe it is a wash.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Going over the Eel River was this sweet covered bridge.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Even though I wasn’t there to see the eclipse I got a 5 minute lecture about it from 2 different park rangers. Even though I told both of them that I was just there to see the Niagara Falls of Indiana.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
It is really the largest waterfall in Indiana. You might scoff, but it is way bigger than any waterfall in Iowa.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
After leaving Cataract Falls I visited the town of Cataract to check out the famous Cataract General Store and the Cataract School. This sign should hang everywhere.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Is that good? That seems good.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
I stopped at the cool bakery. I bought a piece of red velvet cake and a piece of carrot cake. I also bought this chocolate milk. I have a longstanding belief that it is impossible to get great chocolate milk outside of Iowa (or outside of the AE Dairy footprint). Kind of like how you can’t get a good tenderloin outside of Iowa. The clerk at the Bakery ranted and raved about this chocolate milk. It was an okay chocolate milk, but if I somehow ever get back to Gosport I’m taking a gallon of AE into the bakery and I’m blowing some minds. Anyways, this chocolate milk comes from a local dairy.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
This truck is parked just outside of Paragon. Nobody I talked to seemed to know the story. Rest in peace Jack Brown.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Jen came back from Indiana with one more fur coat. A beaver fur coat this time.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
I witnessed quite the wrestling match. I’m not sure who won. But it was quite the match.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
I ate so much food at the Eclipse Party. Linda’s ribs were delicious. So was Pete’s chili. I tried something called “fluffy” that Evie was certain was going to change my life. I don’t know it did, but I ate plenty of it. Also a ton of peanut butter bars.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
It’s starting!

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Styling and profiling!

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Totality!

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
During the eclipse there are these crazy crescent shadows.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
My camera filter.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
This is the road outside of Linda and Pete’s house. I swear every road that isn’t a highway looks like this road.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
After the eclipse we packed up and headed back. We had a hotel booked in Normal, Illinois.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
We ended up getting gas in Danville, Illinois. Apparently the no buying gas in Illinois thing was just an elaborate ruse.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
I’ve been to shadier gas stations. One in San Antonio comes to mind, but this one was pretty shady.

The drive from Indiana to the hotel was crazy busy. There were a ton of people fleeing Indiana after the eclipse. The last 5 miles or so on the interstate took me over 30 minutes. It was great to get to the hotel. I watched part of UCONN’s dismantling of Purdue. Then watched the kids swim in the pool before calling it a night.

One more sleep before finishing the trip home the next day.

Oh… here is one more bonus image. Evie took this picture of Derrick. We were trying to teach him about Snapchat.


Eclipse Road Trip - 2024

I think we failed and honestly I’m not that great at Snapchat. Evie knows way more than me. So maybe she can keep working on him.

Eclipse Road Trip – Day 1

The last total eclipse to be visible from the United States for the next 20 years was on April 8. Unfortunately to see the 100% totality, I had to leave my beloved Cyclone State. I originally perused a few options. A spot in Missouri. A spot in Illinois. A spot in Arkansas. A spot in Kentucky. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do. Cause I knew that hotels in the areas were outrageous. I was considering driving to like the Quad Cities on the Sunday before the eclipse and then driving the rest of the way in the morning. Then driving back that night. Then the most magical thing happened. I had a trip just kinda fall into my lap.

The Gorshes are well-known eclipse fiends. They went to New Mexico for an eclipse last year. They were going this year. Travelling to Indiana to camp on Jen’s Aunt Linda’s land. They were going to drive all the way through on Sunday. Watch the eclipse on Monday. Then drive back to Illinois and stay in a hotel in Normal. Then drive back to Iowa on Tuesday. They graciously offered to let me 7th or 8th wheel it on their trip.

They were pulling a camper behind Derrick’s serial killer van* with 2 adults, 4 kids, and a dog. As roomy as the van was I elected to take the RAV4 to the Sycamore State cause for 1 person, I pack a lot of stuff. I think the offer was on the table for me to sleep in the camper as well, but I decided to pack a tent and an air mattress and sleep the way the pioneers did. In a tent. On a queen sized air mattress. With electricity for their CPAP, cause I still haven’t hit 3 months and I have to average over 4 hours a night for the old insurance company to kick in some ducats. Also electricity to charge their cell phone and listen to their sleepy time podcasts. Also electricity to charge their fitness watch. Those steps don’t count if they aren’t tracked! Some real old-timey pioneer stuff.

However, a couple days before we were set to leave, Jen texted me and let me know that I had been upgraded from the tent to Linda and Pete’s camper. With the only caveat being that it was still winterized, so there would be no running water. Me? An old-timey pioneer camper? I don’t need no stinking running water! I could brush my teeth in the rain. Or with the water in my Owala water bottle. Just like the pioneers did. And I had already planned on a whore’s bath for Monday anyways. You know. Pits and… well you know.

According to the Google maps, it is a nearly 8 hour drive from my domicile to Linda’s house in Gosport, Indiana.

I don’t want to brag, but we made it in a touch over 12 hours. That is without accounting for the time zone change.

I didn’t take many cell phone pictures on Day 1, but I took a few and here they are:


Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Stop 1. They also had a bathroom with running water, but in case you wanted the ambiance of a port-a-potty, “To The Right”. The capitalization of every word on this sign disturbs me and haunts my dreams.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Stop 2. This gas station was very serious about not letting backpacks in their store.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
It was in Davenport.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
And they brook no nonsense from kids.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
I think they aren’t really sorry for the inconvenience. We stopped at virtually the last gas station in Iowa because it was very important to not buy gas in Illinois cause it is apparently very expensive there.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Stop 3 – Sweet insect exhibit at an Illinois rest area.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
All rest areas should have giant rubber bugs. This is not open to debate.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Bug needs to work on his arms. Needing a condiment cup to hold himself up. Do you even lift bro?

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
I am such a sucker for taking pictures of where I am.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
This rest are had a sweet lookout and somebody actually wrote a Joe Dirt quote on the railing.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Do sex drugs own the rock-n-roll? Is this person really into rock concerts sponsored by Viagra?

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Stop 4 – Another Illinois rest area. I told you I’m a sucker for taking pictures like that.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
This rest area was a dump. Just filthy. No urinals. The only positive was these cherry blossoms.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
This thing was cool too. While there Harrison had a meltdown in the restroom because he refused to wash his hands. This standoff lasted like 10-15 minutes. I don’t blame him. It was a bathroom that was so dirty that your hands were probably dirtier after washing them. In retrospect, I should have just offered him some of my Bridgerton scented hand sanitizer. Perhaps Bridgerton Study. They have a light scent. Easy on the nose. I’ve never heard anybody claim they are way too strong and demand that I leave their immediate area, shortly after using one. That seemed like an oddly specific denial.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
I’m not sure which stop this was. We stopped at a gas station in Crawfordsville. Then we stopped at a Steak ‘n Shake, also in Crawfordsville.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
The Steak ‘n Shake had this weird thing. Weird to me, maybe some of you will look down your nose at me and call me a country bumpkin, but I had never seen it before. When you ordered (which by the way the only option to order was via kiosk – which super boo! Shouted this old man at the clouds.) Your receipt also printed out a QR Code. You had to scan this QR Code to use the pop machine. It only activated the pop machine for so long, so you better act fast AND it only worked like 3 times.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
When we got out of the restaurant, Derrick’s van wouldn’t start. Neither us have jumper cables (I keep mine in the Camry) so I had to give him a ride to Home Depot to buy a set.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
We got his van going and were on the road again. Willie Nelson would have been proud.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Turns out, Linda and Pete didn’t really live in Gosport. We drove through Gosport and then 10 miles more through 3 different towns before getting to their house.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
They live closest to Paragon. But they have a Gosport mailing address because that is the only post office in 3 counties. Also, that is the toilet.

Eclipse Road Trip - 2024
Layla teaching the boys the globalist lie.

When we pulled up to our home for the night Linda approached me and asked me if I played the lottery today. The answer is of course not. I don’t play the lottery. It is a self-imposed tax designed to move the tax burden from the wealthy to the poor, uneducated, and the just plain bad at math.

But what I said was, “No.”

She told me I should have because it was my lucky day. I had been upgraded to sleeping in the house, in the guest bedroom. Not only that, I would have my own bathroom. Suck on that whore’s bath! That might have been an unfortunate turn of phrase but no turning back now.

I got a bed, inside a house, with access to all the running water my heart could desire and all the electrical outlets a true pioneer man could use. I should have brought other things into charge, just cause I could. I should have just sat there flushing the toilet. Cause I could. Brushed my teeth 10-12 times. Cause I could.

But I didn’t. I eventually called it a night and drifted into a nice sleep listening to a Cyclone Fanatic podcast. Tomorrow was a big day after all.

*It isn’t really a serial killer van. It has too many windows. But I like to pretend.