The personal blog of photojournalist Noah Darnell.

Ends of trails never end stories…

Ends of trails never end stories…

To finish up our journey across the country…

These photos represent about 5000 miles worth of experiences. When dealing with vast distances and long hours of butts in seats, it’s hard to compress that down into little details or simple anecdotes.

When doing things like this, you know what it means to be running on fumes and sweating without the air conditioner on as you barely roll into the gas station – the one gas station in 150 miles – and fuel up to realize the only gas remaining in the tank was in the fuel line…

These are more like feelings that anything you could adequately describe.

But along it all and all the roads, the girl, the greyhound, and the car keep rolling. So you’ll forgive a hero shot or two, won’t you?

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What is another hour when you’ve driven for 130 already? What is another mile when you realize it is time to rotate the tires again? The last time was only a month ago.

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Oh, it’s only 108ºF today? Wow, that’s nice considering yesterday was 122ºF. (No, really.)

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There’s no describing this journey beyond saying that it is as we are: a little rambling at times, unique beyond measure, and far more than the space between.

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The reason the girl, the greyhound, and I do things like this is because there is no other way to know what we know. You cannot read the Snowy Ridge Pass in a book; you cannot paint the Painted Desert on a canvas; you cannot know the people we know by sitting on a couch or texting someone on a little screen…

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The reason we travel is because we traveled once. And we found that you cannot expect all the world to come to you, no matter the technology or how special we all think we are. You have to go out into the world and see it for yourself.

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Yes, it really is that weird…

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…and that big…

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And it really is that beautiful.

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Since man could first photograph, the photograph has been brought back to they who stay at home: “Look at where we were!”

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So in a way, the camera is an unusual expression of hope and urgency for those not there: “You have to see this for yourself.” They who have stood before monuments and monsters and mumbled: “Well, how cool is that…!”

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Are we a different person on the road? Do we become something else?

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Perhaps, I say, we are not different on the road as much as we are different when we return. Like the very gradual changes as we drive west… first deciduous forests and hills, then the plains, and the sharp protrusions of the Rockies, until the grotesque furnace of the southwest…

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And as you drive back home, some of the dust of the desert sticks to you, least of all on your shoes.

One thing that is apparent after an 7000 mile road trip in nineteen days is that, while the outside of the car looks the same once you run it through a car wash, it is on the inside of the car that the real mileage shows. So it is with us…

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Stay tuned, my friends…
-Noah D.

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Data for our Mini Takes The States experience–2016_07.20-8618
Mileage: 6202
Seat time: 153hrs 32min
Average miles per gallon: 30.2
Home to back home: 19days 8hrs
Average speed: 47.9mph

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