April 18, 2012

cold springs,

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This is Cold Springs Station, Nevada. It is a former Pony Express Stop on Route 50, The Loneliest Road in America. It is a gas station, a grocery store, a restaurant  and the only thing along the couple hundred mile stretch between the  Fallon and Austin Nevada.

I happened upon it about 8 years ago as I was making my way back to Boston with a group of friends. We were running the TREK USA Charity Relay for Kids.

TREK USA was the brain child of Dave McGillivary, a distance running legend and race director of the Boston Marathon. Dave ran across the country in 1978 all by himself. Every step. He wanted to do it again, but only as a relay with friends. And only for a good cause (or causes, as it turned out). We raised over $300,000 for various children’s charities, including the Jimmy Fund and the Cam Neely Foundation.

The trip was was life changing for me, in three major ways: altruistically; physically; and creatively.

Altruistically – We had to raise money for this. I had never done anything like it before. I discovered the rewards of dedicating yourself to a cause and was amazed at the generosity of friends, family and perfect strangers.

Physically – We trained for over a year to run about 350 miles over the three week relay. It helped prepare me for the heat and elevation we would encounter over the thirteen states we would be running through and it established a base stage for some of my best marathon performances, post TREK.

Creatively (and  the main reason for this post) – We ran across the country at 7 miles per hour. We breathed in the scenery from the San Francisco to Boston. It was an awakening for me, as a photographer. I bought my first DSLR specifically for the relay and spent a lot of time shooting the runners and crew to help document the trip. All good. The bad was, we were constantly on the move, literally and figuratively. There was little or no time to explore the areas we ran through or the towns we stayed in. I wanted more.

Of all the roads we ran on and all the towns we stayed in stayed in, Route 50 and Austin, Nevada were the most memorable for me. I’ve always thought the stark beauty of the high desert and the charm of Austin deserved more attention from my camera, so I’m going back.

In about 8 days I will be flying to Reno Nevada to drive and shoot Route 50. I’ll be staying in Austin, NV for four nights to photograph the town and the surrounding area. I’ve done some outreach in the town and have consulted with my friend, Justin Balog, a gifted photographer who tells amazing stories with his camera. Justin has done some great work in that area of the country and has been very generous with his knowledge. Much appreciated!

I’m extremely excited about this trip and wanted to finally share it here.

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