It starts here.
The sun beamed down upon my face. The brush of the warm air running through my hair. It was my first day on the highway. I was traveling the “Alcan,” the only highway between Alaska and the rest of the world. Many emotions, many thoughts, and many attempts have lead me here. I was finally leaving Alaska. Now, beneath blue skies, I thought about this journey and the expedition it was taking me on. In the last few years I’ve grown exponentially. Not only as a photographer but within myself as well. I have learned a lot recently, lots of things that are defining who I am and how I see the world. It has taken me a long time to get to this point, but I’m here now. And I am overwhelmingly happy that I am finally moving back home. Charleston, is and always will be my home. I grew up there. My mind is filled with memories from a previous life. As I drive along this road I remember those moments as if they were yesterday. It was 7 years ago when my family and I first set out for Alaska. Not really sure what we were searching for. Regardless of the answer, we found it. Alaska has shaped me into the person I am today and has given me so many great opportunities. All of which have lead me to start STUDIO 1250. I began photography soon after moving to Alaska. After leaving my life behind I realized how much of it went undocumented. No photographs, no videos; all of my memories were strictly thoughts stored in my head. It was time to begin capturing my life. I learned the ways of photography on my father’s old film camera, a Canon AE-1. Soon after, I switched to a entry level Digital SLR, but my strong desire for better gear moved me to the realm of the professional world.
My thoughts were interrupted by the site of life ahead. Border City, a small town consisting of a gas station, small store, and a lodging camp where construction workers rested after a long day. The place was only 10 or so miles from the Canadian border, perhaps the reason of it’s existence. As I approached, the road turned to gravel and rock because it was being overhauled. Semi-trucks raced by kicking up rocks and adding to the collection of cracks on my windshield. Suddenly, a loud noise radiated from my vehicle. Unsure what it was, I quickly pulled off to the side. I checked around the front, nope, checked around the back, there it was, a flat tire. I was afraid this might happen, but shocked it occurred so soon on the trip. Overwhelmed of the sudden irony, only moments ago were my thoughts foreshadowing this event. I grabbed the tools from the rear of the Jeep and removed all five bolts, releasing the tire. The dust from passing vehicles lingered in the air as I mounted the spare. Luckily the sky remained unhindered from it’s flawless slate. I continued down the highway worrying about what could happen next. The situation at hand could be more devastating if the worst occurred, I was down one tire and no way to fix another flat tire. Border City had no tire repair of any sort, therefore I knew my only chance was to continue on across the border.
The road into Canada was badly damaged. Most of the pavement was destroyed by multiple earthquakes and erosion over the years. Fortunately, there was no gravel or rock on the road, just extreme wavily asphalt that rippled in every direction…this was manageable. Thankfully the information I was given about the Canadian side of the highway, turned out to be incorrect. Beaver Creek, the closest town from here, was only 20 miles inside Canada. At first sight I pulled into the local tire repair shop. An old building stood surrounded by disassembled trucks, piles of shredded tires, and an oval shaped tin hanger that seemed to be the workshop. Hanging from the interior walls of the lobby were posters of old planes and classic cars, typical mechanic I thought. An old man approached wearing dirty blue coveralls and a hat with the Snap-On logo embroiled on it.
“What can I do for ya?” The man said.
“Well it seems that I am in need of a new tire. The highway hasn’t treated me very nice today.”
“Let’s have a look.” The man replied with a slight grin.
As we approached the Jeep, he examined the tire.
“The tire wall isn’t damaged, good thing you pulled off when you did. Lets throw some air in it and see what happens.” After inflating the tire we quickly found a 2 inch long slash in the rubber, there was ano way to patch that. Disappointed at the outcome I began to brainstorm for ideas. Meanwhile the mechanic left the building without a sound. Perhaps this man was the type to keep mostly to himself, after all he was living thousands of miles from civilization. I attempted to initiate conversation with him earlier, mainly small talk, but his single word answers ended it rather quickly. I was unsure about the outcome of the situation and honestly, I expected the worst. From the corner of my eye I saw the man rolling a tire in from the entrance of the shop.
“Now this isn’t the same size, but for a spare, it should do just fine.” He voiced while throwing the tire onto the machine. Next, he greased the rim and wedged the tire in place. Loud pops echoed throughout the shop as the air pressure increased and sealed the rubber to the rim. Success. It wasn’t the best looking tire I had ever seen, but for $25, I couldn’t have asked for anything else.
Finally I’m back on the road and most of all, worry free. I have a good spare tire, a full tank of gasoline, and an open highway to roam.
Here are a few of the photos from the trip so far.
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