Why You Hate the Upper West Side

✍️ 🕑 2019 through early 2020 • Series: My Days in New York City • Tags: New York Citycomplaining • Places: Whispers Bar

I wrote this post a fair while ago (2020), as part of an elegy to my stint in New York City.
It is part of my answer to the age old question, ‘How could you leave New York?’ (pandemic notwithstanding)

Average representation of the UWS (northerly bits)
Average representation of the UWS (northerly bits)

You stop to catch your breath inside the shoebox you call “a New York City apartment,” arriving again at the realization that the city is unspeakably lonely.

You scarf down two pizza slices on paper plates, thinking back to your near run-ins with Empire State Building ticket hawkers and tourists who suddenly stop in the middle of the sidewalk, and you shudder.

Some days it feels like it's only through advance planning and effort that people connect with anyone at all. Your breath is caught, but maybe it wishes to escape again. You think to yourself, “what's it all for?”

At least you have your neighborhood?


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Nebraska's Toadstool Geological Park

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: astrophotographynight photographybird photographybadlandssunsetsNebraskaoverrated eats • Places: Toadstool Geological Park and Campground

Toadstool Geologic Park, located in the Oglala National Grassland is a fantastic little underappreciated gem of Badlands in Northwestern Nebraska.

I visited it on my trip to Seattle and took a bazillion photos, which I'll now share with you, dear reader.


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Badlands National Park

✍️ 🕑 September 14-15, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: prairie dogsbadlandswildlife photographybird photographytourist trapsNational ParksBadlands National ParkSouth Dakota • Places: Badlands National Park Wall Drug Sage Creek Campground

When I entered South Dakota, in my mind, at least, I was far west enough to start hitting some really famous national parks, and some really beautiful places. (And for that matter, some 80 mph speed limits on the Interstates...)


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I remember visiting the Badlands as a kid, and I was stoked to return.

Left Tailrace

✍️ 🕑 September 13-14, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: bird photographyU.S. Politicslakesdisplacementdams • Places: Left Tailrace

After a lovely day eating cheese curds, visiting Pipestone National Monument, and stopping by the World's Only Corn Palace, I drove on to my campground for the night: Left Tailrace.

It's an Army Corps of Engineers-created campground, located very close to the Big Bend Hydroelectric Dam and its reservoir, Lake Sharpe.

Shores of the lake
Shores of the lake

It was only at some point after I hastily reserved my campsite that I learned of the area's sad history...

Corn, Cheese Curds, and Sacred Stones

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: sacred sitestourist trapsgood eatsMinnesotaSouth DakotaNational Monuments • Places: Bump's Family Restaurant Pipestone National Monument The World's Only Corn Palace

I bid farewell to the Twin Cities fairly early in the morning.

The next day's plan was to travel from the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul to the Missouri in South Dakota, traversing terrain between two of America's most important rivers.

In a few ways, it would be a jumping off point for me for the rest of the trip. After this, I had no plans to stay with friends, and in fact, virtually no plans to sleep anywhere other than my tent.

But, I did still get to bump into an old pal, if you know what I mean...