Metal Craft Marine has been building boats in the Kingston Harbour for over 30 years. They specialize in aluminum fire and patrol boats serving the US coast guard, US Navy, various other levels of government and municipalities with boats of all sizes I had the chance to go play with my drone and photograph one of their new boats on the water last week.
APRIL 29TH - Day 1.
I left Bracebridge Ontario and started the trek south towards the border. I forgot Marley’s dog food and turned around - off to a great start. I was taken into secondary inspection at the border but granted a travel visa until October 2017. My original plan was to make it to Washington DC day 1 but I ended up stopping at Letchworth State Park because it looked rad. Shot some photos there and then around 5pm I realized the actual campground was closed to visitors. I got back on the interstate and drove until I was tired and pulled into a Pennsylvania Welcome centre. Camped out in the parking lot next to some other Ontarion in a Sprinter Van. My first night in the camper was great and a quick setup and tear down. Marley curled up on the couch inside and was right at home.
I got to Washington DC early and checked into Greenbelt National Park. It’s a nice park but the airport is nearby as well as the highway so it’s a bit noisey during the day and early in the morning. Can’t beat the 16$ / night price, especially this close to DC (20-25 minutes) though. It was 26c and pretty humid but Marley and I biked around DC for the evening and I shot photos of the Capital building and some other stuff. She did great in crowds,
The next day we rolled out to Raleigh NC and checked into William Umstead State Park which was $18/night. his park is also near the airport and quite noisy around 6am. Marley was way too hot during the day with all her winter fur still on so I brought her to a groomer and she came back a few pounds lighter. We checked out the local mountain bike trails and some of the historic stuff around the Raleigh area as well as the Duke University Campus. We ended up sticking around Raleigh/Durham area until the evening of Wednesday May 3rd (Day5).
I ended up sleeping in a truck rest stop on the way to Charlotte NC. Woke up to a good sunrise at 5am and shot some fire pics of Charlotte in the morning. We explored the city for the rest of the day and wasted a bunch of gas getting lost. I ended up finding a nice park on the nice side of the city and napped and organized the camper a bit. A big storm rolled in and I opted for some shitty KOA campground with WIFI and showers. Did a bit of fishing and caught some bass. My neighbour at the KOA currently lives there full time in a tent. He invited me out to the bar at the KOA. He ended up bringing back some other trailer park lady from the campground and I woke up at 4am to them chatting way too loud about shit I didn’t need to hear.
I checked out the Whitewater Centre in north western Charlotte which was super rad. It’s a climbing, mountain biking and kayaking centre that is the training facility for the USA kayak team. I did some rock climbing and biking and then rolled downtown to shoot sunset stuff. It was a friday night so there was a 24hr endurance trail run at the centre that night so I ended up going back to the place and camping out in the parking lot with the hundred other people that were there to support the racers etc.
Day 8 - May 6th.
I got up early and shot sunrise stuff and then rolled out towards ATL Georgia.
I stopped at Stone Mountain Park to hike and shoot some photos of it. They had a no dog policy on most of the trails which seemed really dumb so I ignored those rules and took a side trail up the mountain. I camped at the park which was about 30mins from downtown Atlanta. It was the weekend so it was obviously quite busy but it was nice and quiet. I rolled into the city and shot some sunset stuff. Atlanta feels like a really big city but I actually felt like it was fairly easy to get around. There’s some super rough areas of the city and quite visibly a drug problem affecting a lot of people.
My 17-35mm Nikon lens decided to kick the can and the autofocus stopped working. It’s still useable but sucks to not have autofocus. So I hunted around and found a 24-70 2.8 on craigslist. My god what a lens. Why did I not buy this lens years ago? It’s amazing. The photo / instagram scene in Atl also seemed pretty ridiculous. At any given time the Jackson Street Bridge has a dozen people on it taking selfies and other spots there’s people filming rap videos etc.
I rolled out south west towards New Orleans Louisiana. It was a 700km drive and definitely a lot warmer and humid than ATL. I checked into a state park just west of downtown New Orleans which was about 20mins from downtown. I shot some sunset photos and Marley made a friend with another blueheeler along the river while I chatted with it’s cute owner haha. Marley made friends with some other people having beers on a patio so I joined them for a drink and got a little more of a local feel for the area. The next day I checked out the downtown / Bourbon Street tourist scene and was a little overwhelmed by how ridiculous it was. I got up early the following day and went for a hike in the National Park area south of New Orleans to shoot some nature stuff and had a deer walk within 8 feet of me. Marley was sleeping in the camper due to no dogs allowed rules, which was probably for the best. I stayed at the park for 3 days before rolling west towards Houston Texas. I stopped at a plantation and had a pretty eye opening experience to the slavery and insane wealth of some of these people.
I drove into Houston Texas right at sunset and shot some city photos from a park downtown. Houston has a really nice trail and park network downtown and it was great to see so many people being active and using it. Quite the contrast to the debauchery of downtown New Orleans. I decided to be a dirt bag and just Walmart parking lot camp for 2 nights while in Houston. It was so hot and humid during the day I said fuck this and drove 40mins south to Galveston Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. Marley swam in the ocean and I played frisbee with her and drank beer and worked on my tan. I checked out a few local breweries during the next day, and the great part about so many microbreweries popping up everywhere is that they are usually dog friendly and have WIFI. I edited some engagement photos and sent out a bunch of work related emails. I made friends with some Trump supporting Texans and some Vanlife Walmart people while in Houston.