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Final Bout: Round Two

Final Bout II © Andor (116)

The most anticipated drift event of the year has come and gone. Three days of hanging out with drivers, their significant others, media people and random car junkies from all over the continent. The competition seemed to take back stage to the over all sentiment of fun and friendship. I had a great night hanging out with My old friends, the Vatos and Anonymous Gangster crew. Twas also great to run in to one of the raddest characters in the midwest scene, another old buddy by the name of Derek King. Meeting the fine ladies and gents that are ShaDynasty again was also quite rad. I drool quite heavily when seeing their cars! No one else is sliding such stylish machines and if they try, it’s doubtful they would be half as awesome. Though that’s likely a personality thing… Special thanks to Stevie and Ben from Dirty Love, for helping Me out through out the weekend. Many thanks to the king pin of the midwest drift scene, Phill Lee (Grip Gambler), for making these events happen. Those of us who have been around for a long time know that without Phill, Maggie and the rest of the ClubFR family, the midwest drift scene may never have left the streets for these greener pastures we find ourselves on now. All of the other organizers in the region owe their position to You guys and I’m thankful to have been able to watch it all happen over the years.

As for the event it’s self, the trophy still resides in Chicago. Though it changed hands, with the v8 chorus of High Fade being eliminated before the semifinal round. Another eclectic crew, draped in red, rallied late and threw down their best run, claiming the win. Congrats to the guys of Risky Devil, Final Bout Champions. Nevermind the fact that at least one, if not more of Your cars were totaled by the end of the weekend. You’ve got a nice, cheap, trophy to stare at for a year while contemplating what to do about the vehicles…

I don’t function well in the heat, so I was quite lazy about shooting all weekend. I missed a lot of the action and then went home pretty early on sunday, missing more action…

Final Bout II © Andor (309)

I’m actually going to split this in to two posts. The bulk of which will be in this one. But, I shot a few time lapses and did some night shooting over the weekend, so that will come, with a bit more drifting, in the second round. Until then, here are four hundred and twenty views from the weekend.


30 Hour Vacation

30 Hour Vacation © Andor (21)

I bought a Canon 6D and their 24mm f/1.4 L series lens to go with it. Anxious to make use of these new toys, I started asking around to see if any of My friends wanted to go camping. An old friend that I rarely talk to opted in, along with Her husband and three dogs. The morning of departure, I shot them a text to see if they were running on schedule. The reply was, “We have to cancel.” Her family rents out a few houses around the neighborhood, one of which was to get new tennants after the weekend. The person who had lived there decided to leave the place packed full of crap, clutter and furniture. It looked like a pack rat was living there. Hell bent on getting out of the city, I met up with them and we had the place mostly empty in under three hours. Happily, we then proceeded to get in the van and drive north. It was already after noon on saturday, but in My book, any time outside of city life is time well spent. It was a lovely drive, just south of Lake Superior’s western-most point, we encountered a thick fog. These pictures do not do it justice, one could barely see a hundred yards for a good twenty miles.

Just south of the lovely town of Duluth, the fog lifted and my friends, who had never been to this part of Minnesota, could see why I love this little city, perched on a hill. The place has an unusually elaborate system of bridges. Partially due to the fact that this is a busy port town, but that still does not explain why the highway has so many bridges, crossing, rising and bending in every which way. Duluth has so many great angles and lines built in to it’s infrastructure. Some time soon I think I shall head up there, just to photograph the genius of those who designed and built the city. Passing through, I snapped a couple of shots through the dirty windows on the car.

For those of us from the Twin Cities, Duluth is the gateway to the north shore. Once You have passed through town, You find Yourself on the red road. The red tarmac doesn’t last long, but is a much welcomed sign that You have left the urban environment behind. From that point, heading north-east along Lake Superior’s coast, is a long, long stretch of rolling hills, rocky shores, winding rivers and endless forest. My favorite place to be! We headed up the coastal road passing through the many State Parks and National Forests. Eventually finding ourselves at Cascade State Park, which is a little more than an hour from the Canadian border. It was already pretty late in the day, but we rapidly set up camp and got a fire going. After filling our bellies, we walked the couple hundred yards over to the lake and spent about two hours just sitting, taking in the vast darkness. It was a foggy night, visibility was quite low, but the sound of the waves rolling onto the rocky shore was just what I needed.

Once back at our campsite, we all went to bed pretty quickly. In the morning, we took a walk up the Cascade River, pausing for Me to take the following pictures and proceeded to head south, Hoping to make a couple of stops along the way back home.

My friend has a bad back, which chose to throw Him into a state of agony on this trip. I felt bad that He was in so much pain, so we took it easy on the return trip. In the end, we passed by all but one of the sights that the North Coast has to offer. I simply would not come up here without a stop at that which has become My favorite waterfall. Which I took a bunch more pictures of.. The overcast sky made taking pictures a lot nicer than the bright, sunny day the last time I was there. I took My time, stopping every couple hundred yards, pondering the angles I desired and taking more pictures, long exposures, all the way up the valley. The place was nice and quiet, we only saw two other groups of people the whole time we were there. What a wonderful place.

After basking in the cool water for a while, we climbed back into their van and headed towards home. Driving back down the coast, leaving behind the natural beauty of this post-glacial landscape and entering the land of human civilaization. The farther south You go, the impact of man kind becomes more and more evident. The lone road gets wider, sparcely placed houses give way to towns, tunnels bring You under towering rocky hills and eventually, You find Yourself looking at the ports and populated hills of Duluth. We paused there to stretch our legs and take a final look at the vast expanse of water, before climbing back into the van and continuing south towards Saint Paul. We managed to ride the leading edge of a storm for a couple hundred miles, all the way home. Arriving back in city life, just in time to see a very bold and beautifully colored sun set. Sorry, I did not get a picture of that, there were buildings in the way…