Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You'd think things would get boring after a while...

But really, my commute never seems to get old. Since I started writing here in December 2006, I can count on my hands the number of uneventful days in the saddle. This includes back when I was purely multi-modal riding a few miles each day to the bus and over winter when I revert to that same paradigm. There's always something kind of fascinating.

I started off photographing things of interest almost right from the get-go. I kind of strayed away from that for a while, and got bit by the shutter bug again a few months back. Getting off the bike and taking pictures of things doesn't force me to stop and smell the proverbial roses. It's a product of stopping to take a moment and reflect on the sights, smells, sounds, and feels of the commute. And occasionally, I get to experience the taste of a gnat or mosquito, too.

I don't shoot for perfection when I write here. I use slang and wordplay that would be unacceptable in a novel or biography. There are many reasons the stuff I write here simply wouldn't fly in print, but this is my turf and I can get away with crimes against English as I see fit, despite being the spawn of a mechanical engineer and an English professor. I'd like to think this gives me a witty, edgy ability to use myriad adjectives and adverbs to salt what would otherwise be a rather prosaic daily ride report. Sometimes, people see it differently. Fortunately, most of those people fail at primary-level spelling. Good times.

While any given two of my back-to-back commutes are rarely the same, the grain elevator carnage was worth a repeat. Let's face it, very few things in America's heartland are more mystical than a history-packed 20-story edifice that's straddling the line between ripe for exploration and failure to exist. Apparently -- and without so many words -- a frequent reader and commenter named Sally (a.k.a. Sallymander) felt the same way. It turns out that one of her friends lives directly across the street from the blighted barley bins. I agreed to join them in their exploits. The mission was simple: Get inside the facility and get a ton of photos. My tertiary objective which was perhaps not shared with Sally and Barb was to carefully ascend to the pinnacle of the doomed structure if it appeared safe.

This is a lot easier if the demolition crew isn't there watching you do it. Interior access was not an option today. Neither was hiking up the elaborate network of fire escapes and safety ladders. With that, we hiked to the far side to examine the erstwhile partially pulverized office area, far away from the watchful eye of the orange-vested havoc-wreakers.

I allowed the workers to observe me photographing seemingly innocuous objects such as some flowers and a high-voltage power pole.

Then, it was on. Barb kept watch. We started photographing.

There's still a bunch of asbestos in the rubble. I'm not terribly concerned about it while on this adventure, as it takes quite a bit of exposure to cause permanent lung damage. Inside, I'd probably wear something over my mouth and nose, but we didn't get that far.

The gauge read "full" but my attempt to discharge this relic of a fire extinguisher failed miserably.

Supposedly, this elevator suffered from an explosion. Details are elusive, and I'm usually quite skilled at digging up bits of history.

Some time after Rosedale Milling Company quit using the elevator, Clorox took the facility over. The last date I can find evidence of Clorox's occupation was 1986.

Sally rescued a piece of grate material to use on her patio.

It was cool to run into Sally, who's occasionally thrown her two cents in since last September or so. I wish those pesky demolition guys would have left. I wouldn't dare putz around inside this facility without someone spotting me. That, my friends, is rule number one of urban exploration. Well, when I'm making the rules.

Random Tunage:
Suicide Commando - Hell Raiser
Frankie Bones - All The Way Home


dvicci said...

Not sure if you've seen this site or not, but check it out. I plan to utilize it to the utmost pomposity. Sometimes, anyway. Maybe.

Too bad about the demolition crew. That sort of thing is always so much more fun (possible) without someone lording over you. What chumps. Like they didn't want to join you.

amidnightrider said...

Imagine some old guy was investigating his 2009 "big bike ride". Would you recommend the KATY trail?

sallymander said...

Hey Noah, thanks for stopping on Wednesday, was such a bummer that we couldn't get inside. Here's a link to my flickr page and the snaps I took.

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