Babson Boulders

As a native Midwesterner, New England has always seemed full of secrets to me. But none as surreal as the Babson Boulders, a seemingly random collection of massive boulders with inspirational all-caps etchings scattered around the forest of an abandoned inland settlement in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I first learned about the boulders six or seven years… Continue reading Babson Boulders

The Iceland Ring Road: Part II

I took an eight-day drive with my wife and partner Sarah around Iceland’s famous and rugged Ring Road. In the last post, I explained how we did it. In this one, I explain what we saw and ate along the way. Against popular currents we took a counterclockwise route around Iceland’s 830-mile Ring Road, starting and… Continue reading The Iceland Ring Road: Part II

“I’m tryin’ to backroads it to Walmart!”

After spending two weeks in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, for the first half of July, I’m officially back in Chicago. At least, my body is. My psyche is still in the desert somewhere. On one hand, it feels like I was gone for a long time. On the other, it feels like I never… Continue reading “I’m tryin’ to backroads it to Walmart!”

Natural Theater, or, the Very Large Array

Yesterday I took a few-hour jaunt out of T or C to the Very Large Array, the, uh, very large radio telescope/observatory roughly fifty miles west of Socoro, New Mexico—notable only because once you’re past Socoro, there’s nothing but mountains, fields, and a gradual elevation climb to 7,000 feet above sea level. Every five or… Continue reading Natural Theater, or, the Very Large Array

Making Truth in Alaska: The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference

As a native Illinoisian, mine was a childhood of highways, humid summers, and Hardees. So when I learned I’d won a grant from the City of Chicago to visit Alaska I wondered if I’d come back alive. Alaska would be my first encounter with actual geology, a foreign concept in my home city of Chicago,… Continue reading Making Truth in Alaska: The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference