AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Abandoned America

You might have noticed a lot of pictures of rusted cars and overgrown buildings in my blog posts. A few people have even asked me about them. Here's the story of that...

On the third or fourth day of the trip we rode past this house that just stood out to me. The house was a simple small one story home in a depressed part of the back country. There was a carport and a small yard. Nothing about the house was special or remarkable. I wanted to stop and take a picture of it, but I didn't want to lose the group I was with, so I didn't, and I regret it. 

The thing about the house that stood out so much was that it was abandoned, utterly and totally forgotten a left to time. It was overgrown, windows were broken by wind and weather. The grass was so tall there was no hint of a driveway or walkway left. Adding to this scene was a modest car parked in the carport, front facing out. On the other side of the house was a medium size boat, also facing forward. Both of these were in moderate condition, with the exception that they were also totally overgrown, covered in dust and dirt and time, with trees growing up around them.

The house looked sad, depressed, and just abandoned. Nature was well on it's way to reclaiming the land. 

It was fascinating to me, what was the story behind this house, with it's average car and someone who loved the water enough to buy a boat. Did the owner die? Go to jail? Somehow otherwise disappear? Why were there no family or friends to claim the property, the car or the boat? 
So there it just sat, slowly rotting and growing over. 

It is over three weeks since I saw this house, I still regret not taking a picture, but the mental image remains clear in my head. 

This got me thinking about "Abandoned America." I see abandoned items every day, and now they stand out to me even more. Why are these things here? Who owned them? At one point, this thing was really important to somebody. Be it a house, a car, a piece of farm equipment, a barn, or even a sign. And now, all of these things are just left where they stand, nobody to claim it or remove it or even care about. What are the stories behind them? Who were the people that cared about these things and why did they stop? 

I don't know what the story is behind these things, but the story I'm seeing and telling through my pictures is what they represent now. 

Many of you have noticed a lot of pictures of rusted out cars and overgrown barns. A few people have asked me about it. Well, here's the explanation. As I ride my bicycle across America, I'm looking for the things that were abandoned to time, forgotten by everyone else, and are now found by my camera. 

Not everything I take a picture of is 'artistic.' I feel that sometimes I get lucky and the picture turns out beautiful, or haunting, or just interesting. Other times it's just a picture of some barn or dirty car. But they all represent some piece of history that will never be known. 

Below are some of my favorite pictures that I've taken so far of "Abandoned America", and I intend to keep taking these as I pedal across the country. But you can see the full album on Picasa, and I will continue to add to the album as I find more lost items strewn across the landscape. 

Let me know what you think about this, what is your favorite picture or what stood out to you? I'm interested to hear your thoughts on "Abandoned America." 

Picasa Album:

If you look really closely, there's an old Chrysler K-Car in the grass! This looked like it'd been abandoned for decades.


  1. Hi Aaron. I am absolutely loving your narrative. I enjoy your observations and have a better understanding of what is in store for the van supported tour that is two weeks behind you. (My wife is a co-leader on that tour)

  2. Aaron, have been following your trip with much excitement. Did you ever think about striking out on your own to do this ride and just use the maps you can get from Adventure Cycling?