• 1st of 4 very long road trips in 4 months

    On our 1st trip of the year to Detroit, I’m not sure if any of us knew what we were in for. I picked up the awesome (piece of shit) Nissan Versa rental car at 3pm, hoping we could get on the road by like 4. We (I) planned ahead to stay the night in Dayton, OH – it takes about 7-7 1/2 hours to get there, then we’d get up early and finish the drive to Detroit. I think we ended up leaving around 5 or 5:30, stopped to have an extremely long dinner break (Term’s fault) at Cracker Barrel in Tennessee, and rolled into the best Embassy Suites ever, in Dayton around 1am. It’s about 3 hours to Detroit, so we just planned to hit the road around 7 and get to Detroit around 10. On our way there in the morning, Tony called and said he was off work and he would meet us at an abandoned church. Before we even get to Michigan, Tony is saying he’s at the church and there are cops driving all around. We decide to just see how it looks. By the time we get there there’s an ambulance just sitting across from the entrance with a couple of medics in it, looking at us. We decide not to risk anything (literally at the moment we got into town) and just go to another spot that I’ve been to, that should be extremely easy.

    When we pull up to the spot, I’m starting to think we had really terrible luck or something…there’s a tow truck on one side (with a dude sleeping in it), some guys driving heavy machinery or semi trailers into the lot attached to the place, and construction workers on another side just seemingly digging into the ground with shovels while, of course, looking directly at us and talking amongst each other. Besides the fact that the gaping hole in the side of the building (that was there last time) was somehow sealed, Term says he heard them say something to us about calling the cops on us. We’re out on the street, so no big deal, but Tony gets a little freaked out and decides he’ll play it safe and be a lookout for us. The only spot that looked good to enter the building was right by the tow truck. I think we woke him up the first walk-by because when we came back around, he was sitting up in the truck and looking around. I think after we sat and thought about it, this guy was probably just sleeping on the job, so he probably cares as much about us as we do him. Fuck it, we’re going in right in front of him. I go in, followed by Sergio, Belina, and Term. The inside was basically how I remembered it, aside from the huge hole in the wall that was now boarded up. Pretty empty, but dilapidated and a lot of graffiti.


    Clouds inside track stacks pillars

    Turned out, the construction guys, tow truck guy, the workers in the front, and Tony left pretty quickly, but we still weren’t alone. While everyone was on the roof, a young looking couple (they turned out to be brother and sister) walked out of the stairwell and started shooting photos up there as well. I took it upon myself to make my way through the rest of the building to see if I had missed anything the first visit and I ended up running into a group of about 15 people on a photo tour inside the lower area of the building. I text Sergio and to find out where they are and they’re still on the damn roof. I was basically done, so I just went all the way back up there and shot through the building a second time with them. Around 2, we head to the hotel in Dearborn to check in, drop off bags, and rest a bit (or edit pics). While hanging out, I get a text from Renee asking if we wanted to meet around 6 at a tall abandoned apartment building for the sunset – definite yes. It couldn’t have worked out any better, really. We met up with Renee (who ALWAYS shows up with delicious baked goods, this time with Andes mint cookies), Rick, and Jenn there and had just enough light to go through most of the building, then hung out on the roof until the sun went down. Apparently my legs were unprepared that day for going up and down one place twice, then going up 15 stories of stairs at this place, because both of my legs were cramping like crazy when we made it to the roof. It was kinda funny because Rick had us “Atlanta people” stay still for a picture at the exact moment they started cramping, but that shit sucked. We were getting pretty tired from waking up at 6am and all the driving and everything. We had plans to meet Ahmad at 7:30 the next morning, so we had to be up at 6 again. Did we go back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep? Of course not! We went to Rick’s to hang out for a while, then we went to eat at a spot nearby, which takes forever (we now allege Term is just bad luck), before finally heading back to Dearborn to get some sleep. Can I sleep? Of course not! While Term snoozed away, I stayed up until like 2am editing pics.

    nychos trashed detroit view D sunset

    You’d think that another 6am alarm would be dreadful, but not for me. This is the kinda shit I live for. My body and particularly my legs hated me, but we were enthusiastically up, met with Sergio and Belina downstairs and we were off to meet at the stadium. I didn’t know it, but Tazm and friends were coming from Chicago, and Julian and his friend came too. Before we knew it, we had an unexpected instameet there and like 10 of us are all making our way to the entrance. This place was enormous. I’ve been to a couple abandoned stadiums before, but this was crazy. The restaurant area, the luxury boxes, climbing onto the scoreboard….just insane. There were hardly any clouds in the sky so most of my pics from there suck, but it was an incredible experience.

    stadium dining stadium bar tunnel under the seats

    After a few hours it was time to get some delicious food with the group at The Chocolate Gallery Cafe. It’s not a huge place and the four of us from Atlanta ended up at one table and and everyone else at another. This is when we notice a trend, I think we got our food around the time the others were almost done (it’s now become a fact that Term is bad luck when we eat). We decide to go to Curvy next, and meet Renee and Deanna there. Once the 12 of us were inside, we find a couple construction workers inside. Kinda awkward. Luckily, Ahmad talked them into (gave them money) letting us stay to harmlessly take our pictures inside for a bit. I didn’t take many photos, mainly because my legs were cramping with literally every step, but also because there were 12 people in there and I’d been there before anyway. The construction workers impatiently waited for us to leave, then we headed to another church where we were denied, so we made a quick stop at an abandoned synagogue. Sergio popped a smoke bomb and it created some pretty incredible rays, which I was too lazy to get my camera out to take pics of. The group got some great shots there though. After that, we went back to previous church and got in this time. One of the places that’s way bigger inside than it looks from outside.

    renovations Curvy Synagogue side seating always church piano curtains doorway

    Around 4, we were all pretty much tired and done, so the four of us went back to rest (edit pics) at the hotel before meeting Tony and Nathalie for dinner at Small Plates. Who sleeps after chicken and waffles? We went out to do some night shooting around Michigan Central Station instead. We were done by 10:30, so I thought we might actually get some sleep before the last day of the trip, but it’s hard for me to sleep when there are new pics to edit. After a few short hours of sleep, we were checking out of the hotel and heading to meet up with Max and Tony downtown at 8. The last day ended up probably being the best. In the morning, we had the toughest building to get into, that was just full of all kinds of shit, several floors of what looked like different businesses that were abandoned. It was full of medical stuff, but we also saw reels of film and other weird stuff inside. Tony and Max were done, so after that, it was just the four of us. After Ahmad told us that the guys in the ambulance at the first church were also explorers, we decided we’d go back there so they could see it. By the time we were done, we had time to hit one more spot before we leave to drive 11 hours back to Atlanta. We tried to stop by Southwestern High School, but there was a marked car sitting in front, so we decide to head back east (away from home). After making another super long stop for food (Term!) at a KFC with more bullet-proof windows at the drive thru than any bank, we head to a nearby school. The school was in an old neighborhood that was pretty empty, a few abandoned houses and a few houses that just looked abandoned with people in them. We reluctantly parked and proceeded inside. The last place was pretty empty, but was really creepy. The wind was blowing so hard that doors were slamming loud enough for us to seriously contemplate whether they were nearby gunshots or just doors. Nonetheless, we all left extremely tired, but happy to get so much exploring in, in such a short amount of time. We pretty much decided right then that we needed to go somewhere else really soon. Then I drove until we got home at 4am. After averaging like 4 hours of sleep the last 4 days. Really wished I’d taken that day off work. The fatigue had finally set in. Here are some pics from the last day…

    patient room look through files chemicals bench meds SIN film vacuum booksside view church room school stairwell gym classroom auditorium


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  • Another off the list

    Visited an old school over the weekend that we’ve been hoping to see for a long time. This was basically the last location on our list of places to see. It wasn’t the best place ever, but it definitely didn’t disappoint. After destroying my leg getting in, we started looking around. The school was full of peeling walls and was lit by some pretty awesome morning light. Some rooms were empty and some were full of old desks and stuff. It had an armory, a huge auditorium, and what looked like some kind of courthouse setup. Nothing super exciting here, but nice to mark it off the list.



    After realizing my leg was black and blue from Saturday, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do anything on Sunday, but I made it out and I’m glad I did. I met up with Sergio, Belina, and James, and we were invited by a scrapper into his office for the day. This is an interesting location because the department store scenes from the first season of The Walking Dead were filmed here. It actually still says “Bradbury’s” on the doors, so it’s one of the stops for movie tourist tours. Inside there’s not much. The rooftop has decent views, but it’s mostly empty office space. I’d been inside this building once before, but without my camera, so it was nice to be able to take some shots that are beyond my phone’s capabilities. The best thing though, was that we found a way into the main bank area, where the vault is. It was wide open and full of keys and deposit boxes. Pretty awesome way to cap off the day.



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  • Philly 2015

    Manda and I went back to Philly for Mother’s Day again this year, so we had a little free time to explore. We flew into Philadelphia around Noon on Friday, thinking we would only have time to explore and shoot pics on Saturday, but we ended up getting an early start. On our way to get lunch, before we even checked into our hotel, we found out that our friend Peter was in town, coincidentally with our friends Ilona and Dennis from Amsterdam. They were at Eastern State Penitentiary, so we headed over that way after lunch. This was my 3rd time visiting ESP and it never gets old. I highly recommend checking it out if you are ever in the area. It’s not abandoned anymore and you have to pay to get in, but it’s nice to not have to worry about getting arrested while you’re there. 15 bucks and you’re in.

    The prison was opened in 1829 and is considered the first true penitentiary in the world. It was once the most famous and expensive prison as well, holding some of the most notorious criminals like Willie Sutton and Al Capone. It was closed in 1971 and sat abandoned until the late 80’s. Still sitting in ruins, it was reopened to the public in 1994 for historic tours. Today, the entire place still sits in ruins, albeit preserved, and offers historical exhibits, artist installations, and even an audio tour narrated by Steve Buscemi. Here are a few photos of the place.

    ESP CellESP Cell BlockAl Capone's CellESP CellTwo Tier BlockArtist InstallationCell DoorESP Shower

    After the prison, we tried a few other places in Philly, but were unsuccessful. We decided to use the few hours of light we had left to go to an abandoned girl’s school an hour outside of the city. After my GPS took me to two vacant lots, we finally met with the others at a park next to the site. The sun was already starting to go down, so we tried to hit the best buildings first. We peeked into one building that had a few totally trashed classrooms. There was stuff thrown everywhere, including desks that were thrown at, and stuck into the walls. Next, we walked to the other end of the property to see the little chapel. It sat beautifully on a hill with the sun setting behind it, the inside almost as trashed as the previous building. After trying miserably to compose photos in the dark church, we decided to move on to the recreation building. The rec building was also completely trashed, covered in everything from old shoes to jock straps (I thought it was a girl’s school anyway). Almost dark now, we thought we’d check out one last building before we took off. The last building we explored was full of old arcade games and pool tables, but it was so dark, I didn’t even bother taking any shots inside. Here are a few photos from there.

    rec buildingchapelpianoinside chapelclassroompool table


    Finally, on Saturday, we were left with nowhere to go. We were supposed to meet with a friend Anthony from upstate NY, but he had to cancel. A quick hail mary via Instagram and we had a spot to try, but it was an hour away. It was that or go to NJ, which was no for-sure thing either. We decided to stay in Pennsylvania. We found the hospital we were looking for, but there were people all over the place because of a park nearby. Freaked out, Manda decided she would stay in the car. I walked in my most inconspicuous way around a fence and I was on the property. It was misting and about 75 degrees, so I was wearing a jacket and quickly started sweating profusely. Walking in the wet grass also made my socks and shoes completely soaked. Onward I walked.

    The first building I encountered turned out to be the best one in my opinion. I walked in and immediately realized it was almost impossible to be quiet when walking on all the broken glass and brittle floor tiles. The first thing that caught my attention was a laundry cart in the front. I thought it might look good under one of the awesome skylights that I could see down the hallway, but I keep walking. It must’ve been a pediatric building because there were kids items all over. Before I get to far, I drop my bag and go back to get the laundry cart. Seeing I have no signal, I walked outside to send a text and a deer appears in the grass about 50 yards from me. Of course my camera is ever farther from me, in my bag inside. I pull out my phone, snap a shot, and another deer walks out! After my excitement for the day, I go back and set up for a shot of the cart under the skylight. Further down the hall, there was a huge organ in the middle of the doorway. I look through most of that building, then head to the next. I didn’t even shoot any pictures in the next building. It was pretty big, but it was completely empty. The next two buildings, pretty much the same. It seems as I made my way back, the buildings became newer and less interesting. One of the newer buildings ended up being pretty cool. It had a pool and actually had a few things leftover inside. After checking out the cafeteria and some admin building, I decided to take off. Before leaving though, I noticed that I missed part of the first building, so I go back in to see the rest. I’m glad I did, because I found this crazy 6-child stroller thing that was all dirty and kinda creepy. It definitely worked out great, considering I had never heard of this place just 24 hours prior.

    laundrywindowsorgancartpoolgreen roomsewing machinebyebye buggy


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  • Tour of Atlanta

    Back when there weren’t many people to explore with, I met up with a couple of people who hadn’t done much exploring to show them a few places in Atlanta. Manda, Rob, and I had never met, so that was a little weird, but before you knew it, we were running around from place to place like old friends. Since we were in the area, we made our first stop at an old elementary school. I didn’t even take my camera out of my bag, but if you want to see some pics from there (and other places that day), check out Rob’s set. Those were the good ol’ days, with “the sink of dramatic lighting” and the giant asbestos-covered bear that would appear in different spots around the school. It’s changed a lot and most likely will be demolished sooner than later. Next spot we hit was the old Atlanta prison. That’s another place that’s changed quite a bit over the years. You would almost expect to be robbed or killed there back then. Now, you’re almost certain to just run into other explorers/photographers, or cops. That day, we ran into no one. Before long, we were off to the next spot. We ended up stopping at a Living Walls piece on the way to an old battery factory. We’re lucky we stopped because the piece was removed not long after, due to complaints from religious establishments nearby. We finally got to the battery factory and continued shooting away. We were doing pretty damn good, as it wasn’t even Noon yet. Nothing too memorable from there. Then before we knew it, we were off to the shower factory. I think I took four pictures there, then we stopped by Whittaker School. I took zero pictures there, then we went and checked out some abandoned warehouses off of Bankhead. It was only my second time there (and last), but I didn’t shoot any pics there either. We saved the most memorable place for last.

    prisonprisonprisonprisonprisonprisonprisonbattery factorybattery factorybattery factoryliving wallsshowerlux

    The last spot we went to was Simmons Plating Works on Whitehall, the only place I hadn’t been to previously. I’ve been to some pretty disgusting places, but this still ranks in the top 3-5. Before we even got to the building, we were getting eaten alive by mutant-sized mosquitoes. Once we actually got inside, we knew why. The inside was completely covered in trash. It was like walking around in a dumpster basically. It was really hot outside and it smelled absolutely terrible, too. The location itself was pretty interesting though. It was a metal plating factory that filed for bankruptcy just before Christmas in 2000. Apparently they left all the chemicals there which cost tax payers just under a million bucks to clean up. There was still a lot of big machinery left behind and there was this huge pit, which I later found out was where they dumped thousands of gallons of electroplating sludge. According to Atlanta Time Machine, they removed approximately 305,000 gallons of hazardous waste from the site, 240,000 of that being the sludge from that nasty pit. Certainly no one would be living here, right? Wrong. There were two shirtless (probably naked, but we could only see chest-up) dudes living in the back area. Again, it’s like 95 degrees outside, it smells like shit, and there are thousands of huge, disease-carrying insects flying around. Not exactly the place I’d choose to live if I was homeless, but i guess these guys aren’t in this position because of their awesome decision-making skills. Nonetheless, I’m glad we were able to go in and check it out. There was some pretty cool paint inside and even though I didn’t get many pics, we didn’t die and it’s a fun story to tell. A good way to wrap up our little tour of Atlanta. Here are some more terrible photos…


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  • Whittaker School (1st explore ever)

    It’s quite a nice patch of grass now, but it used to be a really cool little school covered in graffiti. Back before I knew what “urbex” was, I would just run around Atlanta, looking for cool graffiti to take pictures of with my new camera. I was taking the back way (Huff Rd) en route to my favorite place to eat in the world, Taqueria Del Sol, and I noticed a graffiti covered school that was obviously abandoned. After stuffing a couple fried chicken tacos in my face, I decided to check it out. I took a few pics around the outside and wandered around the back, but I was a little hesitant about just hopping in the window by myself. I decided I’d come back with some backup. So I returned with my friend Soraya! We jumped in a back window and just knew we’d run into someone around every corner. Actually, no one else was there (even though there was clearly a bedroom made in one room) and it turned out to be a pretty awesome place. All the walls inside were covered in graff and the classrooms were hexagonal shaped pods, just so many different reasons to like the place. I definitely didn’t know it at the time, but that was the place that turned me into a maniac about finding these abandoned buildings all over. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. It was built in 1959 and was quickly destroyed just a couple years ago. I wonder how things would’ve worked out if that school had been demolished before I got to explore it.



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  • First New Orleans Road Trip Day 4

    ←Day 1

    ←Day 2

    ←Day 3

    First New Orleans Road Trip Day 4

    The fourth and final day in town probably doesn’t deserve it’s own post, but I’m sticking with the pattern here. The day actually started terribly. Scott and I met in the hotel lobby, as we did the previous morning, but this time there are people everywhere outside and the streets were blocked. Normally, that probably wouldn’t be a big deal, but we were really hoping to be able to drive the car to more locations. This meant we’d be walking. And we did a LOT of walking. So much walking, that my foot felt like it had a pulled muscle or something. After limping by some buildings that looked abandoned (but were probably lofts), we stopped at a cool looking Greyhound station by the Superdome, where Scott took a few pics. After checking out the greyhound station, we finally decided we were gonna go to an abandoned nursing home on the other side of the river that Jeremy told us about. Probably not the best idea to walk there, so we summoned the first cab we saw. A few bucks later, we were dropped off right in front of the place. Seemed like a pretty old building, but it was holding together pretty well. I’m guessing it was abandoned in 2005 like most of the city. It was fairly creepy because it was pretty much wide open, and just knowing the probability of all the old people that have died there. That, and the decomposing opossum or giant rat or whatever that we found. Surprisingly though, we didn’t see anyone living or hanging out here either. The place had some pretty old bathtubs, fixtures, and some good decay, but the best part was undoubtedly the little chapel inside.

    It had about an inch of water on the floor and beautiful stained glass windows, which made for some nice reflections (also why all the pics from inside are purple). Unfortunately, I hear the windows are now all broken and all the pews have been removed or destroyed. When we were there, there were plenty of remnants of life. Prayer cards, bibles, and hymnals were all over. One book still open, sitting on the pedestal. These are always the most amazing kind of explores, when it seems like the people left unexpectedly and just abandoned all their possessions. It makes your mind explore the possibilities of the situation that signaled the end of these places. It’s obvious what happened in New Orleans though. Many people stayed home for Hurricane Katrina, not expecting the levies to give way and flood the city. I’m sure the last thing they were thinking about were their belongings, especially materials from a nursing home or stuffed animal prizes at an amusement park…

    We walked out, pretty confident that we’d find out the way back to the hotel by foot before the girls get kicked out at check-out time. Another example of how we’re always wrong. We walked a pretty good way, my foot still killing me, to a gas station to grab some snacks, thinking we’d just proceed further down the road to some kind of ferry that would bring us back across the river to the hotel. Instead, we walked until we realized that we’re probably in one of the worst areas of the city. We confirmed that (to each other anyway) when we saw some dudes fighting in the street at like 10am. Considering I have hundreds of dollars worth of gear on my back, we decided maybe we should change course or call for help. By now, I’m being a real vagina about my foot, so we decide we’ll just call a taxi. Unfortunately, we weren’t aware that taxi drivers apparently don’t know that area very well either. After standing on the corner paranoid for at least an hour and fielding several phone calls from the taxi guys, they finally found us and picked us up. Our crazy vacation was finally coming to an end, but we knew this was a city we would have to return to. Here are a few shots from the nursing home.

    hallwayfridgecarcassIMG_8527_8_9_tonemappedswitchdirty soaptubIMG_8530_1_2_tonemappedIMG_8539_40_41_tonemappedIMG_8545_6_7_tonemappedIMG_8551_2_3_tonemappedIMG_8557_8_9_tonemapped

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  • First New Orleans Road Trip Day 3

    ←Day 1

    ←Day 2

    First New Orleans Road Trip Day 3

    After hitting three spots two the previous days, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. This day, however, would become (and probably still is) the best exploring day ever. Scott and I met in the hotel lobby bright and early, got the car and took off to the park. We parked probably close to a mile away, walked to the main entrance, and got past the fence, only to find a security car sitting there, waiting for a couple fools like us to come walking in. Luckily Scott was there to tell me how dumb my plan was, to just run really low and hope no one notices us. We decide to walk around and see what we can find. Finally, we found our way in and shot away for several hours. It’s really a dream location for photographers. I wish I had the chance to go back and actually get to stay a while. More on that some other time…

    The highlight of the visit, and my favorite photo came right before we left. Scott, with his bright green jacket, decided we should see the park (and security) from the highest point possible. Hey, we’ve gotten what we came for, if we get thrown out, we get thrown out. We were able to get up, down, and outta there with no issues. Before you know it, Ashley and Manda are with us, and we’re looking for lunch (as I passed out, exhausted in the car). After checking out some cemeteries, we start driving around to see what we can find. We didn’t know what it was when we found it, but we found one of the best places we’ve ever been to.

    We found what was obviously some kind of huge power plant. Once inside the fence, you get to a gated door, where you can clearly see a big swampy piece on what looks like a quarter-pipe or something, but it’s locked. After more investigation, we find a clear way in and go back to get the girls. We all go in and it has some drop-lights hanging in some areas and the sound of water dripping and echoing all over. Super creepy. The sun is starting to go down and we’re not even halfway through this place. It had some amazing machinery and there was tons of paint everywhere. So many weird noises in that place, definitely seemed like someone was staying there, possibly looking down on us from above. We got pretty high, but not quite to the top or the roof. We were there for a pretty long time, so we decided to leave before our luck ran out.

    arcadebumper carspizzaRiskdeflatedhanging by a chainreflectionmain streetJokers Jukeboxgotham cityritascarouselbearcautionfrom the topinside powerswampypower plantcontrol panelbig windowthrough the doorsleeping bagrelfectiongraff faceelectric boxsmokeinterior


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  • First New Orleans Road Trip Day 2

    ←Day 1

    First New Orleans Road Trip Day 2

    After getting into New Orleans kinda late, we just found our hotel, went separate ways for dinner, then met back up in the morning. We made the obligatory stop at Cafe Du Monde, then Manda, Scott, and I went on a really long walk. New Orleans isn’t as bad as Detroit, but Hurricane Katrina left a lasting impression on this city. I’ve never seen another place like it in the south. There are abandoned buildings everywhere. You can see them from the highways driving in, and you can see them all over when you’re just walking around. We walked around and took really good looks at some of the buildings around town (some were absolutely jaw-dropping), but we settled on a nearby abandoned brewery.

    We spotted it from a mile down the street since it still has it’s giant sign on the top, but once again, a busy street. Oh, and there was an active construction site next door. Manda elected to sit this one out and walk around the block while the two idiots walk in this place with everyone watching. It was like 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a Friday, so there were people everywhere. They must take late lunches down there because some of the construction guys started leaving. The opportunistic fellas that we are, we thought that was our chance, so we walk right in. Still, I’m sure a handful of people saw us, but oh well – we’re in. I can’t remember, but we can assume I had to pee as soon as we got in here, too! Anyway, it was a pretty cool building. Not sure how old, but the company was founded in 1907. It was apparently closed even before the hurricane. During my last visit to New Orleans (March 2014), we did drive by and see the building was still there, but it looks to be soon consumed by all the active construction surrounding it. Hopefully they save the building and repurpose it, at least. All photos below are from that location.

    Not quite satisfied with the day, Scott and I decide we’ll go for a little night recon of a well known theme park and maybe stop off at a bonus spot or two. We decide 9pm sounds like a good time. Certainly there wouldn’t still be security at this place at like 10 o’clock at night, right? We pull into the RV entrance and sure enough, there’s a white Taurus sitting there pointed in our direction. “Maybe it’s just parked there” we say. After a (seemingly) 10 min conversation in the car, the Taurus door opens and a huge dude gets out. He didn’t say anything, but we know when it’s time to leave. We turn around and haul ass as quickly as possible. Feeling defeated, we still say we came here for one reason and we’re coming back at 6am, no matter what.

    And hell, why not stop by an abandoned movie theater on the way back to the hotel, too? At 10pm. It was one of the creepier explores I’ve been on and we didn’t even see anyone else. It was also in the center of a large piece of property, with a fence around it, that used to be a shopping mall. For some reason, they demolished the mall, but left the theater. We parked nearby and had to run (looking like morons) across this huge field before we could even see if there was a way in this place. And it was like 10pm. We finally find an open door and go in, and it’s a typical mall theater. But here, everything’s destroyed, there’s terrible graffiti on the walls, and it smells like a wet abandonment. The only light we have is coming from our two small flashlights and there just seems like so many places people could be living in this building. Luckily we didn’t see anyone, but we made our way up to the projector area and we found some pretty cool stuff. There were unopened film reels like Wedding Crashers and Crash, and a bunch of movies that I don’t even remember. I won’t even bother posting any of the four blurry iPhone/flashlight shots that I took there. Definitely glad we made that stop, but 6am is gonna be here soon….

    machineholeelevatorofficehelmetscott with swampybrew machineboilerdrumbrew stuffladdertank

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  • First New Orleans Road Trip Day 1

    First New Orleans Road Trip Day 1

    Being the first real exploring road trip, this still remains my favorite. Just a quick weekend getaway with some of my favorite people. After deciding on New Orleans to be the destination, we thought the best weekend for us would be Feb 2-3…until I started started searching hotels. Either priceline.com was broken or something unusual was going on. If you’re a Baltimore Ravens (or SF 49ers) fan, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. We searched far and wide for a decent hotel or rental house that’s not crazy expensive. No luck. After a few minutes of research, Scott figured out what our problem was. Well, this goes for everybody…it’s not the best idea to schedule a trip to a city on the weekend that they’re hosting the fucking SUPER BOWL! Needless to say, we changed our dates.

    After delaying the trip for 3 weeks, we were finally waking up on Thursday morning, ready to head out. We knew our day would consist of mostly driving, so we decided to take a detour and enter Alabama a little further north, explore a few spots while the sun is up, then continue to New Orleans. We found a pretty cool looking abandoned high rise building that had some boarded-up shops below, so we stopped to take a look. The girls stayed in the car as Scott and I walked around the outside, along some very busy streets. We found an area where it looked like a car drove into the storefront of a hair salon and there was a small opening at the bottom. As Scott stood guard, I crawled inside with only my iPhone to take a look around. Immediately I hear someone yelling outside. Since it was pretty busy on the street, it could’ve been anything. I’m inside of this small (I’m assuming, since there were posters of different hairstyles inside) hair salon and I’m just trying to find a way into the larger part of the building. There are some stairs going up and a back door, so I go through the back door and find my way into the real building. I don’t mean to be gross, and some explorers would probably hate me for doing this….well, lemme start by saying I have anxiety and, as some people that explore with me know, I really have to pee as soon as I get inside of a new building. So yeah, I don’t mean to be gross, but I had to pee really bad. The only/best place I could find on such short notice was an elevator shaft. So as soon as I get that out of the way, my phone starts ringing. Scott is calling me and apparently that yelling was the guy at another hair salon across the street, yelling at me. I was told he has a phone in his hand, describing to the person(s) on the other end that he just saw someone crawling into the building across the street. Not sure what he thought I was doing, but nonetheless, it was time to take a couple iPhone pics and get outta there (apologies for the horrible pic). They pulled up to pick me up just as I crawled out of the hole, the guy across the street still with phone in hand, trying to figure out what’s going on.

    Next (and only other) spot we stopped in that area was a steel plant from the 1800’s that still has a few buildings and smokestacks left and even this awesome, giant steel mixer. We’ve never claimed to be the best explorers in the world (we actually proclaim the opposite), so remaining true to that, we took the toughest way in. After making our way through tons of briars or sticker-bushes, we found a huge empty building that was completely flooded in the basement areas. We then made our way (over walls and more briars and bushes) to the smokestacks and the awesome steel mixer. It’s definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on an explore. We found a few train cars on the property, shot them, then went into another set of buildings closer to the road. Luckily, we found a much easier way to get back to the car, then we were on our way to New Orleans…

    hallwaymain buildinglarge buildingthe way downtrain carelevatortree roomsketchy flooringdisgusting soda

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  • Augusta the Bust

    Augusta wasn’t a complete bust, but it was pretty terrible. And it was 200 degrees outside. Luckily, Rob‘s car has great a/c.

    We were feeling pretty good about ourselves after the first location, an abandoned hospital. Although there may or may not have been a marked car sitting just outside the front windows (we had to get low at one point), it was a pretty easy in-and-out. It was also not max temperature yet, but it was already getting hot. The building was decent. It had some great, old sinks and nice colors. Things didn’t go so well after that. We struck out on a couple schools, a funeral home, a theater, some other place downtown, and a train depot. We stopped at some train tracks to get a few shots and a mill that was pretty overgrown, but by this time it was about 195 degrees, and we (especially Tripp) were more interested in stopping at BP to get some beverages.

    No issues after that though. We ventured way out and stopped at some weird, abandoned house with cement statues all over the place, then made our way to another small town to visit a fire-damaged house that was built a really long time ago. It was so hot inside, it felt like it could have still been burning somewhere. My shirt had become completely drenched with sweat and dried by air conditioning like 8 times throughout the day. Anyway, we made a final stop at an old, historic house out in the middle of nowhere before making our way back to Atlanta. Wasn’t the worst day ever, but it could have been much better if we were able to access a few other locations.

    Here are some pics…

    Jay CrawlAugusta Hospital SinkAugusta Hospital stairsdepotRob tracksmillweird house 1weird house 2burned house 1burned house 2burned house 3Nolan