Utah to Brooklyn in Pictures (Days 21-27)

I am Back in Brooklyn! What an amazing journey! Here is the last leg of it from Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey to Brooklyn!

Day 21- I woke up in Salt Lake, UT at Jeff Key(#35) and his husband Adam’s house, I  headed south to photograph Mark Setser (#36) in St. Geroge, UT, from there I drove about 6 hours to sleep in Green River, Utah, which I found out was the home or birthplace of the Athena Missile.From Green River, I headed along Interstate 70E,  passing through Aspen, Vail, Brakenridge, ect- by far the most beautiful drive of my trip! Which lead me to the Denver area, first to Aurora, CO to visit with Army Air Traffic Controller Joe Granger (#37) , after Joe, I drove about 30min to Lakewood, CO to visit with Bryan Clark (#38). After taking some photos Bryan took me to Stubens’s for a delicious Salmon dinner! After dinner I recorded Bryan’s story and went to bed.

Day 22- Another typical 5:30am alarm rising, had me on the road to Omaha, Nebraska! After the stunning, awe drive the day before from Utah to Denver, once out of Denver, I kept asking myself…”where did all the mountains go…” It went from Mountains, upon Mountains, to holy flat land of corn as far as the eye could see. After adjusting to my new scenery, the 10+ hour drive  to Omaha was,well calming. I got to Omaha around 4:30pm and hung out with Matt Klang (#39) and his boyfriend Ryan, who gave me an early birthday gift, A WONDER WOMAN POSTER! Thank you Ryan! After my visit with Matt & Ryan, I headed south to Kansas to spend the night with The Ochenas’ friends from my Phoenix days!

Day 23- After a night/morning of catching up with Tanya, Jon and getting to know Elle, their 5 y.o daughter, at Noon it was time to hit the road and head to Jay, OK!  On my  four hour drive to  I drove through Picher, OK, a former lead and zinc mining town, now ghost town that was completely abandoned, the city is considered to be too toxic to be habitable. It was also destroyed by a Tornado in 2008. The last residents left in June 2009.  After photographing the eerie Main Street area of Picher,  I continued on to Jay, OK to visit with Timothy Beauchamp (#40) at his Mom’s Horse Ranch  http://www.campbellpainthorses.com/, where I was spending the night. Tim took me on a ATV  (my first time ever riding one) around the ranch, we took some photos and I recorded his story, then we went to The Rib Crib for a Brisket and Pulled Pork dinner! Once last walk around the Ranch, then it was time for bed.

Day 24- In the darkness of the morning (4:30am) I said goodbye to the horses and left the ranch for a 10 hour drive north to Indianapolis, ID! Once I got to the home of Kris K (#41) in Indy around 3:30pm, we chatted for a few and then I took a shower and headed over to visit with Scott Spycala (#42) and his daughter Helena. After hanging out with Scott it was 8:30pm, I realized I hadn’t eaten, starved I found a Pho Restaurant, wrote some postcards and headed back to Kris & Belinda’s place for a good night’s sleep.

Day 25- I slept in (8:30am), caught up on some emails and before we headed to church (www.jesusmcc.org ,a predominantly gay church) I took some photos of Kris. After church, nine of us, went to Brunch! It was yummy! After stuffing ourselves, Kris and I went back to her house to record her story. From there I hit the road to Highland, Michgan, to visit with with my former In-Laws, The Wyman’s. When I arrived in true Gail Wyman style, a feast awaited me, we stayed up chatting and sipping wine before I crashed for the night.

Day 26- Before hitting the road to Ann Arbor The Wyman’s took me for a belly filling breakfast. In Ann Arbor, I spent the afternoon chatting, photographing and recording the story of discharged Air Force Cadet Mara Boyd (#43).  I followed Mara to her Dad’s Crossiant Shop, a 32 year French Bakery, for some tasty road pastry treats! I was gonna need the sugar for my 11 hour drive to Washington, D.C.

Day 27- After the spending the morning emailing and editing, I hoped in the car and drove to Servicemembers United office to hang out with Alex Nicholson & Jarrod Chlapowski. After chatting and snapping a few photos, I headed over to The Capitol, to see and hear the Senate vote on DADT.  With disappointing results, I drove over to recently discharged Captain Jonathan Hopkins’ (#44) house to photograph him and his boyfriend Finely at their apartment that they were in the middle of moving into to.  From there, I had a few hours to kill, I hung out at Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe. It was time for the short drive to Alexandria, VA for the final stop of this roadtrip, the house of Alex Nicholson (#45) & Jarrod Chlapowski (#46).  After a brief photo session it was time for me to HEAD ON HOME!

At 9:00pm, I left Virgina for my drive home, arriving in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, NY at 2:00am-  28 days, 46 Veterans, 31 States and 10,167 miles traveled!! Here are the images of the final days of the road trip.

This was an AMAZING, Once in A Lifetime Journey, I want to THANK EVERYONE  who supported me in my kickstater campaign to make this happen and those who gave me encouraging words while I traveled.

A very special Thank You to My lady, Kate Payne, for being a part of my life, your daily words of love and support and for waiting patiently for me to return home. Thank You , Thank You to Bill & Rachel Brooks, for the use of your very reliable Subaru Forrester! To my always supportive, encouraging and humorous Mom, who I knew would always been there, when I needed someone to talk to.  To my friend, Justin Elzie, who went above and beyond and hooked me up with so many of the LGBT Veterans I visited during this journey. And to all the Forty-Six Veterans who invited me into their homes and shared their very personal story with me! I am truly honored to have met you all, my new friends!

If you are interested in purchasing prints of  any of the images from the road, visit my Esty Shop or contact me with print requests.

SAVE THE DATE: Proud to Serve, portrait exhibit opening and moderated panel discussion on Veteran’s Day,  November 11, 2010 at The LGBT Center, 208 W.13th Street, Mnahattan 6-9pm (http://www.gaycenter.org)

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About Jo Ann Santangelo

Austin based freelance multimedia documentary photographer and storyteller.
This entry was posted in phone images, portraits, proud to serve, street and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Utah to Brooklyn in Pictures (Days 21-27)

  1. RA Friedman says:

    Jo Ann

    Congratulations! For once we can say “Mission accomplished!”

    -RA

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