From Philadelphia, I stayed in Newcastle, Delaware. I had a great night sleep an woke up to take a run. I found some train tracks that were in the process of being built, I decided to follow them. Good idea right? Well, yes and no. Beautiful fun run, but I got lost and ended up running for about an hour instead of the intended half hour. I found my way back to the hotel an got moving….ONWARD!!!
Next stop Baltimore. I had a lead on 2 ghost bikes. I found the first one. I spent some time shooting it, and as I was leaving, with my Polaroid camera in hand a man stopped me to ask about my camera. He was a photographer. I told him about my project and he told me that he had known the boy that was killed. He had come around the corner right as they were carting the body off. It was an old woman with failing eyesight that had hit the boy after she failed to check her
mirror before turning.
I then, typed in directions to the next ghost bike, and it lead me to a neighborhood called Harlem Park, where I found a beautiful destructed church and blocks and blocks of boarded up buildings. I have been very interested in shooting things that are falling apart and “destruction,” so I stopped to shoot some pictures. It turns out that my phone directed me to the wrong spot, and even had there been a ghost bike in that neighborhood, I knew it would have been stolen before I ever got a chance to take its photograph.
Next I headed to where the ghost bike was really supposed to be, and it was not there. I remember reading an article about how the bike had been hit and mangled by a car, and it was taken to the Velocipede Bike Project, who said they would reinstall the ghost bike in a couple of weeks. That article was written months ago. I suppose they hadn’t gotten around to it.
Next I headed off to Hell House in Ellicott City, MD, which is the supposedly haunted, abandon and falling apart St. Mary’s College. I spent about 3 hours there shooting. I don’t have any pictures to post just yet, except for this one I took with my phone to send to my cousin Austin, of some of the graffiti in the place.
Hell House, Ellicott City, MD
When done at Hell House, I headed to Washington DC to look for the ghost bikes that live in DuPont Circle. They were no longer there, so I continued to my cousin and his wife’s house for a visit, some dinner and some rest. Let me tell you how great it was to have a home cooked meal!!! I have been living on the tiniest food budget, so real food, and hot food was such a blessing! I don’t think they have any idea how much I appreciated their hospitality.
They told me about a weird ghost bike installation near where they lived. I planned on checking that out, a few cemeteries, and a ghost bike in Fairfax, VA.
I arrived early morning, just passed dawn to shoot the “ghost bike” installation done by Tom Noll. When I was done, I decided to treat myself to a cup of real coffee (instead of the teabag instant kind I had been drinking). I got to the car and noticed a bunch of sculptures on the yards of the houses in front of which I parked. They also had a plaque (like the bike installation) saying they were done by Tom Noll with a telephone number. I was just about to write the number down, when I noticed a man getting into a truck that had “Tom Noll, landscaping and design” on the side of it. I stopped him and asked if he was Tom Noll and what the story about his “ghost bikes” were.
It turns out they are not ghost bikes at all!! They are a depiction of a children’s book that he wrote about recycling. A young boy was jealous that all his neighbors had white picket fences, and he did not, so he decides to recycle bicycles and paint them white, therefore creating his own white picket fence.
From here I went to check out a few cemeteries and the ghost bike in Fairfax, VA, which I could not find. Where it was supposed to be was in a very nice neighborhood next to a country club/golf course. I suspect they removed it after some time considering it an “eye sore.”
In the morning I headed to Norfolk, VA, and took the rest of the day to do research on where to go next. I was tired of not finding bikes so I wanted to look up and figure out which bikes were most likely to be there, so I will have better luck in the future.
The next day I did not find any bikes, but did find memorial flowers and a cross at two of the locations.
Just as I was about to be done with the Virginia Beach area, I saw a bike locked up painted all pink, even the tires. I thought maybe, just maybe this might be some sort of ghost bike for someone that loved pink. I went into the cupcake shop it was in front of to ask about it, and it turns out it was just decoration for the shop.
Pink bike for decoration out front of Just Cupcakes, Virginia Beach, VA
Today I will try to find two bikes in Richmond, VA and two in Buchannon, WV, and hopefully make it to Pittsburgh to spend the night.