As I stated in my previous post, we traveled to North Dakota for a workshop that was conducted by two crazy guys, Tony and Keith (www.outofchicago.com/workshops-tony-keith). These guys invented the word ‘FUN’! Keith with his sense of humor was always jostling with Tony…and Tony knew how to play right along. There were 7 on this trip, the organizers, plus those of us who signed up for the workshop. Having two SUVs, Ken and I (aka, Mr. and Mrs. Daisy) were always in the back seat with Keith as our driver along with another person who was rotating out the front seat with someone else in Tony’s vehicle.
While Tony was trying to figure out which direction to go, Keith would be doing ‘donuts’ in the fields to confuse Tony! These guys were hilarious! Tony and his group always followed our car because of Keith’s experience as a military pilot….he was a great navigator because he always had his ‘point man’ mentality in check. Along with the fun they interjected in this workshop, these two men were not only great photographers and educators, but they did their homework and knew the locations! Skill and preparation summed it up perfectly!
The one thing I will say about North Dakota is that it is big sky territory with beautiful rolling hills laced with autumn colored trees in the areas where we traveled. Cattle roamed the hillsides among the abandon houses. Wherever we went, the people were so incredibly nice and good hearted…whenever we encountered them! Think about the railroads carrying people from place to place back then…where did they go and where did they stay once they got there? Have you ever dreamed about visiting an old hotel and imagined who stayed there and what their stories were?
Even though it was crumbling and almost destroyed, one of my most favorite places we photographed was the multi-level hotel in Kenmare located by the train station . I would go back to ND just to spend more time there and create with my vision and imagination of what it must have been liked back when the hotel was thriving.
- The wealthy who stayed while enjoying their home away from home…a suite that was elegant and sweeping in size.
- A lonely woman staring out the window longing for her lost love to appear after he arrived by train to meet in her room.
- A prima-donna who took long soaking baths in the oversize soaking tub while having the staff service her.
- Could the spirit of the rugged debonaire gentleman be someone who was seen sitting and smoking his cigars by the Lobby fireplace then in the past …and now in the present? Did I see him?
If only the walls could talk…what would we learn and what business deals went on there? The stories that each room of this wonderful old hotel holds only to be kept a secret within the walls. Life goes on in the town of Kenmare, ND. When the town goes to sleep at night, the spirits come alive inside the hotel. After all, the debonaire gentleman sitting in his chair will gladly tell you who comes and goes because he was most often found sitting in lobby. If you happen to travel north to this abandon hotel, tell him hello…I’ll see him again.
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