This Great Dead Town

(Part 4 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure) Highland Park itself, if possible, managed to be even more desolate and Detroiter than its Detroit surroundings. After a local financial crisis bankrupted the town in the late 90s, Michigan took it over, and consolidated its government functions, leaving what was probably once a proud municipal square to decay: city hall, courthouse, police and fire stations surrounding a deserted square. OK, you got me this time Guilty as charged! (These cells lock. I don't know what we would have done if someone didn't helpfully leave the keys, and a sign, right outside there!) I…

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Rico Cave

Does it still count when you can just tell they only met me out of pity? A cool spot but not much of an explore, which is probably the only reason two real explorers could be trusted to take me there. As expected, it wasn't much but awkward, Yield and CuriousGeorge curiously didn't want to be anywhere near me, being far above my level and loath to waste their time on someone so useless, in such a pointless place. I only took one photo worth saving (and experimenting heavily with HDR)

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Red, White and Grue

Playing with flashlights in a local drain... in the rain. T3h 5p1d0rz! Might not look like it, but these things are alive. The drains of Rochester were built in 1888-1890 by Emil Küchling, later to become the first professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Rochester. His developments in rational scatology included enclosed brick sewers like this one, which has been abandoned since 1974. However, you can still hear the roar of torrents of excrement a few feet away in the side tunnels. Until you think about what is flowing, it looks and sounds like a peaceful, wild waterfall!…

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Almost Goodbye

They've been talking for a while about filling in the old Subway; last time I was here the Jenga blocks were already in, today there's a few more signs we might not have this spot much longer. Once again, the city has offered millions of dollars to rebuild Broad street and fill the tunnel, but this time it's not just the money talking: construction cones, heavy haulers, and light trucks left in the tunnel, and some fresh chain link fence blocking off the Dinosaur end. Brown street end Knocking down the tunnel walls -- I'm not sure how much I'd…

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Belly Of The Whale

Some explores are just meant to be. I was already home and writing about the day's adventures when Ian texts me to make sure we were meeting at 10:30. Any normal person would have said yeah, and you missed it by 10 hours already. I figured, why the hell not, let's go for round 3, and called everyone i knew that missed the morning chance. Which was mostly people who had never even been to a drain before, but I've never been one to judge. I'd had a sneaking suspicion since last summer, and known almost certainly since that clusterfuck…

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P0L 1C3!

Draining around Buffalo on a hideously rainy January afternoon... the first two were gushing torrents of storm-swelled rivers at Lockport and Scajaquada, so we just happened to find a small manageable one in West Amherst. After a stop at Home Depot for drain boots and a run through the Mighty Taco drivethru, we returned to the entrance, followed by a moderately suspicious black Lexus. The license plate being P0L 1C3 should have been much more of a clue than it was. But after we explained what we were up to, the chief offered us a few suggestions of bigger and…

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