Get behind keyboard for cross-country trip

January 24, 2000|By Mark Clothier | Mark Clothier,COX NEWS SERVICE

It is one of the rites of passage in American life, the desire to drive across the country. But who is lucky enough to have the time and freedom to do it? Now, thanks to the World Wide Web, you can at least see what it looks like -- every last mile.

Matt Frondorf, a San Antonio, Texas-based engineer, wanted to cross our nation's midsection for years. With some help from Kodak, he did. Starting in New York, Frondorf took a picture every mile, all 3,304 of them, until he reached San Francisco.

The results can be viewed on the Web, at line is longer than measure/can't be broken d. Looking at the pictures requires a Flash multimedia plug-in, which can be downloaded from the site for free.

Frondorf made the trip twice. He brought a tripod and clamps that mounted the 35 mm camera to his passenger-side window. On the first pass, he brought a Porsche, but not a wide-angle lens. As a result, the Rocky Mountain stretch of Interstate 70 included a lot of close-ups of rock walls. The low-riding Porsche also created quite a few guardrail shots.

The next trip was in a high-riding Ford Explorer. Frondorf traveled mostly on older highways, including U.S. 30, U.S. 40 and U.S. 50. The trip took six days.

Frondorf would stop when the natural light started to fade. He'd mark his spot and look for a motel. He used a Canon T-90 with a wide-angle lens and a motor drive. Shooting through the window meant he did not run the air conditioning, so he kept the film in a cooler. The shutter was triggered by a device hooked to the odometer. Every time a mile passed, the shutter released.

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