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Shady, Your Hostest W/Tha Mostest




Hi. I'm Shady, your bratty, twisted, tattooed, perpetually lost, afool-acting, photo-taking, 4-wheeling, ghost-hunting, Internet-addicted, road-tripping, Photoshopping, punk-rocking, glitter-wearing, strawberry daquiri-drinking, insomnia-stricken, graveyard-wandering, incense-burning, daydreaming, disco-dancing, sock monkey-owning, beach-bumming, pun-slinging, raven-haired webmistress of darkness.

Yes, I am the one responsible for this here lil' ol' website that you are currently surfing.

Blame it on my parents. Yep, it's their fault. One of my earliest, most thrilling memories is driving up, up, up the dark and creepy road that curved it's way up the mountain to the Piedmont House... El Paso's local "haunted house," which lies at the very edge of the god-forsaken dead end road on the mountain's edge. It's a looming, malignant looking place perched on the shelf of rocky terrain, it positively glares down at you when you drive past. I remember huddling in the backseat with my siblings, peeking just over the edge of the windows in anticipation as we drew nearer to the spooky dead-end of the street where the house stood... and where our Dad would inevitably, always turn off the lights and motor and feign a breakdown just as we pulled up next to the place!!! And we'd fall for it every time... hugging each other and squealing in delighted terror as Dad frantically tried to "re-start" the car so we could make our escape from the haunted old dwelling! It was the best. I also loved it when they took us on road trips to magical, timeless places like the incredible, ancient Gila Cliff Dwellings, the living ghost town of Tombstone, or the magnificent underground bat-inhabited kingdom of Carlsbad Caverns. I found it amazing and exciting that there were places like this to be found just about anywhere, if only you were looking for them. It made everyday things like riding the bus home from school into tantalizing treasure hunts as I peered out of the windows in search of things hidden and unexplored. Finding magic through a car window became, and still is, my passion. I admit it, I'm totally obsessed.

Wandering is in my blood. My heritage is Welsh-Italian; the Welsh people have always had a strong history as explorers and map-makers (much of this country was mapped by Welshmen), and our Italian ancestors had wandering gypsy natures (my family originated from Genoa, the place Christopher Columbus was from) Traveling was a huge thing in our family for as long as I can remember, we took trips constantly... I think I've always had that wandering urge. When I got my first set of wheels, I spent hours just driving, driving, driving with the windows down and my music blaring. It was back then that I began to cruise around and try my damnedest to get lost on purpose, and then enjoy my explorations as I tried to find my way back... something that I still loooove to do to this day. Exploration set me free; I remember the excitement of stumbling across ancient ruined remains of ghost towns while wandering out in the deserts around El Paso. And I remember the peaceful enjoyment of exploring and shooting photos of some of the area's legendary old missions, which are some of the oldest structures in this country. There was so much waiting to be found... enough to occupy my curiosity for many lifetimes, an endless opportunity for discovery. When I was a little older, and I got my first "nice" car- a cute little Saturn SL- I began to venture further... first to the neighboring state of New Mexico, and then Arizona, California... when my Sis got older, she would come along with me, and we had a blast exploring our way from the desert wastelands of Texas to the beautiful beaches of the West Coast.... wandering the lushly gorgeous Riverwalk and the ghostly, majestic Alamo in San Antonio... driving through the eerie swamplands of Louisiana into New Orleans, and the lavishly decadent celebration of Mardi Gras... those trips with her are all some my happiest memories. Road trips and getting lost have always shaped my life.

Back when I first moved from Texas to Jersey, I was really homesick, and definitely LOST. Everything was soooooo very different from what I was used to, it was pretty disorienting. It was compounded by the fact that I sold my beloved Saturn to help finance my move; for awhile I had no way to get around... aggggh... torture. Buuuut... then I got a great new set o'wheels- my Shady Lady, a tricked out little Rav4 and watch out- I was mobile again!! It was time to take advantage of being lost. With my trusty camera slung around my neck, I began to explore. I first started out by looking for certain things I had seen along some of the roads nearby, usually by myself. I got lost a LOT at first, and less lost as time went on and my sense of territory grew. I bought some maps. I explored some roads. Then, I was learning my way around... and it was gratifying in a kind of funny way when a New Jersey native marveled at how I'd found things in Jersey that they never even knew existed.

Then, to make it even better, the entire Scooby Gang made their way into the adventures one by one. And as we spanned the Garden State's many hidden, wacky corners on our many crazy road trips, well, usually, we just got lost, and found things along the way. That really sums up this site, actually. The more we explored, the more we learned, the more we loved our weird wonderful quirky state. And the more this site grew- I started out online by posting and sharing some of the many pics of the weird and incredible places I was collecting during these trips with my family and friends. That grew into it's very own dot com (you're on it now) that somehow kept expanding and expanding as our explorations racked up. Although I am the webmistress of the site, I am not the leader so to speak... maybe more like the driver of the online vehicle. I work on it constantly and put a lot into it. It's hard work, but it's also great fun (and I hope that you guys have been enjoying the ride as well!)

After spending a few amazing years in New Jersey, I had a job offer back in Texas which I couldn't pass up, so I packed my things and headed across the country to yet a new home in the beginning of 2003. Now I am living back in my hometown of El Paso again, and exploring the Southwestern lost stuff- it's dusty desert ghost towns, forgotten Old West graveyards, ancient missions and mysterious legends. And of course, I still have tons of pics from my NJ explorations that I have yet to post, so there is lots more to come on both fronts. So, stay tuned!


Now, you've seen my website work, joined me and my Gang on some wild and weird road trips... wanna visit my online lair? I just moved in, and I'm discovering that the place is a bit... haunted. Come visit my personal homepage and find out what I mean...

+Shade's Virtual Lair+

Questions, comments, suggestions, complaints? Send 'em to shady@lostdestinations.com


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