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Brian Cray - Hitchhikin', Trainhoppin', and Wanderin'

Wanderin' the world, at will, by any means

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Beijing, China

Beijing

So my flight arrived the other day in Beijing at around 7 PM. I figured out how to withdrawal money from the ATM and get to my destinations fairly easily. After claiming my baggage and heading out of the airport with 1000 RMB I followed the signs to the local bus station for Line 7 to Beijing West Railway Station. Barely anybody spoke English and if they did they only knew a little of it, which didn’t surprise me at all. I regret not learning basic Mandarin before making this trip, but the spontaneity of this trip made that quite impossible since I planned everything in the matter of a few days.

I bought my train ticket in advance from the South Square Beijing West Railway Station for the K117 to Chengdu on the 8th of November 2014. Despite being almost 9 PM, the lines flowed with people from all over Beijing trying to get to their destinations. I waited in line and showed the train clerk my passport and she handed me my ticket for Chengdu. Hunter ended up paying for the expenses of the ticket which totaled 456 RMB. I really appreciated it. I only know of Hunter through my old TrackeReactor days of giving away and requesting torrent tracker invites. We have kept in touch over these seven years and finally I am visiting his country, which despite the strict government, is beautiful in many ways.

After feeling like a boss, getting my ticket situated, I really contemplated sleeping on the ground right outside the station like many of the other locals whose trains did not leave until the morning of the 8th. However, the cold temperature and lack of sleep over the past few days made me change my mind. I walked around aimlessly and used one of the bathrooms by the McDonald’s. Shockingly enough, toilet paper and soap do not exist in their bathrooms, which I read before, but just forgot. I ended up buying a water from the vending machine and piddled around the station as the only foreigner in site. Two Chinese women came up to me and helped me get to a hotel down the road. Between broken English, my lack of Mandarin and using sign language and hand gestures to figure out what I needed they called me a shuttle and waited for me to leave safely.

It’s rather interesting how people can communicate despite speaking two completely different languages by acting like they need to sleep putting their hands under their ear and shutting there eyes, or acting like they’re eating food to show they’re hungry. The taxi took me to the hotel, which cost 500 RMB for the night. The price shocked me and seemed rather expensive, but 140 RMB I’ll get back when I check out for my deposit.

The room had two beds, which confused me, a computer (all in Chinese) and a small bathroom where the shower, sink and toilet are all in the same area. I took a shower this morning and I guess hot water does not exist here, so it ended up being a cold one, which woke me up instantaneously. I am about to check out and swing down S12 towards the Railway Station to grab some breakfast and catch my train in a few hours. I really wish Gmail was not blocked, but since it is I am unsure of how I will contact my friends and family. I’ll speak with Hunter and see if he has a way around the blocked content using a VPN. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. I’ll update this with more pictures as my trip progresses. I really would like to visit the Great Wall of China right outside Beijing, but it looks like I won’t have time and I think it’s important for me to get used to the culture and learn some Mandarin first before I start going too crazy.

Exploring Chicago

Mall Cop Frenzy

Exploring Chicago

The next few days will feel like an eternity.  20 hour bus ride, followed by a day of sitting at the airport, then a 13 hour flight to Beijing and a 22 hour train ride to ChengDu.  I plan on resting as much as possible over the next few days to kill this sickness.

My bus arrived this morning at the Cumberland Avenue transfer station. I walked down the road about six miles looking at all the architecture.  Chicago is full of corporate buildings.  Mainly business corporations for high end firms dealing in all sorts of areas.  I found some restaurants, but fast food and other smaller buildings hid in the shadows of the big architecture.  I tried looking for abandoned buildings to explore with no luck. The urbex scene in Chicago is too elite and close-knit to find any information on building locations. So unless you live here and fly in that inner circle you can only hope to stumble upon these places.

Most the streets I walked down lacked shoulders and sidewalks. I spent most my time avoiding oncoming traffic and moseying through the brush off the side of the road.

I helped a woman push her stalled car off the highway despite the physical exertion factor. This made me realize how little people help each other out when in need.  Few people stopped to help.  A few white collars and myself grabbed onto the trunk of her white Honda and pushed it up the steep incline into a nearby parking spot for a tow truck to grab it.

I continued on down the road just wandering around getting closer to the airport. As I reached an inner road, security flashed their lights, and a police officer escorted me to the airport.  Apparently, walking is a form of terrorism near an airport?  Regardless, he gave me a free lift.  I’m here now waiting for Marien to get off work to hang out somewhere and continue exploring Chicago for the short time I’m here.

Abandoned Forest Haven

Abandoned Forest Haven Asylum

Abandoned Forest Haven

Abandoned Forest Haven

Another angle of our tree climbing experience.

Trevor put his car in park at the Moose Bar while I checked out the map for entry at the abandoned Forest Haven Asylum grounds.  Follow the fenceline to the abandoned shell and continue on through the woods right to the facilities. It seemed easy enough.  After walking a few hundred yards, leaves rustling beneath our feet, the amount of litter showed the number of explorers before us who visited the complex.  Paper respiratory masks scattered in the treeline, an old, worn out mattress propped up next to stale empty beer cans and random articles of clothing dangled from branches, as we made a run towards the building.

Abandoned Forest Haven

Anyone want a free Pepsi?

Everything about this facility screamed terror and destruction.  Old desks, hospital beds, and chairs, lay in the overgrown grass in a number of pieces. Windows completely shattered with small fragments of glass crackling beneath our feet as we wandered from room to room.  This area, a safe haven for graffiti artists and vandals, made the grounds even more spooky.  The walls chanted, “Lost Souls”, “DIE”, “LEAVE NOW” and “She bled out of every hole” just named a few of the many words sprayed across the decaying walls.  Some rooms completely destroyed and left in rubble while others appeared to decay much slower like the souls of the dead lashed out to free themselves of this horrid land, but remained imprisoned to the grounds that abused, tortured and killed them. 

Abandoned Forest Haven

Trevor sitting out on the edge of the roof of an Abandoned Forest Haven building.

Dentist chairs locked to the floors confined the apparitions to these very walls while the instruments rusted within close reach on the dilapidated desks.  Most rooms displayed chaos.  Every wall falling into the barely standing floor beneath it. Ceilings hanging from their last threads, water damaged books, suitcases and patient files left on the dusty, disheveled floors, like everyone just vanished one day and these buildings became a ghost town over night.

Abandoned Forest Haven

Looks like a nice comfy bed. Someone’s representing the international squatter symbol there on the left.

Out of all the buildings the church remained intact the most except for a few shattered windows above the alter.  We stood there taking funny pictures next to the Jesus statue.  The light illuminated through the colored glass above while rays cast through the holes of broken glass shining on the dusty floor below.  All the rows remained as if ready for next Sunday’s Bible verse.  We moseyed off to the next building.

Abandoned Forest Haven

What lies ahead through the doors?

A few rooms stood out more than the others.  Random furniture propped up against the walls.  These couches, and recliners, seemed out of place. Like people turned it into a squat at some point in time, but other than boots, no real signs indicated this other than the out-of-place furniture.

Abandoned Forest Haven

The Abandoned Forest Haven Church. Probably the cleanest building left on the lot with the least amount of decay.

We continued on through the stairwells.  Afraid of falling through the floors with each step up the sloped rubble and debris.  The top floor doors, locked, with both windows shattered.  We grabbed onto the frame and flung our bodies through the small openings feet first.  The same stigma existed in each and every room, but we noticed another floor above us. One that required some climbing to get to it.  We jumped up on a rusty tank and grabbed onto one of the support I-beams.  Pulling ourselves up we began to walk across each beam very carefully as we crawled and tiptoed across the room being cautious as to not fall through the floor.  Beams of light shot through portions of the roof where obvious decay created holes through the shingles exposing the wood framing to rain damage.

Abandoned Forest Haven

A weird room with some type of chemical drum next to an old chair.

We tried gaining access to the roof without any luck, but spotted a nearby evergreen tree that looked like the perfect 40 foot climb.

Abandoned Forest Haven

Near the rooftop inside one of the old Abandoned Forest Haven buildings.

The tree believe it or not, looked like someone trimmed it recently with a cherry picker.  The thick branches stuck out from the base about six feet or so. They looked like thick quad muscles going all the way up even to the top of the tree.  I jumped up wrapping my arms around a thick branch and part of the trunk and began to meander up the tree like walking through a maze.  Once level with the roof of the building we decided to stop and soak in the view.  The down climb seemed much easier. 

Abandoned Forest Haven

The vines creep up the building on the 3rd story of this abandoned asylum.

After hopping off the last limb and planting our feet on the ground we decided to run back towards the car and call it a day.  I noticed a little boy in a blue sweater out of the corner of my eye yet again, but assumed my imagination fooled me.  My dreams that night focused on Forest Haven and this little boy so maybe at some time that reality existed and he lived on the grounds. Supernatural experiences do happen, I just never believed until this point in my life.

Abandoned Forest Haven

The best graffiti I’ve seen in this whole facility.

Directions to Abandoned Forest Haven Asylum –Address and Location

Abandoned Forest Haven

A decaying table and cabinet next to the dentistry unit.

Scroll down to the end of the article for an aerial of the 13 buildings and the comments have a picture outlining where to park (Moose Bar) and how to get to building 2 through following the fence-line and going through the woods passed the abandoned shell walking further through the woods you’ll see a path that leads to the abandoned Forest Haven Asylum.

Abandoned Forest Haven

The view from 30 to 40 feet up in a tree with Trevor.

Abandoned Maryland

Abandoned Rosewood Center

Abandoned Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland – After getting caught by security we took to the woods and walked through the head high grass towards the Abandoned Rosewood Center in Maryland!  We enjoyed this asylum in Abandoned Maryland a bit more than the Abandoned Forest Haven Asylum.

We drove to Owings Mills, MD to check out the old Abandoned Rosewood Center mental hospital in one of the many urban decays offered in Abandoned Maryland. The buildings sat there decaying since it closed in 2009.  We grabbed minimal gear and tried walking right up through the middle yard, but a security guard stopped us. We acted dumbfounded and asked for directions to the high school football game. We heard drums and other instruments in the background so that popped into Trevor’s mind.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  Trevor making an attempt at getting into the first building we saw at the Abandoned Rosewood Center. Locked from the inside though!

We trekked down the roadway following the guard’s directions until remaining out of sight.  The woods encroached on the hospital grounds and looked like our perfect way inside.  Peeping through the brush we followed the treeline around towards the back roadway entrance.  Grass stood there head high masking us from the guard’s view.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  We tried to gain access through the side window without any luck. We spent a half hour fiddling with this!

The decaying hospital sent spooky chills up my spine as we approached closer to the first building. Trevor tried opening a side door, which locked from the inside, made us look for another entry point.  The windows, half shattered, with rusted caged fencing behind them left us sitting there dumbfounded.  We tried prying our way in with no luck until we finally decided to walk around the back of the building.  Leaves rustled beneath our footsteps, vines and thorns grabbed us as we plodded through the overgrown brush. I gently tiptoed up to the back door nearly sliding down the small incline from the wet, rotten wood slipping under my shoes.  Part of the wood covering the door, broken, from earlier explorers, but the door remained locked from the inside.  It seemed our efforts remained futile. Three possible entries all locked down tightly from potential trespassers.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  The vacant tunnel system connecting buildings of the Abandoned Rosewood Center together through the old piping.  It reminded me much of the eery Abandoned RTA Subway System in Rochester.

I moved around front and long behold…the main entrance, wide open, behind the broken wooded board.  We crept inside, closing the door behind us, and astonished at what our eyes saw, began recording more footage.  Blue paint peeled back off the walls, exposing the brick behind it. Flakes scattered around the floors between the dust and hospital debris.  Old wheelchairs, toilets, tubs, and other equipment sprawled across the floor as if an intruder just ransacked a home.  We peeked around every corner always looking behind us as we began to march through the rustic steel doors.  Each room portrayed its own unique feeling of trauma.  Trauma from the very patients that once resided here restrained to their hospital beds, confined to their small rooms, left here fighting their own dark, confused minds.  Each room we walked through felt like a new nightmare we entered of someone’s past.  Almost as if the buildings possessed by apparitions wanted us to KEEP OUT!

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  We almost gave up hope trying to get into this place. Every entrance appeared to be sealed tight…or was it?

The door creaked to the stairwell as Trevor pulled it open.  It felt darker than normal as we ventured down to the basement.  Crayon paintings covered the glass windows of the next room before we reached the bottom floor.  Graffiti, a toilet and a gym mat decayed on the floor and walls of this room.  We found a tunnel system through the wall that appeared to connect to adjacent buildings.  We peeped in, but decided to hit the roof before venturing into other buildings.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  When we walked around front looking at the other building across the way…this is when we finally gained access through the FRONT DOOR!

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  And this is Christmas…In a MENTAL ASYLUM…let’s hope it’s a good one hehe.

The top floor decayed more noticeably than the rest of the building.  Trees grew out of the floors and protruded through the slate roof.  Christmas decorations and chairs created a mosaic of green and red colors across the floor and stairwell of the far room.  Graffiti lined the walls of every room.  We continued through a room with vines and plants creeping across the floors and up the walls.  Part of the ceiling caved in and light shimmered through the cracks, crevices and holes where the roof once laid.  We walked through the dingy white door, and at this point the roof gone, making us exposed to the elements.  Trevor proceeded to climb the wooden rafters on the one end of the room and I climbed my way up the door frame trying to shimmy my way over to the I-beam supports with no luck.  I kicked out the wall when I flung down from the wooden rafters making a big thud that felt like I plowed through the floor.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  A yellow wheelchair left behind inside the Abandoned Rosewood Center. Looks pretty creepy just sitting there.

At this point we explored the building and made our way back to the basement to crouch and crawl through the tunnel system.  We jumped up on a desk and stepped across a ladder to avoid stepping into stagnant water.  The pipe system scattered in many directions.  We crouched and jogged with our knees bent just enough to keep our heads from hitting the ceiling.  The tunnels spread off in multiple directions like an underground sewer system.  We finally came to a spot where it opened up and we stood at normal height.  A corroded ladder appeared in the distance. We climbed up it and approached an old, dead locked, steel door.  Nothing we did made it budge even a centimeter so we continued walking through the dark, dusty, dungeon-like tunnel in the opposite direction.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  Blue paint peeling off the walls, flaking onto the floor, covering the left behind wheelchairs, debris and hospital beds!

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  Walking down the steps right before the basement. The next room had many crayon paintings over the windows.

A wooden board barricaded part of a doorway at the end of the path we walked through.  I got on my hands and knees, squeezing my body through the bottom part of the entrance avoiding getting any possible splinters in my back.  I handed the headlamp to Trevor and he did the same.  We both stood up in what seemed to be a maintenance shack.  Pitch black surrounded us despite the many doors and windows.  All of them, heavily boarded up from the outside and inside.  We poked around the corner to find an old saw, a closet full of cleaning chemicals and oddly enough a jug of freshly bought water.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  More abandoned chairs, desks, and random belongings scattered across the floors of each and every room!

We heard noises faintly, and they began to get louder and creep us out. We thought security may have found us, but after ten minutes of sitting in the dark room with no lights on and no sudden movements or talking, we realized nothing was there.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  An old toilet decaying in a bathroom.

We quickly exited the tunnel system and crept over to the next building. By this time the sun began to set and daylight winded down. We hugged the building and hid behind the trees as we tried to find an entry point to the second building at the Abandoned Rosewood Center. We walked up the metal stairwell and noticed a window on the second story propped open with a stick. Trevor climbed over the fence and crimped the stone wall, wiggling his body foot by foot towards the windowsill. Once reaching the window he grabbed the inside and pulled himself up making it look like an easy maneuver. I still felt like shit, but followed his lead. My body shaking, holding on with every last bit of energy, reached the window and quickly dove in, pulling myself up with the help of Trevor’s hand.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  The bedroom of an old mental patient

We finally got into the building and began to walk around exploring the new rooms. More decaying furniture sat around, but the light began to dissipate, making it hard to see. We continued on gaining access to the roof and snapping a few photos of what lied below!

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  Trevor climbing up the corner of the room trying to gain access to the roof.

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  A really creepy hospital bed. They probably restrained many patients to this back in the day.

Abandoned Rosewood Center – Maryland – Below is a video of our adventure through the Abandoned Rosewood Center in Maryland.

Directions to Abandoned Rosewood Center – Maryland – Abandoned Rosewood Center, 200 Rosewood Lane, Owings Mills, MD

Abandoned Maryland Rosewood Center

Abandoned Maryland  Creeping into each room sends chills through my body. Never know what you might find in these places.  If you’re an avid urban explorer and you end up in different states on road trips you should venture to New York and check out the JN Adam Memorial Hospital.  This is another one of my favorite abandoned complexes on the east coast.

Indian Falls

Splashin’ Around Indian Falls

Splashin’ Around Indian Falls

For the past week the airport brushed my job under a rug. Five days passed since I last worked. The weather never cooperates in Buffalo, but the issue for them involves safety. The airport holds a meeting Saturday to determine the verdict. This shutdown cost me a few hundred dollars, maybe more, depending if we close for the rest of the season or not. Despite all the chaos, I found light from the misfortunes of work.

Buffalo Urbex

Buffalo Urbex – exploring downtown Buffalo with Eamon

The last five days I roamed all over the towns of Akron and Buffalo both solo and in groups.  Clarence pathway set the direction for most of my travels.  Bright green fields of mint ran on for acres until brushing upon the roadways and feed silos in the distance.  I took Werhle Drive until finding a small opening in the fence-line between a home and active quarry.

Indian Falls

More waterfall pictures

With prior knowledge of the work shutdown, setting up camp on-site, between the trees, for a peaceful slumber made for an eventful night.  Without that knowledge, I left the premises after a short-lived exploration attempt. Many antennae, silos and equipment stood in the yard, unexplored.

Indian Falls

More fisheye shots of Indian Falls

I made attempts to go back, but the site remained too active to explore without the risk of trespassing charges.  I ended up directing my exploration down Akron Road until veering a hard left onto Gilmore.  Speeding down the hill, I heard the rush of the falls bellowing off the trees to my left.

Indian Falls

Waterfalls

I set my bike down behind brush and hobbled down the dirt path towards the flowing, clear, water.  A cinder block from a parking lot space sprawled out across the ground making it possible for me to reach the falls.

Indian Falls

Indian Falls

I put one foot in front of the other using my hands to balance as to not fall in the rushing water.  After reaching the other side, I hopped a few rocks and proceeded to follow on down the stream. I down-climbed a few slippery rocks, stepping in gooey mud, clasping onto the rocks above to keep from falling into the falls.  I sat down and snapped a few pictures with my GoPro. The sound of vehicles, tractors, factories and society muffled behind the ripples and rapid flow of the water plunging off the rocks into the stream below.

I basked in the sun, enjoying the peaceful chatter of the falls, dipping my head into the brisk water to slick my hair back out of my face.

Jumping in the water, with my shoes in my hand, I began to walk back towards the dirt path.  The water flowing freely around my toes and ankles made my leg hairs point out as I trekked into the shade.

I took a different path back ending up right near my bicycle. I pulled her out from under the brush and pushed her up the hill towards Route 77.

I vaguely remembered my location in comparison to the airport since I just crossed the intersection of Ledge Road. The road where I explored the abandoned concrete plant and quarry.  I continued pedaling down the road passing Bloomingdale and made a left on Judge Road, which took me straight out into the reservation. I saw a few homes, barely structurally stable. Wood rotted, windows broken, doors boarded up spray painted with the words, “Keep Out!”

After passing the vacant homes all that existed merely forests of dark green and fields of wild flowers with large powerlines stampeding their way over the gravel roadways.

Selfie

Selfie Buffalo Urbex

I lost signal on my phone and it appeared the roads did not connect back to the town of Akron so I turned around. I heard a “pizzzzzzzz” followed by a thud sound. My back tube popped.  I sat on the side of the road, about 8 miles away from the airport, in the middle of an Indian Reservation.  I trekked back walking slowly as I pushed my bike out of the reservation. Stopping at Jan’s to grab a drink and venturing through the high school to take a short cut back to the trailer.

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