Day 71: Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

Miracle of miracles, I got a solid 8 hours sleep last night.  Either it’s all the driving or stress of finding gas yesterday, but I slept hard and it was AMAZING. You truly know you’re an adult when the best thing about your day is sleep. This week is a bonus week for me because I only had a couple things planned, so everything else I find is extra!  It is supposed to be in the 100’s several days this week, so I am going to have to be careful with my car that has no a/c right now.  Sometimes it just FEELS better to stay in my nice, ice cold hotel room and watch tv.

On my Paranormal wish list of things to do across the Nation, many a Prison can be found.  I have always been fascinated by them, and then you add history with the ghosts inside every cell, they’re pretty cool to tour.  My first Prison tour was Joliet in Illinois, and you really didn’t get to go in the cell areas, because the main building was literally falling apart and they are trying to save it.  Waverly Hills was all about a guided ghost tour, so again, you weren’t on your own to really explore (that costs extra and boy will it cost you there to do an overnight alone!). I LOVED that ghost tour, but it would have been cool and terrifying to do alone.

Idaho State Penitentiary

So today I wasn’t sure what to expect, just what I had seen on an episode of “Ghost Adventures.” I knew the place was haunted, so I came prepared to talk to whoever wanted to talk back. They have sort of a compound going on there, the Penitentiary, the Warden’s home, the Women’s Prison Block, the trail to Table Rock, and the Botanical Gardens next door.  They have you park in this huge, gravel parking lot behind the homes and the Table Rock trail, but there was ZERO signage on where to walk to the Prison. I wound up asking a local who was going to his car how the heck to get to the entrance, which he kindly showed me the way. 

Idaho State Penitentiary

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$6 entrance fee, masks required in the Main building, and the tour is self-guided. I LOVE those words, that means “Amy can take her sweet ass time” – which I certainly did. They opened at 10 a.m. and I didn’t walk out until 12:30 p.m.  They have SO many buildings to tour, including Maximum Security, the Cooler, 3 Cell Houses, a Rose Garden, Shirt Factory, and Barber Shop. 

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Let’s start with the Rose Garden.  This is where the gallows started on the property, where the men were put to death by hanging. The Rose Garden was beautiful, I kept thinking what beauty was covering stories of horrible deaths. It felt peaceful, but I couldn’t shake the feeling I was being watched. There weren’t many touring today, so 90% of the time I was all alone. Even with the big, bright, ball in the sky shining down on me, the place couldn’t feel darker.

Idaho State Penitentiary

Idaho State Penitentiary
The gallows were in the grassy area…
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The Gallows Outside

The Dining Hall from 1898 burned down, and all that is left is the shell of what was. They designed it to have lots of light, and they entered across this huge ravine dug around it.  The pic will show the men were not allowed to talk, and they all had to face one way while eating.

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The Dining Hall
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Dining Hall in 2021

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Inside the Dining Hall

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I couldn’t get over the “dungeons” they had placed in several spots. When the men were unruly, one point of punishment would be to put them in the ground where they would feed them and that’s it. They looked like storm cellars that people used when they didn’t have basements, but it must have been so hot with the sun baking those metal doors. Maybe cooler underground? I don’t know, every time I saw one it creeped me out.

Idaho State Penitentiary

Idaho State Penitentiary

Speaking of cooler, they have a building called “The Cooler” or “Siberia” where you were put when you REALLY screwed up while in Prison.  These cells had nothing to them, and walking into the tiny building felt so heavy on my chest, I didn’t stay in here long. It’s located in a corner, far away from everything else, including it’s own shower area for only these confined prisoners. There cells had NOTHING to them, I pictured a man just sitting in a corner and scraping his fingers on the wall from boredom. Creepy area.

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Next I toured the Barber Shop and Dorm, right next to each other. These were Museums, meaning they had walls of information on inmates, and it was fascinating to read. I probably spent a good 30 minutes alone here, all very interesting.

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3 House, built in 1928, was the first one I toured of the cells. Because I wasn’t able to have such freedom at Joilet like this, I was shocked I could walk in and out of cells, up and down floors, it was so cool!! Every building I left my Ghost app play out, and I will post some of the words I got with this. Basically I took pics, video, then let my app run while I walked around and explored.

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2 House was the oldest house, built in 1911. These were incredibly old, smaller cells.  A scary vibe in this one, wasn’t a fan of being alone in here.

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Idaho State Penitentiary

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4 House, built in 1952, was the largest one. Lots of floors, housed the most, and this is where they had kidnapped several of the guards and the prisoners held them hostage. 

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Idaho State Penitentiary
The Officers would use this hallway to check in on the prisoners through small windows.

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Idaho State Penitentiary
The small window on the inside of the cell that the Officers would peek in on them.

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5 House, built in 1954, was Maximum Security and Death Row.  THIS ONE was crazy to be in!  Exploring while thinking about the most dangerous who inhabited here, but then to go to the second floor and see the 4 cells that held the Death Row inmates was surreal. Right off their cells, a single, ominous door. They all had to stare at it from their cells, knowing the journey though door was the last walk in their lives. And not death by injection, oh no, nothing humane like that. They walked through that door to a hanging noose. They would be executed by hanging, with a trap door underneath. They would stand on the doors, the noose around their neck, the trap door would open, and they would be hung. Then dropped to the room below, and taken out the doors down the stairs, to the outside to a hearse and then the Cemetery.  A window in the viewing room would allow the “watchers” to view this gruesome hanging…and I couldn’t stop staring through it. I couldn’t get over that 10 people were hung in that room, and that someone watched it. I was in this area awhile, I just couldn’t get over it.  I took video in this area, will post it on Facebook- make sure to follow my page.

 

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Idaho State Penitentiary
Where they hung the noose from…
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The trapdoor the body fell through.
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The lever pulled to open the trap door…

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Idaho State Penitentiary
The room beneath the gallows…where the trap door dumped the body.

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Idaho State Penitentiary
The doors the body would be taken out of to the hearse and then Cemetery.

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The last building I toured was the Shirt Factory, basically the laundry area. They really didn’t like them “loafing” – this term is found all over the grounds. Apparently with their schedule, they worked most of the time to help the State’s budget. They even built the Warden’s home, a STONE home.  Cheap labor I guess.  I hit the gift shop, because EVERYONE has a gift shop, and grabbed my sticker and a bottle of water. On the way out, they have the Women’s Ward on the outside of the Main Prison, which I thought was odd. Apparently they HAD to keep them separated this much because of the harassment they would endure. They were so worried about the women that there house is actually surrounded by it’s own separate wall, with the Warden’s home between the two areas.  Because it’s outside the Main prison, you can tour the Women’s area without paying.

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Idaho State Penitentiary
She’s 48?????

I headed out to find lunch, loving that Wendy’s Strawberry Summer Chicken salad so I picked one up and a cold soda and I headed back to the Hotel for some sweet, sweet air conditioning.  I am parked for the rest of the day, the heat really does wipe me out. Hoping to get my car fixed soon, see you all tomorrow!

Driving throgh Oregon

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The Mathias Ham House…. Haunted?

Finding lots of hidden gems to explore in the Dubuque area, I came upon this old Mansion sitting up on a hill. Known as the “Matthias-Ham House”, this Victorian home was built in 1856 standing on 2241 Lincoln Avenue. Designed by architect John F. Rague and built for lead miner, Mathias Ham, who also designed the Courthouse in Springfield, IL, another spot I had been this summer!

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The Mathias Ham House is now a Museum which is open during the summer and fall from Thursday-Sunday. And of course, I was there on a Monday, so no go for me. BUT I read online that there are NO pictures or video allowed inside the home, so a heads up if you are looking to document the inside. I would have loved to seen it, especially the ghost stories that surround the property. So much that their official site denounces the paranormal- I’m sure trying to defer people like myself that are interested in the haunted history. But still, there ARE ghosts…. you see Mr. Mathias Ham was not only a Miner, but also had successful businesses in lumber, agriculture, and a shipping fleet. With this large Mansion on a bluff, he was able to view the Mississippi from the cuppola atop his home. Here he could watch what ships were coming in, and warn others of pirates coming into the area. Apparently the Pirates weren’t of the Disney kind and found out that they were arrested because of Mathias Ham, vowing to take their revenge on him.

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As family members passed away, the only one left was his daughter, Sara. Living in the big mansion all by herself, she would begin to hear trespassers on the grounds and asked the neighbors to watch her home. She devised a lamp to be in her third floor window and if it was on, that was the signal to the neighbors that she was in distress. A night came and went as she heard footsteps again in her home, slowing walking the floors up to her at the top. As she heard them creep to her bedroom door, with noone answering her calls of “Who’s there” she turned the lamp on and fired her gun through the door. She had killed the Pirate Captain, dragging his body to the river. So the story goes that the Captain roams the halls of this home in search of the revenge he never got. Also the ghost of Mr. Mathias Ham himself has been known to been seen walking outside and around the grounds. Just walking around by myself in the sunlight, I could feel eyes looking down at me from the upstairs.

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The tour is $7.50 and covers not only the house, but the oldest cabin in Iowa (moved to the property), and a fake mine shaft. I say fake because it didn’t exist there, they made it for educational purposes. I would have been quite stoked if it was a REAL mine shaft! The home also doesn’t have it’s original furnishings, but has been kept up well. I enjoyed touring the grounds on my own, trying to imagine living in this big, beautiful home on a hill, the large tree in the front for shade. It is a great property and definitely a stop next time you’re in Dubuque- enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Haunted Bellefontaine Cemetery…St. Louis

It goes without saying, most feel that Cemeteries are haunted with spirits that for some reason, still roam the Earth.  I have always found a peace about them- the large trees, rolling hills of grass, and a sense that I’m never alone, but also that I am in no danger either.  So on this road trip, I have been exploring more of these types of places and less the buildings with their tickets and hours.  Not that they don’t have hours as well, but I can come and go as I please, and just enjoy looking and talking to them.  We put these stones to remember our loved ones, yet with the over 30 at least now I have visited so far, it was sad to see barely a live soul there. So I almost feel like I am visiting them, yes, I am wierd, and no, I’m not a psychic. Just like to love on souls.

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Upon my visit to the great City of St. Louis, I read up on a couple of really interesting Cemeteries, this being one of them. Located along the river banks of the great Mississippi, (Do yall want to know HOW many times I have had to type that and having to channel my inner grade student? LOL), this beautiful resting place hosts some famous souls. William Clark of “Louis and Clark” is memorialized here with the words “His Life is Written in the History of His Country.” Wow, just beautiful! My luck my stone will say “Duh.”

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The Cemetery boasts of Memorial Arcitectural works that have been documented with the National Registry of Historic Places. Started in 1875, the Bellefontaine Cemetery has so many born and passed in the 1800’s, that the vibe in here is certainly an air of ancient.  It just feels old. I’m always drawn to the older tombstones, the masoleums and crypts, and the statues that some chose to have on top of their stones to be remembered by. Personally, I love the picture ones, so you can see the person when they were happy and full of life.

rsz_img_0531rsz_img_0525rsz_img_0503rsz_img_0495rsz_img_0501rsz_img_0506 Haunted? Well it’s been reported that fog and mist are seen during the day and night here. Now the skeptic is saying “Yes Amy, that is what we called “weather”” but it’s usually a bit more defined than that. Honestly, I think you feel someone close to you more than you SEE them. Hence why someone feels cold if a spirit is nearby. The eyes play tricks on us, so it’s hard to define what is real and what isn’t. So to that I say, believe what you wish.  It’s a really beautiful place and I enjoyed visiting it! Check out more of my HAUNTED ROAD TRIP HERE. Enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Ghost Story of “The Italian Bride”

Most of us enjoy a good yarn spun around a campfire, or these days, by the light of our cellphones. I was intrigued when I heard this story because of the proof they had to back it up. I can tell you that every ghost story I have heard, there is always a lady in white, walking a road somewhere, and ALWAYS after midnight. And when you hear them over and over again, you become kind of numb to them. The excitement isn’t really there anymore because there are SO MANY out there now, that you can’t keep straight half of them anymore…until her.

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Her name was Julia Buccola Petta, born March 17th, 1892. She would go on to marry in her 20s and become a house wife to her beloved husband, Mattew Petta. Unfortunately, she would die during childbirth at the age of 29, giving birth to a stillborn son. She was buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, IL, in her wedding dress (with her son), with a picture on her tomb of her in it on her wedding day. The story goes that her mother, Filomena Buccola, starting having nightmares where her beloved daughter was telling her that she was still alive! After 6 years of these dreams, Filomena got permission to exhume her daughter’s body. When they brought the coffin up, they could see it was disheveled and decomposed. BUT when it was opened…. she was in pristene condition except for her son and the arm that held him. Her mother actually took a picture of her daughter and what she saw….and it is ON THE TOMBSTONE!!!! They don’t have any real explanation for such great condition of the body but that they think back in those days that with the right ebalming liquids and an air tight coffin, decomposing would move at a slower rate. OR she’s a vampire. Who knows.

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Whats also interesting is that she was buried under her maiden name, not married name, and no mention of the child’s name that she had bore and eternally slept with. Rumors are that there may have been some beef with mom-in-law and the son-in-law, as happens, and once he got remarried, I’m sure Mom didn’t want any trace of him on her stone. The Mother also rests next to her now.

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And with any ghost story, they said you can see her walking among the stones in her area, or along the drive inside the Cemetery. Her stone is a full-size statue of herself in her wedding gown, along with her “live” and “afterlife” pictures on the stones. I can say looking at the photos I was creeped out, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she was hanging out in there, maybe chatting it up with Al Capone, who knows? To find her for yourself and pay your respects, you can find her in the Northeast corner of the cemetery, coming in from Harrison Street and taking an immediate left. She is right across from the offices and can’t be missed. Enjoy your visit!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Lemp Mansion…Most Haunted in St. Louis

Another location I had heard about for years was the “Lemp Mansion.” Located in St. Louis, Missouri, at 3322 DeMenil Place, this Mansion holds lots of secrets, and sadly, many suicides.  Found in the posh side of town, what was then known as “Benton Park,” Lemp built this home from his fame and fortune from his Brewery, found just down the road from his home.  Adam Lemp came from Germany and decided to sell his own vinegar and beer here in the States. His beer became popular because it was German lagers instead of the American Ales, focusing and creating his “Western Brewery.”

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As generations lived on over the years, indiscretion, children out of marriages, disease, and so on, would move four of the family members to commit suicide INSIDE the house. And of course, with so much death in the home, there was bound to be a few who stayed behind to haunt.  Everything from appartitions, slamming doors, cold spots, and more have been experienced inside the house. After the last of the family members passed, it was turned into a boarding home and then again bought and revived in 1975.  The Pointer family brought it back to it’s glory, and it now serves as a Restaurant and Bed & Breakfast.  LempMansion4LempMansion2rsz_img_0415rsz_img_0436 (1)

I was touring all day when I came upon this on Saturday, August 22nd. I was so excited to see it, and of course, they had a wedding going on so it was a no go to walk in. Again, what is meant for me is meant for me, and maybe I was being kept from something sinister and I am OK with that!  Honestly just the outside of the home had a very dark vibe to it, and I just felt heaviness on my chest as I looked up into the windows.  The neighborhood it sits in is also famous and adorable and it was just neat to see it all in person.  If you like the haunted stuff, I highly encourage you to call ahead for dinner reservations or room reservations and then you can say you stayed at one of THE most haunted places in the U.S.! Want to read about more haunted places? Check HERE and enjoy!rsz_img_0433rsz_img_0438

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Haunted Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA

It being Halloween, I thought it was the best time to share one of my favorite creepy spots ever! The Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia lies right outside of town on a scenic overlook of the Wilmington River. Having visited during the summer of 2018, my dear friend Christine told me about this spooky place. Until this moment, I had never seen a Cemetery that had so much not only ABOVE ground, but the Mausoleums seemed to outnumber the tombstones.

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As Christine and I walked around, we heard bells ringing and it freaked me out a bit. I had read an article about how back in the day, sometimes they weren’t sure the dead was actually, well, dead. Yeah, I know, can you imagine? So they devised this bell system in which they tied a string inside the coffin to a bell above the ground. That way if you woke up from your dirt nap, you could ring a bell and I guess hope someone showed up before you lost air? Seriously its terrifying. So yeah we heard bells as we walked around, but we could never hear where they were coming from.

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The statues here were something out of a horror movie, and so many with broken fingers or missing heads. What’s pretty cool about this Cemetery is that it was used in the 1994 Novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” and then also the Movie. A famous statue used to be here but with increased popularity and vandalism, they moved it into the town museum.

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The most infamous spirit that roams these rows goes by the name “Gracie Watson.” A little girl who died of pneumonia, she became the star attraction of Savannah more in her death than life. For years, people have come to her grave to leave presents, and after damage was being done, the city was forced to add a fence around her grave. A statue of her likeness was made to sit upon her resting place, similiar to the little girl in Graceland, IL.

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Why I loved this Cemetery so much is that it reeked of rich design. The fences, the gates, the statues…details that you just don’t see anymore because of the contemporary web our current century is caught in. Enjoy the pics and I HIGHLY recommend a trip to Savannah to not only see this Cemetery, but the city itself is one haunted hotbed!

Thanks for the support! Happy Halloween!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my brand for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Creepy Graves…An Alien Gravestone

I’m not one for perusing a graveyard late at night, I prefer to seek out the souls that roam during the day. Why? Well, since ghost hunting has become more popular, hours and security around some of the famous cemeteries have become a bit stricter.  There are those who want to just take a walk through, those who wouldn’t mind an experience, and those who are just up to no good. Shocker, I am of the first two.  So for this Halloween, I thought I would post the creepiest graves all day long on the blog- some with stories, some with pictures, but all with the spooky- enjoy!

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Let’s head back to Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, again, this one had a plethora of weird and creepy graves. Having been to several Cemeteries over the past 6 months, you see a lot of the same. And then you come across the weirdest stuff that you didn’t think anyone would possibly put as their final resting place….and then you see an Alien Gravestone. Yes, you heard me right. Someone who clearly was meant for Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, this gentleman decided to make his final marker something people would talk about for years to come. 

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Bruce Goff is his name, and the writing alone on his stone looks like something from Egyptian times. The stone is in a triangle shape, and there is a huge gem that sits at the top of it.  Did he like Superman and his kryptonite? Is it a marker for the Aliens to know where to find him? It is one of the most bizarre I have come across. What’s even funnier about it, is that he lays right next to famous baseball player, Ernie Banks.  So odd.  Check out this grave and the rest of the spooky stuff at Graceland Cemetery at 4001 N. Clark St in Chicago, IL. The pictures say it all- enjoy!

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Thank you for supporting me!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my brand for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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