I’m Jim Grey, lifelong Hoosier, family man, writer, and photographer.
I write about what interests me, which makes this a pretty eclectic place. You’ll find personal essays and stories from a well-examined life, along with travel stories, history, photography, and reviews of old film cameras.
I love old buildings, old roads, old bridges, and old cars; you’ll find photos and stories of them all over this blog. Some of my articles may resonate with you and others may not. But I publish six days a week, so if today’s article doesn’t grab you, tomorrow’s probably will.
The comments you leave on my articles often teach me things. Even when they don’t, I enjoy hearing from you! So I hope you’ll take a minute to tell me your thoughts.
I make my living in the software industry managing developers, which is about herding cats and keeping trains on time. I’m married; my wife and I have seven children between us. They’re all adults, and the youngest of them are figuring out how to launch into independent adulthood. The empty nest is in sight!
Other ways to find me online
I write about my software career once in a while here. I sometimes contribute to this site about old cars.
Follow me on Flickr here.
Follow me on Facebook here. I accept friend requests only from people I know, but you can follow my personal feed if you want. This blog also has its own Facebook page, which you can follow here.
I’m not on other social media.
Do you want to contact me?
If you want to reach me directly, here’s a handy contact form. Your message will come straight to my e-mail inbox. I’ll respond to the e-mail address you type into the form. I genuinely enjoy hearing from you and while I am likely to respond briefly, I almost always respond.
I’m grateful to you for commenting. It always feels to me like we’re all hanging out on my deck or in my family room together, talking about things we are mutually interested in. In this way I count you as friends.
I seldom bring up controversial subjects. But reasonable people can disagree even about mundane topics. Sometimes you offer a perspective different from one I or another commenter shared. When you do, I insist that you keep it about the subject rather than the person, and keep your argumentation clean and fair.
If you leave a comment that I consider to be unkind or a personal attack, I will delete it without explanation or apology.
That comment was made toward someone else hanging out in my space who I count as a friend. I will control the tone in my space and I will defend my friends’ ability to be here in peace, regardless of their opinions.
There are plenty of places around the Internet where you can fight with others to your heart’s content. This is not one of them.
Unless otherwise credited, the writing and photographs on this site, Down the Road, blog.jimgrey.net, are copyright 2007-2023 Jim Grey.
Where others’ writing and photographs are used on this site, the original creators retain copyright of their works.
Do you want to republish a post from this blog?
I don’t allow my work to be republished. But I’d be happy to talk with you about creating original work for your site. Use the contact form above to reach out.
If you want me to create work for a profit-making company, I expect to be paid.
Do you want to republish one of my photographs?
tl;dr: Ask. I almost always say yes for non-profit projects. I often say yes for for-profit projects, but I usually want something in return.
If you want to use one of my photographs, ask me using the contact form above.
If you want to use one of my photographs in some way not directly related to you making money, I’ll almost certainly say yes. Examples: you want to print my image to hang on your wall (even in your business), you want to use my image on your personal blog, or you want to print my image in a publication for your nonprofit.
If you want to use one of my photographs in some way directly related to you making money, I often say yes, but I will want some sort of compensation or trade. Sometimes I won’t want to be a part of your project and I’ll say so. Examples: you want to make a T-shirt with my image on it that you will sell, you want to use my image on your site that generates revenue through subscriptions or advertising.
Did you find your image on my blog?
Once in a while I use someone else’s image. I try to attribute those images properly and get permission when I think I should, but sometimes I get it wrong. If I’ve used one of your images against your wishes, contact me and I’ll credit you or remove the image, as you direct.
Thanks to crashing waves of spam, I’ve closed comments on this page.
6 March 2023
81 responses to “About Jim Grey”
The first URL should be http://www.jimgrey.net/Roads/ (case-sensitive)
Looks a lot like Ohio…Funny how all roads look the same. I like the curves and yellow lines..
Where have you been lately?
Thank you for your comment. I’m actually looking for more blogs from fellow Hoosiers to link to the scenicmichiana site. I’m very interested in finding colorful places in Indiana and Michigan to photograph.
You have a great site here. You are such a loyal Hoosier…and RTV6 viewer might I add. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for watching! I’m glad you get to see my contribution to the Good Morning Indiana show.
Erin, thanks! Stop by anytime!
Hello Fellow Roadie!
Great subject for a blog here. I’m enjoying the reads. Thanks for such interesting posts and photos. :)
Thanks, Anneliese! (I’m imagining a German cadence there — an-neh-lee-seh.)
I stumbled upon your page while doing some recreational research on H.P. Wasson department stores (why would I be researching that? I am distantly related to the Wasson’s). It brought me to your page on the Michigan Road and I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through the pictures on your site! I loved reading the captions with the snippets of history thrown in… I look forward to reading more!
Liz, thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad you enjoyed the Michigan Road writings!
My husband and I saw the site you did on SR 42, which we live on about 2 miles east of 231, and saw a picture of a building you posted in Terre Haute. You stated you didn’t know what it was, but it is The Stables Restaurant with a really great history to it. We just went there this last April and the service and food is really good, a little pricey, but worth it! The website for more info on their history is, stablessteakhouse.com. Great piece on 42!
Patty, thanks for writing! I’m glad you enjoyed my SR 42 writeup, and thanks for explaining about The Stables Restaurant!
You look familiar.
Did you attend Danville High School in Illinois with me??
I LOVE your photographs! You have a very good sense of artistry, placement, and you capture the beauty of the scenery so much it makes me homesick!
Keep up the beautiful work!
Glad you have enjoyed my blog! I’ve been to Danville, but I didn’t attend school there.
Thanks Rex, and thanks for stopping by!
I have enjoyed touring your trip websites and your blog with statements of faith in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you could post some photos of your old high school (Riley), and its former square track! Remember?
God’s love is ever faithful
Coach Andy Adamson
Thanks for stopping by, Andy. My brother would know more about that track than me — he was the runner in the family!
I’m wondering if you are the same Andy Adamson who posted the following on Ancestry.com:
“I have a copy of original bible records for Hopkins and Desire Harris and their children and grandchildren. The records also include dates for Hopkins father: Thomas; and Desire parents: Robert and Tacy Niles. Conntact me via mail/phone: Andy Adamson, 63495 US Hwy 31, South Bend, IN 46614 ph# 291-1021”
If so, you could help me take down a longtime brick wall, figuratively speaking. If you are still in possession of the Hopkins/Harris bible records, specifically the vitals for Thomas Hopkins and Tacy Niles, I would greatly appreciate (big understatement) any information you would be willing to share.
Thanks so much,
Jim, next time you’re in South Bend, you should go see the historic B’Nai Yisrael (Sons of Israel) synagogue at 416 S. Williams Street. It hasn’t functioned as a synagogue for many years, and its physical existence has been in jeopardy for years. For the past two years, the city has been considering/planning to relocate it, but that hasn’t happened yet (apparently). It’s a beautiful, beautiful small old building immediately south of (the former) downtown.
Thanks for the tip, Janice! I grew up near the synagogue on S. High St., btw. I’m sure it’s no match for the one on S. Williams.
this is Jennae from Living Stones Church… I’ve been following your blog ever since Sam linked to it sometime back and have enjoyed taking the virtual road trips with you! I’m trying to put together some photos of what the South Side once looked like for the badNEIGHBOR series we are starting this Sunday (check out http://www.badneighborstory.com) and wondered if you’d have some directions to point me in to find old photos of specific south side locations. i.e., I’d love to find an old photo of boonie doon on S. Michigan street from the 50’s or 60’s to display along side a current photo of its sad gated existence now. Even vintage photos of homes on the south side would be great, but not sure how to locate them quickly. Thanks so much!!
I’m flattered and pleased that you follow my Indiana wanderings, and glad you enjoy them!
Photos like those you’re looking for can be quite difficult to find. But I do have a few ideas.
There’s a Facebook page for the southeastside with a bunch of photographs, some of which are of places long gone, such as the old Brite Way store. Go here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=221621847650&ref=ts#!/group.php?gid=221621847650&v=photos&so=0
I’ve had some luck finding old photos on postcards. You can find them on eBay and you don’t always have to buy them — you can just make a screen capture of the images sellers upload. Here’s a link to a search for South Bend postcards on eBay: http://collectibles.shop.ebay.com/Postcards-/914/i.html?_nkw=%22south%20bend%22&_trkparms=65%253A12%257C66%253A2%257C39%253A1%257C72%253A3991&rt=nc&_catref=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1581&_pgn=2
Finally, sometimes libraries and historic societies have caches of photos, and sometimes they’re online. I couldn’t find anything online for South Bend in a quick search, but you might consider contacting the library and the Center for History.
Good luck with your search!
I am happy to find this site;and the proud owner of an old but wonderfull Kodak Retinette 1 A camera giving even after49 years extraordinary shots.Built for the french market in the early sixities,this camera was equipped with a shutter including low speeds and a Pierre Angenieux lens made by the famous optical factory working usually for Leica and Alpa.
Despite a relatively low price,this 2,8 50 mm four lens based on the Tessar concept gives sharp images and I willl be happy to send some day digitally scanned examples of my slides.
I apologise for my modest english but we french people are not known as fluently speaking foreign languages.
Here it’s four PM and we have the sun of our own Indian Summer!
Hi Jean Pierre, and thanks for writing! I am glad you get good use from your Retinette 1A! It is interesting that your Retinette has a Pierre Angenieux lens; I thought all Retinettes (and Retinas) got Schneider-Kreuznach lenses! I hope you’ll scan the slides you’ve made with your Retinette and share them, perhaps on Flickr, for all to see!
Your English is fine! I understand the challenges of writing in another tongue; I once spoke and wrote German very well but find it difficult today after many years of disuse.
Hey Jim. I was going to reweet you article but I noticed you didn’t have a twitter account. Unless I missed. Do you have one? I’d like to mention you.
Hi Ollin! I’m @mobilene. I haven’t entirely got the hang of Twitter yet.
Hi, I enjoyed ‘poking around’ you blog (as you put it) and I did like what I saw. Nice blog, keep up the awesome work!
Thank you! I invite you to stick around; I update at least once a week!
Hey Jim, I came across your blog because it was freshly pressed. I wish that I could say that I came across it because I was digging deeper and deeper to satisfy my blog-reading desire. However, I didn’t.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading your posts and saw that you are from Indiana. I have also lived in Indiana my entire life: 10 years in Granger and eight years in Westfield (near Carmel). If you have the time and feel like taking it, check out my photoblog and let me know what you think.
Heh, I grew up in South Bend and now live in Indy. Not so different!
[…] on grammar and why it is, or isn’t, that important. This particular blog post was written by Jim, who has been an editor of technology books for several years. His blog post, like mine, was a […]
Thanks for posting your pix of my great grandfather’s home on Flickr. “Alfred M.” was the first, I’m the fourth. I never met the man and his wife, Minne Mae Glossbrenner, but we just used her monogramed linen napkins at our New Year’s party last week.
I’ve never been inside the house, but many years ago, when I was a counselor at the Culver Woodcraft Camp, I borrowed a car and drove to “Naptown. ” I peered into the house foyer and saw a large letter “G” in the floor’s mosaic work. I assumed it stood for our last name. Only later did I learn that what I was looking at was the Masonic emblem. (Alfred M. was a 33rd Degree.)
Alfred, I am just delighted that you found my photographs. As accomplished as your great-grandfather was, it’s not surprising to learn that he had gone all the way in the Scottish Rite.
I wrote a few words about the mansion; they will appear on this blog on 1/13/2011.
I’ve enjoyed looking at your site and reading some of your blogs…especially those about your background in churches of Christ. That’s my background (and foreground also I guess) as well.
I teach from August to September in Lubbock at Sunset International Bible Institute…School of Missions. I also write four blogs (I must be crazy!): the one listed and charamongarden.wordpress.com, whitcarv.wordpress.com and missionsouthpacific.wordpress.com. When I grow up, I hope to be more single minded.
On the instrumental music thing: I don’t think anyone is going to be condemned for using it but I believe the Holy Spirit had His reasons for telling us to sing to one another and use singing to teach and encourage one another. It seems that instruments tend to get in the way. The bands/organs, etc. get louder and louder and the purpose of singing is overwhelmed in the process. Just a thought. Blessings to you and yours.
Thanks for stopping by, Dwight. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but at this point in my faith journey I see that whether or not instruments are used in worship is far less important than how much love I deliver into the world in the name of God each day.
I bought my first nikon SLR years ago. It is gathering dust unfortunately. You just inspired me to make time and take photos again.
Your dog reminds me of my retriever growing up. Same color. Ahh. Good times :-)
Hi N., and thank you for your compliment! Good luck as you resurrect your old SLR!
I was hunting online for pictures of the old Bonnie Doon Drive-In on Lincoln Way in South Bend and came across your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane with your pictures and videos. I grew up in Mishawaka and lived in South Bend for a few years before moving to LaPorte and eventually to Utah. I had some very fond memories at that Bonnie Doon and was sad when I came back for a visit in 2007 to find an O’Reilly Auto Parts had replaced it. That is where my husband and I met for the first time and I never got photos of it. I’m not sure if the one you pictured was that same drive-in, but just the same, thank you for sharing.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the Bonnie Doon photo and my blog. I hope you’ll keep reading!
You are quite awesome. I dig it…you collect cameras I collect vdieogame consoles. :) Nice to meet ya. I dig you photos, a lot of road, but its pretty cool and different.
We have a collection if video game consoles of sorts here too! Nothing serious, jus the consoles we’ve accumulated over the years, going back to the early 90s.
Was searching the internet and found this site. My father owned Brite Way Sales. He would be tickled to know his store brought such good memories.
Hi Doreen! I’m glad you stopped by. My dad loved Brite Way; it seems like he made at least one trip up there every weekend from our home on Erskine Blvd.
I knew your dad really well-Sid G.! When I graduated from college, my first job was with Procter and Gamble in South Bend. I called on your dad and sold him toothpaste, shampoo, etc. We was a great guy and really helpful to a 21 yr old Jewish kid that didn’t know his you know what from a hole in the ground. I think about him often and I remember some of the things he would say.
Hi Allan – Unfortunately my dad’s name is not Sid. But I am from South Bend!
Love your story Jim. Glad faith got/gets you through.
Hi Jim, my name is Selena and I was your server during your recent visit to The Iron Skillet Restaurant. I am pleased that you enjoyed your meal and service. Hopefully you will return for more since it is in the vicinity of your home. Although most of your descriptions of the food was almost dead on I can’t devulge the secrets of how its prepped, especially not in writing. Please keep in mind that we also do carry-out service, so the next time you’ve got a hankering for juicy chicken just give a call. Btw you can always substitue the corn for more green beans or potatoes. Thanks again and good luck on your chicken search. Selena.
Hi Selena and thanks for stopping in! You’d better believe I’ll be back to the Iron Skillet, especially since it’s just 5 minutes away from home.
I found you blog as I was looking for a camera similar to the Kodak vigilant junior six 20, that takes 120. I’m looking to build a wide angle 6×9 camera. The Junior six 20 is a perfect small size but I’m already shooting a lot of 120 so I don’t want to have to carry reloaded 120 and regular 120 with me.
Any help would be great.
Also, I’m a dummies author and have to tell you it’s just as crazy as you described it!
Hi Dirk — Kodak was maddeningly fixated on that blasted 620 film. So I’d give up on finding a folding Kodak that takes 120, and instead look for an Agfa Billy Record or maybe a Voigtlander Bessa, both of which take 120 natively. I have a Bessa here — haven’t shot with it, not sure why not — and it is a reasonable size. I don’t have a Vigilant Junior Six-20 to compare it to, though.
Stumbled over here from Irene’s blog.
I must catch up on some of your posts.
I am trying despartely to trust God in my darkest hours, as well.
Keep Writing. Keep the Faith.
If you keep trying, it will happen.
Hi Jim, awesome collection.
I just bought a Minolta Hi-Matic 7 and I was wondering, seeing you had the same battery problem. Can you shoot with it without using a battery? I mean, the shutter works, without battery.
Oh sure. You can totally shoot this camera without a battery. You just have to judge exposure yourself.
Actually, it’s only the roads to hell that all look alike (paved as they all are with good intentions). It is the road to paradise that is full of hairpin turns and sudden changes in pavement. There is nothing like it. Prayer is like a versatile map in case one veers off or is run off by somebody going the other way. Also, overtaking objects may be closer than they appear in the mirror!
I’ve found that prayer can make road suddenly reappear beneath me when I’ve gone so far off it that I have no idea where I am!
Hi Jim, I recently tripped over your blog while doing some research for a couple cameras I have. I’ve really been looking for a local Indiana collector to share with. I’ve been collecting for about 30 years so I have amassed about 500 but here of late (youngest leaves for college) I have been looking to thin the herd. I’m currently working through the collection and identifying what I have. I enjoyed your articles on the older cameras along with the education. I try to do the same with a Facebook group I subscribe to by not only sharing the box but also educating as I write. I also have started painting (fineart) again after 35 years and it has reawaken my photography. I recently took a trip down to French lick when the Fall color was coming in so I know where Oolitic is :) Sorry for the long note but you are not alone in your pursuit or faith. Hope we can converse more in the future.
HI Mike! I’ve taken the liberty of replying directly to your e-mail address.
I’d love to reach out to you for a short interview. How do I contact you?
Jim Thank you for the great Blog
Started following you on American Road. I like all of your subjects, you were close to us at the Church in Rochester. Keep up the great Work.
Don, so glad you enjoy my writing.
I need to talk to you, today, about the possibility of using your picture of the dilapidated house you used some time back. Your description is “From Dale to Boonville, SR 62’s curves broaden and come less often, and the tight, enclosed feel of forest, rock, and guardrails departs for open farmland on either side. After Boonville, SR 62 straightens out entirely. Additional lanes are being laid all the way to Evansville.”
I’m a new author and a new blogger, too. I’d like to use it today–June 6, 2013–if possible, of course with your name on it.
Kaye, that photo is here on Flickr:
All of my photos are licensed under Creative Commons. My terms are that you can use them for nonprofit purposes if you don’t modify them and if you credit me. If you need to use the photo outside those terms, click the e-mail link in the text above and we can discuss it.
My Dad managed Brite Way from opening day til it closed in 1989. I have many old items – 1962 ads, bowling team shirts, shopping bags and a basket. I always get lots of comments when I post anything on FB.
Nice blog, thanks for sharing!
We certainly spent a lot of time in Brite Way! We were sad when it closed.
JIm, the XG-1 was my first SLR camera. I got it some time in the early 80’s. It was a great camera to learn some basics on. I still have the photos. Unfortunately I don’t have it anymore, but your post brought back some great memories.
Thanks Bruce. It would be a fine camera to start on, that’s for sure!
Jim, I just saw your photos of Argos and Plymouth, IN. I was born in Plymouth and have lived in Argos most of my life. Many of your photos are of places members of my family have owned. There are some buildings that serve different purposes now, and I would be glad to give you the complete information. Please email me at email@example.com.
I’ve replied directly to your e-mail.
ciao! luvFAB blog.
Wow – doing some research for an upcoming trip from Indy to Miami Beach via the Dixie Highway and “drove” onto your blog. Good stuff here !! I am fascinated with the genius of Carl Fisher. Grew up in Bedford, went to Oolitic High School – rode a bus everyday on the Dixie. Amazing to find another person interested in the same things I am. I have a collection of about 100 classic cameras now (gave away about a hundred); I belong to an historic preservation group; I’ve traveled all of Route 66; most of US 50 and US 40; as well as a good part of Highway 61 – The Blues Highway; walked part of the Appian Way in Rome with my wife this past summer. I like old cars and have a 1955 Studebaker. I take the back roads every time I am not in a hurry !! I’ll use some of your blog material for my trip. Keep up the good work !!
Danny, thanks for writing! Always love to hear from someone with so many overlapping interests. I checked out your site and especially enjoyed the pics of your Studebaker, as I’m a South Bend native. Hope you’ll stick around for the ride on my blog.
Just purchased my first MG-1 (I’m a user of a D800E so something completely different).
I was just wondering what the best B&W film to use would be? Not really interested in shooting colour, this is purely for nostalgic reasons but I just wondered what your thoughts were?
Any helps appreciated.
Stuart, there is no best, and that’s the beauty of it. There’s the film that you like, and you have to try some to find it. You can start anywhere you like, such as with Kodak’s Tri-X or Tmax.
I stumbled across your blog while researching the Olympus XA series of cameras. I read some of your articles on older cameras and found them to be quite interesting. I have a small collection of box cameras and a few older 35 mm’s. I am a Western New Yorker and have lived nearly all my life within 25 miles of Eastman Kodak in Rochester. Found your blog worthwhile so I signed on. Keep up the good work and God bless.
Thanks Doug! I’m glad you’re along for the ride. I’ve been to Rochester on business – in February. Not the best-timed trip I’ve ever made.
Just in case you haven’t heard about it, this seemed like something a photographer like you might enjoy. http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/01/20/what-happens-when-you-discover-31-rolls-of-undeveloped-film-from-a-wwii-soldier/.
It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Thanks for stopping by!