andover revisited

Are you in the Boston area? You’re invited to an interactive photo intervention next Saturday, June 10th. The show comprises 83 11 x 14 B&W images of boarding school life in the mid-70s. It is interactive as all participants are encouraged to leave comments on post-its next to the images: […]

borderlands zeno 2 1

Zeno’s mission in life (2005-2022) was to bring comfort, a smile, and joy to the lives of all he met.  The reason he survived so long – as most Labradors live only 10-12 years – was, I suspect, to give encouragement to the crazy human race during the greatly mishandled […]

borderlands zeno 1 9

Zeno led a remarkable life (2005-2022). For over 16 years he traveled to many ends of the New World.  A quick calculation of his longer roadtrips totals 96,000 miles, or nearly 4x around the Earth’s circumference. This first post provides some highlights of his early roadtrips in the U.S., which […]

love & strife in the time of coronavirus 2 – northbound

America has descended into some of the darkest days of its history. It is not due to the bug, but rather the purposes to which the bug was used. Long drives into the unknown clearly evidence two Americas: one we all know and love, and another characterized by unrecognizable states […]

border & bug patrol 2

Zeno, the fearless border patrol dog, has been on a mission of encouragement and support to all those we encounter for a year and a half. Meeting many traumatized humans – especially in the tragically mismanaged Northeast – he always brings a smile despite his own infirmities.  (Zeno is fast […]

love and strife in the time of coronavirus

America is torn. I recently drove the East Coast to get a pulse of the nation recently ravaged by governmental diktats, media distortions, and rioters coddled by a major party. The further north I drove, the darker the journey became, into a northeast traumatized by the virus and disastrous state […]

veterans’ day every day

Happy 250th anniversary (yesterday) to the U.S. Marines, and happy Veterans Day today to so many heroes among us! Here is a peak at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, which opened in 2006 in Quantico, VA, just south of Washington, D.C. and immediately off I-95.  It has understandably […]

border & bug patrol 1 1

Since March, Zeno the fearless border patrol doggie, has been on a mission of encouragement and support to all those we meet. The roadrip that was slated for mid-March, to patrol the entire East Coast with dog happiness, finally took place at the end of September.  Zeno turned 15 in […]

so so. cali.

Here the journey continues through the foreign country of California, which still looms large in our dreams. “Yes, California is a natural, if well-ordered, paradise. The benign foresight of its people, through individual initiative and their elected representatives, has led to a remarkable preservation of so much natural bounty. Just […]

no. california coasting

They say that if California were a separate country it would boast the world’s fifth largest economy, more out-of-work actors per capita than any other, and the highest insurance rates on earth, but as far as I can tell it already is another country. [Borderlands USA, p. 141] So begins […]


The third largest national park in the continental U.S., the Everglades get little respect.  In the 17 years I have been visiting, most tourists are foreign. True, it is flat. There are bugs. But it is the largest tropical wilderness in the U.S. and endlessly fascinating. There are three land […]

dc’s newest museum 2

Last November, the Museum of the Bible opened (the books).  In April, I spent a weekend in Washington D.C., the city by chance crawling with 2nd Amendment protesters, including innocent tweens with tees emblazoned with “F— the NRA.”  How fortunate to have a much more edifying option! For a nation […]

holy land usa

Holy Land USA, easily seen if you lift your eyes off of I-84E in Waterbury, CT, I have wanted to visit for years.  It is not easy to access.  Built in the early 1950’s by lawyer and evangelist John Greco, the 17-acre Biblical theme park closed several years before Greco’s […]

great meadows

Our borderlands contain many natural ones.  Some are wildlife refuges that soften the borders between man and animal.  I grew up in one, called the Great Meadows in eastern Massachusetts where my grandfather, Dick Borden, a wildlife filmmaker and conservationist, maintained an entire ecosystem of wildlife, including pet otters, geese, […]

oh link! roanoke, va

The mystique of trains plays a large role in borderland culture.  Here, a museum lovingly rose from Roanoke’s former Norfolk & Western passenger terminal, with an amazing photography collection that captures the dying years of America’s last steam railway. O. Winston Link, a commercial photographer from New York, had a […]

the mfa’s new wing

The MFA, Boston’s premier art museum, received a glorious new wing for the Art of the Americas a handful of years ago.  What a borderland pleasure it is!  The old MFA, like much of Boston, was proper and stodgy.  The modern wing, and the newly enclosed courtyard attaching the buildings, […]

illuminarts at the pérez, miami, fl 1

One of the most compelling artistic adventures in Miami is IlluminArts, a relatively new Vocal Arts organization founded by (Artistic Director) mezzo-soprano star Amanda Crider, which recently received a coveted Knight Foundation grant.  Their latest endeavor is a performance at Miami’s Pérez Art Museum of a haunting piece, titled “the […]

sunday book reading in santa monica, ca

Sunday’s reading of Borderlands USA in Santa Monica was delightful.  A dozen friends came by the intimate and relaxed Primo Passo coffee shop for a book excerpt, Q & A, and to take home a signed copy.  Some old friends I haven’t seen in 7 to 25 years!  This was […]

reading in santa monica, ca

Come by for a reading by Ben Batchelder of “Borderlands USA: or, How to Protect the Country by Car” at the delightful coffee shop Primo Passo in Santa Monica, CA. This is the author’s first reading west of the Rockies and he is pleased to return to the borderlands of […]

fish fuel in madison

While surveying the nation’s defenses along the coast, one still needs fuel.  Here I stopped, during a foray in September, in Madison, Conn. at Lenny & Joe’s, a truly fine seafood eatery whose humble roots were a roadside fried clam stand from 1979.