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TimeSpace: Half A Tank
TimeSpace: Half A Tank

Post photographer Michael Williamson is traveling across the country covering the economic situation.

The End of the Road


A self portrait Michael made in North Dakota. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post

It’s the one question Michael and I heard most: Did you fight?

The truth is, if we had, I probably would’ve blogged about it.

There was a moment early on when Michael told me how he grew up in foster care and how easily he could’ve turned out like some of the more vulnerable people we were meeting. We were barely getting to know each other--we hadn’t met before this assignment--but I had to decide that night if our personal conversation was part of our journey, if it ought to be part of Half a Tank.

On June 8, I posted a piece about our exchange under the headline: Mirrors, Thin Walls and Cheap Motels.

As newspaper journalists, most of the stories we cover require us to step out of the picture. That’s where both Michael and I felt most comfortable before this assignment. But Half a Tank changed that for us. We realized early on that all of us--you, Michael, me, and the people who shared their stories here--were in this together.

Michael and I posted more than 110 entries, but you wrote nearly 900 comments and sent dozens of emails. Some of you even sent checks and offers of help to the people we met along the way.

It is with mixed emotions that Michael and I bring Half a Tank to a close. But after more than 20,000 miles and 30 states, we’ve hit the end of the road. We’re home.

To those of you in the back seat who traveled with us, thank you for the company. Half a Tank was as much your space as it was ours. Here are some photos from the road that we didn’t get a chance to show you before:


A sign in Kansas that was likely left over from 9-11 but also spoke to the spirit we saw in some places. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post


A preacher we met in Tunica, Mississippi. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post


A sign we ignored several times. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post


Even in hard hit Detroit, a street festival draws a crowd. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post


Michael and I hadn't met before this assignment but drove more than 20,000 miles together. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post


A small town in Colorado with a name we couldn't help but read more into. Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post

By Theresa Vargas  |  October 16, 2009; 8:08 AM ET
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I just wanted to thank you both for taking us along on your trip. Some of the stories made me cry, a few made me mad. But I always looked forward to the next entry. Thanks again!

Posted by: mmaid | October 16, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Thank you very much for this touching and wonderful blog! This has truly been an eye-opener as well as an inspiration. My hat's off to the two of you and to all the fine folks you covered.

Posted by: topshelf_22304 | October 19, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The ride is over much too soon! I very much enjoyed following along on your adventure. Truly magnificent photographs!

Posted by: TarynT | October 20, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

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