SAN DIEGO - History, art and technology come together daily for Jesse Bowers, a 1989 graduate of L'Anse High School who now resides in San Diego.
Bowers brings those things together for his blog about automobiles, a blog that is recognized as one of the best in the industry, topping competition that includes The New York Times.
Bowers manages and updates his blog, "Just a Car Guy," purely for his passion, and the results show.
He takes 50,000 to 60,000 photos a year, and has a plan of attending more than 120 events over the next five months, something most companies wouldn't be willing to pay someone to do, but he can manage it because of the passion he has.
"There is some amazing stuff out there, and when you find neat stuff and you post it, to me, those are the things that other people will find and repost," he said.
That's what has helped make his blog so popular; car enthusiasts around the net find his posts by searching for the wide variety of events and things he posts about, or find it through many links that lead people there.
He makes no money off the site, and he said when he started it he had no idea what he was getting into.
"A friend of mine said I was e-mailing him too much stuff," Bowers said. "About the same time he was complaining, I met a marine who was coming back from Iraq, we got to talking and he was like 'Wow, can you tell me about that car,' and I did, and this guy was just loving the information.
"So the one guy said there was too much in his e-mail, and another who was just trying to soak it all in, and I said, I know what I'll do, I'll start a blog."
The blog began on Veterans Day 2006, a fitting day for Bowers, who is a navy veteran himself. And ever since that first post, which was very word heavy, he's been blogging with a purpose.
"I just put it up there and then, somehow, without advertising, people keep finding my Web site," he said. "And I was only putting stuff up because of my friend."
Bowers said he was impressed when 30 or 40 people were visiting it daily, then it jumped to 500 or 600 people, "and now I'm getting 1,700 to 1,900 and these people just come and like what they're looking at."
Bowers' blog, which can be found at justacarguy.blogspot.com, was recently recognized by the site RideLust, who named the top 25 car blogs and Web sites on the Internet. Bowers earned a No. 14 spot, two above the "Wheels" section of The New York Times.
One reason is because Bowers is willing to go out of his way to find a neat story, like the time he knocked on the door of a guy named Jim, because he liked the car parked in front of his house.
"I spent three hours in there talking with him," Bowers said. "Jim was someone I found and brought to the Internet."
The 86-year-old man told Bowers stories from his youth, including a moment where he met Henry Ford.
"He snuck past the guard and walked right up to Henry Ford and said, 'My name is Jim,' and he said, 'My name is Henry Ford,' and I have him on video telling this story," Bowers said. "To meet up with people that are doing stuff like that in their lives, that's amazing stuff."
The stories go on and on, and Bowers also uses his passion for photography, something he was recently recognized for in the Photographer's Formulary. He was the December 2009 Artist of the Month, giving him an opportunity to share his experience, which didn't come from a photography background.
"The first year I chose my best of, I chose 200 photos and in 2009, it was more like 400 or 500, I put up all of my top favorites and then I had to segment them," he said.
Michael H. Babcock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.