In which our intrepid hero encounters dead trees, dead cars and dead buildings…
One of the most interesting things about taking back-country drives is that the scale of everything changes. The distance scale, for example, grows enormously. Ohio is a relatively small state, and I am centrally located within it, so theoretically I can reach even the most distant parts of the state in three and a half hours. But that is making a bee-line on a highway. Once you start driving on curvy, back-country roads, especially driving relatively slowly to spot potential subjects for photographs (and stopping on occasion to actually take them), 20 miles somehow becomes a great distant, not a short jaunt. Sixty miles is a huge distance. On the other hand, the time scale slows down. Because you are in no particular hurry, and paying attention to your surroundings rather than the clock, time passes quickly for you. The combination of these two means that you can spend many, many hours in a vehicle and discover that you have really never driven more than 60 miles away from your starting point (though your total mileage may be much greater).
[Remember that you can click on each image below for a larger, better version]
When you head northeast out of Columbus, it is remarkable how quickly the landscape changes. Before very long at all you are in woodsy terrain with rolling hills and a completely different look than that surrounding Columbus, which tends to be flat and purely agricultural. The frustrating thing for me, though, is that I can’t seem to take interesting pictures of woods—it is hard to capture the same depth and inherent complexity and interestingness that the eye perceives. Well, hard for me, anyway. Woods are more interesting that my camera in my hands has the capability to make them.
I turned away from the main road when I saw on my navigation system a road called Opossum Hollow Road. I figured that you pretty much have to drive on a road called Opossum Hollow Road. The reality was less evocative than the name—it is a rather upscale country lane with nice homes alongside it.
It doesn’t take too much driving before one begins to encounter abandoned buildings. Here is one old farmhouse that housed a family, once upon a time.
Now, perhaps, only its lonely birdhouse is occupied.
Ohio, obviously, has a lot of agriculture. The proportion of pasture land to farm land grows as one heads east and the terrain becomes relatively less suitable for farming, but livestock can be found throughout the state. Here we see a very well-to-do establishment. One of the easiest ways to figure how well a farm is doing is to look at its fencing. Fencing can get expensive and it is quite rare to see such large amounts of sturdy fencing as in the below photograph.
I was driving down one back-country road when I passed by this barn, located right next to the road. Inside, I saw two old buggies. They were interesting because the farm itself did not seem to be Amish or Mennonite, which raised the obvious question of why those old buggies were there.
Old trees are the equivalent of ruins in the plant kingdom—and often as grand.
Here’s a little, googly-eyed old tractor. I believe it was on the same property as the image below it.
This property was a veritable graveyard of old, delapidated vehicles. I liked the truck with the makeshift door—and wonder how long it has had that door—as well as the older car behind it. The car has the name of a local St. Louisville, Ohio, business (Speedy’s Towing) on the window, and the more mysterious “[illegible] the nite or bust” on the hood.
Ever since I was a very young child—four years old or so—I have absolutely loved the look of old cars (let’s say pre-1963 or so). If I had any mechanical skills at all, I would have bought and restored such a car.
I took this shot originally because the house seemed dilapidated, but I was too harsh. It needs some paint and some yardwork but otherwise is not too bad. Not long after this excursion I stopped taking pictures through the windshield except in exceptional circumstances, because I discovered that when it was sunny out there was just too much reflection on the windshield. Even in this case, where you can’t really see the reflection itself, it distorted the colors a bit.
Here’s the back of a house that I think is no longer inhabited, but I notice there is still an old hammock in front of the house.
There are no doubts about the habitability of this structure. Note the odd patterns of the lumber used to make this home—I’ve never seen that anywhere else. It makes me quite curious what this structure looked like when new and freshly-painted.
One doesn’t have to get all that east of I-71 before the oil wells start to appear. I only rarely take pictures of any—more to remind the reader that they are a common part of the environment than for any other reason—but I’ve seen many hundreds.