Excursion 31, Part 3 (The Lost Locomotive Graveyard)

There’s a right-wing extremist movement in the United States called the “sovereign citizen” movement.  I won’t go into their whole set of beliefs here but one consequence of their ideology is that they love creating counterfeit entities.  They create bogus courts, bogus juries, bogus states, bogus governments, bogus colonies, bogus law enforcement agencies, bogus post offices—you name it, they can create their own counterfeit versions of it.  About a dozen years ago, some sovereign citizens created a fake Indian tribe that they dubbed the “Little Shell Pembina Band of North America.”

You didn’t actually need to have native blood to joint his group; for $40, they’d “adopt” you.  They were generous that way.  They would sell fake tribal license plates, fake drivers’ licenses, and other similar documents.  On the back of the Little Shell “identification card,” they listed all the wonderful rights and privileges that members had, including the right to explore the North American continent, immunity from military service, immunity from taxes, and so forth.  But my favorite is this:  “Every Indian is entitled to purchase a railway ticket at half price.”  Now just think about this for a second.  You are making up, out of whole cloth, any sort of immunity or privilege or right that your mind could possibly imagine.  The sky’s the limit, right?  But the person who created this card used up one of his precious magic privilege slots with half-price train tickets!  You gotta think, that was one train-loving right-wing extremist, you betcha.

I couldn’t help thinking of this locomotophile sovereign citizen as I encountered a fascinating site while driving back home to Columbus from East Liverpool.

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Excursion 31, Part 2 (Return to East Liverpool)

I often think that being a child consists largely of being oblivious to the world around you.  Children live in a world within a world, seeing all sorts of things, but comprehending or even noticing only a few.  Children often have no idea why parents make certain decisions, for example, unless those decisions are explained to them.  Things just happen, or don’t happen.  My childhood was certainly this way.  Many reasons and significances I only learned years later, or not at all.  I’ll give one example.  When I was around 12 or 13, my father, an inveterate hunter, took me deer hunting for the first time.  Every year he went deer hunting near Caballo Lake in New Mexico with a family friend and relatives of that friend.  This time he took me with him.  It was very cold, up in the desert mountains in November, but I had a lot of fun (though I did not get to shoot at any deer).  I kind of assumed that this was simply the first of what would be a long series of annual deer hunting trips I would now go on.  But things did not work out that way.  My father never took me again.  Not once.  To this day, I have no idea why.  Had I somehow embarrassed him in front of his friends?  Had I done something wrong?  If I had, I never realized it.  But that was the first and last time I went deer hunting.

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Excursion 31, Part 1 (The Rules of Rusticity)

Sadly, a large part of my life has consisted of impatiently lusting after some material object, driven by an ever increasing desire to have it, only to experience great disappointment and letdown upon finally obtaining—usually at great cost or effort—said object itself.   Even when the item lived up to its allure, the wait—that damnable, endless wait—was torture.  I remember as a kid in the early 1980s when I did my first mail order.  I ordered the wargame Pearl Harbor from Wargames West in Albuquerque.  UPS only took a few days to deliver from Albuquerque to El Paso, but it seemed like an eternity to me and every time I heard a vehicle coming down the street I would rush to the door to look for the UPS truck.

Sadly, decades later I have not changed a bit.  So when camera lensmaker Tamron announced an upcoming new lens, I was hooked.

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Excursion 30 (Rider on the Storm)

In mid-May 2014 I had to travel to Chicago for work.  I brought my camera with me so that, on the way home, I might be able to take a few photographs once I crossed back into Ohio.  As I actually did so, I found myself in front of a major spring storm heading east from Indiana into Ohio.  I wasn’t storm-chasing—the storm was chasing me.  As I drove home, this game me some nice opportunities to turn around and take some photographs of the oncoming storm.  Which I now present to you.

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Excursion 29 (Passing through Western Ohio)

In 2014, I had to travel to and from Chicago quite a bit, for work, and on those occasions I tried to squeeze some extra drive time so I could, for the Ohio portion of the trip, go on some back roads and take a few photographs.  These photographs, from May 2014, were taken on one trip to Chicago.  I did not have much extra time, so once I threw away the discards, there are only a few photographs here from this trip.  But if you like western Ohio, these might be worthwhile for you.

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Excursion 28, Part 2 (The Fronts of Things, the Backs of Things)

Here we pick up midway through my trip to western Ohio, hugging the Indiana border closely without accidentally crossing over and touching something Hoosierish.   Actually, on this beautiful April day in 2014, I was just about to start circling back to the northeast.  It was great driving weather, especially since in Ohio April showers are indeed a thing.  Birds were chirping, groundhogs were grunting, and even bales of hay seemed to have their own personal message to me…

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Excursion 28, Part 1 (Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out)

Western Ohio is essentially the stereotypical place that non-Ohioans tend to think of when they envision Ohio:  a flat expanse of farmland punctuated by the occasional town or city.  Most of Ohio doesn’t actually look like that, but western Ohio does fit the bill.  If you like plenty of sky in which to view approaching thunderstorms, western Ohio is your destination.  It is not that populated; really, you have Dayton to the south and Toledo way up in the northwest, and that’s about it in terms of cities (Cincinnati is another world).  In 2014-2015, I would have opportunity to traverse chunks of western Ohio because I had to travel a lot to Chicago for work.  Each time I would go, I’d take another route so that I could try and find some things to photograph.  On April 19, 2014, I was travelling in the region on a Saturday, just to see what sights were to be seen.

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