Excursion 4, Part 7 (Visit to the Far Side)

In which our intrepid hero feels a sense of deja moo…

One of the sad things about driving around and taking photographs is that, even if the photographs turn out well, even if one of the photographs actually (purely by luck) turned out to be quite high quality, the person who sees that picture will still not have experienced the scene the way my eyes did.  There are times when I wish I could just invite people into my eyeballs so that they can see a scene in just the way my own eyes perceived it.

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Excursion 4, Part 6 (Bridges? We don’t need no stinking bridges!)

In which our intrepid hero discovers a perilous way to check the mail…

There’s a sort of development that I call “strip” development.  I am not referring to a strip mall but rather to an artifact of terrain.  There are many places across the country where there is only a small area of relatively flat land, backed up against a hill or mountain.  On the other side is perhaps a river or maybe another hill.  Along this terrain meanders a road, with a continuous train of buildings and houses constructed in that narrow strip of land between the road and the hill.  You can’t develop to the back, so you just keep on building to the side in a long, thin strip.  In regions dominated by hilly or mountainous terrain this sort of development is extremely common.

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Excursion 4, Part 5 (Take Me to the River, Drop Me in the Water)

In which our intrepid hero continues his journey towards the mystical Ohio river…

I am no student of architecture but anybody who looks at enough buildings, or pictures of buildings, will eventually begin to pick up on certain architectural styles from certain eras.  That is certainly true for mundane residences and businesses.  Often you can look at a house and pretty much know when it was likely to have been built, just from its appearance.  Leaving aside signs of aging, buildings go through fads and trends just like anything else.  One such trend certainly appeared in the 19th century.  If one looks at early photographs of American towns and farmhouses, certain types of brick structures appear so often that they are often a signature—though it is true that in the 20th century some buildings were constructed in a “retro” fashion, inspired by or duplicating that earlier style.

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Excursion 4, Part 4 (Mo’ Tels, Mo’ Problems)

In which our intrepid hero discovers the Island of Misfit Motels…

Once past Zanesville, continuing eastward on U.S. 40, I immediately began coming across old motels again, relics of the beautiful nostalgic time between the 1920s, when travelling by car became common in America, and the 1950s, when the Interstate Highway System began to suck up all of the nation’s cross-country traffic, leaving the old motor hotels as dry as a farm after the river shifted course.

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Excursion 4, Part 3 (Urnhenge)

In which our intrepid hero revisits Zanesville, glorious Zanesville…

Population is an odd thing.  In Ohio, the population has been stagnant for some time.  There is a small net outflow of population, just barely compensated for by births.  But within the state, population is far from stagnant.  There is an outflow of people, often quite large, from every one of Ohio’s major cities save one (Columbus).  There is also often an outflow from inner-ring suburbs.  Where are they going?  Basically to further suburbs.  Ohio’s small cities and large towns are experiencing equally bad declines, with some having lost half their populations since World War II.  Zanesville, Ohio, along U.S. 40/I-70 an hour east of Columbus, is one such town.  Where did all those people go?  I haven’t been able to find out.

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Excursion 4, Part 2 (…But You Can Never Leave)

In which our intrepid hero, his hour come round at last, slouches towards Zanesville…

A number of subjects in this blog will no doubt interest only me.  One subject that fascinates me but may leave others wondering is the small standalone ice cream shack.  They interest me for several reasons, including the fact that no such thing seemed to exist where I grew up.  I never saw one until I was in college—there was a “Dairy King” in one of the small towns that lined the 550 mile-long stretch of nothing between El Paso and San Antonio.  They also interest me because they seem to me sometimes to be one of the last types of truly independent small businesses.  That’s kind of funny, because they are all imitators of Dairy Queen, which actually invented soft-serve ice cream.  Dairy Queen went on to be a huge chain, but these ice cream shacks still look a lot like Dairy Queen looked in the 1940s.

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Excursion 4, Part 1 (You Can Check Out Any Time You Like)

In which our intrepid hero observes some weary homes for weary travelers…

My fourth excursion, on April 20, combined two of my favorite bits of Ohio:  U.S. 40 (i.e., the National Road) and Appalachian Ohio.  It was a long trip, lasting around 10 hours worth of driving around and snapping shots.  By the time I had finished, I had made a neat circle around the southeastern quarter of the state.

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