Excursion 10, Part 2 (The Bottomless Barn)

In which our intrepid hero learns that there is at least one way to skin a barn…

When I was a kid, there was a popular t-shirt that depicted a mouse in the grasp of an eagle’s talon.   Even as the eagle was lifting him off the ground to be lunch, the mouse gave the eagle the finger.  I tried to find such a shirt on the web, or the original artwork, but failed.  However, you can find a cruder, less dynamic version if you do a Google image search on “the last great act of defiance.”  Why do I mention this 1970s t-shirt?

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Excursion 3, Part 5 (Rivers and Shacks)

In which our intrepid hero finds himself over a river without a paddle…

On my excursions—which don’t really have any specific endpoint—I drive and take pictures until my enthusiasm begins to wane.  Then I turn around and start heading back, either through more back roads or via faster routes, depending on my patience.  I’ve noticed though, that no matter how I drive back home, I always take far fewer pictures on the return leg of the journey.  Psychologically, I suppose, I have already switched into “get home” mode…

Continue reading

Excursion 2, Part 2 (“Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?”)

In which our intrepid hero visits a graveyard of an unusual sort…

One of the most interesting things about driving in a rural area is that many people treat their property—their land, their front yard, or even their porch—as their own personal junkyard.  Junked cars, old refrigerators, broken furniture—you name it, you can probably find it alongside the road somewhere.   Most of this junk is fairly predictable, but every now and then something will surprise you…

Continue reading