Driveabout#41

The times are unusual, I hope you are coping.

My driveabout has continued.
The writer’s colony produced mixed results. I’m told I helped my aspiring friend which makes me happy. I didn’t start my book.
Also, having not made a match, I decided to move on at the end of February.
But where to? I want to either find a girlfriend or find an interesting place.
Having exhausted the search in my “home” town I tried to find a place, like the House of Irony, that would be inspirational, yet not have skunks. I failed.
So, I needed to hit the road, but where? Obviously the choices were between the ocean and the mountains. I looked west to the coast and tried find a place, but nothing really spoke to me. I then looked east and my eyes fell on Whitefish, Montana. Gateway to Glacier National Park.

So, I booked a place.

And then I found a girlfriend. But, that’s another story.

A week ago last Friday I was the last visitor out of Glacier National Park. I went X-C skiing, starting in the early afternoon and getting back to the parking lot after sundown. Nobody was around. As I pulled out of the park the rangers were pulling barricades across the road. It’s closed.

Here are a few pictures from that last day.

My thoughts are with you.

 

Driveabout#38

Ok, where was I?
Right, on my way to Phoenix.
Went through the Black Hills in South Dakota.
Down past that great Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska.
Pausing at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
And then in quick succession;
Monument Valley, New Mexico
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

I’m now going to Airbnb around Prescott, Arizona until my black belt review on Saturday. Why here? It is at 5000 ft elevation and I need to do two things as much as possible for the next several days. Sleep and work out. Working out at higher elevation is more effective and I’ve been somewhat slack as I drive around. Wish me luck.

About my photography. I know I am missing shots because I have limited myself to one lens. All in all I’m good with that. But I’ve been wondering about missed shots because I’ve only been doing color. So, I’ve decided to start shooting black and white and see if I can do any good with it. Following are some shots taken from the last 3 places I visited (see above). These are groups of two identical shots and settings except that I toggled between B&W and Color.
What do you think?

 

Driveabout#37

IMG_4423a


Ok, work with me on this one.
As I was coming from the last place and going to the next place I realized that I must be somewhere around Hernandez, NM. My Rand-McNally couldn’t tell me where it was, but Google could. I was close, I went, it was a full moon.

Now, why is this interesting (at least to me)? Have you ever seen the photograph called “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” by Ansel Adams?
see here

I have neither the equipment used by Ansel Adams, nor the talent. However, I thought I would try to do a modern interpretation in honor of the man.

I got there in early afternoon and scoped out some foothills on the west side of the valley to climb and get a panoramic shot from. As I was walking back from that mission I came across a state patrolman giving a lady a ticket. I requested his attention after he was finished with her. I would say he was a young man, late twenties. I asked him if it was ok for me to be hiking in the foothills. He said as long as it wasn’t posted No Trespassing I should be fine. I let him know I was going to take some photos and try a reinterpretation of the Moonrise, Hernandez pictures. He looked at me blankly. Ansel Adams? Blank. I suggested (since he was standing in Hernandez) he look it up.

Close to sunset I went and climbed up the hills I thought would give the best angle, decently steep but only a few hundred feet high. Then I waited. It got cold. I called my brother to tell him what I was doing. He shook his head. It got darker. Finally, the (full) moon rose. I took some shots and headed back down, in the dark.

Then I went and had dinner at a local place. At the end, the very kindly owner came out for a chat. We got around to what I was doing there. She said she had a print on the wall so we got up and took a look. Then I realized I hadn’t remembered the picture well enough. First, I thought it had a full moon in it, nope. Second, I thought it overlooked the town, nope. Having done some research now, I highly recommend a person does it before engaging. Coincidentally we both were there about the same time of year.

My intent is to make a collage somewhat like displayed above.
His is better. But in all fairness, he had clouds and snow. Those always make for a better picture.

Interlude#5

IMG_4404a
Title: Sunrise

Before Tanager starts her morning song.
Before Coyote laughs at the newest day.
There is a pause.
Too dark to see, like the gathering of wits.
First a squeeze, just a little bit of orange,
And with that squeeze, a cascade is started.
Black starts turning to blue.
Orange fights its way clear of the initial dab
And starts to ooze along the bottom.
Encouraged, yellow leaps ahead
Shouting to the world of a new day.
Getting so bright, turning away
And in turning, displayed behind,
A tableau, a painting, an inspiration.

IMG_4349a

Driveabout#32

I’ve been hanging out in Acadia N.P. for a few days. This is as far North and East as I am going to make it. So, it time to say adios to this fall weather
IMG_4188a
and hit the road heading back West.
IMG_4192a

A couple of asides.
First, the weather has been so great that I’ve failed to be able to get any fog pictures while on the coast of Maine!

I can’t remember if I mentioned that one of the subtexts of this drive was to visit the rest of the 50 states I hadn’t been to. When I started there were 12 states on that list. It was a lot of miles before I could cross off South Carolina. Then West Virginia. Delaware and Rhode Island were a hassle, but done, because they are surrounded by toll roads, large cities and the hustle and bustle I like to avoid. After a few distractions I made it to Vermont, then New Hampshire and finally Maine.

What’s that leave, 5 more?

Driveabout#31

Hopeful or hopeless, you decide.

I’m in Shenandoah National Park. I’ve decided to take a loop hike; 7.7 miles, 2313 elevation change, with the last leg of 3.1 miles along the Appalachian Trail. The last leg is relatively flat, the starting legs are not. It is down to Doyle River Falls and then keep going and loop back up the next canyon to Jones Run Falls and then back to the top where the Appalachian trail will take me back to my car.

As I’ve mentioned before, this part of the country has been having a bit of a dry spell. The water isn’t flowing much which make the falls not up to their potential. Further, I still haven’t caught up with the fall weather, yet this country is pretty spectacular.

Two incidents made for a very memorable hike. As I got to the bottom of Doyles and was about to turn up to Jones Run I saw a bear, just a black one. He was startled and took off before I could snap a picture. What I quickly discovered is he made the turn and was heading up the stream to Jones Run Falls. These canyons are narrow and steep so he was ahead of me and since the trail ran right beside the stream I couldn’t pass him.

So, what would you have done? I was again without buds, bells or bear spray. Of course I took out my camera and followed him.
IMG_4046a
He kept looking back at me, I’d stop. It was also interesting to hear the echoing down the canyon as he was turning over rocks, sometimes big ones, in the stream. At one point he came up on the trail and I couldn’t tell if he meant to keep going up or come back down, towards me. So, I picked up a big stick and whacked it on a rock. Yes, big scary me. The stick broke. He turned uptrail and I let him get ahead of me. I could tell he was back in the stream by the rock echos. Walking slowly and not hearing him for awhile I came upon another hiker coming down the trail with his dog. I asked if he had seen the bear and he said yes, saying it had left the stream and gone up the side of the canyon.

So, it was back to full steam ahead, up, up, up. Shortly I encountered a lady coming down the trail. We exchanged good mornings (as most hikers are friendly) and she stopped me with a question on how the falls were. I admitted there were better times to be viewing them and asked if she was from around here, nope just visiting. I then mentioned I had just seen a bear upon which I could see conflict pass across her face. She sorta wanted to see one but sorta didn’t. Anyway, wishing her a good hike I headed up and she headed down. About 2 hours later, while on the Appalachian Trail part and heading back to my car, I see her again. Remember, this was a loop hike and obviously she was up to doing it also, just in the opposite direction. I greeted he again and told he I was wondering where she was visiting from. Oklahoma, here on a business conference. She had a camera around her neck that I asked if it was film, because of the retro look. No, it was a new mirrorless that she liked because of the analog controls. I mentioned I also took photos and she stepped closer as I pulled out my camera from my fanny pack. “Oh, that’s a big one.” I swear, that’s what she said. I mumbled something about how I had arrived at this rig but I should have said, with a smile, “hmmm, think I’m compensating for something?”. I showed her a picture of the bear she had just missed. And then we parted. Shortly I had the thought that what I should have done is asked her if I found myself passing through her town, could I stop by and she show me the pictures she took today. I would then give her my contact info (including this blog site) and ask her to contact me if she was so inclined. Then we would have parted.

Hopeful or hopeless?

philosophyon-line dating#12

I just got the news. The most important part for getting my car running again won’t be in till Monday. So, that gives me some time for reflection.

Why am I doing this drive?
And will it help my on-line dating?

You may have noticed in past writings the notion that experiences are better when shared. There are, of course, some activities that just can’t be done alone. But I even speculated that scenes were better when viewed with others.
I no longer believe that is true. I have seen what is for me the prettiest thing in nature.IMG_3670aThis is Grand Prismatic Springs in Yellowstone. I am blown away in love with it. And unfortunately, my camera setups are not ideal for capturing it. My big camera can’t get far enough away and elevated and my phone is better for closeups, which you don’t get the stunning effect of this place up close.IMG_0160
Never the less, it is a stunning sight and in no way diminished because I was alone. I believe I am able to gain insight from this and it is not to use a metaphor like you can’t be too close or something like that. No, I believe that what I took for enhancement because of company was rather that I was being drawn to the present, a state of mind that I’ve been trying to reach more recently, a state of mind that I hardly even knew how to spell before.

I think I’m really begin to get it. Take these mechanical breakdowns I’ve been having. I can distinctly remember in the past the level of stress that would appear at even the hint of a mechanical problem. “OMG, am I going to break down? Can I afford the repair bill? Will I be late?” Truthfully I can declare that none of that has occurred on this trip. Life will be and my worrying about it will not improve the situation.
IMG_3623a

Driveabout#28

It works. The parts arrive. Danny arrives, has the right tools and gets the job done. I leave Roy about 5pm, having left Danny some drinking money and heartfelt thanks.

Being somewhat wiser than I was years ago I stop in 10 miles to check the tightness of the lug nuts. Some are loose. I tighten them up and drive another 10 miles. This goes on for several more iterations, which makes driving a 1000 miles go by real slow. Eventually I screw my courage up to stopping after 20 miles. Then 30. Then 50. Then 100. Then I make it to New Orleans.

Upon arrival I was welcomed most vociferously by the local … mosquitoes. It is 7pm, 92 degrees and 90 percent humidity. Not my kind of weather. But one thing this trip is reinforcing is that there are all kinds of people and they all do not have to like or do the same thing. Viva la difference.

Saturday I head over to party. As I’m driving along one of the canals, I swear, I watch as an alligator snaps up an egret. Debating quickly on whether I should stop or whether I should not get out in this weather, I lost, turned around, grabbed my camera and went after a picture.
IMG_3860a
Interesting country.

The party was great. Lots of their friends and relatives and one strange dude that drove all the way from Washington.

Tomorrow, I head out towards Charlotte, North Carolina to a brother that is actually looking forwards to me visiting. On the road again.