This old highway atlas was one of two that I found in my cache of odd things in the garage when I sold my house. It dates from the 1980s and is seriously out of date. Yet, I used it a great deal when I was wandering a couple of years ago.
The highways are still there. It is possible to navigate without GPS. What that means is there will be wrong turns and some confusion about finding the next highway. What it also means is serendipity in finding places that I would not otherwise see.
I would pull up the rig at a turn or a turn out, roll down the windows for fresh air (if they were not already down), and pull out this atlas. I have another paper atlas that is current and has more detail, but there is something about this far-away view that attracts me. But I digress. I would find my location, more or less, and look at the highways and towns nearby. Then I would make a decision about direction and move out.
Many times on these pauses I would step out of the rig, camera or binoculars in hand, and just look around. The Girl would sniff about doing doggie-things while I did human-things.
I will keep this old atlas. I have a feeling that there will be another wander sometime in the not distant future. I might decide to put my things back into storage or just get rid of the lot. I might decide to buy an RV or a motor coach and give up a permanent place. I do not know yet. But in the meantime, this old atlas is in the rig, waiting, perhaps calling, and that wanderlust is still within me, in the background, waiting, perhaps calling.
A couple of years ago I drove up to Washington state to visit some friends and wander around. On my way home, I drove through the Olympic Peninsula, spending a few days working my way back south. I camped some and I stayed in hotels.
As I drove one morning, I came upon a bit of state beach on a cool, foggy morning. The Girl and I wandered down the path to the beach, enjoying the cool, moist sea air. Once on the beach, we found a lot of driftwood piled up from recent storms. I supposed we wandered around the beach for an hour, interacting with some fishermen working the surf and making photographs.
On the way back to the rig, I came on this group of stones that someone stacked on a log. In many ways, it is a stock image. I have seen many similar captures. But there was something about being there on that Pacific beach, finding something that someone else left behind. The image was not staged. The fog provided a wonderful background.
On my trip to Washington state last year, I paused at Greenwaters Park along the Williamette River for a pit stop for both The Girl and myself. I got her out and we walked around the park, pausing at the river bank (or at least me) to watch the play of light on the water’s surface and to listen to the sound of moving water.
I never tire of the sound of moving water. I suppose I’ll never tire of the sight of moving water, either. Aside from the physics of flowing water, I just like it. I thought I should share.
It was a year ago… actually a bit more than a year ago. I drove out to Denver from Carson City, leaving Carson on Nevada Day and heading east on U.S. 50.
The purpose was to visit the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Center in Denver for an interview. I made the cut for a senior position in the center and so was scheduled for a face-to-face interview.
While there I spent a few days with my kids. One afternoon Older Son and I walked around a bit. I carried a camera for some street photography (or whatever). I managed this capture that afternoon.
I don’t know why I am just now processing this image. Well, actually I know… 2017 was a pretty busy year. After the USGS job didn’t happen, I moved into a small place in Carson City. The move and setup took a bit of time. Then 2017 brought plenty of work that kept me busy.
As 2017 comes to a close and 2018 looms, I know that I will work through the bulk of this work and have time to devote to the photography and other things that are important to me.
So, I’ll leave a wish for a safe New Year’s Eve and a Happy 2018 to those who wander by.
On the road down to Pahrump, Nevada, we paused for a leg stretch and to watch the Sun set. Everyone else was hurrying on their way to wherever they were going. We watched them rush by while The Girl and Older Son puttered around the desolate landscape.
There are some odd places in this part of Nevada. Hoy’s “Lovership” appears to be one of them. [shudders] No, we didn’t stop there.
This morning it will be time to head back to the house. I think we accomplished what needed to be done here. Now it is time for me to work on the project and finish it up.
Work once again brings me to Pahrump, Nevada. I’ll have field work to do for the next couple of days. Then we’ll head back home again.
The drive down was uneventful, for which I’m thankful. The weather was good and the Sun felt good on my body. The Girl snoozed most of the way here, which means she slept most of the day. We did take a couple of breaks to get out of the rig and move around.
But she had quite a lot of pent-up energy. So after getting settled into our room (Older Son is with us), we had a big-old play on the floor. She bounced between Older Son and me, and we roughed her up really well. She was mildly mouthy, which is unusual for her, but she was so gentle that I couldn’t bring myself to admonish her.
In the end, she posed for me before I got out her food for the evening. She was hungry, having forgone breakfast in the nervousness of impending travel.
We then walked over to the sports bar and got supper for the big dogs. I really enjoyed my salad.
I had to correct several personnel there about how to *not* deal with a service dog. Everyone seems to think they can just approach a working dog and engage. So, once again I found myself having to train service personnel on the proper way to (not) interact with working dogs.
I’m pretty good at it. I’m not one of those handlers who loses their mind if someone looks at their dog. (There are many who will.) So I’m a good one for untrained service personnel to interact with.
It was good.
After a long time, our server finally reappeared with the check. She said “Sorry it took me so long. I had to break the bartender.”
I looked at her, raising my eyebrows, “Break the bartender,” with visions of her actually *breaking* someone. I began to laugh.
“No, no, no… I gave the bartender a break,” regardless of me giving her a hard time, she remained (mostly) nonplussed.
I laughed quite a lot. “You look pretty strong… I’ll bet you could break the bartender.”
I was still laughing about this as we paid the bill and headed back to the room. Normally, someone “verbifying” a noun makes me crazy. In this case, I thought it was hysterically funny.
On my way down to southern Nevada, I saw something bright against the horizon just north from Tonopah, Nevada. I had no idea what it was that I saw. I only knew that it was very bright, almost blindingly bright even in the distance.
I watched as I passed the location, drove through Tonopah, and continued toward my destination. My schedule did not permit me to stop and explore. It would have to wait for another time.
That time arrived a few days later, on my way home from the site work. I was hot and tired after working much of the morning in the southern Nevada heat, but I knew it might be weeks or months before I passed this way again. So I elected to take a few minutes and explore.
A summer thundershower was rolling in from the southeast as I approached. I could see that the structure was huge. I figured out what it was long before I got close enough to see it clearly. It is the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, privately owned. Of course, by the time I got in position to make a good capture, the dust was blowing and the sun was absent. So the impact was just not there.
Now I know I’ll have to return. Perhaps a sunny winter day would be a good time to visit Tonopah, make some captures of this wonder, and visit the mining museum there in Tonopah.
After a couple months of absence from my space, I decided to post something. I was away from home last month and am still traveling. But I’ll be home soon. It will be a good thing.
Travel took me to the east coast for a project meeting. The meeting went well enough, I think. There was a lot of intrigue, or so it seems, in the project panel. There were definitely undercurrents I did not understand. I think I still do not understand them.
But, the meeting was completed. I spent some time with Daughter and her family. I worked on two proposals and one statement of qualifications. I have paying work to do.
Now I’ll go see Wife’s family for a couple of days. Then I’ll head home through Denver to see Older Son and DiL. That will be good, too.
I finished the last bit of packing and then loaded the rig Monday morning. It’s an old routine done many times before, but I was a little anxious to get it all done and get moving. For this trip I had a deadline in front of me, so there was no leisurely “leave when I’m ready” approach; I was in “get it done” mode. That done, we stopped at the doggie park to visit the Girl’s friends and let them know we were headed out. Social groups wonder if a member suddenly disappears.
The morning of All Hallows Eve was bright and sunny, a wonderful fall Nevada morning. There wasn’t much traffic, although the state troopers were working traffic along US 50 on the east side of Carson. We drove east, the Girl interested at first, but soon curling into her travel tuck in the seatpan of the passenger’s seat. I love to reach over and stroke her side, play with a paw or ears, or just touch her. She’s the best traveling dog I’ve ever been around.
When the weather is nice, we often drive with the windows down. She likes the air and so do I. When the weather is not so nice, we both enjoy having some music playing and the heated seats of the 4Runner. Creature comforts are really nice.
I stopped in Fallon to get a coffee and some travel cookies. Wife got me started on McD’s oatmeal cookies. I don’t get them often, but they are a treat with coffee and are something the Girl can share. I really don’t care that much for chocolate chip cookies anymore, unless I make them.
We blasted across Nevada in the beautiful sunshine. After several days of rain and gray skies, the sun was a welcome old friend. We stopped a few times along the way to get out of the rig, stretch legs, and empty bladders. I really enjoy those stops. Unfortunately I didn’t take time to load geocaches into the GPSr for this trip. Those always make for good stops, although one can waste a lot of time on them.
As we dropped into the playa lake west from Hinkley/Delta, Utah, I stopped to watch the sun set and give the Girl a chance to do doggie business. I need to retrieve the images from my compact camera. I think I’ll do that this week. The sunset was pretty cool, but the alpenglow on the mountains was better.
The stop reminded me of the time Wife, Young Son, and I stopped one cold winter day to help a stranded traveler along this stretch of road. The old cowboy appeared to have Parkinson’s and had fallen asleep and run off the road. One of the tires on his rig was flat and he was struggling to get the tools from the rig to change it. Young Son and I helped him while Wife worked overwatch. That was a long time ago, probably almost ten years. Time passes rapidly, it does.
I pulled up in Delta, Utah to spend the night. The Deltan was clean enough and the price was good enough. I’d stay there again. It’s a basic room (meaning few amenities), but it’s clean and quiet and that’s all we really need.
Tuesday morning I woke really early and decided to head out before dawn. I made some coffee to help wake up while I gathered up our few things. The Girl looked at me like I’d lost my mind. But when I opened the door and carried things out, she was ready to go.
Again, she curled up in the seatpan, enjoying the warm seat (bun warmers on!). We stopped at the Denny’s in Salina, Utah. They had moved since the last time we were there. The server who worked our table laughed when she told me, “See that girl over there? She’s new. She just said to me ‘There’s a dog over there!’ I told her ‘That’s a service dog.'” and she smiled.
The Girl looked up from under the table, checked in with me that all is OK, and then resumed her repose, waiting for the bacon she knew would be coming as a treat later. I always save back a little of my breakfast meat, whatever it is, and treat her for being so well-behaved. I use every opportunity I can think of to provide positive reinforcement for her. She has to work for it, but the rewards are good. The bonding is even better.
We watched the sun rise from the east in the badlands of Utah. That area west from Green River is one of my favorite areas. I had a blast there last summer exploring that San Rafael rise and think I want to go back and spend some more time there. The next time I go, however, I want to have a mobile house so I can stay in my own space. I think I’m tired of hotels.
The weather was pretty cool for this time of year. When we topped out of the long climb east from Salina, it was 28F. But, with the sun in the sky and little wind, it didn’t feel all that cold. The stops to get out of the rig were pleasant and I enjoyed playing with the Girl.
Passing through Grand Junction, Colorado, I thought “I could live here.” There is plenty of what I love most about the west — vistas, mountains, dry air, and blue skies. I think there would be plenty of places to explore.
So, we’ll see what happens. Perhaps we will move to Grand Junction for a while. I’ll trust God to provide that direction.
Traffic from the tunnel downhill into the Denver Basin was crazy, as always. The term “bomb the hill” came to mind several times. There are effectively two lanes in each direction; the third lane is for slow-moving heavies. There were lots of slow-moving heavies!
I was reminded, again, of why I don’t like living near large cities. I don’t care for the traffic and I don’t care for the rushed pace. I prefer my life to be lived a bit slower than that, with purpose and reflection. There’s nothing wrong with the hustle-bustle of city life; it’s just not for me. I’d much rather spend my days wandering in the sagelands than in the noise and confusion of city life. I’ve done that because I needed to (that’s where the work was), but I’d rather not do it anymore.
So, here I am in Denver. I wonder what the day will bring?
On my way home from Washington, I drove down US 101 through Forks, Washington and on down to the Oregon coast. I spent one evening in Newport, Oregon. We arrived relatively late (I misjudged my ETA) and didn’t have much time before dusk.
But the next morning the Girl and I got out and walked down to the beach. It was cool and foggy that morning. There were a few hardy souls out on the beach, some surf fishing, others playing with their dogs or jogging, and a few just walking along the wet part of the sand, enjoying the sound of the Pacific Ocean.
I brought the Girl’s Chucker and we spent some time playing fetch in the sand. It was fun to throw the ball hard and watch her dig to chase it, then hockey-stop to grab the ball.
After a few runs, she got the knack of picking up the ball without getting too much sand in her mouth. Apparently, she doesn’t like the grittiness of the sand.
There was a bit of sniffing about the rocks as well. I know there were new smells for her there. After a bit, I chased her out of my frame and made a few captures.
Of all the oceans I’ve visited over the years, it’s still the Pacific Ocean that I like the best.