Notes From the Road

a7.JPG

There’s always a camera on the passenger seat during my road trips and it isn’t uncommon for me to circle back to snap a quick picture of something along the way.

This isn’t a problem in town as there’s almost always somewhere to park. It’s a little more challenging in rural areas, especially along state routes and other busy highways. I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve missed simply because there’s no safe way to get off the road.

The other problem is that the best angle frequently isn’t from the road. But venturing onto private property isn’t an option so I just make do with available circumstances. Case in point: the above barn picture. It sits at the intersection of a state route and a country lane. I was able to pull off the berm of that country lane and grab this picture but I was dying to see it from another angle. Especially after catching a glimpse of this truck.

a11

Look at the patina on that truck! I was dying to see the headlights and grill but they faced away from the road and I didn’t want to go knock on the door and ask to take pictures. If I were a more serious photographer or if I had more time that day, maybe.

But that’s ok because the barn and the truck are pretty great anyway. And I can use my imagination for the rest.

The Road To Mannasses

Sunday Mannassess and the road there (10)

On Sunday morning of this road trip adventure, the road took me south to visit the battlefield at Mannassess, Virginia and to watch in wonder the fun, acrobatic flying at a 49 year old flying circus. These are things we will talk about soon.

I headed out early, catching the end of the sunrise from the road and got to really soak in the beauty of this countryside. It was delightful how the terrain opened up to reveal this farm which looked quite small against the mountains and sky. A nearby lane offered a closer look so I turned down that road for a different view then ventured another mile or two in search of what was attached to a bell tower that I saw from afar.

This is what I found.

Sunday Mannassess and the road there (14)

It was worth the drive around the next bend.

I do that a lot, driving just a little further to see what’s around the next curve and often regret if I don’t go chasing the next bend in the road. In fact, when I think back on my road trips, the best memories are rarely the organized stuff I do – the tours and nice meals out. The best memories are always things like finding a pretty barn, a lovely sunrise or a field full of cows. It seems that a full tank of gas is really all I need for a good time.

Although, I did have a fantastic time at the flying circus so that’s where we’ll go tomorrow. Check back to hear all about it!

Farm Country

Farm scene.jpg

Driving through farm country is incredibly rewarding. This is from a collection of pictures I took somewhere between Chillicothe and Washington Court House earlier this summer. That was the same day I found this pay phone and this spectacular blue wall! 

Summer Has Arrived

Ohio weather quickly shifted from cool and rainy to downright hot and humid. That’s what we do here. About 349 days out of the year are uncomfortable for one reason or another – humidity, heat, rain, snow, sleet, high winds… and during the shoulder seasons you’ll sometimes experience all of this in a single week.

My next statement will likely win me some hate mail but since I NEVER complain about winter, I reserve the right to say this at least once.

Yesterday’s heat made me miss winter.

You can only take off so many clothes and, when it’s humid, the only place to find relief is in the air conditioning. You can’t even breath when it gets this humid. But when it’s cold you can still bundle up and go outside at almost any time of day. Plus, there’s nothing more purifying than a deep breath of fresh air on a chilly winter day.

Besides, isn’t it pretty?

So here begins my summer quarantine where all outdoor activities occur early and late and where the rest of the day is spent sprinting from one air conditioned oasis to another while trying not to have a heat stroke or sunburn along the way.

If you need me, I’ll be sipping cold ice water in the air conditioning and counting the days till fall. Whatever you’re doing today, enjoy the day but try to stay cool and safe.

Bicentennial Barn

In another time and a universe far away, I worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. I wasn’t trained to be a journalist so it was a fun but challenging job even though I didn’t last long. The burnout rate at a small town paper is pretty high.

But in those few short years, I covered some fascinating stories and met some amazing people.

One of those fun assignments was covering the selection of Athens County’s Bicentennial Barn. To prepare for Ohio’s Bicentennial celebration, a Commission was formed and this entity worked to bring a big celebration to all eighty-eight Ohio counties.

One way they did this was by selecting a barn in each county to be painted with the bicentennial logo. This was an ingenious way to create a long lasting landmark and to gain community buy-in across the state.

This is how I met my friend Nichola whose brainchild it was to paint these barns.

Consequently, I will never drive by this barn without thinking of my friend and smiling in gratitude that we met.

I also think of the property owner. Her name was Mary and I always wonder how she’s doing. She was extremely nice to the young reporter who showed up asking to write about her barn.

The Bicentennial celebration was in 2003 and all the barns were painted in the years leading up to the celebration. I think the Athens County barn was painted in 2001 so the paint job is going on two decades old. Hard to believe it was so long ago but the paint job is starting to show it’s age.

I love it anyway and am glad for the good things that came my way because of it.

Trucks and Barns Just Go Together

Barn and truck v 1

Old barns and trucks simply go together. Like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump would say. If only all aspects of life were so easy as barns, trucks and meandering drives for random pictures!

Happy Tuesday, friends! Make the best of it!