windshield time

Dec 23

GDub and the Hudson

Just two photos from the back-and-forth.

My Christmas gift to you, dear reader, is a week off. Nothing for the completists among you to keep up with next week. (And you’re welcome for that.) We’ll be back, though, on Monday, January 1st.

See you then. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, safe travels.

Jun 23

I played “Country Roads” across West Virginia

Do you know how long this drive is? Hint: the answer is, “Longer than online maps suggest.”

So this is a quick photo post. We are staying at my godsister-in-law’s (just go with it) tonight. Tomorrow, we do the last walk through on our new house, sign 1.2 million documents to make it ours, and then watch all of our stuff come out of a truck and into the house. Ya know, the easy part.

I am so tired.

When the bucket of the dozer needs a series of supports, you’re talking about some serious machinery.

Do you know what it is like to stare at your bike for nine-plus hours, and not be able to ride it?

Yes, there was a lot of traffic like that. But, then, somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania, around dinner time (because we’d driven through breakfast and lunch already, so why not?) all of the cars just disappeared. Everyone had gotten where they needed to be. That’s always a warm thought, especially when you’re not there yet. But the sun was getting low, which meant we were getting closer.

And it was good to see it in the mirror behind me.

May 23

Press the long one on the right

Reading a site regularly gives you great insight into its habits and routines. The page, when consistently produced and consistently read, at least, can certainly have a personality. For example, when you see a hastily composed and carefully cropped photo — shot from the hip and edited for more than 11 seconds — like this …

… or another shot, with tint and flares like this …

Then you know we’re on the road. I suppose the long weekend was another clue. Anyway, we’re headed south for the Memorial Day weekend. Family, sun, good fun, some time by the pool, and … BARBECUE.

It is the little things — like slow slow-cooked meat — that you miss the most when you don’t have them close at hand in in abundant supply. But over the course of this trip, I’m getting barbecue at least twice.

And so we drove all through the afternoon, stuck in traffic at the Kentucky border, near a place where authorities are presently looking for an escaped murderer, and slowed down again several times north of Nashville because of the hour, picking up some ‘cue from Jack’s a proper little joint right there in the Gulch. We finally exited the interstate for exiting the interstate at a quiet little part of Tennessee, where the community is named as a portmanteau in honor of the guy who either influenced or bribed lawmakers to get the train to run through the area.

In the day’s dying light, we glided through 11 miles of a U.S. highway that, if you were ambitious, would carry you some 2,300 miles from where my sister is in North Carolina to a place in Arizona where no one I know is. We were racing daylight, because we still had 22 miles to go on a little county road up in the hills where the darkness comes early. You pass through towns that show up on a map, but not in real life. Then there’s the state line store, and the big right turn, past where some of my family is buried, on roads that seamlessly put you into another unincorporated place that stretches to each horizon before, finally, there’s a four-lane road straight and true, one more turn, and then there’s the warm light shining in my mother’s yard.

She’s got the hugs. We’ve got the barbecue. And that’s how we started the weekend.

Dec 22

And so it begins, travel day

An easy morning at the office, then back to the house to rapidly finish packing things up. And then into the car. We got out late in the mid-day, which means we only drove all afternoon and into the evening. And the evening part was, mostly, on interstates and roads I’ve ridden and driven on my whole, entire, life.

So there was a lot of this today.

And some of this.

The darkness caught up to us in Nashville, or so. Later, you turn right off that interstate then wind through some four lane roads of questionable purpose, and then into the hills and hollers on a two lane county road. Eventually you hit the state line, and then it’s a straight shot on those stretches of asphalt that are more than familiar. You keep going until you hit the “big” intersection that marks a small town’s crossroads, just up the street from the historic ferry spot that made the small town possible. You take a right, cross two more creeks and then hang a right in the darkness.

A moment later, in a finely lit and well-manicured neighborhood, this seven-hour drive is over. Hugs for Mom. Dinner, and the holidays are now underway.

Sep 22

So much driving

The problem is that this trip involves a full day. The good part is that we stopped for good barbecue along the way. And, also, the weather was much better than our Saturday drive.

The other problem is that I already miss the pool, but what can you do?

This is the Rockport Generating Station is a coal-fired power plant. It features two of the largest coal units built, and is connected to the grid with the largest lines allowed in the U.S. (It is scheduled to be shut down in 2028.)

Also, this is apparently the tallest smokestack in Indiana, and, indeed, one of the tallest in the world at 1,038 feet. Wikipedia says it is the 33rd tallest, globally, the sixth tallest in the U.S. and seventh tallest in North America.

Shoutout to whomever compiles this data for the rest of us.

This, meanwhile, is a 17-foot tall fiberglass model of popcorn. It sits outside of a store that pops 90 different varieties.

It isn’t closed, but that’s one scary parking lot.

Some of the corn you can get in that store may have come out of these bins.

Or maybe these, which were just up the road.

And, look! That’s the field that fills that bin.

Just kidding. This corn goes way up to the other side of town, I bet.

Corn produces something like $3.28 billion a year in Indiana which, as a state, ranks eighth in the nation in ag exports, and is the 10th largest farming state.

It would be easy in these quiet little parts of southern Indiana to think that’s the economy, but not hardly. Indiana produces more steel than anyone. And the chief economic driver is manufacturing.

Someone has to make the popcorn, after all.