Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Home on the Range

American Bison, Torrey, Utah

A week from today we’ll be on the road again.  Heading west.  Past the orange cones and barrels that will surely dot the way as we go through New York and Pennsylvania and Ohio and on and on.  Indiana will probably be the worst.  The area around Indianapolis, for example, seems to be forever under construction.  But we’ll get through it.  It never seems so bad when you’re outbound.  You know you’re headed in the right direction, even if it’s slow-going at times.  It’s the return trip that’s a bitch.  Especially when you reach the sign that says “Welcome to New York, The Empire State”.  At least it doesn’t say anything really stupid.  You know, like “Where Life is Worth Living”.  That bit of silliness is reserved for my current hometown.

Did you know, by the way, that NY is one of the only states that doesn’t have a Welcome Center on major interstates as you come in?  Almost every other state we’ve been through does have one, and most are pretty nice.  Very clean and very “welcoming”.  In NY, though, the only thing you’re likely to see as you cross the border will be a State Trooper checking your speed.  And he’ll be glad to write you a ticket if you’re not behaving.  No wonder nobody likes us.  Worse, we charge you a rather hefty toll to drive on our biggest interstate (I-90, the NY State Thruway).

On the way out, however, I know things are going to get better as we head west.  Once we pass by places like Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City, things start to get a little less crowded.  I-70 opens up for very long stretches of wide open plains.  The road gets very straight and speed limits increase.  Right up until you hit Denver.  At which point the mountains beckon.  I’ll never tire of driving through the Rockies.  Although I think I’d pause for a moment or two if it was snowing up there.  Whether I’m in Rochester or straddling the Continental Divide, snow doesn’t do much for me.  To be perfectly honest, it sucks.  I do like Aspen, CO, though.  I could live there (if I was rich).  It’s a really nice town.

Then, as we come out of the mountains, we enter Utah.  And once again it will feel like we’re “home”.  Or at least a home away from home.  If I actually lived there, however, I’d probably have to enter some kind of political witness protection program.  I doubt there are too many people there who share my views.  It’s a decidedly “Red” state.  Most likely, the state democratic party in Utah holds its meetings in closets.  Small closets.

But that’s one of the good things about these trips.  Except for a quick look at the USA Today newspaper (on most days, when we can get it), we generally ignore the news.  So long as the world isn’t blowing up or something, we probably don’t need to know what’s going on.  That’s even more true for this trip.  I can live without all the 2012 campaign nonsense for a few weeks.  I suspect little will have changed when we get back.  Obama and Romney will still be calling each other names, spending millions of dollars, and essentially doing nothing constructive.  So if I don’t hear it, what’s the difference?

It can be very quiet in the desert.

Anyway, Moab is waiting for me.  And then Torrey, with a stop at Goblin Valley in between.  Followed by a number of other places with strange sounding names.  Some that I’ve been to and some that I’ve never seen before.

Goblin Valley.  How can you not stop at a place called “Goblin Valley”?


4 Responses to “Home on the Range”

  1. Earl

    Paul, I don’t think I’ve ever seen pasture/grazing lands with a build in sprinkler/watering system. Are these bison on someone’s yard? 😉

    I think NY kinda gets a pass on hospitality because of NYC and the general reputation of not being too friendly — you don’t come in expecting such things. I’ve travel in and through NY State a good bit and I always kinda figured I’m on my own in NY…especially with a southern accent.

    You have a great trip and bring us back some of your wonderful photos — give that E-M5 a workout!

    • Paul Maxim

      Well, they’re almost in someone’s yard. They “live” at a place called Red River Ranch, just west of Torrey and Capitol Reef NP. It’s a working ranch and an Inn (a really nice place to stay). No room TV and no WIFI – just lots of peace and quiet. I think they have to water; otherwise it would be really dry for these creatures.

      Rochester has a reputation for being a little cold as well (and I’m not talking about the weather, although we certainly qualify on that count). When my wife and I first started traveling (mostly to New England at first) we were surprised to discover that there were places on our trips that were a bit more hospitable than home. Especially with respect to restaurants and hotels.

      Yes, the EM5 will get plenty of work. I’m really interested in seeing how it does in low light situations (like Las Vegas at night).


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