Friday, December 4, 2009

OTBR: Off The Blue Roads

Latitude: 38.405° N
Longitude: 91.083° W
From GD101

There's a story I like about a family on a car trip. A child asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

  • in Germany, in a meadow across the road from the last house in the village, a house with plenty of apple trees full of ripe fruit
  • in Oregon, a few steps off a wide, bumpy dirt swath through typical high desert junipers on public land
  • on the shore of Lehtisaari island, a suburb of Helsinki, only a few meters from the shoreline, where there's already thin ice
  • in western New South Wales in arid and unforgiving country in the 40 plus deg Celsius heat
  • in Maine, in a mixed woods with the hardwoods dropping rather bland leaves
  • just off an unpaved "seasonal highway" in New York, with nothing but brush and thin woods on either side
  • at the start of a long driveway in Ohio marked with a large white horseshoe with a red "W" inside, with a field of dried corn waiting to be picked across the highway
  • in suburban Melbourne, near Port Phillip Bay, with spectacular views of white sailboats on blue waters and huge modern houses
  • near a huge rock that overhangs the road in Pennsylvania, where Walter 'Deb' Wiltrout is running for Supervisor of Bullskin Township
  • a drive-by on a rainy afternoon in the Willamette Valley, Oregon ("It was raining hard enough that I could not hear the radio. There's a reason things are so green here!")
  • just offshore of Naosap Lake. That's Manitoba. That's Canada. Pretty far north for November.
  • in Maine, on the grounds of a very nicely done "Elderly Housing" complex in a calm woodsy setting
  • 40 feet into the pines off the entrance road to Missouri's church camp TAMBO
  • in the front yard of the large mobile home in Pennsylvania, near a deer statue in a clump of trees that still had a few red leaves clinging to their branches
  • in the heart of the Poconos in Pennsylvania, in a large lake resort around Tego Lake near a 14 foot tall chimney standing over some scattered rubble of a former structure of some sort
  • in Victoria, Australia, through a rusty gate that leads to a tumbledown farmhouse, of which all that is left are two brick chimneys and the corrugated iron sheet that was once the roof
  • on Damper Dam Track in Australia's Redcastle State Forest among thinly spread stringy eucalypts and many yellow, blue and violet wildflowers
  • in Minnesota's Pike Lake on the edge of the cattails
  • in a farm paddock in South Australia ("I like these wide open spaces. On an overcast day, it feels like the sky is falling on your head.")
  • near a small dressage area on a very large estate deep in Virginia horse country ("One reason for all the traffic on this one lane road was some sort of equestrian event.")
  • and in a hilly field in Templeton, California, in a mulch pile, within site of irises and within sound of crickets chirping on a beautiful fall day

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