Wednesday, August 7, 2013

OTBR: A View of Ballarat's Mt. Helen

Latitude: S 37° 38.394
Longitude: E 143° 48.414

A child on a road trip with his family 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 an empty paddock in Victoria, Australia, with a view of Ballarat's Mt. Helen
  • on a dairy farm in Victoria, Australia, in a large yard without any cows but with many wild ibis pecking for worms in the lush green lawn
  • in a corn field in Minnesota, with knee high corn, on the west side of a gravel section line road
  • in a corn field in Iowa, with chest-high corn ("Not much going on around here...just cornfields for as far as my eyes can see")
  • in a corn field in Illinois ("some of the GREENEST corn we've had in many years, thanks to ample rain and warmer weather")
  • in a large bean field in Virginia
  • in a soybean field in typical northwest Iowa countryside with lots of rolling hills and sparse population
  • surrounded by Maine woods, in a mowed area with tractor tire marks but no sign of any planted crop
  • in amazingly green and lush, hilly country defined by the Big Sioux River of South Dakota ("lots of bindweed, milkweed and cornflowers blooming")
  • in an unfenced alfalfa field in Nebraska just across the Missouri River from South Dakota ("there are short bluffs on both sides of this flat valley")
  • in stubby creosote and very little wimpy grass in salty scrubland of Cantil, California, on the "shore" of Koehn Playa (dry lake)
  • in the hills above Santa Clarita, California, near the Texas Canyon Fire Station in the Angeles National Forest ("Three or four thousandths of a minute east or south, and this waypoint would have been very difficult to reach")
  • northwest of Melbourne, in a small lake where several locals were fishing for redfin, a delicious native fish stocked in the lake
  • in the Wisconsin woods containing aspen, pine and birch, off a gravel road running east-west through the woods
  • in Utti, Finland, just outside the fence of the Finnish Army Airmobile Jaegers and the Helicopter Battallion, where a few parachutists were gliding down to earth
  • in dense woods in Virginia, 400 meters down an old path that might have been an abandoned power line route
  • in forested land off a winding road in Ohio with a high percentage of houses with large vegetable gardens
  • inside a cloverleaf ramp of IH 70 in St. Charles, Missouri
  • on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tracks just a few blocks north of the Fremont station
  • in the "Midtown" section of Tucson, in an unkempt and rundown neighborhood, near a house with two disabled cars supported by jacks
  • in Lake Superior, about 30 meters off a dyke around a treatment or settling pond for the city of Superior's sewage treatment plant
  • just north of an industrial area near Denver that smells like a refinery
  • in right field of a baseball field in New Germany, Minnesota
  • and in the woods along a rural road in Illinois ("It was late afternoon and the deer were out. They watched us but didn't run, at least at first.")

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