Tuesday, March 4, 2014

OTBR: A Personal Observatory in Australia

Latitude: S 37° 37.050
Longitude: E 144° 20.580

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".

  • west of Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia, past the old church, past the pub called The Plough, near a garden containing a small personal observatory
  • in the peaceful hills above Los Gatos, California ("Last night's rains still dripped off the leaves of the moss-covered bay trees all around me and I could hear a small steam.")
  • behind fenced private property in New Zealand, up on Strath Taieri, which is very brown and dry, whereas 40 km back on the coast summer has been fairly wet
  • in Victoria, Australia, down a bushy dip into a very dry hilly paddock with grasses yellow and eucalypts tinder dry
  • in Maryland, not far off MD 5 in marshy land ("I think it's a good thing I was neat low tide, or even with the boots I had on, I might have been wading instead of slogging over spongy terrain.")
  • in Illinois, along a road where there was ice and snow where the trees shadowed the road, past an old farmhouse that looked abandoned and an old barn on the other side of the road that also looked abandoned
  • in Nebraska, in an open harvested cornfield with 6-12" of snow. ("The snow and winter makes this area look very bleak but actually it's a nice change from the city.")
  • in Estonia, in forest beyond a trail that finally faded
  • on Kenmore Avenue, the dividing line between Buffalo, New York and its inner ring suburb of Kenmore
  • in a residential neighborhood a mile from Chicago's Six Flags amusement park, closed on this blustery day
  • on a very steep hillside along Utah's Alpine Loop Highway in the Wasatch Mountains
  • about 3 km off the highway in South Australia on the way to Western Australia ("Absolutely no chance that I would head off into the bush, even with experienced company, to try and achieve this one.")
  • and in Norway, in the fjord, off the road between Stryn and Loen ("Mountain goes straight up on one side of the road, and straight down into the fjord on the other side.")

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