Saturday, January 7, 2017

Midwest Trip

I arrived at the Dayton International Airport....twice!  Well, technically that's a lie.  I almost arrived the first time.  I could see the airport from my tiny window but we had mechanical issues and if we landed there would be no one to fix the problem, grounding the plane.  So, we turned around and headed back to Chicago to switch planes.  I eventually arrived in Dayton, almost 6 hours late.  I was supposed to arrive at 2:00 ish and didn't get to my friend's house until sundown.

The weather wasn't too bad.  It was overcast and wet, but not raining.  There was a nice breeze and no real heat.

Ohio roadway.....Corn, corn everywhere

Our friend's pond - shot from the boom lift

Bryan coaxing me into the boom

Ohio is full of interesting old farm houses and buildings.   A lot have fallen in to disrepair.  Gorgeous old brick homes with lots of character.

This farmhouse was for sale with over 3 acres...$74k

I took a quick road trip into Indiana.  The border was only 10 minutes from my friend's house and the scenery didn't change much.  Lots of open space, big farmhouses, and corn.  I love this part of the country.

Midwest clouds are an everyday occurrence....a photographer's dream.

After a couple days of driving around the countryside and hanging out with friends it was time to catch a flight to St. Louis.  I spent the next four days with my brother on an epic road trip through six states.

On the way to Richard's house I stopped in a little town and found the flood marker.
Missouri highways are spotless.  There is no garbage anywhere.  They mow the highway center divide every other week.  I looks manicured and is really picture perfect.  I wish California could take care of their roadways in the same fashion.

I never knew Missouri was so rocky.  It looks like forest and farmland.  It's not until you see where the State carved the highway through the landscape that you realize what is just below the surface.

I arrived at my brother's house without incident.  I was concerned about St. Louis traffic issues because of the Ferguson riots.  Ferguson is about 10 miles from the airport.  Good thing I was going the other direction.  St. Louis is disgustingly dirty and run down in most parts.  I really didn't feel safe in the few places I went.

When I arrived at Richard's house he wanted to take a drive in the Country so I could see what it was like there.  We drove out to one of our childhood friend's house where I was promptly bitten by mosquitoes.

Richard feeding the critters

Ugly bird - Turkin.  They had me convinced that this was a cross bred Chicken/Turkey.  Actually it is a real breed of chicken.....An ugly chicken.

On our first full day together we took a three hour drive to Hermann, an old German town with great character, awesome shops, and a Wurst Haus to make you cry. The smell was amazing.   Hermann is known as the Napa of Missouri.  There are wineries scattered every where.  They are also know for their Octoberfest and Sweetie Pies - who serves bacon apple pie.

Richard at the Riverfront.  Like with most towns in Missouri that sit on river, Hermann had a flood marker as well.  Most of the town has flooded multiple times.

Hermann town character

The next day we got up and out the door on our road trip.  Driving from Missouri into Arkansas was ugly.  It's not a nice thing to say but it looked a lot like the Merced area.  It was dry (like California) with open fields and garbage on the side of the central California.  I took no pictures in this state.  I literally could not find anything to take a picture of.  We stopped at a gas station for something to drink and I instantly felt the heat.  Being a sissy California girl did not prepare me for the wet hot of Arkansas.  It literally took my breath away.

After not finding anything "purty" in Arkansas we cut across to Mississippi.  Now that is a beautiful state.  I said WOW a lot.  Everything is so green.  Unfortunately I didn't take that many pictures but the swamps were gorgeous.  I'm sure if I would have gotten out of the car I would have been swarmed by mosquitos.

Mississippi Highway - just beyond the trees were fields and swamps

Once we got away from the bayou landscape it turned into country.  Every 5-10 miles there were church signs.  Richard and I both thought the tree on the left looked like a dog jumping up.
Mississippi church signs are everywhere

We originally thought about visiting Memphis.  However, after arriving there and seeing the traffic and horrible road construction we decided to bypass it for a drive through the countryside.

I was not too impressed with that part of Tennessee.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

British American Cup 2016

Our neighbors, who own LewisportUSA, invited us to their British American Cup trial bike competition at the old Copper Mine in Copperopolis.  Honestly, until we met them we had no idea this sport existed.

The weather was bi-polar, switching from cold wind and rain to warm sunshine.  The weather and the terrain challenged the riders who were brave enough to come out.  It also challenged our camera gear.  The warm sun caused a lot of condensation and quite a few of Brian's pictures look hazy because of it.  I gave Brian my Canon "big girl" camera and I used my new Nikon P900.  I figured this was a great opportunity to challenge it and see how it performs.  As I expected, it definitely wasn't very fast.  I had a hard time getting use to the digital view finder.  All in all, I can say that I'm happy with it and respect its limitations as an advanced point and shoot.  I also love the 2,000mm optical zoom lens.  I could stay out of the way and still get some great shots.

No rain delays in this sport.

It was fun watching everyone compete, through water, rock, dirt, mine ruins and RAIN.  I met riders from all ages....some in elementary school and some in retirement.  The copper mine has a very diverse terrain and perfect for this sport.

Yes, that is Brian!  At this point he was wishing he brought a waterproof jacket.
 The rain made it pretty slick.   Copperopolis mud is mostly clay so some areas were basically a slip-n-slide.  

Smelter residue resembles lava.

As the rain fell it got deeper.
The more riders that went through the deeper the ruts got.
Inside part of the ruins.

The water was my favorite part.  But, from what I've been told, it definitely was not the riders favorite part!