Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

March 31, 2013

2013 WANDER-ABOUT: DAYS 8-10

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 10-135@135MM-f7.1-1/200th-ISO200

"Camped opposite Chimney Rock. . . . Here the scenery is remarkable, interesting and romantic. It produces an impression as if we were bordering on a large and antiquated city"*

*JOURNAL OF RICHARD BALLANTYNE, 1847-1848 

... for me this part of the trip provided some powerful memories ... pa used to take us on outings all over the state of nebraska ... i remember hiking right up to the base of the huge rock column, where pa pointed out many of the places where those who were still at the beginning of their journey along the oregon trail had carved their names and messages to those who would follow behind them ...

... our ride from the black hills down to the platte river was of the greatest looking-out-the-window excursions i've ever experienced ... the cross section of a most remarkable part of earth's geologic history, a transition from tiny ranches tucked into the folds of the mountains to the over-the-horizon corn fields of the plains, passing thru tiny isolated foothill communities which are just now trying to comprehend how very recent cellular connections are going to transform their culture, bufallo to beef, all this and much, much more ... it was a most remarkable day ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... adrien used her iphone throughout the trip to help us navigate, reserve motels, find places to eat, and, as you can see here, explore some of america's newer roadside "attractions" ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... "carhenge," our nation's homage to that famous structure on the plains of salisbury ... their stone monument will last longer, since even in a relatively dry climate these cars are sooner or later going to rust away, but a circle of plain ol' stones, no matter how dramatic, will never match the beauty of a chevy vega or a 1950's studebaker ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... at a most remarkable museum in a small nebraska city we explored the history of one of our nation's icons ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... did you know that kool-aid was probably inspired by jello ... okay, so that's not something would bring me to leave my feet, but adrien seems to possess a great sensitivity to the more subtile nuances of american culture ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... part of one of the most extensive firearm collections i've ever seen ... here, more than simply an exhibit, is a representation of a bit of what to adrien was unknown family history ... during world war II, after ma married pa, she moved from the west indies to rhode island ... as part of the war effort, she took a job in a factory that manufactured the most awesome browning automatic rifle ... for those of you not familiar with this weapon, despite its name it was actually a 30 caliber light machine gun capable of firing 500-600 rounds/minute at 2,700 feet/second ... translated: it was the type of weapon a squad could use to level a small house ... ma's job was to bench test the weapons to make sure they were functioning properly and sighted in correctly ... you know those little tags you find in the pockets of new pants, the ones that say "inspected by" ... well, ma's job was to put her initials on b.a.r.'s ... 

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... "adrien got dysentery and died" ...

... those of you who've played "oregon trail" will get the joke ... while we were driving adrien discovered a museum that was built as a overpass over the interstate in the middle of nebraska ... in it we found an excellent sight/sound experience of journeying across the plains from the wagon train days until the building of the modern interstate highway system ... the gunslinger who took our tickets was a special touch ...

... a couple of days rest in ohio, tomorrow we're off to niagara falls ...