On the road

To and from South Dakota. I didn’t stop as much as I wanted because of weather and being stymied by bridge being out. I did make a point to get this awesome sculpture on the side of the west-bound lanes of I-90. Isn’t is fantastic?? Pulling over on that road isn’t the safest thing, so google sent me to a secondary road that runs parallel to it so I shot clear across all four lanes of I-90 to get this. The clouds were a huge bonus.

Walkies

I continued up the state road that runs parallel to I-90 for a while until I came upon what I thought was an entirely abandoned town. This old motel and some other derelict buildings are on the main intersection as you come into it.

Moe

So I turned down into the town to the left and found more abandoned buildings. Some in better shape than others.

But as I made my way around I realized it wasn’t entirely abandoned and I saw a few folks in their yards, doing stuff, living their lives and I suddenly felt like a total asshole. Here I am on vacation with my camera using their little down as entertainment for myself. That’s the reason for the awkward crop on this little brick building – there was a guy in his yard just to the right.

I felt intrusive and jerky so I got the heck out of there. Maybe I should have tried to talk to someone; to sympathize, but that isn’t the safest choice for a woman alone. Still, I wonder how it feels to live in a dead town, surrounded by crumbling buildings, reminders of the past and the smell of failure and the knowledge that you couldn’t fight progress. Our Interstate highways are littered with towns like this and not everyone has a nostalgically kitschy Route 66 tourist mecca to save them.

So I moved on and went to my hotel and continued to think about it for a while. With gas prices what they are, tooling around looking for abandoned stuff isn’t on my agenda this year, but I have no doubt this element of photographing them will stick in my mind when I do.

Then sooner than I thought, the workshop was over and I was going back on the road with gas now fully 50 cents more per gallon than it was when I drove out. Sigh.

Even so, I decided to forego I-90 and stick to a lesser-traveled highway – US-14. I avoided lots of traffic, high speeds, construction and congestion. It was the right call.

I really wish the clouds and the light stayed with me as I traveled east, but they didn’t and so I stopped less often, but still did for the occasional derelict building.

In retrospect I probably should have stopped at the couple of Laura Ingalls Wilder sites that I saw signs for on my travels. Walnut Grove and Plum Creek! Maybe if gas ever goes back down to affordable levels I’ll take another trip out that way.

Oh and about that bridge. When putting this trip together I looked on Google maps for different things I could get to easily from the highway. That Skeleton man and Dinosaur was one of them, but another was a preserved western town that looked like it might be cool. I think it was slowly becoming abandoned, but had another attraction next to it and then became an attraction itself, but seemed less touristy than many of them. Google sent me down some back roads, all dirt and ruts and no cell phone service and just as I got near it I came to this intersection –

End of the road

Bummer. Cue the sad trombones.

There is one more post coming about my time on the workshop – another abandoned town, but this one with some definite weirdness going on in the present. I’m still processing the images and it’s taking some time since the light was crap, but I’ll get it done!

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