Stone in love

I love it when surprises present themselves as I amble along on my photo roaming trips. This is one of them. In fact, it’s merely one building of many sitting on a little farmstead west of here a ways.

I’d love to say I have a ton of closeups here, but the mosquitoes were far too large, plentiful, and aggressive. They didn’t seem to care one bit how much Deet I’d slathered upon myself. So I worked the area a bit, ducked back into the truck, and continued on to my next planned photo waypoint. But I marked this one in my GPS, and I intend to be back.

Hut on a hill

I spotted this little guy right along the road on a recent trip up Highway 1804. It’s actually in a farm yard, but I found this little building and pair of trees much more interesting than the old house.

Given the lean of this little shack, I don’t know how much longer it’ll be around. I have a lot of photos of places that are no longer there…perhaps over the winter I’ll look back through them and post some updates.

Off the rails

I spotted this old dining car on a rainy September morning as I was on my way to the south central part of the state. I simply had to jam on the brakes, spin around, and come back for a photo.

Old rail cars are really cool when repurposed. There’s one in town that’s been converted into an office suite. Do you know where it is?

Rain at the Row

I was on my way to a pair of elusive photo destinations I’ve been trying to reach forever, and figured I had a couple of minutes to veer over to Thresher’s Row. I haven’t been there for a while, so I figured it was time.

What was nice about this particular time was the color in the grass, and the wispy rain in the background.

I took advantage of a break in the rain and flew for some video and airborne stills briefly, getting back on the ground just in time before the rain resumed. Then it was time to move on to an even bigger adventure.


I had some time to kill on a sunny day recently, and I went out roaming as I’m prone to do. I found this old red machine southeast of Bismarck, its boom reaching for the sky, and had to stop. I’d actually marked this particular piece of equipment in my GPS years ago – 2008, to be exact – but hadn’t come across the right conditions for a photo. This, however, was my day. The right sun, the right sky, and the beautiful green field came together to finally grant the photo I had in mind.

When the elevator tries to bring you down…

I just heard Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” before choosing this elevator photo for today’s post. It’s one of two near Danzig, North Dakota. My wife and I were on a photo trip, and I’d been talking about small towns and elevators and train tracks, what happens when the trains stop coming, and that sort of thing. It’s sad to think of towns that have declined over the years, but if I start to become too wistful about the idea I can cheer up with a nice photo.

The prettiest truck you’ll ever see

Is it surprising that my wife spotted this while we were bolting down a rural road and I didn’t? I actually had to throw it in reverse to get this shot. That’s quite a load of flowers they’ve got there! It’s certainly a photogenic way to repurpose that old 4×4 in the yard!

Missed out on Bentley

I wanted to find the old church in the ghost town of Bentley, North Dakota this summer, and I found it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really what I had in mind. In fact, once I got there it was hard to find it even though I knew it was there.

The road to the church was even gone, so if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d marked a GPS waypoint I would have been totally lost. So I took to the skies and located it that way. It had been laid completely flat.

Granted, it’s still pretty photogenic in this state…but it’s sad to see a church permanently gone like this.

There are a lot of other sites I’ve actually photographed which are no longer there, reinforcing the notion that it’s important to get out and capture these things while we still can.

Lean forward

I spotted this barn on a recent photo trip, on my way to an entirely different objective. I’m glad I noticed it; in fact, the farmstead upon which it sits was a photographic gold mine. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The barn itself has settled, the walls long gone, but the roof is hanging in there pretty well. I liked the angle of it pitching forward. I wish I could have seen it before it fell, but it still felt pretty grand on this sunny Friday afternoon.

Seems like a reasonable settlement with the government – so guess who’s unhappy

I woke up this morning to find this newly posted Bismarck Tribune article and began to take interest in the situation. I think I recall hearing something about this before, but the resolution is what stood out to me this time.

The article is a little light on a couple of key facts. First, while the description of the land “managed by the BLM” is accurate, it should state that the land consists of a couple of thin strips of land sandwiched directly between the two parcels owned by the private landowner. Not a huge deal, but it does paint a better picture.

The green shaded area is actually two slices of land. Well, the access road and pond cross it. Fair enough. I think the arrangement described in the article is actually reasonable; the idea of locking horns with the BLM is not an experience one would normally desire, yet this outcome seems the most practical and even fair. And it seems prudent that the landowner could be given the option to purchase the land in the future.

So, naturally, someone is unhappy.

The article references “Blogger Jim Fuglie, a frequent visitor to the Badlands” as the one who made a big stink about this in the first place. He thinks that this decision is wrong, and that the landowner should be forced to remove this bridge and build a new one (certainly at great expense). It doesn’t matter that this would – and the BLM agrees about this – create entirely new impacts to this and an additional area of the Little Missouri River and surrounding Badlands.

So that makes sense: here we have a project that had minimal impact, was done carefully, and is actually helping cut down on lots of traffic, and wouldn’t even be an issue except for that little strip of land (the Army Corps of Engineers even granted a permit for the bridge). Riiiiiiiiiiight. Let’s cause more impact, just so we could punish some sinister rich guy. Because, let’s face it, who among us can afford to build his own bridge?

Naturally, the person who comes to such a brilliant conclusion is a prominent Democrat, the second fact that this article stays far from disclosing.

Jim Fuglie has been a director of the Dem-NPL party twice over the years, and he’s a political blogger as far as I recall. If my buddy Rob Port had been quoted in this article, you can bet he’d have been described as “Political Blogger Rob Port” for his Say Anything blog. But Jim Fuglie is just described as some well-meaning wanderer, blogging about who-knows-what, who uncovered this huge injustice with the help of a pixel-peeping friend. I’m not buying it.

Naturally, since there are prominent Democrats involved, there’s hypocrisy. A heaping helping of it.

Fuglie is quoted as saying, “There’s really no reason anyone should be allowed to get away with breaking the law that flagrantly and not pay the price for it.” Okay, I think we can all agree on that. And the landowner is being punished with triple rent and that sort of thing, as both sides work out the details of this infraction.

But what if the landowner was someone who, say, violated the border of the United States, entering our country illegally, also involving a river and federal law? Shouldn’t that person be punished? Not according to the political party which the aggrieved Fuglie has represented for decades. In fact, I’m probably going to be called a Racist™ for even pointing this out. Nay, that person should be greeted with open arms, granted public benefits at the expense of American citizens, and instructed on how to vote Democrat.

This is no surprise, since the Democrat Party epitomizes the “Some are more equal than others” mantra from Orwell’s famous book Animal Farm. And that’s how their ideology works: there is one set of rules for them and the people they favor, and another set for the rest of you idiots who have either the audacity or idiocy to disagree with their enlightened views.

So my takeaway from this article is that we have an example of the federal government actually working with a landowner to resolve a unique issue. Meanwhile, a prominent Democrat operative gets to look like a quasi-hero by doing what liberals do, without his ideology or political interests being identified, and with total hypocrisy when it comes to the rule of law.

The first takeaway is unique and encouraging, while the other is business as usual.