Hey! In Maddock

One of my favorite road trip activities is to exclaim, “Hay!” whenever we encounter a bunch of hay. Of course, as a city kid I’m not very astute at distinguishing hay from straw, so I had better be careful if I have a farm kid with me. Thankfully I was safe when I saw this beauty while rolling through Maddock a while back.

Not only is it the coolest hay (straw?) creation I saw that evening, it’s also Kawasaki Green!

I have to admire the craftsmanship on this particular truck. License plate, even!

Uh oh – that’s the only ding. FORD. Well, nobody’s perfect. 🙂

Naturally, there’s gotta be an honorable mention. I saw some other hay bale creations, but these were the ones that caught our eye on the way back from Cavalier Air Force Station. I’m glad I’m able to share!

I wonder how long it’s been standing here

I saw this wonderful old barn as I rounded a curve in a rural highway, and it caught my eye from the side long before I saw this gorgeous view of its front. I thought it was nice of the builders and/or owners to boast of its apparent construction date! I hope I look this grand when I’m 106 years old!

This was such a gorgeous scene, tucked into a little valley inhabited by mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. There were bogies like fireflies, I tell you…

Again with the cupolas. I have started to gush over these features as often as I focus on old windmills. Oh, wait a minute…there’s the windmill in the background!

There you have it: 1916. One hundred and six years old at the time of this post. It looks fantastic. I’m glad I stumbled upon it when I did. It’s this sort of surprise that makes roaming the back roads of North Dakota so wonderful.

Standing tall

Barn? Private elevator? I don’t claim to know, but whatever this old building is, it’s magnificent. I’d taken a wrong turn (don’t *ever* trust Apple Maps) on my way back to the highway, and while I turned around in what appeared to have been a driveway at one time I saw this. I snapped a quick photo from the window of my truck and went back to Google.

For my photography and route planning I use a hiking model GPS – two, actually – with an incredible amount of information on it, including section lines and rural roads. But they have no idea how to navigate them. That’s not their purpose. Besides, the phone apps are so darn good (Google, not Apple) and are continuously updated. So I have GPS for very specific uses, and let the mobile app(s) do the navigating.

Curve ahead

I’ve seen these power poles many times while traveling I-94 between Valley City and Jamestown, and always wanted a photo. Well, I finally got one…barely. I was roaming around northeast North Dakota and barely made it down Highway 1 in time to grab a sunset photo of these posts. Mission accomplished. And I got a great sky to work with, too.

Bill Clinton could not be reached for comment.

Gnarly, dude

I saw this tree along a gravel road in Morton County and had to stop and take a few shots. I had the right sky for something so twisted and nearly grotesque. What a testament to the tenacity of creation!

Clearly this tree has endured some things, but it doesn’t appear as though it’s given up. Reach for the sky!

I’m no Tim Burton, but I see an elegance, a grace, even a beauty in this tree. That’s why I jammed on the brakes as I careened down the adjacent gravel road at 45 mph, threw it in reverse (I drive a manual transmission truck, so I can “throw” it into any gear I please), and whizzed back to take a few shots of this remarkable tree.

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2020 was “the lost year” for our family, since I was simply working constantly through it. I declared that 2021 would be “The year we get it all back.” And it has been quite a whirlwind of a year, just like 2020 was… but for some fantastic reasons. One of those reasons is a little more photo time, even though I haven’t posted much of anything.

I couldn’t wait to post this one, however. My travels took me past the little hamlet of Heimdal (that should get the attention of you Thor fans) yesterday, and I had to do a U-turn to come back and actually enter the town. The reason: this flag. Simple yet elegant. I love small towns, especially those in North Dakota.

Not only is a flag placed upon this sign, but it’s also been dressed. It hangs perfectly I wish I’d taken a photo of the back of the sign now, because it was as perfectly placed from that angle as it was from this one. All too often I get home and think, “I should have taken one more photo!” Well, this was one of those times. I’m so glad, though, that this caught my eye as I whizzed down the highway so I could get the photos I needed to show you my discovery.

Thank you, Heimdal.

You’ve Got Mail – and lots of available space

This mailbox is many, many miles from…well, anywhere. But I’m sure it makes rural deliveries possible for plenty of folks ranching or farming in the area! It sits just south of our border with South Dakota, and naturally it caught my eye as unusual.

I don’t know if it’s been repurposed by the nearest resident or if it serves as a distribution point, but it sure looks cool, standing in isolation out along a vast stretch of the CanAm Highway!

If ya gotta go, ya better go now

As a dad, I’ve said that phrase innumerable times. In this case, I don’t think anyone wanted to go. It was below zero. I was returning from a trip to Fargo and decided to take a detour through Fort Ransom for a short – but necessary – hike. That gave me the opportunity to stop for some photos here and there, including this one. You may recognize it, as it sits atop a hill just north of Kathryn.

Prospecting at 10,000 feet

As crazy as it sounds, I did get a few days in the middle of 2020 to bolt to Montana and roam my old stompin’ grounds. I had *one* tiny window of opportunity amid a year of non-stop work, and it happened to coincide with the date during which I had my buddy’s lake condo at Big Sky. After clearing it with my boss, I took it. And I didn’t come back empty-handed.

 

While roaming the top of Lone Peak (solo – my family wanted to do more kayaking, and I wanted to do both) I found two quarters in separate locations. Since there really isn’t much of – well, anything in the places where I was, I surmised that these may have been lying there for quite some time. They may have been dropped in the snow, then settled into the meadow with a spring thaw. Or they may have been dropped by hikers like me. Either way, the odds of my stumbling (figuratively) upon both of them probably weren’t very high.

I took a ton of photos and video, but that time in June was the last time I took off until Christmas. I haven’t had much time for photo editing, either, and what time I have had lately has been consumed with frost (okay, Rime Ice) photos. But sometime I hope to get to those pictures, too.