Archive for category Photoblogging

Nebraska Sand Hills, Thanksgiving 2011

Driving back from Denver this time, I took a detour through an area of Nebraska known as the Sand Hills. It’s a part of the state that most people never see, because I-80 is designed to avoid anything interesting. It serves as a very quiet, and largely unheard, rebuke to those who think that Nebraska is table-top flat. (As always, click on the photos for the full size.)

It’s not necessarily the most dramatic scenery. Nothing as majestic as the Rockies. But the hills are essentially large dunes, with enough water around to sustain grass, and therefore ranching, if not farming.

The Ogallala Reservoir is very close to the surface. Close enough that wind power can actually do something useful, like draw water for cattle.

As I said, it’s not exactly the Rockies. But the Hills can be quite high, and you can easily see where the Plains provide ample cover for ambushes and pre-drone, pre-GPS maneuvers. Without a GPS or roads, getting lost out here wouldn’t be difficult. Not getting lost would be.

The non-reflective parts of the lake are frozen. Yep, happens early and ends late out on the Great Plains.



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An Afternoon at the Joslyn

I’m a big fan of the Denver Art Museum.  At least, the old building, and the stuff inside the new building.  The inside of the new building itself gives me vertigo.

Which is partly why I like the Joslyn so much.

That’s a painting celebrating a 1717 Venetian naval victory over the heathen Turk on the far side of the room. The artist actually put a key to all the ships on the painting itself. It’s a little jarring, that mixing of art and military history handbook, though.

For another thing, the sculpture garden features art that doesn’t look like the shavings from an 8th-grade metal shop class.  This is supposed to be reminiscent of the Missouri river.  It seems to be mostly fed by rainwater, but it does have the added realistic feature of overflowing its banks:

Then there’s this brass work by Tom Otterman.  Whimsical enough from the front:

With an added bonus on the back:

The museum is currently running an exhibit of Currier and Ives plates.  Y0u know them from the winter, Christmas scenes of sleds, sleighs, and snow.  They also did a nice job with some of the southern plantations and Mississippi river boats.  The farther west they got, though, the more fantastical the scenes become:

That last one looks like it’s halfway from typical C&I realism to this:

They also have Grant Wood’s Stone City, Iowa.

I have to confess, I’m a complete sucker for 1930’s WPA modern-realist stuff.

Compare the following two sculptures of riders and horses. The first, the cowboy, is a Remington. The second, a Sioux warrior, is a 1930s piece by a sculptor named Brcin, and is the model of a multi-lize-sized piece out in the sculpture garden.

The Remington’s masters technical detail. But I have to confess, the Brcin captures motion and action better, I think.

The museum isn’t all that big, but they have some very nice pieces, from a lot of different times and styles. They have a number from Gerome, a 19th Century French painter who specialized in the Middle East and India. This one is so realistic, it looks almost photographic.

Gerome, The Grief of the Pasha

I know just how you fell, bud.

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September 11, 2011

So, for September 11, rather than watch politicians talk, I decided I’d rather take a nice long drive around a nice, long state.  As always, click to enlarge.

I saw this car gassing up in Blair.  There was a classic car show that morning in Herman, and the owner was driving it up there.  I suppose I should have known this, but the engine doesn’t bear any resemblance to the original.  In fact, it has nothing whatsoever to do with it at all, except that it fits in the same space, more or less.

Who knew?  I would have guessed Solvang, but no, it’s in Blair.  There are these little enclaves all over the country.  Central Nebraska has a Swedish settlement, and there’s even a Czech-Slovak town up north.

The war memorial in Tekamah.  I hate to say this, but the Sherman was a fast, and very vulnerable death-trap of a tank.  I wonder how many names on that stone served in tanks like that one?

Another car headed for the rally.

I think this is still open (the For Rent sign is for an apartment), but I like the way they put the advertising right on the building.

The side of the VFW Hall has a little homage to the Lewis & Clark expedition, although it’s missing Sacagawea.  The portraits aren’t bad, though.  The guy all the way to the left (appropriately enough) is Jefferson.

Flags out for Patriots Day.  A lot of the small towns along the way had their flags out on Sunday.

People think Nebraska is flat.  Parts of it are, but not the parts near the Missouri.

There’s an Omaha Indian reservation north of, ah, Omaha, and they and some government agency or another have collaborated to put up a Missouri River overlook.  This is a close-up, and you can see on the other side of the far line of trees where the farmland is still drying out.

And this is a panorama.

Why?  Why not?

When I was in Arizona, driving through the Navajo reservation, I noticed one of their high school teams was also called the Indians.  Can we please just give University of North Dakota a break already?

The Winnebago tribe has put up a little sculpture garden, with statues representing the various clans.  I’m sure there are schoolkids who take away a great passionate yearning to be an ethnologist from this, but with only a sentence or two to each clan, it seems to me to be the worst combination of too little and too much information.  But it’s a pleasant spot, the trees will grow, and the statuary is appealing.

An ethanol train, pausing for a stop at South Sioux City, which if you say it fast enough, sounds like a classic DC restaurant.

Turns out that BNSF has a partnership of some sort with Ferrocarril Mexico.

Another interesting storefront, in Jackson, NE.

Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, call your office.

Turns out it’s collection of classic windmills, re-assembled and restored by some maniac, who then donated them to the county landfill.  No, really, that’s where they are.  But who knew there were so many different designs?

Newcastle, NE had a community picnic that afternoon.  I asked, and it was unrelated to The September 11th, it was just a nice day for a community picnic.  Kids still ride the fire truck.

A detour off of NE-12.

A grim reminder that the violence was not, as the textbooks would have you believe, all one-way.

Gavins Point Dam, which controls – in some sense of the word – the Missouri River down past Omaha.  Had they opened it earlier, there’s a chance that some of Omaha, many farmers, and at least one set of travel plans, would have been spared.

No way, no how Sage would have done this.  He hated the car, and it was enclosed.  This dog was having a grand time.

A marina on the South Dakota side of the river.

Coming up on sunset, approaching Blair again, this time from the west, I noticed the texture of the land.

And waited around for the sunset.

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Friday Morning Spy

On the road, trying to avoid I-80 this time, so the spy is taking in some of the local color instead of drinking from the Internet firehose this morning.

And a for little comic relief, a blast from the 80s:


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Finally, The Photos From the Las Vegas Road Trip






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On The Road To Crested Butte

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