Friday, June 30, 2017

Shoshoni Wyoming

No, this is not the mean streets of the South Bronx during the bad old days of the 1970's when NYC was a cesspool on the verge of bankruptcy and implosion when you put your life in jeopardy by venturing into the streets after dark.  Mid afternoon was almost as bad.  Early morning, when the drug addled baddies were still stuporous was your best chance to sneak out to the grocery and drug store and make it home unscathed.  No it isn't Camden New Jersey  Detroit Michigan South Philly or some other corner of burnt out inner city hell!!!  This is/was Shoshoni Wyoming, a once thriving harmless little former farming/railroad town in the middle of nowhere, literally, there are nothing but cows, sheep, and the occasional human to be seen for 30 miles in any direction.  What happened here?

In our travels throughout the midwest, through town after town abandoned and imploding but we have never seen such desolation, destruction, and architectural decay as we saw in Shoshoni.   The only building in town that was intact, actually new, was the post office.

One last mystery occurred as we were driving toward the end of town, down by the tracks.  On the side of the last building on the block, an abandoned, white, nondescript building with no identifying markers was this sign, which seemed somewhat recently painted, but gives no ides about what might be picked up.

As we were leaving town with a sick feeling in our stomach, we were kind of thankful that the Tumble Inn steakhouse on Highway 20 at the edge of town was not open that day to tempt us with some of their mouth watering sizzling' steaks which we would have had to reluctantly pass on anyway.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Monument to the American Spirit, Cowley Wyoming...

On route 14A about 1/2 mile or so before entering Cowley, Wyoming, a town of about 650, 20 miles or so south of the Montana border, which we passed through on our way to Billings, we came across the most exceptional sight, this structure, constructed at the edge of a farm/ranch facing the highway.

It was kind of late in the day, the sun was getting low in the sky, and we were on a mad dash to make it to Billings before sundown.  Cowley was another unremarkable rural town with not much else in town to take a photo of, but the above average welcome sign and this monument to the American spirit.  It is strong, impressive and a heart felt amalgam of everything that the western spirit stands for.

There was no indication who created it, but its pride in America and the western spirit speaks volumes.  Glad we choose this out of the way route to Billings the other day.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Postcards from the road from Nebraska...

Here we are in Chadron Nebraska, resting up after what can only be described as a heroic (I use that term quite loosely in as much as just about everyone in America seems to qualify as a hero of one sort or other for dubiously unusual acts that diminish the word to viral blather) 5 or 6 hour  heavily  photo op interrupted drive from Broken Bow to here along State Route 2  arriving in Chadron,  parched, exhausted and heat stroked to the point of delusion, which did seem to clear nicely after 2 beers.  But here are some shots taken along the way.

If Donald had only stuck to something he did well, like making burgers, instead of trying to manage our unmanageable country, we will have all been better off, but people wanted a change from the status quo and they got it.  But will they live through it?  Another story.

Anselmo, Nebraska

I know that the above photo doesn't look like much, but for me it is like hitting the jackpot.  Over the years I have been taking pictures of interesting post offices where ever I find them and at this point I have quite a collection.  Another project has been finding old banks in Nebraska that have either been abandoned or repurposed.  The reason I hit the jackpot here is that this is an old bank (in Mason City Nebraska) that has been repurposed into a post office.  Wow!!!

I always like to say that we jump on any excuse to come to Nebraska, like the proverbial dog on a bone, and Jackie's cousin Christopher's wedding in Nebraska City was the why this time.  Wedding, 2 days in Lincoln, and a day in Red Cloud for our annual pilgrimage to Willa Cather's home town now that we are regulars and long standing members of the Cather society.  Being major donors, we are accorded special privilege which we bask in.  There are very few places in which they roll out the red carpet for me anymore, or even notice I exist, so I like Red Cloud.

Red Cloud was just another midwestern town on the verge of implosion and irrelevance, but for Mrs. Bennett, founder of the Willa Cather Society celebrating Willa's formative years, something she would have found ironic and a bit of a hoot, all things considered, but latch on to her coattails they did, and have done an amazing job of turning the town around on the strength of the work the've done to create a world class archive and study center.  Kudos, and glad to have been a significant part of the tail end of the effort.