Heron, Etc. at the Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: dunesbird photographyriversNational ParksIndiana Dunes National Park • Places: Portage Lakefront

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Indiana Dunes National Park isn't just home to the titular dunes. It's also home to wetlands which serve as a habitat for numerous local species.

One of these areas is the "Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk". Quoth the official copy:

It's an easy location to watch for migrating birds in the spring and summer [...] Visitors can enjoy easy access to the lakefront and trails that highlight dune succession.

So, how could I not want to go?

Dune It Up! Visiting Mt. Baldy

✍️ 🕑 September 8 & 9, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: dunesNational ParksIndiana Dunes National Park • Places: Carlson's Drive In Mt. Baldy

When my tour of Warren G. Harding's home ended at about 2PM, I knew what I was in for. I purchased a postcard from the gift shop, used the bathroom, and hit the road.

Although I would have loved to pay his mausoleum a visit as well, I felt a bit Warren G. Harding-ed out. I was ready for the day to be over, perhaps not unlike someone who just had their first bite of chipped beef & gravy waffles...

Alas, my journey was not over. I had about 255 miles of straight, flat U.S. Highways between Harding's house and the campsite I booked for the night. Within those miles lay a seemingly infinite number of cornfields, an occasional stop sign, and not too much else.

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Eventually, I would need to get dinner for the night.

And eventually, I would need to put up my tent and catch a good night's sleep.

My next stop would be the Indiana Dunes National Park, and boy, was I excited.

Return to Normalcy, or A Visit To The Warren G. Harding Home

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: presidential sitesmuseumsOhioWarren G. Harding • Places: Warren G. Harding Home

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Warren G. Harding is perhaps the least well-remembered 20th Century U.S. President. He passed away two years into his first term in office. An initial outpouring of grief and beatification was soon quelled by news of the administrations' scandals.

Harding's reputation was tarnished forever by his associates' embezzling, his impotent responses, and his sexual affairs, which included fathering an illegitimate child, and are somehow still fodder for late night television jokes today. Harding's tomb was not even dedicated by a U.S. president until five years after it was built, once President Hoover fell from popular esteem due to his poor handling of the Great Depression.

If there's one place on the planet where Harding isn't merely remembered, but remembered with fondness, though, it's his hometown of Marion, Ohio.

This is where you can visit his former home, his presidential museum and library, and also his tomb. The gift shop even sells expensive, limited edition prints of Warren & First Lady Florence Harding's portraits, and presumably there's a market for them. A tour of the house was actually fairly popular on a random Wednesday afternoon in September.

So how could I not want to pay it a visit?

52 Frames (November 2021)

✍️ 🕑 November 2021 • Series: 52 Frames • Tags: stuffed animals

And so, here we arrive at the eleventh straight month of weekly photo challenges. I'm fast approaching 52 straight weeks of photo challenges...

So, now it's time to see if my November efforts were profound, perfunctory, or both.

45. Face a Fear

This is a shot from my hike of the Dirty Harry Peak Trail. The fears were ostensibly the cliff I was walking out on, and the wet low visibility drive out there.

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I like this shot.

On the one hand, I'm leaning hard on using roadways as a leading line, which is a bit of a thoughtless, easy composition by this point. But, because the road is so windy and reflective, and only really in the bottom 2/3 of a photo dominated by mountains, this adds some complexity to the cliche.

Descent Into The Valley of the Gnomes

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: politicsbeacheseat the richphoto walklakes • Places: Valley of the Gnomes Denny Blaine Park

Last weekend I decided to go on a stroll and check out some of the “beaches” along the shores of Lake Washington in Eastern Seattle.

We'll get there in a bit, but first, excuse me whilst I soapbox. (After all, I'm posting this on Black Friday, and I can't think of a better day to complain about politics...)

Construction! There ain't much of that around Seattle, now is there? ...oh yeah, there is.
Construction! There ain't much of that around Seattle, now is there? ...oh yeah, there is.

The Buckeye State

✍️ 🕑 September 7 to 8, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: weird public artcemetariesdeersacred placespresidential sitesOhio • Places: Newark Earthworks Columbus OH Rutherford B. Hayes' Birthplace / Delaware, OH

Ohio was dubbed "the hypnotic state" by my friend Jim. As I drove down miles and miles and miles of Ohio interstate, wondering when I'd get to Indiana, I couldn't help but feel hypnotized by this Buckeye-shaped state's corn laden US highways...

Backing up for a minute -- I do have to say that I found my time in Ohio rewarding. I think I would probably enjoy spending some more time exploring the state.

On a quick passer-through I had to pick and choose my stops, and I daresay I chose wisely... This post covers the first four out of five stops, the last being reserved for its own post.

Evans City Cemetary & (Pittsburgh Stop)

✍️ 🕑 September 5 to 7, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young LadAttractions of Pennsylvania • Tags: cemetariesPittsburghGeorge Romero • Places: Evans City Cemetary

Before I departed westward, I had spent a long time thinking about different places I could visit on my way. I messaged friends. I got free travel brochures from nearly every state that I could cross through, and soon delighted friends and family with fun facts about Wisconsin's Rustic Roads, or, say, Ohio's state fruit. (The tomato!)

When push came to shove, well, I had a fairly detailed plan up until Minnesota. But, it was tricky to balance work, packing, and planning, especially when I wasn't sure when my car would be ready

My first stop would of course be Pittsburgh, where it soon turned out that the first person I was planning to visit and possibly stay with was in self-quarantine after a potential COVID exposure at a wedding.

With notions of alternate plans and fabulous hipster pizza in mind, I hit the pike -- the Pennsylvania Turnpike, to be more precise, and soon rolled into town.