The Trip is the Destination: Notes to Traveling Leisurely

Gail and I retired June 30, 2018. Now that we are retired we have no reason to hurry; we can travel at our leisure. But leisurely travel is something we need to learn to do. I want to quit hurrying past places and also quit spending quite so many hours per day in a car. We used to do 10-12 hours a day, which is certainly doable in modern cars with cruise control, semi-auto pilot cars, satellite radio for entertainment and so on, but, still, a 10 to 12 hour day on the road does some wear and tear on the body. The leisurely travel length is more like 6 hours max per day.

One key to leisurely travel is to identify things worth visiting in areas we would normally have treated as fly over areas. Or, in our case, drive on by areas. A good example is the Monument Rocks site in far western Kansas. This probably isn’t the Kansas you know. The Kansas most of us know is “flat as a pancake” and a long, boring ride across nothing in the middle of nowhere. Like so many boring drives, though, that’s the view from the Interstate, not the one you’ll find if you can spare some time to drive some state or county roads. Then Kansas, like many other boring places, is remarkably wonderful in its own way and “nowhere” becomes “vast” and “nothing” becomes “creation.”

So, rather than scurry on by this site, we detoured and spent an interesting couple of hours in “nowhere” before getting back to the Interstate and doing 80 to Colorado.

MONUMENT ROCKS OAKLEY KS 7-15-2018

Photo-Bombing Geese

I was making some pictures using long exposures (15-25 seconds) when a gaggle of geese decided to land in the pond I was photographing. The long exposure gives the waves the geese created an unusual and not altogether uninteresting look. Lucky accident, I guess.

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument Grand Junction, Colorado 7/17/2018 From Coke Ovens Overlook , Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction, Colorado 7/17/2018

We did a preliminary visit to Colorado National Monument on our way to elsewhere.Plenty of potential at the Monument and surrounding area, but, alas, I came away empty. It was just a quick visit and, being a flat lander from Missouri, I find big, open and vast places like Colorado National Monument hard to photograph. Places like this and Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands have me trying to photograph everything in a single image. That approach almost always yields nothing at all except pictures of everything but also of nothing. You need to find a rock or a peak or a cloud and make that the image. Tell the story of a single rock, peak or cloud well enough and you’ll tell the story of the place. (Easy to say!)

Monument Rocks

MONUMENT ROCKS OAKLEY KS 7-15-2018 2018-07-15 Monument Rocks Near Oakley, Kansas 2018-07-15 Monument Rocks Near Oakley, Kansas

The Monument Rocks site probably isn’t the Kansas you know. The Kansas most of us know is “flat as a pancake” and a long, boring ride across nothing in the middle of nowhere. Like so many boring drives, though, that’s the view from the Interstate, not the one you’ll find if you can spare some time to drive some state or county roads. Then Kansas, like many other boring places, is remarkably wonderful in its own way and “nowhere” becomes “vast” and “nothing” becomes “creation.”

According to the University of Kansas Geological Survey site, the rocks are composed of fossils and chalk from sediment that settled on the floor of a sea that ran from Alberta, Canada to Texas about 80 million years ago. The sediment grew to a height of several hundred feet over time. Later, most of it eroded but the remnants at Monument Rocks survived.

This place and the rest of Kansas need to be added to the Revisit-At-Sunrise-Or-Sunset-For-Better-Photos list. It’s a LONG list.

Shell, Rock Arrangements (Macro Photos)

Shell, Rock Arrangement (Macro Photo) Shell, Rock Arrangement (Macro Photo) Shell, Rock Arrangement (Macro Photo)

The shell is 3″ long. I can’t remember where I got it. The rock was brought home from St. Martin’s Island by my oldest son a few years ago. The photo was made with natural backlight from a north-facing window behind the shell and rock. I used white mat board to bounce the light into the shadows. My “macro lens” is more of a magnifying filter than a true lens. It screws onto my Canon EF 70-200mm lens. I picked it up at B&H for $150.