Lens Artists Challenge #158: Along Back Country Roads

Just what are back country roads? Could they be roads that are new to you and fun to explore? Could they be taking a wrong turn and ending up on a road that’s barely suitable for driving? For Wandering Dogs, Beth and her husband, it’s getting your tires dirty and seeing the beautiful countryside. So this week she’s challenged us to take that road less traveled.

For me, it means adventure and new roads, paved or not. I’ve mentioned my photo outings with my friend Greg, who passed away, in other posts. He, Marlene and I would set out in the morning and return in time for dinner–maybe! We didn’t know where he was taking us and sometimes neither did he. He had a passion for turning down side roads, especially when it said “Dead End!” These are from some of those trips.

Sometimes it’s the need to get away for an hour or two. Early on during lockdown last year, I was getting antsy. When Richard noticed me scratching at the front door, screaming “Let me out!” (A slight exaggeration, but true feeling!), he said let’s go for a ride. We didn’t go far; just up Highway 80, looking for small towns. One of these towns was Dutch Flat, and it was small.

Another of our escapes had us looking for the Sugar Pine Reservoir. The was one of those times when taking the wrong turn could get you into trouble. The GPS showed us a way back, but it didn’t say how narrow and twisty a dirt road it was. It took us 4 hours to do what should have taken at most 1 hour!

Photo buddy Jean likes to get in the car and go with sort of an idea of where to head. For this outing we headed out to the Eastern Sierras in search of Fall colors, but Jean smelled water, and off we went. We found a stream and a lake and I don’t remember the name.

So these are some of my road less traveled excursions. Yes, there were more, but I’ll save them for another time.

Just a little cabin fever: Road trip along I-80

Let’s go back to early September when the West Coast was under fire. Smoke was everywhere. I was getting a bit of cabin fever. Before the fires ignited, I would go out with my photo buddies maybe once a week and we’d drive separately, mask up and enjoy a couple hours of photography. That was enough to keep me smiling while at home.

But since the fires, and the resulting smoke, it wasn’t healthy to be outdoors or let alone shoot. I was trapped. I was walking around our small house complaining and complaining. It must have been bad because Richard said, “Let’s get in the car and go for a ride.”

I said, “Why, there’s smoke everywhere.”

He said, “Maybe it’s not so bad up towards Reno.”

So I grabbed my camera, never leave home without it, and off we went. Our goal was to stop off and find some of the small towns advertised at freeway off Ramps. Our first stop was Alta, a very small town. This is what we found in Alta.

Now there must be more support businesses and housing, but we didn’t find it close to the freeway. Next stop Dutch Flat.

Remember, we just drove along the main streets in these small towns. Next came Gold Run.

We were on our way home when we stopped to see what this was.

I’m thinking it might have been a flume used to float logs down the mountain. Any other guesses?

So that was our short trip up the I-80. We never did get anywhere near Reno! Maybe next time.