Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Right Around Here

Tuesday afternoons never disappoint me.  Even though I usually have no particular place to go,  I still make it a point whenever I can to pack up my cameras and head out in search of something unusual, unique, odd, historic, nostalgic, or just the occasional random irregularity.  You know...things that just seem to be out of place or don't go together.  Like, oh, say for example, a bright blue bath tub sitting outside surrounded by a group of pink Flamingos.  Now there's something you don't see every day.

Sometimes I want to go knock on somebody's door and ask them about some of the sights I come across, "Hey buddy, what's up with the bathtub and pink Flamingos?"  But then, maybe there are some things that are better off being left to the imagination.  
I decided to drive (I can't wait for warmer weather when that word drive becomes ride) to some very small towns in the area.  It's the smallest towns that sometimes offer the biggest surprises.  I didn't have to go far to discover a castle sitting atop a little hill on the edge of the first town where I stopped.  Just turned down a side street and there it was.
A tiny castle, and not one that would hold off the barbarian invaders from the great white north, but still a castle.  It was located in someone's back yard so I didn't investigate further, but it was another one of those,  "Hey buddy, what's up with the castle?" moments. 
On a large lot in this same town was a building with a sign out front identifying it as the Art Ranch.  It was hard to tell if it is still in use.  I would like to think that it is.
I would also like to think that it is a place for art. Not a place owned by a guy named Art.
About thirty minutes away and a mile off the main highway, in the same town as the above mentioned bathtub/Flamingo spectacle, I saw a Gremlin.  A real Gremlin.  Ok, show of hands - who had or had a chance to ride in a Gremlin back in the day?  Pretty much a deathtrap and a money pit, but that doesn't change the fact that they're a pretty cool car.  Probably more so now than then.  I broke out the old Polaroid instant camera for this shot.  I just seemed right to take a picture of a Gremlin with a camera that might have been sitting right there on the seat when this car was new and roaming the streets of Any Town USA.

Another few miles down the road is what was once known as the sheep capital of the country.  I remember there being a sign many years ago proclaiming as much, but it's gone now.  Apparently they moved a lot of sheep through that town during more prosperous times.  But, like a lot of small towns these days, there isn't much going on.  They still have rooms for rent, though -

This might have been a boarding house at one time.  It's always nice to see old buildings like this in good repair and still functional.
Last stop was what is left of another once active small town.  Not so much any more.  I imagine this was a busy store at one time.  The sign on the door is still in good condition, unlike the rest of the building. It reads "Reach for Sunbeam Bread." I bet it was good bread.  With a name like Sunbeam, it has to be good. Right?  

Notice the reflections in the windows.  They really make this photo pop when you see it up close.  I wish I could make it larger here so you could see the details. It really was an impressive scene.  Hopefully you get the effect.
Then it was time to head back home, to another small town that has changed quite a bit over the years.  I won't say it has changed for the worse, however.  There are still a lot of good people here, and it's still home. That means a lot. After all, isn't that where the heart is?

                                                          Roger O'Dea     2/19/2014

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