Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gravel Roads

Nearly every day I have off in the summer is a day you will find me in the Black Hills. Hiking, mountain biking or cruising on my classic Valkyrie F6 on some winding road lined by pine trees. Well, I'm sure you noticed - this isn't summer.  It's February. And it's cold. I don't ski or ride a snowmobile or participate in any type of winter sports, so I decided to go for a drive...not south into the hills, but north and east into the flatlands. My plan was to stay off the highway and stick to the back roads. Having lived in this area for many years, it's amazing there are still places that are unfamiliar to me and so many things I haven't seen before. Actually, I'm sure I have passed by many of those places but never slowed down enough to really see them. For example, this country church -

I've been by it many times but never stopped to notice the wonderful colors and shapes. It has been maintained meticulously in stark contrast to some of the other buildings and homes scattered nearby.

I was completely ignorant of the fact that there used to be a school out here in the middle of nowhere, which was probably somewhere 100 years ago. Who or what was "Beam" and what did the school look like before it was abandoned and swallowed up by the prairie?

It's fun for me to find old rundown buildings in my travels and I enjoy taking photos of them. This one was only a few miles from town and once again I was surprised that I haven't noticed it before.
 I wonder what this scene would look like in June when the tree is in full bloom and the grass is green? I will find out in June.

On down the road a ways was a tiny little town with no businesses remaining and only a few residents. I remember coming to this place many years ago... a friend lived here. I don't remember a store, but there obviously was one. And you could buy bread. Not just any bread. Sunbeam bread.

I don't know if it's just luck or my self-induced heightened state of awareness during these journeys of discovery I take myself on but I always seem to notice at least one unusual, out of place, or just plain odd thing. This time it was a toy Volkswagen Micro Bus hanging from a tree in the yard of a resident living right next to the store where a long time ago you could get Sunbeam bread.
A red and yellow Volkswagen Micro Bus model car hanging from a tree. In February. In Fruitdale, South Dakota. I'm sure there's a good explanation. I just don't know what it is. And I guess it doesn't matter.

It was a pretty good day. I have a lot of those. And I would encourage you to head out some time on your own "road to find out."  Wherever you are there is an unpaved road close by. Take it. You may find an interesting piece of lost America. But, it's not really lost. I found it. So can you.

Roger O'Dea     2-17-2015

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