Last Chapter, there was a load assignment waiting and it was a good one. I pick up a load of meat in Sioux Falls South Dakota and deliver it to Stockton, California. Wyoming, Utah and Nevada are in between.
I am still starting my driving day just after midnight and it is working well. The roads are clear and the truck stops uncrowded when I arrive. The deadhead from Roberts Wisconsin goes smoothly. I made a 30 minute break in a rest area near Blue Earth Minnesota. At 4 AM it was eerily silent and empty. I have been puzzled about the origin of the name Blue Earth since I encountered it in 1973 while traveling to Minnesota to meet the family of my step mother. I cannot yet tell you where it comes from, since I cannot manage an internet connection from this dusty little town in Northern Nevada where I am writing.
(From Ripon, California) Blue Earth gets its name from the Blue Earth River that surrounds the town. The river was given the Native American name “Mahkota” (meaning Blue Earth) for the blue-black clay found in the river banks.
Above: Blue Earth Rest Stop
Above: Blue Earth Parking
The stars are particularly bright and the Milky way is plainly visible when I can put the truck between me and the flood lights. The Astronomer in me is not yet lost, but he does not get much time on the field
Above: Orion is a constant of the winter sky. Go see it if you get a chance. The red star is Betelgeuse. The three stars down by the “x” are called Orion’s Sword”. There is a technique called “averted vision” which I will teach you now. Look at those three stars in Orion’s Sword. They will look like ordinary dim stars. Now look away just a little bit – about where the “x” is. Notice that the middle star will go “fuzzy” on you. That is the Orion Nebula. Averted vision works because the light detecting cells in your peripheral vision are more sensitive than in the direct line of view. Weird, but true.
Above: The Orion Nebula with more magnification
I tried to grab photos by blindly clicking the camera at these majestic sights without taking my eyes off the road. This is a very inefficient process that produces a lot of reject pictures that are either blurry, full of dashboard reflections or just don’t live up to the scenery. For each one you see here, there are ten or more that don’t make the cut.
This state starts off as rolling hills of dry grassland and ends that way. Even after my vigorous culling, there is a beauty to which this picture still does not do justice.
Above: South Dakota
Above: Wyoming starts off in the East looking a lot like South Dakota. But it begins to change as we go West.
Above: Wyoming with Rocks, Trees and Major Hills
Above: Wyoming again. South Dakota this ain’t. This geological feature did not last long.
Above: Entering Utah. Note the boarded fence, far right. I saw a lot of these. I would guess that these are to keep livestock in, but there are big gaps in most of them that make that questionable.
Above: This section of Interstate 80 passes a corner of the Great Salt Lake. The weather was “overcast”. The view might be more “spectacular” on a sunny day.
Above: West of the Lake is a great salt flat.
Above: I 80 enters a road tunnel in Nevada
There must be a better way to capture images. I am looking into a time-lapse dash camera. Recommendations?