Road Trip Drive-bys

What do you do at 75 miles per hour sitting in the passenger seat for 6-10 hours a day?

I was prepared to listen to podcasts (TED talks Radio Hour, Freakonomics, America’s Test Kitchen Radio, The Splendid Table, Grammar Girl, Daily Audio Bible, Merriam-Webster Word of the Day plus a few knitting podcasts). Surprises! My first driving partner loved audible books but didn’t know about podcasts. She’s hooked now.

I was prepared to complete a few knitting projects, more about these in a separate blog post, Full Circle (Finished Objects). Basically, I took projects that I thought were going to be simple easy. I was wrong.

There was no stopping for picture-taking. So I learned to take drive-by photos.

What’s interesting at 75 miles per hour? I did discover a connecting theme for picture-taking at the very beginning. If you are looking for something interesting, you’ll find it. The only other repeating theme: road construction.  Who wants to see that?!?

I missed a lot of great scenes, especially on the first trip.  I did get better by the last trip. (HINT: have the camera ready to click as you approach a bridge or overpass and just keep clicking.) None are ready for National Geographic (check out NatGeo on instagram).


Looking west towards the islands in Horseshoe Bay

Looking west towards the islands in Horseshoe Bay

Shamefully, there are no pull-off vista points along the freeway from Vancouver to Whistler, B.C.  I would say that is the only mistake the Canadians made in connecting the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics with the rest of the world. But by mistaking what the GPS said, we veered off-course and headed to the ferry terminals at Horseshoe Bay. It did provide us with a great photographic opportunity of the water and Bowen, Gambier and Bowyer Islands…deep blue sky and the clouds.

Looking north towards Whistler on the Horseshoe Bay

Looking north towards Whistler on the Horseshoe Bay

Don’t ask me the names of the cloud formations. I haven’t got a clue. I just love seeing them. Part of the fascination…it’s constantly changing…It’s so big…Are we so busy with our lives to be looking up and staring at the sky? Is anyone else seeing what I’m seeing? Are these the same clouds we saw two days ago? Can a photograph capture any of this grandeur?

I hope when I get home, I will look up more often.

At the time we drove from Tennessee to Pittsburgh and back, not much interesting was happening in the skies.

Looking west

Looking west

Texas skies are dramatic.  It’s where I get to see “God clouds.”  You know what I mean… when you see the sun rays breaking through the clouds.  Think Noah’s Arc or the opening scene of The Simpsons. The one benefit of a very flat landscape is seeing forever or more realistically 30-50 miles to the horizon.

Click on the picture to see the sun rays.

Tampa skies, where there was always a higher overcast layer of clouds.  Not the dramatic contrasts of the Texas sky.  But it’s definitely fun to watch several distant storms rolling by.  You can see at least two rain showers dropping over St. Petersburg across the bay.  This picture was taken through our hotel window.

Tampa Storms

Tampa Bay, storms over St. Petersburg

Not too bad considering these shots were taken with an old iphone 3.

And if you haven’t had enough of clouds, here’s a time-lapse video of a storm over Nebraska.


I have to include one last shot.  It was near the end of our trip, sunset overlooking the Tennessee River in Chattanooga on their Riverwalk.  Even though we still had miles to go, this was a wonderful rest stop.

Sunset, TN River, Chattanooga

Sunset, TN River, Chattanooga


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