Crossing the American West last winter, I was struck by the profound changes to the landscape affected by large-scale infrastructure programs. Rural electrification resulted in an expectation of electrical availability, and power lines now stretch to the horizon.
In much the same way, lines of Interstate highway curve off to the distance, twinned East and West streams.
Look at this big hill and tiny fence. Though not its original purpose, I like to imagine that fence as an attempt to hold back the advance of the hill.
In the emptiness of Wyoming, big structures along the interstate are rare. When the temperatures are ultracold and the factory is emitting tons of vapor, that brings up a new level of interest.
Along Interstate 80, stretches of winter Wyoming are wide and barren like I wouldn’t have believed.
In a few stretches, mountains or wind farms crop up in the distance.
But it’s perhaps this image of an orange house, like something from a mid-twentieth-century landscape painting, that best captures the experience.
During last winter’s road trip from New York to California, we were struck by the sheer scale of the American West: one step off the Interstate drops you into an enormous expanse. At the edge of Wyoming’s Black Hills, there’s a Bob-Ross-ian grandeur to enjoy.
Transcontinental driving in the dead of winter is all about dodging storms—but no one’s perfect. In the emptiness of Western Nevada, with only an occasional RV/farm combo to keep us company, the edge of a major storm ran into the setting sun.
“Post-apocalyptic” was the general vibe. The landscape was so large as to be without scale; I couldn’t tell you the actual height of the hills in the distance.
I bet the view from the top floor is amazing.