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.
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.
The American Theatre in Canton, New York has survived many a winter (and an unfortunately interior remodeling) with much of its twentieth-century charm intact. Continuing my investigation of the “slightly sinister” in small-town America (from yesterday and last spring), this is yet another charming vision of Americana. The echo of a passing car’s headlights in the street below only adds to the mystery.