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.
Even on this bright afternoon before a winter blizzard clamped down on central Wyoming, the cold and isolation of the state is astonishing. Each homestead seems mostly isolated, and the rolling hills give the illusion that the curvature of the Earth has been flipped inside-out. First settlers on a ringworld?
Across the reaches of North America scoured by glaciers, farms roll over hills atop rocky soil. This farm is on a hill, and its fields fall away in every direction.
Road tripping across America an experience both dramatic and (in the age of Interstate highways) mundane. When I made this trip three years ago, I documented it in a photoessay. Traveling the reverse direction, from the sprawl of the East Coast to the wide-open West, has been a more dramatic experience. The downside? Making the trip at the Winter Solstice has meant much less time each day for capturing the experience.
Horses don’t seem to mind the snow. Wintery Vermont afternoons, with the appropriate amount of horse treats, are just their style.
The overnight low was –16ºF, meaning that my robotic exploration of the skies has been put on pause for the moment. Back on those crisp fall days, though, there was nothing better than putting up the quadcopter and surveying St. Lawrence’s facilities. The riding stables and fields are one of the best places to spend a Friday afternoon, whether on the ground or in the air.
Even the small local farms of the North Country can seem overwhelmingly huge, and viewing them from a quadcopter’s vantage point doesn’t mitigate the effect.