Contemplating a drive back across North America, I’m most looking forward to the West. The mildly populated areas (look at the tiny path in the distant center of the image) remind me of the best parts of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns.
It’s hard to tell from looking at the lake, even with the plaque in front of you, just how massive the Watauga Dam is… until you turn around. It’s actually pretty disorienting to look at what looks like a normal lake, then turn around and see the valley that the lake used to be. And when you look down the slope at the valley floor below you really start to understand how deep the lake really is.
Once you venture even a few miles from the suburban world of the East Bay into the hills surrounding, all sorts of weird little “model train set” vistas appear. On a rainy, gloomy day, with low cloud cover penning in the view, you could almost be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into a giant’s basement hobby space.