There is something about a long road trip that excites me. I live several states from my nearest relatives, and my siblings are experienced in the art of wedding productions. I have been fortunate to have attended several weddings of my nieces and nephews.
The thrill of flying is no longer the thrill of my youth. The thought of flying today is more than my nerves, brain, and body can endure. Every time I receive a wedding invitation my relatives inquire which airline I am flying. I answer, “I’m driving,” with the same excitement that I reserved when I flew.
Seems I can drive and enjoy the scenery in much the same time it takes to fly. Instead of jostling crowds and enduring fellow disgruntled passengers in the airport, I am enjoying being in my car, watching the scenery, and listening to my choice of music.
I use maps to get out of the city and to the first exit that can take me to a small highway. Even though I drive to approximately the same destination for the weddings, I take the back roads which lead to ??? well, I never know where they will lead. There is always a surprise with every curve of the road.
The landscapes surrounding small towns are tilled fields of wheat, oats, corn and various crops. The further we travel from a small town tilled fields give way to open pastures, with herds of cows and horses grazing under bluffs and outcroppings of rock formations. My geologist friends find the unusual formations scientifically fascinating. I find them the perfect setting for a photograph.
Traveling to Bozeman, Montana for my grand nephews wedding took me through Yellowstone National Park. Throughout most of the Rocky Mountains, beetle kill has been a blight on pine trees. Stands of once proud, straight as arrows pine trees, with generous branches offering shade to wildlife in the summer and refuge against the cold winds in winter, are now gray skeletons. One of my goals is to spend at least two weeks in Yellowstone exploring trails and catching my breath when meandering wildlife pass by.
I took this shot a mere two years ago, and marveled how the beetle kill had not yet reached Yellowstone. I was hoping that by some miracle the area would remain untouched.
Sad to say that today all the beautiful green trees in this photo have succumbed to beetle kill.