"Traveling for the sheer joy of it down a country road is a sweet search for things that are elusive; a quest for yesterday's pace and peace. Adventure for the sensitive."~Doris Scharfenberg, Country Roads of Michigan
Four years ago I did a series here on the blog called Back Roads Adventures. I took a detailed map of all the different counties here in Michigan and began plotting different drives. All the roads began with the initial M (Michigan Road) or B (which probably doesn't stand for back road, but I can pretend). These roads were desired over roads that started with US (United States) or the worse of the letters, I (for Interstate).
Some of these M and B roads have become dear old friends, and I try to drive them at least once a year, usually in the Autumn so I can enjoy a fall color tour at the same time.
The one that calls me the loudest is B-35; a drive through small farming communities, past muddy cow pastures and golden corn fields. Even though it seems like just a scenic drive, there is a destination on this road, an old school house that is slowly, or quickly depending on the year, falling into decay. I pray every year that it is still there, so I can photograph it one more time, document the changes.
Four years ago, I would turn down any back road I came across, but I have found myself getting more hesitant to go out on driving adventures. It is so easy to just stay around home and not venture very far. But at forty-nine, I don't want my world getting smaller already. So I made a hotel reservation for an area of Michigan I haven't been to before, one night away seemed a good way to ease into it.
Last week when I set off on my first solo adventure since driving to Pennsylvania two years ago, my destination was east, across the state of Michigan, but somehow I found myself driving north first. Mainly to avoid those nasty US and Interstate roads, but also to set the mood for this solo adventure. The night before I left, I had a vision for the self-portrait that opens this blog post and I knew the perfect place to take it, the gravel road next to the decaying school house. The captured image turned out pretty close to what I envisioned; first time for everything.
There are a few things I will change for my next adventure:
- One night wasn't quite long enough, so next time I will do two.
- Less driving; spending more time in a few specific locations.
- My favorite images from this trip are the self-portraits, so I will do more of those next time.
- More research on a area, so I will know specific locations I want to explore.