Nuts and Bolts – 19th Century Railroad Bridge, and MEN

About 4 miles (~6.5 km) NW from Port Jervis, NY, between Sparrowbush, NY and Millrift, Pa., is a 165 year old “deck truss” style steel railroad bridge built to extend the NY and Erie Railroad; a project chartered in 1832, to connect Piermont, NY (Hudson River) to Dunkirk, NY, (Lake Erie.) This rusty, erector set – like artifact continues to carry freight trains across the Delaware River today, along well maintained rails.

On a recent visit, we were intrigued with the massive nuts and bolts used to tie the steel together. What particularly interested me was the thought of….how large the open-ended Craftsman wrench must have been and, really now, how large was that guy that built it in 1848?  Seriously!

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A Rainy Night Out On the Town – Paris

Bus Shots don’t usually produce memorable results. But last year, on this one evening in Paris, the distortions, grimy streaks, stencils, and other distractions of the windows faded out between my camera and the subject. Splashy rain only served to enhance the feeling, the ambiance, and the excitement of the night to come in the Pigalle district, current home of  several cabarets, including the iconic, if not campy, Moulin Rouge.

(Thanks to Alienshores52.wordpress.com “Paris in the Rain” for the inspiration.)

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The Moulin Rouge, with it’s red windmill, a Paris Landmark for decades

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“Feerie” pretty much translates to mean “Extravaganza!”

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“Empty Sky,” a Perspective in time

Yesterday, (5/14/13) we visited the New Jersey 9/11 memorial in Liberty State Park for the first time. It is a stunning, architectural and symbolic masterpiece designed by Jessica Jamroz and Frederic Schwartz, indelibly memorializing the victims and events that shattered the senses 11 ½ years ago.

When viewed from the west end, the two stainless steel jacketed 30’ high walls, 208’ 10” long, emblazed with the names of New Jersey’s innocents, leads the eye to the exact location of the original towers –  today empty, except for the “Empty Sky” and …the Woolworth Building, tallest skyscraper in the world until 1930. The walls, their length each the exact width of the original towers, block the new 1776’ (541m) ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER from view, offset from the original tower footprints for their respectful preservation. That awesome icon of the future, had it’s top spire placed just last week, seen here still with cranes working the job.

What intrigued me, was the coincidental nature of the old (Woolworth,) and new (Twin Towers,)  lying in the same line of sight. How remarkable! Thinking on this, I recalled pictures I took from this very same spot, 16 years ago, (Nov. 11, 1997) seen below verifying and  completing this interesting perspective.

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Bargain, Orbs and Lead. Do you remember?

The Catskills are a semi-mountainous region of New York State about 100 miles north of New York City, which prospered as a popular resort area in the early to mid 20th century. Great hotel complexes stretched from one end to the other and served as a get away for New Yorkers and regional vacation seekers. “Dirty Dancing”, the iconic 1987 movie, plays out over its background to what was the way to escape the city on those summer weeks. BUT, by the mid 1960’s the advent of increasingly efficient airline travel, and travel savvy,  marked the beginning of its inevitable decline.

This image taken June 13th, 1991, on Rt. 52, underscores the impact such a demographic change had on local economy. The once thriving gas station, was basically abandoned … its property value deemed worthless, and the artifacts of its importance left to the ages.

When was the last time you paid $.319 USD for a gallon of gas? Or watched the glass orb show the fuel flow; or were content to buy something that contained lead?

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What Lies at the End of Schnebly Hill Road?

Sedona, Arizona…. if you make it!

Quite a few years ago, on our first approach to Sedona, my family was “concerned” when I silently decided to take our rental car on a long winding dirt road of questionable condition off exit 320, I-17, instead of Rt. 179, the usual approach from the south. The allure of adventure compelled me.

Sedona, and its neighbor Oak Creek, are a prize just below the western portion of the Mogollan Rim, a 200 mile escarpment stretching across north-central Arizona in what is known geologically as the Transition Zone, with the upper Sonoran Desert to the south, and the Colorado Plateau to the north – an elevation change of about 4000’ (1200m.)

Schnebly Hill Road, winds for about 13 miles from I-17, the North-South Interstate highway in Arizona. It courses through mostly flat, but impressive ponderosa pine forests, until its last few dramatic miles of descent, some 2000’ (~600m,) where the vegetation “transitions” into pinyon and juniper trees; and the sudden awesome vistas of eroded sandstone formations and outcroppings come into view. These sheer cliffs, monoliths, and curious cathedrals of all shapes,  blazing with white, and red and orange colors, are like sculptured inverted children’s pails and castle turrets in a sandbox.

Upon first sight, the usual reaction is to gasp, but attention needs to be paid to the deteriorating, eroded, winding, road as it descends rapidly at it’s most perilous point.

Over the course of several subsequent visits to Sedona and Oak Creek, (approached more civilly on paved roads,) we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing many of its natural treasures, a sample of which is captured below.  Hiking and exploring are a dream here, but additionally, are restaurants, galleries, small and unique shopping areas; impeccable resorts, and even “spiritual enlightenments” for those inclined.”

What lies at the end of Schnebly Hill Road?  The treasure of the Red Rocks Country. But if you dare take this route, advise the family ahead of time, and rent a 4WD SUV!

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The first view of the Red Rocks Country, 1995, from Schnebly Hill Road

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The descent, as the dirt road turns….challenging.

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Some years later, from a classic Bi-Plane over Sedona. The edge of the Mogollan Rim is seen on the near horizon, and to its right, 12,633 ft. (3258m) Mt. Humphreys, about 45 miles North.

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Devil’s Bridge is a moderate hike on the western side of Sedona.

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The view from on top is breath-taking, as seen from this image in 2009

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Along the trail, are wonderful examples of South-West US vegetation, this being a moderate sized Pointleaf Manzanita, known for its shinny red bark.