45 x 90

Recently I was refining my agenda on the Great North Dakota adventure I plan to take someday. Hopefully soon.

While researching where the Geographical Center of North America is I came across the 45 x 90 Geographical Marker page on Atlas Obscura.

And, I must go there … I must stand on that spot … I must take a photo.

As it turns out, the 90th meridian of longitude intersects the 45th parallel of latitude is in a bean field near Poniatowski, Wisconsin.

I’ve stood on the 45th parallel many years ago while camping in Traverse City, Michigan. I believe that was in 2004.

According to Google Maps, the 45 x 90 is approximately an 8 hour drive from the house. It could be a three day weekend drive. Or, maybe, a quick two day drive. Drive up, turn around and drive home. Maybe an overnight in Wausau, Wisconsin. Or, a side trip to Eau Claire to visit some of my second ex wife’s family.

Sculpture at the Krannert Museum of Art, University of Illinois.
Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on May 27, 2017.

Sylvan Lake is Burning

When the news that the area around Sylvan Lake is burning my fantasy of returning to the highlands of Colorado was reignited.

I’ve been to the Vail area many times. A few times with the Company and a few times with family. My last visit was in June of 2015. On that trip, even though family was there at the same time, I built into the itinerary time to explore on my own. That is the day I tried to hike to Whitney Lake, drove the back roads for a few miles and drank beer in Leadville. In all the trips I’ve made to that area, I’ve hardly explored the back country via road or trail. Usually, the exploration is catered by tourist companies or hired guides. Usually, most of the ‘adventure’ is a few miles from I-70.

So, I’ve never been to Sylvan Lake State Park. Actually, I never heard of it until the news that it was on fire came across the headline ticker. On Google maps it seems like the perfect area to camp in a van dwelling camper, practice my photography skills, hike a trail, enjoy the mountain air and maybe draw a face or a body.

But now it burns.

I should make an effort to drive to Colorado again. Maybe car dwell at the Sylvan State Park. Hopefully it will stop burning by the time I get out there. But, as is my method of operation, I usually plan a detailed trip yet not take the time off work to take the trip. Ugh.

Screen shot of the Sylvan Lake State Park area.

Fear of Boredom on Vacation ?

I am watching too many Van Dwelling videos on You Tube. While watching this type of video, I get worked up and excited about van dwelling on my own.

Then I stumbled on this video.

I have done my fair share of camping with a pull behind tent camper. So, I have some experience ‘camping’. Of course, this always included the wives and kids. I don’t know if this compares with ‘van dwelling’ by definition. Probably not.

I have spent a few nights backpacking. Most of those episodes where solo. Backpacking is probably closer to van dwelling as it is minimal in nature whereas the pull-behind-tent-camper is not minimal. It could be but it wasn’t in my experience.

I have this romantic notion of van dwelling, believing it to be free of distress and full of adventure. Most of the van dwelling videos I watch portray that impression. And that’s ok. I want to watch the fun stuff, the exciting stuff, the cute girls, the food, the campfires, the people.

But I can’t imagine van dwelling is all glamour all the time. Certainly there are dull moments, moments that are not fun. Certainly there are moments that are scary.

While watching the number of van dwelling videos that I do, I wonder if these people get bored. I ask, how can you get bored while van dwelling, camping in these wonderful parks and camp grounds, hiking these unique trails and taking awesome photo and video.

I think about driving to North Dakota. I outline all the places I want to see. I imagine all the awesome photos I can take, the fun I can experience. Certainly I can’t be bored on vacation. Yet, the fear of boredom on vacation sort of pulls back my enthusiasm for a North Dakota vacation, even a van dwelling life.

Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.
Aspen Trees and a boulder. Fuji photo taken by Dave 0 on June 18, 2015 on the Whitney Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness, near Red Cliff, Colorado.

Road Trip 2021

I may road trip in 2021.

It’s been a few years since my last road trip to Southeastern Colorado in 2018. This year, in 2021, I may road trip to Geographical Center of the United States in Belle Fourche, South Dakota with a side excursion to Devil’s Tower. On the way to South Dakota I may stop at the Tri Point and the Corner. On the drive home, I may swing by Rugby, North Dakota to stand at the Geographical Center of North America.

Although, Pierre, South Dakota once claimed to be the Geographical Center of North America. And, the Hanson’s Bar in Robinson, North Dakota now claims the fame of the Center.

It appears that no one really knows where the Center of North America is. The “goal post moves” is probably the best way to describe it as different people and organizations and cities determine what rules apply. Kind of like families.

In 2015, on my first Epic Road Trip post Nikki, I stopped at Monument Rocks in western Kansas.

Monument Rocks in Gove County, Kansas. Nikon D600 photo taken on June 14, 2015 by Dave O.

Great Sand Dunes

In mid Summer of 2018, I embarked on a week long driving trek through southeast Colorado. One objective during that adventure was to spend time at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

I expected a rather large sand pile. I did not understand the enormity of the scope of the rather large sand pile until I stood in front of it .

Like other people I walked to the closet, smallest sand hill where people where sand surfing. I took photos of other people walking through the sand to even greater heights among the ever shifting dunes. I, however, stayed close to the Visitors Center as not to over extend my overweight out-of-shape body.

There is a sand dunes national park in Indiana. Interestingly, it is call the Indiana Dunes National Park. I have never been there. Actually, I have never wanted to go there. I don’t know why. Maybe it is too far to drive the three hours it would take to get there. Yet, I’ll drive over a thousand miles just to spend a few hours walking through the sand in Colorado. So, I’ll need to put the Indiana Dunes on the list of Indiana places to see. If for any other reason is that I’ve lived in Indiana my entire life and yet have never made an effort to visit the only National Park in Indiana.

The Great Sand Dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on August 1, 2018.
The Great Sand Dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on August 1, 2018.

Easter Island

For a long time, I have wanted to travel to Easter Island. It would be cool to stay on an island, isolated from the rest of humanity.

Of course, I’m a few hundred years late to play Cast Away on Easter Island. Today, Easter Island has electricity, cars, hotels, restaurants and an airport. I’m sure they have Wifi too. Could have call girls too.

There is an airline that flies to Easter Island on a regular basis. This article explains some of the highlights of traveling to Easter Island. I would go just to take a real photo of a real Moai. Recently, we drove to Synder’s Concrete Statues east of Greensburg, Indiana to scope out potential statues to plant in my yard. The Moai were there.

In addition to taking photos, I would also go to learn more of the history of Easter Island and walk around. Although, I could read about the history via books and You Tube videos. I would like to see the stars from a pristine night sky, assuming Easter Island has no light or particle pollution.

An adventure to Easter Island would be a trip of a lifetime. It would cost a lot of money. It would take a lot of time. It would be the first time I’ve walked in the Southern Hemisphere.

Concrete Moai, available at Synder's Concrete Statues, located east of Greensburg, Indiana. March 13, 2021 iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O.
Concrete Moai, available at Synder’s Concrete Statues, located east of Greensburg, Indiana. March 13, 2021 iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O.

Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States

On June 20, 2015, I stood at the Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States.

This wiki page gives details about the geographical center of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), and it also includes details about the geographical center of the Contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

On my drive home from a few days of vacation in mid central Colorado, I stopped at this location to muse about standing at the geographical center of the Contiguous United States. I snapped a few photos and signed the guest registry. There is a nice Chapel near the monument.

It’s not too far from US-36 in Lebanon Kansas and worth the stop over if you are in the area. When I stopped by, it was a gorgeous sunny and warm day, a perfect day to stand at the geographical center of the Contiguous United States.

Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States ... LAT. 39°50' LONG. −98°35' ... photo by Dave O on June 20, 2015.
Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States … LAT. 39°50′ LONG. −98°35′ … photo by Dave O on June 20, 2015.

If you are wondering, the geographical center of the United States is located near Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Hopefully, one day, I will stand there.