Sunday, March 15, 2009

Such a good time

Max and I had a great time yesterday traveling the backroads of southwest Iowa. We took the interstate over to Highway 25 because before we got started on the photography, Max had remembered seeing a historical marker for Henry A. Wallace and wanted to find it one more time. We did. Just outside a little town called Orient, Iowa.

We tend to wind around an area quite a bit and never end up going quite as far as I think we have gone. I'm always a little startled when we finally get to a main highway to return home. My plan is always to go out as far as we'd like to go and then meander our way home. But, I generally find that we have traveled in the same area for 5-7 hours and have a long drive home.

Since we drove further into Iowa this time, we were having difficulty finding broken down outbuildings and barns. You can tell there is obviously more money in these farms - buildings are much newer and yards are much cleaner. So much less for a photographer to do. But, we were able to find a few good locales.

We finally pulled into a little ... well ... town. There was an old abandoned church and I pulled into the driveway of a new home being built - there was no activity there - so that Max could have some concrete underfoot while he loaded his gear. I was just across the street from the church. He took off and I read. After a bit, a van pulled in as if to go to the house. I rolled down my window and it was a young guy coming to check on the house. His home was parked across the road and we'd been there long enough that his curiosity had gotten the better of him, I'm sure.

It was a great conversation! The little town no longer existed, but it had been called Nevinville. There had once been over 650 homes in the community (if there were 25 still in existence, I'd be surprised). He remembered a lot of activity in that church, including quilting bees. An old man had been living in the church up until last year and was looking to sell the place. 2 1/2 acre lots with whatever buildings were on them were going for $25,000. We really are paying too much by living in cities, aren't we?

He also was telling me that the community had been on the Underground Railroad and that Harriet Tubman had been through there. Now while I'm absolutely positive of the existence of the Underground Railroad in Iowa, I'm not so sure that she was ever here bringing slaves through to the north. But, in the home he was building, the cave had been just below the garage that now existed there. He went on to tell us about a graveyard that had quite a few Civil War soldiers buried in it - just north of town and told me how to get out there.

I gave him a business card so that he could get to Max's Flickr site and then Max returned to the car, chatted with him for a moment and we were off. I went north to find the cemetery, but it was closed by the time we got there.

The day was getting late and the next few spots that we found were in shadow, but Max marked them on our GPS so that we could return.

We stopped in Red Oak for gas and as I crawled into the passenger seat beside Max to finish the drive home, I felt wonderful. There is nothing more terrific than spending a day with him while he does what he loves.

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