Fall Farewell

As the snow slowly begins to melt, I make my way south of U.S. Highway 50 and into the last small section of my ‘Fall’ map.
When I began in late September, I knew that I had the most ground to cover before the end of the season. Due to my transportation changing, the ‘Fall’ map had the least amount of ground covered. Meaning, I was going to have to run a proverbial gauntlet in order to make up ground and finish on time.
As I traveled up and down the few remaining roads, it was actually bittersweet, knowing that I could cover such ground and sticking to my guns and getting it done! The good feeling that accompanies an accomplishment is merely icing on the cake of hard work!
This time, I made my way along the Wabash River and into state preserved wetlands. The landscape had gone from vast farm ground, riddled with irrigation pumps, to mostly uninhabited wilderness in only a few short miles. never the less, I got in some great shots and enjoyed my time!
The weather also helped considerably, I had gone through the blizzard only a few weeks sooner and was now glad to see such precipitation go as the days turned for the better. I would imagine that as Winter makes its way, the cold days, most certainly lay ahead!

Battlefield Blizzard

With a Sunday morning covered in white, I wake with my three amazing sons, each, covered up warm under blankets. With the fire burning, I look out my frost covered windows and see, not the sun, but rather a very grey, clouded sky welcoming the early morning.
Still, not even a cold and clouded day could stop my sons and I from entering the backyard and playing as though it were Summer, Winter coats included! We enjoyed our time together with snowball fight, playing on the swing set covered with snow and even letting Lynden’s dog, Rascal, out for some fun in the ten inches.
Even with all of the fun, it would soon be time for my sons to see their mother and I would return them to our dropping point. You know, it is sad when children have to have a “Drop Off Point”. None the less, a great weekend was had and that is all that matters to this Dad!
By this time, mother nature was stirring up the snow that had fallen the past couple of days and begun dropping the temperature. I would grab my fountain drink and head back out for my next to last Sunday on the ‘Fall’ map. That’s right snow and Fall in the same sentence.
Now Allison Township is home to what, we in Lawrence County call, Allison Prarie, a very large area of Lawrence County, Illinois that is nothing more that flat, open farm ground with very few trees scattered across the landscape. It is, by far, the most barren are of the county.
This trek would also be the most treacherous one in the two years that I have been working on this project! I logged 51 miles in the midst of a blizzard. There were many points during my trek that the roads were not visible and travel was slow and steady.
Heck, there were a couple of situations where I was making the only tracks down a snow-covered road for the first time that not one vehicle had been down since the first snowfall. I am always ever so thankful for my four-wheel-drive! It has gotten me through some of the hardest conditions while working on this project. Without it, some of my photographs would not be possible.
With that said, I want to wish you a safe and careful remainder to your week! I am always so grateful for your time and hope you Live With Passion!

Snowstorm Of Fall

So close to the end of my Fall map, I can almost taste it. One more week and it will be, forever, in the books. What does good ole’ mother nature do. She throws the storm of the year over Lawrence County, Illinois and thus challenging me to trek on out there.
Trek out there, I did! Now this was a Saturday, which ment that I had to work at my ‘paycheck’ job until noon. You wanna talk about the slowest Saturday in five years, well, this was it! Ice, slick, and ten inches of snow blanketed the ground. Yet, as the 12 o’clock hour arrived, I fled, towards my small, yet very warm and comfortable home, grabbed my gear and into the Jimmy I went.
I began by logging my beginning mileage down and then pushing the ever so intriguing, four-wheel-drive button. I hear the Jimmy lock into 4Hi and out of my drive I go.
As always, I make my was to the station to grab a large fountain drink, (for some reason, I don’t drink Rc out of the bottles in the Winter) and head into the white wonderland.
If I said that it was smooth sailing, I would be telling a tall tale. The roads were slick and in some places, the road crews had not even been down some roadways, making for an adventurous (and fun) trek across the plank landscape. At some points along the journey, the 4×4 was my life saver!
I am always shocked (for some reason) that a snow can change the landscape completely! Some places I always find rather plain, have burst to life with a beautiful blanket of white! it was so white in fact my driving glasses remained shaded the entire day due to the light.
I logged 50 miles as I marked off another chuck of Lawrence and Allison Townships. Only three more trips available before the Fall season is over. Should I not make it, I would have to wait until next Fall, simply to cover the remaining mileage, that can’t happen…..and won’t!
As you embrace the coming of Winter, please enjoy life and Live With Passion!

Closing In On Fall!

As I completed my last session two weeks ago, my Kodak Easyshare C180 had begun to make noises as it opened and closed. After close to 6,000 photographs, I had figured that it was time for this rather inexpensive, point and shoot camera to begin making moans and groans.
My Kodak camera has not only taken around 3,000 shots for my picture book project but began its life in the Fox household as the family camera five years ago. If it was going to begin clicking and popping near the end, I figure it has earned every right to do so!
Ironic in a way, for it is at this time, my friend, and fellow photographer, Dr. Gage Caudell (www.rangetraveler.com)had gotten in contact with me, asking if I would like a camera that he seldom used. Now I seldom take anything for free, being raise to give for what I get, but felt so very much appreciative for the generous gift and being told that he would rather give me something that I would use and appreciate than sell it to someone who might not care for it.
So with that, I sat out for what could possibly be, the last warm Sunday of 2013! After saying goodbye to my mother, who had traveled to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday and dropping my sons off for a visit with their other grandparents, I set out to finish off Bond and Russell Townships for the season of Fall.
I did just that! After logging 67 miles, I closed the book on two townships for the fall and will now move onto the remainder of Lawrence and the entire Allison Townships before completing my “Fall” map.
I had my fountain drink in tow as well as both my old Kodak Easyshare C180 and my new Sony Cybershot RX100. I could not be happier with both cameras! It grunted along, but my Kodak still got in some good shots as my Sony got some awesome angles in every light!
I now have two Saturday afternoons and two Sunday afternoons to finish this “gauntlet” I have been running for three months now, on my way to covering a very large hole in my map, that I had so graciously left for myself in 2012! Upon closer examination, that should be just enough time to close the door on Fall with as much excitement as I had, saying farewell to Summer!
With that said, I wish you a wonderful week and ask that you Live With Passion!