I've been trying to be really frugal about driving extra miles near home. Today I had a reason to go to White Cloud (about an hour away) to take some pictures for my upcoming newspaper column. I hadn't realized how much I miss driving around and seeing new roads and places-- you may recall that was the one part of the insurance picture job that I liked. Of course I knew I missed that part, but I was surprised at HOW happy this little trip made me feel. It was a much-needed upper. I smiled and smiled at the sunshine and discovered places.
For starters, here's another of the crazy things that intrigue me. Water towers. I like to see what cities put on them, as it's often a statement of what's important to the local culture. The high school team name is "Indians," so I think the painting reflects that rather than the origin of the city's name. There was a Chief White Cloud, but he was in Minnesota. I couldn't find anything on line about why the city received the name of White Cloud, except that it was first known as Morganville, but the name was changed before 1879. I always assumed it was from being on the White River, but actually don't know.
The Hardy Dam is just a bit south of there, on the Muskegon River. It's the largest packed earth dam east of the Mississippi. It's about a mile across, and there is a walkway as well as a road. The building is the water intake for the powerhouse which still operates. It's Consumers Energy's largest hydropower facility (according to the sign), and was built in 1931.
In 1931 they actually cared about making even utilitarian buildings interesting.
Here is the very impressive spillway.
The reason I scrambled to go down there after work was because the sun was shining, and I knew I could get some blue water pictures. Hardy Dam Pond is about 4000 acres with no development along the shores because the land belongs to Consumers Energy. The water is drawn down for winter- thus the bare edges.
And you know I like the oddball stuff too, like trees in ice. Just a crack actually, but it sure looks like a winter tree.
Or how about some cracks in the spillway pavement? Neat pattern. Fractal geometry explains why they are similar.
For a final treat, this road got narrower and narrower, and made me smile broader and broader. Of course this piece of road only lasted a mile, but the smile lingers on.