We just returned from a road trip to Salt Lake City and back, something we haven’t done in a long while.  And one of the things I loved was watching the change of landscape and scenery as the miles went by.  We began in agriculture land with acres of corn and soybeans, and some sunflowers thrown in too.  That landscape changed to rolling hills, then to the badlands of South Dakota.  Into Wyoming we saw pasture lands with cattle and sheep, along with antelope, deer, and coyote.  And then we were in the mountains of Utah, mostly shrouded from the smoke of the nearby forest fires.

During both directions of our trip we got to watch the development of weather fronts.  When the landscape stretches out before you, behind you, and around you it gives you a chance to see the blue (or hazy) skies change to white clouds to billowing thunderstorms to darkness and rain, and then back to clearing skies.  I’ll gladly take a road trip any day over a plane flight that picks you up from one landscape and drops you into another without the benefit of all the miles and scenery in between.

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Wind and weather 7D_1628_StaatsI hit the road this past weekend for a quick trip to the Kansas City area.  It was a time for catching up with family and celebrating my niece’s high school graduation.  We were even able to fit in an evening of pond fishing – the winds were calm, the air was warm, the sunset over the farmland was beautiful, and even the fishing was successful.  I headed back home to Minnesota yesterday, leaving Kansas City in the morning after an early thunder-storm had passed.  The sun was out and the temperature was rising, as was the humidity.  I was watching dark and threatening clouds to the north, hoping they would move east before I got to that area.  As I arrived in northern Iowa, the weather intensified to the north and east with large clouds blossoming on the horizon right along the front line.  The radio station kept interrupting with severe weather and tornado warnings to the east and the south.  When the interstate merged to one-lane and the cars started to back up, I took the first exit.  This area of northern Iowa is filled with wind turbine farms, all working to harness the power of the winds that blow across these plains.  Their height and power seemed to compliment the weather that was building in the area.  My timing was perfect as I was west of this storm system, and my time photographing allowed me to miss the heavy downpours that were to the north.  I managed to arrive home in between the storms, but with an appreciation of the power (and randomness) of Mother Nature.