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May Roadtrip Day 6 (May 28-29)

Travel log

May Roadtrip Day 6 (May 28-29)

Jesse Attanasio

Excessive Driving


Feeling like I completed the majority of the exploring I wanted to do in the Nebraska National Forest and with clear skies forecasted for the night. I thought I would give toadstool another attempt. This time there was a detour sign so I just followed that which took probably another 20 extra minutes than usual to get to the park. And once I got there I basically just turned around and left because I just wanted to make sure I would be able to return there later for night sky photos and a place to park and sleep.

There is a ton of hunting land out in the grasslands so I decided to drive take every interesting looking road and see what it led to. At one point I found a couple old homesteads that were completely overgrown with weeds and after spotting the inevitable "No Trespassing" sign I turned around and kept exploring. 

Not long after my low tire pressure sensor went off so I pulled over to check the pressure. It was at a whopping 20 pounds, So I pulled my air compressor out and filled it up and started heading for a highway to get back to Crawford. After one more pitstop to re-air my tire I finally made it to an auto shop in Crawford and they were able to pull a nail and patch it in record time! 

Feeling much better about the rest of the day, I drove to Fort Robinson to scout any kind of off road trails or interesting locations they had to offer. There really wasn't much that interested me enough to step out in the blazing heat so I basically just drove through the park and that was it.

It was still early in the day and with clear skies there wasn't much to do. Timelapsing the shadows casting from Carhenge was on my list of things to do though, so I hit the highway and headed to Alliance.

I figure a 3 hour timelapse would be enough to show the shadows cast across the ground. Boy was I wrong. I realized quickly that I would need a much longer rail to get the effect I was going for. So I setup a simple pan move and went to my car to make lunch and charge my other batteries.

When I went back to my take my camera down I met a fellow road traveller/blogger David "Sumoflam" Kravetz. He writes a travel blog called Less Beaten Paths. He told me this was his trifecta of half buried car places in the US. He was very nice and happy to talk about traveling the road.

After carhenge I started heading North again towards Toadstool for shooting the night sky. I got rather bored of the scenery so I thought I would take a look at a lake near Hemmingford, NE. I saw nothing incredibly interesting at the lake to shoot but I kept driving instead of turning around back towards the highway. From a distance I could see a old log homestead and was immediately sold on the idea of finding a way there. Luckily there wasn't a "No Trespassing" sign, I just had to carefully navigate the rarely driven road because the ruts from previous vehicles were probably a foot and a half deep in some parts. 

As soon as I pulled up I backed my car into the furthest corner of the area so it was out of the way. I am not a big fan of entering homesteads like this when the doors are shut or the floors look unstable and this house had both problems. I quickly setup a linear motion timelapse and prepared to shoot the upcoming sunset. The amount of misquotes and buts were insane, with bugspray and my thermocell on, It wasn't that they were biting me, just annoying. The sunset was pretty awesome, but I didn't see myself being able to shoot the stars since the camera would have to face towards a pretty main road. 

Fast forward to me pulling into Crawford and starting to navigate the detour road to Toadstool.

There is a house by toadstool that anyone who has ever been out that way has probably seen. It is completely abandon and right off of the road. Unfortunately it is also right next to the train tracks which are incredibly active so shooting a timelapse there isn't a good idea. I knew I couldn't just pass up the relatively clear skies I had and not try to at least get a panorama and a few stills from the spot between trains.

It was getting pretty windy, but still clear skies was nothing to pass up on this trip. Once I got to Toadstool there were a couple of other campers there who I can only assume were miserable trying to sleep in their tents with the wind that was able to rock my jeep back and forth let alone their little tents.

I kept my gear to a minimum and just brought my 24mm lens and Canon 6d body with a tripod. There was no point to timelapse because of the passing trains and their headlights. I had an idea of where I was going and pretty much just wanted to catch a panorama and maybe a couple stills. 

On my way back to the car I noticed the path I was on turned and led into the direction of the Milky way rising, so I took a quick vertical shot before finishing my short hike back "home".