Sights From the Road

Blizzard of '07
(I80 ~50 miles east of Des Moines, IA)

In spite of the occasional limited visibility there were beautiful scenes to behold. Or perhaps the aestheticism was heightened due to adrenalin overdose!

This was one of the most dramatically posed stranded vehicles. Not just because it was the only jack-knifed semi I saw in the ditch but because it seems to be facing the wrong way. Keep in mind, this is a four lane divided interstate highway. The oncoming traffic would have to cross the snow filled median to reach this ditch. I can't imagine how this truck came to rest in that position without at least a partial donut being involved in the trajectory.

Sun Pilllar

(I80 20 miles west of Iowa City, IA)

This is a rather modest example of an atmospheric effect known as a Sun Pillar. A shaft of light seems to emanate out of the top and bottom of the Sun, usually during sunrise or sunset. The effect is caused by flat polygonal-shaped ice crystals which, in calm air, slowly float down from high altitude clouds. Due to air resistance their flat sides stay parallel to the ground most of the time, like a falling feather. An observer sees sunlight reflected predominantly in a plane perpendicular to the ground containing the sun, the observer. This gives the appearance of a vertical shaft of light rising and/or descending from the Sun.

Hawaii License Plate
(I39-South half an hour north of Madison, WI)

The holy grail of the license plate game. My brother and sister played this on a road trip all the way from Wisconsin to Maine and back this past Summer. I think we got shots of forty-some states but never dreamt we would ever see the likes of Hawaii or Alaska. My sister has since sent me a blurry, low resolution camera phone shot of what she says is an Alaska plate. I'm still skeptical. As you can see above, however, there is no doubt of the veracity of my claim.

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