The Road Less Traveled
From a young age, I've often looked at photographs of highways, byways, and backroads that always looked so inviting. On various trips with my wife, if we found ourselves navigating one of these, I would often remark "This is a calendar road!" recalling all the calendar photographs I had so often looked at with a wistful longing. Some dreams do come true, however, and I have been blessed to drive some incredibly scenic roadways in my own vehicle.
When I look back at many of these photos, I'm still amazed and humbled that God has not only blessed me to travel and enjoy these roads, He's also kept me safe every mile of the way. With the exception of "Larch Mountain Road" in Oregon, every road pictured here is one I've personally driven in my own vehicle. Some came to dead ends or washed-out ruts that couldn't be traversed, but these are all places that I've been blessed to experience myself.
*Larch Mountain Road - in Ft. Hood, OR - was enjoyed from the passenger's seat of a friend's vehicle. Although I wasn't driving, I did get the pleasure of making this trip, and felt it deserved a spot among these journeys.
While Google Maps may be incredibly accurate when it comes to planning your route, they obviously do NOT send the Google Car down each and every road…nor do they monitor the condition (or lack of) the roads they may send you down. I was actually still following Google Maps as it led me deeper into the jungles of deep east Texas...and would have kept going, but alas, just around this corner, I reached a deep wash in this "county road". The wash-out was far too deep for my standard two-wheel drive Suburban, so I was forced to turn around and retrace my steps. In spite of the miniature canyon I was sitting there looking at, however, Google kept insisting that I "proceed straight".

As on other occasions, I disagreed with Google Maps and found my own route home.
My wife and I were pastor of a small church in Lawrence County, MO for a time. During that time, to supplement my income, I had a small computer business that specialized in doing on-site service for customers. This particular photo was taken on one of my service calls to a client's home in January. Believe it or not, someone actually lived at the end of this road...and they still got internet service!
"Funny but not Funny" story:  For some odd reason, when I would would use the zip code, the weather app on my phone would give me the forecast for "Shirley Basin" instead of Casper, WY.  I finally decided to get in my truck and find out where "Shirley Basin" was (it obviously wasn't the next street over). Staying true to Google Maps, I followed its directions to what appeared to be the end of the world, at which point, Google proudly announced, "You've arrived!"
And what you see here is what I saw when I "arrived" at Shirley Basin, WY.
This particular drive was quite an adventure!  I had decided to drive up Casper Mountain, and spotted an old sign that pointed to "Ponderosa Park" so I decided to go find it. I followed this road through some very rough, remote terrain, at times actually getting out of my truck and scouting ahead to determine if my vehicle would  make it. Eventually, I wound up at Ponderosa Park...or what was left of it. It seems a forest fire several years earlier had destroyed much of the timber (clearly seen in this particular photo) and the campground, so there was nothing left except some bare camp sites, the charred ruins of a building of some sort...and the ruts that had led me to the site.
When I returned home, I looked up the site on Google and found the history of the fire...along with some instructions: "It is advisable to travel [into the park] using a high-clearance vehicle as the road into the park is not maintained." As is so often the case, I guess I should have read that beforehand. But it was certainly an exciting trip!
Shots like this are the ones that make me reallly miss Wyoming. We had just finished a delicious Thanksgiving Day dinner, and my wife and I decided to go for a drive.  We wound up (as in most cases!) driving up Casper Mountain and enjoying the beauty of a November afternoon with fresh snow. Rode with the windows down and the heater turned on just to enjoy the brisk air and the fragrance of the pines!
Back to Top