While the Painted Desert Inn at the Petrified Forest National Park is closed due to COVID during the time of this writing, the external views of the building do not disappoint. The original building was erected almost 100 years ago as the “Stone Tree House” with the walls made of petrified wood and local stone.
The inn was rearchitected and made into the current adobe style of today in the 1930s through the hard work of men employed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
I like to take the slower path, where possible, so I can take get some photos of interesting sites. The trips are always fun and never the same. This time, I took route 40 across most of the way coming back from the West Coast and I visited many new places along the route. One of my favorite sites, however, is very close to home – the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I was close enough to the Blue Ridge Parkway by the time I made it far enough east and picked up route 81. Eventually I headed east along some country roads just outside or Roanoke, VA only to find the Parkway was closed as soon as I entered.
Finally, I picked up the Parkway just above Lynchburg, VA and immediately was struck by its beauty. There are many places to stop and to enjoy nature and some places to observe man’s desire to control it.
Farm fields run adjacent to the Parkway for many miles. It’s nice to get an up close view of an American way of life that is most gone, but visible in certain places like here.
The Parkway is well known for the blueish views of the cascading Appalachian Mountains as you see the hills folding over in the distance.
But I also enjoy the little farm buildings and typical early American homes along the route too.
Tysons Corner has changed a lot in the last 20 years since I moved to Northern Virginia. Tysons has transformed from an overgrown office park into a small city with as many residential buildings as offices now.
New construction is everywhere you look all over the area.
You see many interesting things as you travel around America. One thing that always catches my attention are the night lights of a carnival. I noticed this carnival from my hotel window when I arrived just before dark. Around 9pm I walked over to catch a few of the shots that I share here.
I was sitting at a traffic light when I noticed the variety of colors ahead. I keep my camera set on manual infinite focus so I can catch what I see quickly, but for this shot I adjust the focus way down to create the blur. It is just what I saw in my mind when I saw these lights and I had to try to make the camera see what my mind was seeing.
This view was spontaneous and I would not have captured these colorful lights had I not been ready. This is why I always carry my camera.
As of 16 January 2021, news reports are indicating over 21,000 National Guard troops are stationed throughout Washington DC to protect the U.S. Capital from further insurrection activity similar to the 6 January attack on the Capitol building that resulted in the death of 5 U.S. citizens.
Every road leading to the National Mall was blocked with no access to that area either by car or by foot. Heavy duty military vehicles and armed soldiers set the tone for all those entering DC from the bridges leading from the Virginia side of the Potomac.
When on roads outside of the no-go-zone, D.C. seemed ordinary in every other way.
However, anywhere within the vicinity of the White House, National Mall, U.S. Capitol, or other important buildings, you are always under the eyes of trained U.S. soldiers ready to protect America from the home grown MAGA terrorists.
Every route approaching the heart of the U.S. Government was blocked.
Unmarked Secret Service details were everywhere as were marked cars stopping vehicles for reasons unknown to us.
With not much more to see, we left DC, missing the sights of our Nation but fully understanding why they were on lockdown given the dangerous climate in America at this time. It looks like the trash has been cleaned up ahead of the Inauguration – not a single Trump flag or MAGA hat was in sight today. America is on the path back to normal. Time to return home and enjoy the rest of the day.